Tony Beyer


Tarkovsky got it both
right and wrong in Stalker

using monochrome for reality
colour however bleached

for the zone of the fantastic
while eye and mind think

they know it’s
the other way round

there’s nothing more unimaginatively
factual than full colour

which shows everything
and is thus without ambiguity

the motorway sequence in Solaris
in an apparently Asian city

shifts (interesting to express it
in terms of movement)

between monochrome and colour
because it is a true nightmare

in dreams there are infinite blacks
grading through the million greys

to infinite whites made purer
by a single smidgen of black

each shade unique though
suggestive of all the others

each door a door to a room
that could be any or all rooms

doubled by double doors
toppling through mirrors

colours so particular to their
context the sleeper never notices

there’s seepage too between worlds
and the fantastic can paralyse

rubbish and puddles
weeds and inoperative machines

crucifix power poles
railway lines fatefully parallel

battle debris from an
earlier patriotic encounter

the waste ground all boys
tom- or otherwise played in in childhood

the replanted tree that doesn’t
burst into blossom

because once hope is fulfilled
there is no more hope

Albrecht Dürer

the Prodigal Son returns
to a nasty village in Germany
where everyone wears thick hose
and semi-wild hogs and their hoglets
grovel and grunt around him

then as now these stories
happen again and again
the Knight’s dog unperturbed
by their skeletal follower
strides forward blinded by faith

a filler in the foreground
like those moulded in concrete
in a Chinese garden
St Jerome’s lion drowses
close to the picture plane

Melancolia could easily be
the mother of the man
he observes in the mirror
with pursed red lips
and tight-ringleted hair

he points at the spot
on his chest where the dark
upside-down mushroom clouds
hurt most when he
saw them once on a journey

the earth is about the size
of a slab of moist turf
dug up with all its attachments
and inhabitants and slid
from the spade to the studio bench


lordships in splendid robes
seated in conference

hordes of soldiers in lacquered armour
like beetles’ carapaces or wing sheathes

but the true subject is the wind
crackling banners’ colours and signs

and horses running on a beach
bronze in the tidal light


Trip north

inlets where Maui’s hook
nibbled the coast

before catching the roof
of an undersea house

earth’s veins
blue on the map

awa and ara
a river is a path

Back south

the way one river
shapes the road

a tunnel where
all else fails

twisting and twisting
but never turning back

tuna anguilla eel ål
all good names


wherever we are
hair dislodges

skin flakes from
the back of the hands

our mortal trace
left in the path

Tony Beyer operates out of Taranaki, NZ.
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