Saturday, August 20, 2016

Poet Neil Ellman Meets Paul Klee at a "Fateful Hour"

Fateful Hour at Quarter to Twelve

Eleven o’clock, waiting    
Paul Klee, Fateful Hour at Quarter to Twelve, 1922
Godot in the park, waiting
eleven thirty-five
then forty and forty-five
minutes crawl
like millipedes
on a wall
between tomorrow
and now, still waiting
at this late hour
the coming
of the dragon
in the guise of a child
with the face of an angel
but serpent inside
with fifteen minutes left
to the end of world
as we know it
in the stillness of the morning
as fate had ordained it
at the end of the day
and the end of time.

Adam and Little Eve
Paul Klee, Adam and Little Eve, 1921 

Big Adam, full of himself
with all his ribs and teeth intact
the first of his kind
the first of men
without a woman to call his own
he wanders alone in his garden
picking petals from a rose
with no one to receive them
but himself
he looks as little as a worker bee
sipping nectar from a star.


Coming from a single rib
she must have been a little thing
as little as a hummingbird
so little she could barely speak
above a whisper in the wind
but Eve, the child of a child of God,
is bigger than she looks
the first of her kind
born from a stubborn bone
to rule the world alone.

Botanical Laboratory
Paul Klee, Botanical Laboratory, 1946
In my laboratory
I grew a rose
that could not die
immortal on the vine
as if I were a friend
who would understand
its secret life
how it  would live
through centuries
watching other flowers fade
to know the loneliness
of the setting sun
and sagging of its leaves
nor could it propagate
and watch its children grow—
how sad the rose
that only knows
the solitude of life

eternal on the vine.

A frequent contributor, New Jersey poet Neil Ellman has published more than 1,200 poems, many of which are ekphrastic, in print and online journals, anthologies, and chapbooks throughout the world. His latest chapbook, Mind Over Matta (Flutter Press, 2015), is based on the works of the Chilean abstract-surrealist, Roberto Matta Echaurren.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Poet Robert DiLallo on "The Death of Marc Chagall"

Le Cirque Bleu, 1950, oil on canvas
Trenton Local
(The Death of Marc Chagall)

Tonight Chagall is dead
and a raised train races
through the Jersey ruins,
through ghostly mill rows,
Eastern Orthodox churches
with their squat bowl tops
and hawk-nosed pastors
who soup on beef, onions
and well-brined cabbage.
Rough through Newark
the 6:10 lurches.

Your couples in love and
winging fiddlers are left
in the broken world,
brief replies, perfect colors
falling like stars from heaven,
like snow, transparent upon
Le soleil de Paris, 1977, color lithograph
the shake roofs, striking
against the finite and foolish.
Warm mules rise from labor,
lift high their whispering heads.
confront the snarling pit.
How your home here
will miss you.

Goodnight the youth you had.
Goodnight the cobbled terror
and goodnight Europe
of the antique roving bands.
Goodnight, highest Jew
of higher view, brown-bag man
with angel hands.
How much will you miss
your home here?

Sunset, a raging purple wound
in the toxic Jersey sky:
Newark, hoof and nail town,
a weeping place where
a country has gone and bled.
Tonight, Chagall is dead.
Romeo et Juliette, 1964, color lithograph
Robert DiLallo has published poetry primarily in the US and Italy, although some of his poems have been translated into Japanese. A native New Yorker, DiLallo once lived in Edgar A. Poe's house in The Bronx for five years as writer-in-residence. He is the founder of the magazine “Italian Food, Wine and Travel” and worked as a journalist and as a copywriter and creative director in advertising before moving to central Texas. Now he lives on a large cattle ranch and lists his occupation as “cowboy."

Marc Z. Chagall was born Moishe Shagal in 1887 in Liozna, near Vitebsk, Russia. When he moved to Paris to study art, he experienced modernism's "golden age," synthesizing Cubism, Symbolism, Fauvism, and later Surrealism. Yet throughout these phases of his style he remained, as art historian Michael J. Lewis insists, “most emphatically a Jewish artist, whose work was one long dreamy reverie of life in his native village of Vitebsk." "When Matisse dies," Pablo Picasso remarked in the 1950s, "Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is." Chagall died in France in 1985.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Poet Steve Klepater Responds to Robert Rhodes' Paintings

How will I find you 
Night Painting: Where will I find you when you’re gone 
(the river in starlight)? by Robert Rhodes. Oil on Canvas

in this tangle of brush
and mist?  Soft lips

whisper, hair cascades
over the falls of your back,

but last night I missed
a turn, followed

a will o’ the wisp
down some dead end

path, mistook an owl’s
call for a friend’s advice.

Bring me your breath,
the touch of open hands.

I have kept your shadow
near the lining of my coat.

Up to my knees
in ice-melt pools, I listen

for your welcoming song
above shivering spruce and oak.

Spring Storm 
Spring Storm: Hills Near Exton by Robert Rhodes.
Oil and charcoal on Arches paper

A gash, blood line knifing 
spring sky in a wild dance
of grass, trees, and wind.

Hills tumble to the sea
in a rush of rain:
odor of worms and mud, 

ozone taste at the back 
of the tongue. Air rips apart, 
the world broken and reborn.

White and green waves shake
dry, dead bones of winter,
breaking to songs of roaring clouds.

Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Chiron, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse: India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others.  Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015). Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press. His full-length collection Family Reunion is forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.

Robert Rhodes grew up in the Mississippi River delta region of eastern Arkansas, near Memphis, TN, and now lives in Lancaster, PA. He has painted since he was 12, and for nearly 20 years was a newspaper journalist. He has published three poetry chapbooks and the 2009 nonfiction book Nightwatch: Alone on the Prairie with the Hutterites