Tony Beyer

Driving dreams


tonight it’s a truck
loaded with something dangerous
in one of those films
on winding mountain roads

always a mid-point is reached
where there are fresh clothes
and a meal never to be eaten

the pursuers
hold grievances against us
we don’t understand
having done nothing to affront them

territory and its boundaries 
hard to fathom
unshaven in a sweaty shirt
wrestling the wheel


the white line
divides right from left
in the brain

dull clunk of half-filled bottles
the bulging sack
immobile on the back seat

best daylight we’ve had
all day
after the rain’s gone
after the low cracks of thunder


nothing you say
distracts me from the road

its suave curve
enticingly three-dimensional
repeated in the mirror

the wild life
and local inhabitants
tend to run or bound
away from us

pests hang by their ankles
from the gates of farms

Ancient text

after Kenkō

a certain elegance
to both sides 
of the argument

whether the moon 
is more beautiful
shining openly

or spread through a lattice
dressing each of us
in a suit of lights

equally there are those
who are convinced 
the wind is invisible

yet relish the sight
of grasses seething
or leaves flowing sideways

yellow red brown
the moment autumn 
detaches them

a leaf skeleton
so resembles its tree
in proportion

it is an obvious offspring
though I dissent
from lamentations

concerning the fate of graves
first the stone mossed over
and its inscription lost

then the mourners
who remember the dead one
each in turn deceased

so no one can describe him by sight
and even the pine
that sighed over the mound

by moonlight
is cut for firewood
and the low acclivity 

levelled by the plough
all of which seems fitting 
and wholesome to me

Tarkovsky dreams

we are in the dune room again
climbing then sliding down
tumuli of moon sand
apparently dumped from some vast scoop

mirrors are always bad news
as are silhouettes and shadows
you need clear forward vision
to know what you’re up against

reality comes packaged in black and white
like prison uniforms
barcodes or the contemptuous gaps
between the inquisitor’s teeth


some things it’s better
               we don’t know

like the moment
               the grim gauntlet

will snatch us away
               from where we kneel 

in the garden
               teasing out weeds

or stand in front
               of a library shelf

selecting someone else’s
               story as a diversion

there are always worse 
               ways to go

as the news tells us daily
               but our reluctance at any time

could be a kind 
               of appreciation


just by leaving it alone for a while
how quickly the planet is restored

endemic species revisiting gardens
sightings of sea mammals offshore

noises normally silenced by traffic
of secretive animals in the dark

the stars are more visible too
ancient assurances of continuity

knotted into sisal twine or inked
on parchment by our ancestors

who might otherwise not recognise us
without this pause or stalled frenzy

keeping us all still long enough
to remind ourselves who we are

Science fiction

last night
I watched a movie

cars on the road
people walking

seated together
eating and drinking

going to a movie
at a cinema

in offices
and factories

to worship
chosen gods

or quietly
to bury
their dead

it didn’t say
which planet
this was on

Tony Beyer writes in Taranaki, New Zealand. He is the author of Anchor Stone (2017) and 
Friday Prayers (2019), both from Cold Hub Press. Recent work has appeared in Hamilton 
Stone Review, Landfall, Mudlark, Molly Bloom, NZ Poetry Shelf and Otoliths.
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