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Walker, a Poem by Gary Beck

The doctor keeps telling me:

‘Go out. Get some fresh air.

Talk to people.'

I tried to tell him

I have no friends,

they’re all dead.

He doesn’t listen.

I tried to tell him

it’s hard for me to go outside.

He doesn’t listen.

I get tired quickly

walking with the walker.

Sometimes I trip

and almost fall

on the uneven sidewalk.

I take a long time

to cross the street,

the light always changes

from red to green

before I reach the other side.

I’m always afraid

a car will hit me.

I only shuffle a few blocks,

then make my way home

shakily, scared, exhausted.

I tried to tell the doctor

but he won’t listen

and I can’t afford another doctor.


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 35 poetry collections, 14 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays, and 7 books of plays. Gary lives in New York City.


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