Monday, April 2, 2012

Neil Ellman- Two Poems

Uncle Joe 

(after the painting by George Condo)

There’s one in every family
a no-account without a pot to piss in
no job, no children, no wife
(even his cat died long ago
from fleas and dysentery)
but he can balance a glass of muscadet
on the flat of his foot while prostrate in
the grass (where he can be found
most mornings) his penis saluting
the incredulous sun:  “Hi ho,” it says,
belching bubbles of bilious gas,
and he is caught, once again,
in the delirium of his own embarrassment,
his artichoke face with elephantine ears
and blazing-saddle teeth, looking
dumbfounded.  “What day is this?”
he asks, babbling something about
Ephesians 5:18 and the lack of values
among the idle young
but he can whistle passages from
the Upanishads through the gaps
between his teeth and recite Rimbaud
while chewing chicken bones—
my Uncle Joe, and yours, is wiser than
his sister thinks.


(after the painting by Cy Twombly)

Traces of words
in a magnetic field
circling as fast as light
dodging, careening
protocols of
colliding, crackling
crying infants
about to speak
their first words
where words
were never heard—
here in a cyclotron
the static of stars
becoming poetry.

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