an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

Poems by Tony Beyer

Short fiction

Tony Beyer

Published on
page 43 of Tarot #4
(June 2022)

he told me he’d fallen in love
with a Russian girl
who wore her black hair
in two shortish pigtails

and dressed in black
to seem invisible
while she took lessons
in a third language

she worked in a meat restaurant
to cover her tuition
evading the hands
of customers and coworkers

he dined there on all her nights
neither speaking
nor raising his eyes
from the gristle on his plate

her shadow multiplied
by the down-lights over the table
surrounding him
would have to be enough

Level 4 again

Tony Beyer

Published on
page 8 of Tarot #3
(Dec 2021)

no sign of him
but my neighbour’s shed door
swings and clatters in the wind

this could go on
for some time

the unsettled silence
just on the edge of spring
still cold though touches
of colour outside promise renewal

daily the case count climbs
the signers in black spell one another
between the politician and the doctor
(we watched this show
a year ago)

the police have been brought in
unthreatening but firm

beyond the press conferences
protocols and regulations
the dark unknown
distances us from what we most need

Hiruharama calling

Tony Beyer

Published on
page 14 of Tarot #3
(Dec 2021)

God has had Baxter on his hands
nearly fifty years now

enough for the two of them
to sort out their differences

Hemi te Tutua or Jim Nobody
same surname as Odysseus

and the Creator of the Universe
in whose sight no text is indecipherable

hard to tell from our perspective
whether they pummel or forgive each other

one always bushwhacked
in his earthly life by religion

one who appears to have lost interest
in humans a long time ago

The Best News

Tony Beyer

Published on
page 42 of Tarot #3
(Dec 2021)

my brother tells me on the phone
during lockdown
that since it’s now clear of effluent
spoonbills have returned to the Manukau Harbour

large white goose-like birds he says
standing asleep in a bunch
under a shoreline tree
or shovelling the mud for tucker
at low tide off the Weymouth boat ramp

all this is in the context
of his recent successful cataract surgery
having healed to give him
better eyesight than ever in his life
coinciding with something worth seeing


Tony Beyer

Published on
page 54 of Tarot #3
(Dec 2021)

at sixteen
she was so beautiful
blokes fell off their bikes
riding past looking at her

a King’s boy and one
from the local high school
got in a fistfight over her
and both came off worse

of course she went out first
with the captain of the XV
who only admired himself
but she did better later on

the trick was to pretend
you weren’t interested
which took some effort
but worked in the end

Moturoa haircut

Tony Beyer

Published on
page 16 of Tarot #2
(June 2021)

Tim always has
the latest sports news
and speculation
at his fingertips
along with my hair

who’s about to
switch to League
though that happens
less often now
Union pays so well

he worries like me
about the boys
who don’t make it
unless they’re big enough
and tough enough to box

in the brief interval
of trimming back and sides
(nothing on or off the crown)
he’s covered wealthy pastimes too
golf and yachting

he’ll never be reconciled
to the America’s Cup
which he says is a jack-up
from start to finish
brushing the back of my neck

Coastal waters

Tony Beyer

Published on
page 37 of Tarot #2
(June 2021)

peninsulas mistaken
for islands
and vice versa

the purpose
of circumnavigation
inaccurately fulfilled

and the names
all wrong or
in the wrong language

after months at sea
having land ho
was thrilling in the extreme

excitement in the blood
distorted observation

surely those hills
were like home
and should be labelled so

the disrupted locals
shouting and grimacing
made for quick sketches

later to be refined in oils
and varnished
in the silence of the studio

of a European afternoon
on a barbarous shore)

as many conclusions
drawn from the telescope
as from those directed at the stars