Factories of Men and Beer

by PD Lyons (November 2023)

The Red Cape
, Claude Monet, 1868-73


Factories of Men and Beer

Trains I have never seen
Every evening heard yowling

Prehistoric beasts
Quagmired in this tar pit town

As if, like me unable to get beyond
These factories of men and beer

I remember
We were walking
Hand in hand
Up the hill
In the rain

You had your bright red scarf
Wrapped around your head
Traffic swished
Lights on
Wipers squelching

We didn’t know what the day would bring
But I turned my face up to the sky
Trusting my own two feet and you to guide me



Strangers Meeting Again for the First Time

I am still in those same places
Rough loose floor boards
Unfinished walls
Thin white paint
Curtainless window ghosts
Ancient sails of sky
As if this road embarking for foreign parts
could ever leave behind the cities we were born in.



For Jack, Who No One Reads

needing someone new to love
Loving/ needing newness
___________________they loved
not understanding
no appreciating
not knowing
or caring
_______he was it
filling the need regardless of who he really was
something new
___a thing their parents never heard of
___________would never approve of
___________would at least be slightly threatened by
as if everyone would really go
___leave______pack it in
___give it up___hit the road

our highways then become our cities,
places like Manhattan our open roads?

But he brought you flowers
somehow knowing about irises.
sat down beside you
knowing about the gallery.
you being there
you thinking about your boyfriend.
you thinking about him in the dark room.

Turkish coffee at Mamoon’s
afraid to wait any longer

that one time he was late
that day you were moving

from the city
from the summer
from all possibilities of being swayed

(for Gabrielle)



Do Do Run Run

after the show she’d call him
wait with the security guys out back
in the open door way if it was raining
watching waiting smoking.
she’d heard they added menthol to ‘em so you wouldn’t feel what they were doing’ to
your throat, she wasn’t sure about that—
isn’t there just too much mistrust in the world?

anyway, it never took him long,
no matter what the time was
even if the show ran late
even if there was snow
he was never long.

run up them iron stairs
kiss her before saying hello, how was the show?
walk her arm ‘n arm, open and close the car door .

she was back up singer
steady small town gig.
one with a black beret,
sang better than most of the leads she broke her ass to make look good.
maybe if she were younger … maybe if she weighed a little less …?

back home,
he’d have something good and  ready to eat
sometimes in the shower the hot water lasts an hour
sometimes she’d have a little something strong to drink.
he’d put something on the stereo real low like madam butterfly
until falling asleep only by some taunting dream
she’d wake to find his loving arms around her.



Visa for France

Anxiety wrapped around like a wet cloth,
the kind you’ve known,
like morning rain on August twenty eighth
as you ride to New York City
grey green landscapes I-84
seen from a bus full of 6am travellers
A slow rain
like if you were outside you’d feel each drop
separate, distinct, that’s the kind
you’ve known,
like wet frizzed hair of a German girl in front of you
on her way to the airport too,
the way her waist strapped with a wide red leather smile,
the way her deep rounded face reminds you to Gitte’s voice
on the telephone last night asking if you were afraid to come,
telling that it had been a rainy summer there,
telling that when people really love they talk about the weather
because love, totally out of place with telephones
and other public places, can only be relieved
intimately as in letters or in flesh.
It’s that kind of love,
you’ve known it all along,
that wet warm blanket you’ve wrapped yourself up in
without any feeling of obligation


Table of Contents


PD Lyons was born and raised in the USA and, since 1998 has lived in Ireland. He’s travelled extensively and has raised two wonderful children in addition to a variety of horses (Morgan, Andalusian Thoroughbred, Irish sport horse, etc.). He has worked as a dishwasher, floor washer, textile mill labourer, construction worker, pesticide sprayer, fire safety inspector, toy shop manager, substance abuse councillor, women’s shoe shop manager, and is currently cutting grass in a small medieval village in County Westmeath.

Lyons received the Mattatuck College Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry and a Bachelor of Science with honours from Teikyo Post University Connecticut. His work has appeared in many formats throughout the world, and he has had his poetry collections published by Lapwing Press, Belfast and erbacce Press, Liverpool. He is the 2019 winner of the annual erbacce-press International Poetry Competition.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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