ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Tony Beyer


& Adam
          to avenge himself
                    for the expulsion

teemed & overpopulated
          with his kind
                    the world God had made

then slowly
          expended one by one
                    the beasts he’d named

& the plants & fishes
          likewise condemned
                   once depleted of use

until in the end
          on the arid stone
                    that kept looping the sun

there was no breath
          no living creature
                    & no God


The edge

once a suburb
goes upmarket

cars purr under bonnets
rather than chug

secondhand shops
and bottle stores

and men in singlets
start to recede

and no more kids
play in the street

because cool kids
don’t play in the street

or form bands
house to house

where all the adults
know them by name

instead they are
whisked to school

in dark windowed
parental motorcades

fed and entertained indoors
and allowed contact

only with those
of their kind

defined by address
and appurtenances

such as father’s income
mother’s antecedents

and the grim commerce
of the years ahead


The Secret Lives of Telephones

they are always listening in
in pockets and handbags

on bedside tables
hall stands among dried arrangements

or perched carelessly
on a stack of directories

no single event of the twentieth or
twenty-first century has eluded their notice

the piecemeal balding of regal aspirants
the implants upholding intended consorts

all channelled somewhere
within the tattle of wires

or wireless and floating free
between buildings and cloud formations

nimbus for bad news
cumulus for fulsome encomia

now we know they can be recruited too
into our enemies’ service

who want of course
to hear everything


Tony Beyer writes in Taranaki, New Zealand. He is a frequent contributor online to Otoliths and his print collection Anchor Stone (Cold Hub Press) was a finalist in the poetry category of the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards. His long poem ‘Sand fire’ (2019) appears as Mudlark chap 67 and other work has been published in the US in Atlanta Review, Hamilton Stone Review, First Literary Review – East and petrichor.

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