something fishy
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Ekphrastic Poems by Neil Ellman


Horse Attacked by a Fish

(after the painting by Andre Masson)

Horse Attacked by a Fish, Andre Masson


Rivers run
from sea to source;
fish attack,
consume a horse,
a tyger eaten
by a lamb;
Hell on earth
Heaven below
the day after
the end of days
when the world
is young again
and a fish eats
anything it can.



a line, (a blue one)


Devil Fish

(after the sculpture by Alexander Calder)

Devil Fish by Alexander Calder


Fish without scales
black-steel armored
wings like an angel’s
fallen from the grace
of compassionate seas,
it soars, swirls, floats
on sheets of wind
then dives
as if the devil itself
unforgiven unforgiving
upon its prey.



a line, (a blue one)


Fish Image

(after the painting by Paul Klee)

Fish Image Paul Klee


Even then
just before they die
even as they know
the hooks are thrown
nets lowered
they have no time
to pray to the god
of char and bream
or imagine the afterlife
of a fish
upon his plate
they gather, circle
in one last dance
one last—together—
where they were meant
to die.



a line, (a blue one)


The Eye Attracts Diamonds

(after the construction by Joan Miró)

The Eye Attracts Diamonds by Joan Miro


The eye attracts diamonds
the way diamonds attract the eye
the way a rose is drawn to the moon
and the moon paints a rose in the sky
as just then an umbrella opens to guard
against the mind as it decides
the reason it exists and why
diamonds and the eye of god
speak to each other with confusion
and disbelief
the way they speak to us.



a line, (a blue one)


The Apples We Know

(after the painting by Roberto Matta Echaurren)

The Apples We Know Roberta Matta


The apples we crave
are not the ones we think we are
nor are the likenesses we see
In a yellowing photograph
or a sputtering flame
like phantoms and ghosts
we see so only the ones we wish to know
in the mirror of our dreams
only the apples we want
but not the ones we need
or know are real.



a line, (a blue one)


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