Garry Beck


Children at War


When I was a boy
Myanmar wasn't a country,
so how could they do anything wrong,
if they didn't exist?
Now their army drags children off the streets
and uses their bodies as minesweepers.

In Sri Lanka,
another country that didn't exist
when I was a boy,
young Tamil girls,
fondly named 'Birds of Freedom,'
are trained as suicide bombers.

I think Iraq existed
when I was a boy,
but now it's a malignant dwarf.
And while America frets
about gays infiltrating the Boy Scouts,
Saddam's 'Lion Cubs' earn small arms merit badges.

Thousands and thousands of children
are fighting and dying in dozens of wars,
that when I was a boy
didn't seem to expend them
as spies, sentries, servants and sex slaves,
but now they're a cheap commodity.



Madre Mia


Sara M., a young immigrant,
illegally came to Brooklyn from Mexico
to find her part of the American dream,
which she shared with Gabriella,
her three year old daughter,
who she beat until she died.

Sara M. moved into a nice building,
a lot nicer than the shack in Mexico,
and was thrilled with her own apartment,
but her daughter defecated on the floor,
so she had to be beaten with a stick.

Gabriella was found too late,
unconscious and fatally bruised.
The authorities said she had been long abused.
Her mother entered a guilty plea
to murder in the second degree.


The Seeker


I have walked your sagging streets,
American cities,
and watched your decay by day,
felt your despair at night
and howled my helplessness
to the untenanted moon
to change your destructive ways.

Our world grows crowded
and future children
will have survival hopes impaled
on blood-stained Hutu spears
that will sing of slaughter
and deny salvation
to our few remaining visionaries.



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Sentinel Poetry (Online) #40


ISSN 1479-425X     March 2006