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New poems by Neil Ellman.


The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory

(after the painting by Salvador Dalí)

The Dali Painting

© Wikipaintings.org




It is said: memory is monotony

repeating the same words and images

over and over and over again

echoing through canyons without walls

where the sun bleaches the gathering bones

and only the dead can feel alive.




Memory gnaws at its own remains

bends like a magician’s spoon

light oozing around the sun

spittle from the corner of its mouth

dying alone

when life is a memory in wax.



a line, (a blue one)


Song of the Landscape

(after the metal sculpture by David Smith)

The Sculpture

© metmuseum.org


Metallic trees shed no leaves

in autumn rust

reds yellows goldenrods

in bronze

veins peticoles and wires

blades of grass

hosanna chorus of the sun

it sings: hallelujah

praise the land.



a line, (a blue one)



(after a “Spot Painting” by Damien Hurst)

the painting

© arterritory.com / Prudence Cuming


Polka dots don’t dance

-- oom-pah-pah-oom-pah-pah

stay in step

move in unison

the sameness of the same

old march

patriotic songs

good soldiers


not the least at ease

with the ease of peace

give me your tired

your poor

your polka dots and me

eager to die

one by one by one.



a line, (a blue one)


Through Birds, Through Fire But Not Through Glass

(after the painting by Yves Tanguy)

The painting

© Wikipaintings.org


Now you see it, now you don’t

an odalique of flesh

and then an obelisk of stone

its memory formed from fire


the shape of a cormorant

laughing at the sun

an elephant insulted

by its image in a pond

this trick of parallax

angles and shadows

as almost being things

shifting shape

from this and now

to where and not

knowing how to feel

even through the glass

of a microscope.



a line, (a blue one)


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