Three Poems after Paul Klee by Neil Ellman


Fish Magic

(after the painting by Paul Klee)

Such magic
from the luminescence
of the coral reefs
and jellyfish
that light the sea
as does the sun
the land.

How the likes of
Bettas, Tetras
and Killifish
light our world
as well as theirs
with the glow
of the absolute.

By what magic
can innocent fish
reveal the truth
that lives beneath
the seas.


Small Fire Devil Figurine

(after the painting by Paul Klee)

It was created as a doll
in the shape we chose
with goat-like horns,
braided, whip-like tail
and skin as red
as the bloodied moon;
and then, as is its nature,
it assumed a life its own
with acts of treachery,
villainy and deceit

We would know him
if we see him now
more than an old acquaintance
whose face we barely recognize
because we made him
and released him to the world
as just a toy, a figurine
with the heart of a devil
and its eyes on fire
our child, our creation
with a soul as black as ours.


Mumon Drunk Falls Into the Chair

(after the painting by Paul Klee)

Another Martini, Yvette,
just one more
to make our evening together
a perfect one.
I have come so far
and stayed too long.
Just another, no olives please,
the doctor has advised
against unnecessary salt
and you know how steadfast
I am to watch my health
and the waistline line too.

Yes, of course, I can drive;
any child can do it
with far fewer drinks
than I have had.
seven, you say, and I say less
or fewer, whatever
the bourgeois say.
just one more before I go
to be with my beloved wife
but this chair would make
a perfect place to get my bearings
if I could find them now—
down I go, down.

Neil Ellman is a poet from New Jersey. He has published more than 1,500 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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