Fringe Benefits

Occupying armies
swaggered, pillaged, raped,
traditional fruits
of victory.
Wine, women, loot
consoled the troops
with abundant diversion
unavailable at home
to lower class enlisted men
usually despised ignored
by fragrant society,
except when requisitioned
to give blood, body
in service of their masters.

Thwarted by the new warfare
kept in restraint
in a conquered country
that had no bars,
pleasure houses,
just roadside bombs, ambushes,
effendi death chuckling
at futile state building
in a hostile land
having infidel invaders,
refusing to offer
comfort and joy.

• “Fringe Benefits” is from Blunt Force, Gary’s unpublished collection that delves into many issues and concerns of our times.

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn't earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and his published books include 40 poetry collections, 16 novels, 4 short story collections, 2 collection of essays and 8 books of plays. Gary lives in New York City. Read other articles by Gary.