Two Poems by Neil Ellman

Vessels of Magic

(after the watercolor by Mark Rothko)

There is magic in an urn 
In wooden boxes
translucent jars
and hollows of a cave
a genie in the lamp
attempting to escape—
magic is where the soul survives
despite the crypt it’s in.



Deluge II

(after the painting by Philip Guston)

Overwhelmed by the flood of life
my memories and viscera 
collected in canopic jars
I reached for light in visions
of the afterlife among life’s artifacts.

I drowned in memories of life before
the things that had become
becoming who I am
deluded and deluged
by nothing worth their while
I gasped for air and time.

This is the way it was prophesied 
that I should die
a thing
among the many things I wished
to own before I died alone.




Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has published almost one thousand poems in print and online journals, anthologies, and chapbooks throughout the world.