Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Neil Ellman - Three Poems

The Man Who Flew into His Own Picture
(Ilya Kabakov, room installation)
The man who flew into his own picture
became anything but himself
or the thing he most wanted to be
with the face he most wanted to have
he became an eagle with serrated wings
as broad as his ambition
and just as bleak
a carpenter ant, a mite,
a spider crawling across the moon
as if it had a destination or a home
and then a serpent
with a flaring tongue
in words not even he could understand—
and then was turned to shattered glass
with every shard another face
and none of them his own
or the one he wanted most. 
Portrait of the Equilibrist
(Paul Klee, painting)
He who walks the braided rope
between the this and that
of yesterdays stretched
from here and now
to the when and if
of tomorrow without a net
juggles his days
(three, four, five at a time
as he crosses the breach below
one careful step, then another
with a sureness of foot
that bridges the ends of his time
the equilibrist knows the width
of his life in millimeters, years
and frays of hope
and the measureless depth
beneath his feet.
The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown
to a Pair of Lovers
(Joan Miró, painting)
That the albatross knows the unknown
the way it senses in the blindness of a night
Its path along migration’s way
Is the miracle that guides its flight
that it reveals in dips and arcs
its skim above confounding waves
first lost behind a swell
then seen for an instant against the sky
Is the secret it concedes
to lovers lost themselves
wondering how the beautiful dark bird
with outstretched wings
can come and go so easily
between reality and belief
and know so much of undiscovered seas
Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has published more than 1,100 poems in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world. He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net.

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