the poetry that matters

Neil Ellman

Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey. He frequently writes ekphrastic poetry based on works of modern and contemporary art, often surrealistic. Such poems have been accepted in Alba, Anastomoo, Bloody Bridge Review, Clockwise Cat, Counterexample Poetics, and Flutter, among others. He has also published five chapbooks of ekphrastic poetry, the most recent of which is Mirrors of Miró: Ekphrastic Reflections of the Art of Joan Miró (Flutter Press, 2011).

To Give Painless Light

(after the painting by Roberto Antonio
Sebastián Matta Echaurren, 1955)

Time was

will be

a bestiary of

hours and years

light diffused

and shaped

the debris

of millennia

we crawled

from the void

to light

where light

took shape

shape to flesh

there was

a moment

without shape

then shaped


to lines

shards of light

and silent pain—

this then

the universe

this time.


Turning of the Earth

(after the painting by Roberto Antonio
Sebastián Matta Echaurren, 1955)



turning around itself


Into itself

a molten core



gearshifts and paddles

lifeless earth

earth without sun


to a rusting halt.


The Violence of the Machines

(after the painting by Robero Antonio
Sebastián Matta Echaurren, 1953)

The violence of machines

at war with themselves

assembly line soldiers

bayoneting each other

pillaging and plundering

raping at will

with a human ease

anger in the wires

neurons bellowing

electrical words

they are ours

invented, engineered

their blueprints

in our countenance

war as we meant it to be


not ours to fight—

and they

shall inherit the earth.


Bookmark and Share

                                                                                                                                      August 2011