Unkind City

Unkind City

Gary Beck

City of strangers, a patient trap
for vagrants on this earthly map,
opening gates and beckoning doors
for corrupters, scholars, thieves and bores,
enticing the evening with glittering sights
that conceal the refuse of squalid nights,
that strut by moonlight in arrogant display,
that ignores the horror that dawns each day.

Whether rocketing subway mobs uptown
peeling soul like skin from summer fruit,
or having policemen club a derelict down,
the city is a mindless brute,
with little room for gentle faces.
Its arteries flow flint-hard men
carried to a hundred faddish places,
'til fashion changes and they're off again.

And the people of the lavish shops
wrapped in greed, or envy's tears,
greet innocent desires with obscene leers
that beckon interchange, then stops.
The city should be closed to those with roots,
who seek to build a home and a family,
clutch with bitter dread for frail security,
that shatters, while the city jeers and hoots.