Friday, December 02, 2016

A Tumbling Jumble of Stars

The Future Man
—Painting by Paul Klee, 1933
—Poems by Neil Ellman, Livingston, NJ


(after the watercolor by Paul Klee)

The future man will have two heads
each with a single eye
one for seeing just beyond his nose
the other to see inside.

He will have two brains
so full of knowledge and formulas
that only one can’t hold it all
and filled with sparking neurons  
to make some sense of it all.

One finger on each hand of seven
that press the buttons
that start the engines
that make things work—
and help him think
and multi-task.

His skin will be of plastic
(or a composite)
covering aluminum bones
veins with artificial blood.

He will be more robotic than man
and will have no name
other than a number
on his certificate of made.

The future man will be like us
but not.

 Alfa Morphology
—Painting by Roberto Matta Echaurren, 1911

(after the painting by Roberto Matta Echaurren)

Every shape has a name—
the circle, square, octagon
and heart

Every morph of every bird and fish
every tree and carnivore
a name to call its own.

Every letter in every word
makes its mark
with loops, bars and shoulder strokes.

Every person whoever speaks
a single word
proclaims their name and form.

Everything that has no name
has no shape, no meaning,
no purpose or intent

in this cosmic slag
a tumbling jumble of stars
without a name.



(after the painting by
Roberto Matta Echaurren)

One into another
and then another
in a daisy-chain
of flesh
on top of each other
beside, behind,
a succession
of nakedness
sublime, rapturous
they have lost
in each other’s arms
in another reality
outside themselves
as if they were more
than flesh alone
and more
than this instant
in the dark
but less.

 Untitled From an Ethnographic Museum
—Collage by Hannah Hoch, 1930


(after the collage by Hannah Hoch)

It barely matters
where her statue was carved
what nation gave her a name and voice
she speaks the naked truth
in a monarch’s face
from her pedestal in a museum 
encased in glass
as if she had never died.

—Painting by Paul Klee, 1929 


(after the watercolor by Paul Klee)

(City of the Dead, Cairo, Egypt)

I live in this necropolis
(if life it is)
among a million souls
my neighbors and friends
with no other home but a tomb.

There are antennas
above our leaking roofs,
children are born,
play and die too soon,
the markets sell
aish, pita and eggs
and the sewers flow
like rivers along the streets
with names
as even do the rats.

Life goes on in the City of the Dead
half alive, one foot in the grave
the other in the mud
I am no more alive than dead
without a future or a job.


Today’s LittleNip:

Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and… stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to ‘walk about’ into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?

—Wassily Kandinsky


—Medusa, with thanks to Neil Ellman for today’s fine ekphrastic poetry!

 Paul Klee in his Weimar Studio, 1925
Celebrate the unknown worlds that all the arts—
including poetry—lead us into!

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then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.