Tony Beyer

Common terms

Monday’s rain
remains in my shoes

and in my
jacket pockets

incubators of spores
and memory

a whole garment
streaked with mould

in a ditch
by the roadside

a wheel that still
turned slowly


the better poetry is
the less likely it is
to be read
breaking as all good

poetry does
not so much the rules
but the expectations
rules condole

tennis can be fun
without the net
and walls are
best when down

(ask Berlin
                ask Mexico)
and if you can’t decide
which road to take
take both

Men in parrot socks

among the art works
donated by tenants who couldn’t afford the rent
were some hefty names
portraying in turn the landlord’s Rottweiler
or the building from across the street

some of the latter were seized
from time to time by the police
who perused the comings and goings preserved on canvas
in the hope of identifying
historically notorious individuals

the dog on the other hand was well known to them
subject of several complaints
the officers ignored or ameliorated
out of genuine fondness
for a neighbourhood pet

the arm they found once in a dumpster
interestingly chewed
was added to the tally of the serial miscreant
who may or may not have appeared
in oils more than one time

here he is now in person
anonymous among his confreres
bright about the ankles like them
sporting this month’s fake tan and toupee
already gestating a misleading moustache

A sentence by Roque Larraquy

in parts of the former dominions
the internet slows down
when it rains

frustrated entrepreneurs
thump the desk
and send out men with shovels

already they’ve unearthed
a time capsule
from the marginal era

a never-used bridal gown
representing a crisis
of indecision

profiles of boys and girls
calibrated for compatibility
before mating

I hope you are the woman
I hope you are

or something like that

Exit lines


for all Christ’s admonitions
to love one another
Christianity takes a dim view
of earthly love

conceding it as a metaphor
for the love of God
or confining it to the generative limits
of the marriage sacrament

so fallen Adam and fallen Eve
keep falling out
over the children the bread the leaking roof
the incompatible anatomy

prayers for consoling
the bereaved
do nothing to succour
the tormented heart

widows in black without men
to complicate matters
lone men whose hunger extends to communal soup
are easily requited

everyone’s supposed to look forward
to reunion in heaven
after this life
and its solemnities have been endured

for those who want otherwise
there’s always hell
and possibly more diverting company
but not much in the way of love


my early years
dismantling animals
are unmistakably recalled
by Darcy Lange’s black-and-white videos
shot at the meatworks in Waitara

I recognise in them
from the way he stands and stretches
how a man’s back hurts
and the invisible heat
of exposed entrails curdling sweat

viewed silently
without the percussion of machinery
and the curses of men
so vehement and repetitive
they are even more terrible

it’s as if a race of aliens
has invaded a planet
and subjected its inhabitants to the most
excruciating torture imaginable
which is more or less true


America has forgiven itself
slaves and the atom bomb
both necessities in their time
for the sustenance of capital

foundations too of commerce
in the modern world
ensuring poverty like wealth
is passed down through generations

as the extirpated tribes
made space for mines and cattle
the bitter ghettos will make way
for sites of ostentatious power 

cemeteries full of soldiers
whose price has been paid
monuments to the authors
of eco-distress

Tony Beyer operates out of Taranaki, NZ.
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