3 poems from Brian Beatty

Punk Noir Magazine

Detective Work

In the back corner booth

his cup of cold, bitter coffee

leaves a ring on the table.

He looks around for other clues.

This diner is full of victims.


Local police sirens

crescendo in the distance.

The full moon

hangs like a coin about to drop

through silver treetops.

I have no memory

of how I wound up here.

That’s my alibi.

People disappear at night,

so I’m left to whisper in my own ear,

“Settle down, stranger. Breathe.”

I might as well be

another mannequin posed

in the shadows

of a broken shop window

modeling what passes

for fashion in this town.

Stiff, asymmetrical wrinkles

give me away.

Wrong About Death

The funeral
you’re dressed for

quite likely
isn’t your own.

That’s the good
news. The bad?

Family will choose
your wardrobe.

A stranger will
arrange your hair.

Done at long last,
you’re only expected

to look peaceful,
peaceful enough

to sleep all eternity,
whatever that means

to you. Not terrified
like you look right now.

Brian Beatty is the author of the poetry collections Magpies and Crows; Borrowed Trouble; Dust and Stars: Miniatures; Brazil, Indiana: A Folk Poem; and Coyotes I Couldn’t See. Hobo Radio, a spoken-word album of Beatty’s poems featuring original music by Charlie Parr, was released by Corrector Records in January 2021. Beatty lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.