Tony Beyer

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Recent Releases

observe how the red stain
modifies the orange

of the scoop-necked prison
garment when the throat is opened

and no more words
gush from the new mouth

the man with the blade
stays unstained in black

his knuckles pale pebbles
the grim slit in his hood

narrowing his vision
to the bitter landscape

the certainty of an audience
and the camera’s oily gaze

Coming Attractions

ISIL previews Flames of War
the next phase of their campaign

with a spectacular on-line trailer
of tanks disgorging flame

seemingly fake explosions that
reverse and collapse on themselves

wild haired soldiers whirling
and dead or medevac’d GIs

while the brown Satan in a suit
reels off another speech from DC

and there are no disclaimers
about nothing or no one

being hurt in the making
or towns or vehicles wrecked

or that this footage
was shot on foreign soil

soil being the colour
of both ground and sky

in those parched lands
everyone wants a handhold on

except when the colour is blood
or tears if they have a colour

or the shadow behind
eyes electively blind

Critical Reception

always a problem to represent
the wretchedness of nations

extremist desperation
revisionist bankruptcy

always perilous too
to speak the desires

of someone else’s poverty
someone else’s God

big business makes bombs
to be used by their use-by dates

and bombs to replace
those thus used

but no one likes to compete
for air time with the little guy

packing a backpack
detonating a roadside improvisation

offering the planet’s excluded
an alternative plan

Tony Beyer's work has appeared recently in Landfall, Sport and Essential New Zealand Poems, and online in Truck. He is finishing with teaching at the end of 2014 and faces a pleasingly uncertain future.
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