Three Poems by Neil Ellman

The Spectral Cow

(after the painting by Salvador Dalí)


spectral dream
skin & bones
on the hoof
my sleep.

Is it
the image
of myself
grown old
out to pasture
out of time?

The First Days of Spring

(after the painting by Salvador Dalí)


Out here on the flats
somewhere in the space
between simile and metaphor
nothing matters
when everything should
a road not taken
in a mind overtaken
by perpetual sleeplessness
its own carnival
of artifacts
and side-show freaks

(a girl in between
spreading her smile
flesh into rotting flesh
I knew the face
she remembered mine)

so many ways
to mark the days
while I survey
the desolation
time had sought—
supposedly it is spring
when nothing matters
except the echo
of a cloud.

An Afternoon in the Garden of Time

(after Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory)


the sun
(always the sun)
dry earth crackling
under unseen feet
the crumbling bones

1:00 pm
birds and their songs
have scattered
raucous caws
to silent prayer
a wind repeats
the wind’s request

nor eyes can see
the slow rotation
of the earth
where the air dies
the flame as well
(always the sun)

3:00 pm
flesh has no answer
to the sun
it was once
a man
now a crawling thing
the child a father
to itself

the old
hang on leafless trees
to be served
as an evening sacrifice
for ants
to serve
the slow rotation
of the soul

the same story
in the caves of Lascaux
time and again
the hands repeat
the hands
(always the sun)

the diva is dead
her soprano stilled
(and still the sun)

Profile: Neil Ellman

1 thought on “Three Poems by Neil Ellman

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