Tuesday 5 August 2014

2 Poems by Jerry Beale

On an ordinary day

On an ordinary day nothing
extraordinary happens
it’s just a day
like yesterday
Breakfast happens
an hour after the alarm
and thoughts trundle like
bored penguins
politely queuing for a spot
on the to-do list
lunch arrives
and leaves
and later on – rain showers willing
dinner, TV and bed
Even sleep is ordinary
The brushing of teeth
perfunctory sex
and even breakfast wishes
the bowl was enlivened by
a precocious insect
or perhaps the discovery of an unknown
Rembrandt hidden beneath cornflakes
and milk

But in the Sudan where earth is seared
the colour of rusty tin
and death by hunger is more ordinary
than a newspaper
or the torrent of annoyance loosed
by the parking of a small family sedan
exactly thirty-three centimetres beyond
a faded yellow line
a Dinka man sits beside the bodies
of his wife
his two children
He sees me
and smiles sadly
There is no word in his
language for ‘future’
but he says
‘at least today
there is no war’


my son surprised me
when he asked
dad, why do you wear
that mask?

I know your hair;
your hands that hold me;
your voice rumbling softly

but why do you hide deep inside?

your laughter like rain
waters me
your eyes are bedrooms
behind that

they are more

like disused land

a place where things go
when they have nothing
left to say
and no happy place
to go


Jerry Beale is a New Zealand-based writer and performance poet. Originally growing up in Northern Ireland and England then finding his way to NZ via the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, he's managed to progress through a baffling number of guises including Royal Marine Commando, bodyguard, professional martial arts fighter and advertising creative director.  Along with a love of travel to dodgy third world countries, these have all provided plenty of material for an ongoing poetic output. Jerry's motto...It's our defiance that redeems us'.

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