Shore Leave

Shore Leave


We sat on the ship

month after month,

but like all Marines

never complained

in front of the squids.

Then we got liberty

in an Arab kingdom,

went ashore in civvies

after a yawner course

how to treat the locals.


But it felt great

to be on land again,

even if all the men

wore funny robes,

talked a mile a minute

so we couldn't understand,

yet we recognized

their angry looks,

everyone hates America.


There was no beer, booze, broads,

none of the pleasures of home,

nothing to do but walk

narrow, menacing streets

without a friendly face,

not even street urchins

peddling their sisters

for Yankee dollars.


Resentful men glared at us

from every doorway

that concealed guns or bombs.

Veiled women stared daggers.

There was nowhere to have fun

so we went back to the ship

glad that liberty was over.



About the Author

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and an art dealer. He has eight published chapbooks and one other accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways (Winter Goose Publishing). Perceptions and Displays will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) and Acts of Defiance (Artema Press). He also has a short story collection titled "A Glimpse of Youth" (Sweatshoppe Publications). His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in various literary magazines. Gary currently lives in New York City.