Saturday, January 4, 2014

Neil Ellman

Four Poems

The Ego and the I
(after the painting by Roberto Matta Echaurren)
I occupy the rift between
my ego and me
the one I know, the other I don’t
my ego is mine alone
the other I barely recognize
beyond the looking glass
of memories
or in my disconnected life
we are as inseparable
as opposites could be
while still like brothers
under the skin
the two of us are one—
we struggle for survival
in a war that will not end.

The Song of the Vowels
(after the painting by Joan Miró)
My vowels sing bubble songs
hover within my words and float
from consonant to consonant
from sound to consequence
then splatter on my tongue
becoming mine and yours.

Mask of Fear
(after the painting by Paul Klee)
At the Mascarade de Mort
recognize the face of fear
disguised as someone else
but as your own.

Recognize the eyes
behind the mask
like shadows
on the ballroom floor—
and still your own.

Know the stranger
holding, spinning
in an allemande of life
before you die.

The Playful Ogre
(after the painting by Joan Miró)
Even an ogre drifts off
from its hideous meal
to play with its food
like a child who won’t use
a knife, fork or spoon
but eats with its hands,
licks its lips , dribbles \
and spits out the marrow
It sucks from some bones

“This offal is awful ,” it jokes,
with a churlish grin,
then rips out the heart
of the man who was
his closest friend.

© Neil Ellman 2014

Neil Ellman has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Hundreds of his poems, many of which are ekphrastic and written in response to works of modern and contemporary art, appear in publications throughout the world.

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