Poetry by Neil Ellman

Heavy Red

(after the painting by Wassily Kandinsky)


Every bubble in the universe

every line and arc

every wave

the sound of mourning

and the scent of birth

every color has its weight—

a molecule of red

contains the universe

the endless heaviness

of sleep.



(after the painting by Wassily Kandinsky)


Between anarchy and calm

a world.

Between the chatter of stars

and the shape of a syllable

a word.

Between meaning in a line

and the reason of a square

a doubt.

In perfect unison

the licks of a flame pretend

that they have souls.


Improvisation No. 27 (The Garden of Love)

(after the painting by Wassily Kandinsky)


Passion grows

in this improvised garden of love

in its tangle of arms and limbs

where the shape of a leaf

becomes the tongue

of my awakening

the spray of parting lips

my Eden

my spring

a yellow sun

and the scent of flesh.


Neil Ellman lives in New Jersey. His work has been published in numerous print and online journals throughout the world, as well as in eight chapbooks, the most recent of which, Convergence and Conversion, is forthcoming from The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.