Tony Beyer


Henri stands in the trench
among his poilu comrades
early on in the war

some of them wear those
odd ridge-crested helmets
like the spine of a fish

or future submarine
while he holds in his hand
a figure of the Madonna 

and Child he has carved
out of wood salvaged 
from an enemy rifle butt

a European work of art
with a tradition going 
back many centuries

but not for centuries in 
a brusquely robust
style resembling this

if it ever existed
like him and so many 
like him it did not survive

The interruptions

the steps down
from Manadon St

then a mud
gauntlet to run

the creek’s meander
has become an oxbow
where a warbler sings

what this walk teaches
is that each place
is many places

for example what goes 
on on top of or 
underneath a single leaf

or parts of the ground
light and shadow redefine 
or warm and cold

sudden start and stop
a hailstorm leaves jagged 
debris on the porch

white scattering
of the sky’s teeth
soon dissolved

the dog is as 
surprised as you are
but minds more

such clamour such
celestial flexion
in so small a space

resistance patterns
ripples set up
to oppose each other

drops falling
from fern fronds
into a rain puddle

something neither plant nor animal
and certainly not still enough
to be mineral

loomed close in the night
cutting out a fair infinity
of starlight

when the man with nowhere to go
says he has to go

it might be worth following
to see what he makes

of the emptiness he describes
and what you can learn from this

now and then
you come near
what you meant to say

Robert Creeley

to regard
everyone you know

as a particular
characteristic song

hoarse and halting
in the case

of some of the men
light and birdy

or deep as honey
on the female side

not just the voice
but the lyrics too

and the beat
the ones that become silent

and those who go on
long after life


an impossibly huge
city-block-sized liner

cruises in
dislodging cathedrals and piazzas


tourists and viruses

several female passengers
whose husbands

have had tattooed on them

piped suite to suite
circa 1979 anti-social rock n roll

The Ramones
The Clash

hard to dance to
on ACE-inhibiters     SSRIs

a stately ruin at 80
still a member of the band

Charlie Watts
just died for our sins

Tony Beyer writes in Taranaki, New Zealand. Among his print titles, Anchor Stone (Cold Hub Press) was a finalist in the poetry category of the 2018 NZ Book Awards. More recent work has appeared internationally in Atlanta Review, Hamilton Stone Review, Landfall, London Grip, Mayhem, Molly Bloom, Mudlark, Otoliths, Stone, Tarot, and elsewhere.
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