Tony Beyer

Just to say

I discovered on the internet
that impeccable fount

of all things medical
spiritual and political

that one of the most
painful ways to die

is by crucifixion
fortunately an option

rarely on offer these days
in part I suspect

out of deference to its
star participant with whom

comparisons are awkward
but surely also to do

with the price of DIY
materials like timber 

and nails and tools
many of them 

according to local 
outlets imported 

or slated for export 
or on account 

of the building boom
subject to restricted supply


the counter man
and the walk-in diner
speak to each other
without moving their mouths

the woman at the latter’s
elbow appears to read
whatever is written on a pale green
cardboard matchbook

she and the counter man
have the same coloured hair
though his is thinning under
his white fore-and-aft cap

the free-standing urn at his back
with its plump dome lid
and water level gauge
prepares to lift off for Mars

beyond them all and the third
anonymous man
opposite the pane we see them through
a window hangs its

enormous slab of darkness
ephemeral and permanent
in an instant
just over a lifetime ago

Stopping places


in the kitchen

of the yellow house
after guests for dinner

lamb and baked kumara
pale green 

honeydew crescents
I noticed

for the first time
on the wall

a map of the district
water courses

and buckled hills
and the spinal road

so far inland
in our narrow country

the green stretched
margin to margin


a stack of stones
on the horizon

resembles a man
sowing a field

or scything
mowing it

his action caught

against the dry
disabling sun

not a breath
to shift the dust

floating knee-high
over wheel ruts

the ground drained
of feature and defence


Not an elegy

not only his work but he 
lacked objectivity

the one time I met him
off the page (he didn’t

know who I was) was when
I sat down in an empty chair

and he assailed me with
my wife is sitting there

and I can aver to this day 
I never saw the woman

Tony Beyer writes in Taranaki, New Zealand; recent poems online in Allegro, Mudlark, Otoliths and Stone Poetry Journal.
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