Monday, September 15, 2014

Ken Pobo Re-Imagines Ernst and Carrington

Kenneth Pobo’s poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Mudfish, The Cider Press Review, The Fiddlehead, and Hawaii Review, among literary journals. His most recent collection is Placemats, published by Eastern Point Press. He teaches literature and creative writing at Widener University in Chester, PA, and in 2007 received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. In these poems, Pobo re-imagines the work of two towering figures in Surrealist painting, Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington. The couple, who met in London in 1937, lived together in France until separated by WWII.

                                 Pastoral, Leonora Carrington, 1950


You hover above a thin white blanket.

easily bends the birch nearby
yet it standsyou envy it.  You’re

growing unable to tell human
from animal, your owl eyes,
a hand like a fox paw.  You want
the world to stay still, to stop
that endless turning—

that would mean your death,
everyone’s death.  You say let it spin,
which it does, as if trying to weave
something wonderful.

The Elephant of Celebes
Max Ernst, 1921

An elephant feeds a mirage
to a wooden floor. 
The entire Industrial Revolution

fits into the beast.  Knock
on its black shell.  It feels nothing. 
If you get eaten, you’ll relax

inside the belly.  Headless,
a woman tries to speak the poem
she wrote about loss that she told

to fish swimming overhead,
but they swim away.  An orange
remark, you crave a sunny walk

beyond a blue pergola.  The elephant
remembers a savannah
and a graham-cracker brown river. 

This is how it will beyou looking
for blue, the animal looking
for you looking for blue.    

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