Friday, November 17, 2017

Poetry by Ellen Orner


A lovely symptom
of multiple lesions
scattered strategically
in who knows what matter -
gray, white? -

was laughing
as never before -

annulling all efforts
to yell at my offspring,
who had my number
and dialed it often,
batting absurdly long
lashes at my frustration.

My kinship with Chief
Inspector Dreyfus
was a joy to behold, Inspector Clouseau’s
antics beyond
his control
like mine

Drugs aided Dreyfus:
le rire, ce n'est pas plus moi.
But I cannot do
what I hate


The lesions, my Legion of mangled defenders,
repel all duress.

Disciplined racketeers,
they wait to collect
their cut.

                        2009, 2017

Real Art

If I were a painter, of paintings
not houses, I would paint
a giant mural of grand, pained
gestures, abstract and fierce and fast,
angry fat smudges, and angst-ridden furrows
in the parts where too much pigment condensed —

If I were a painter, an artist, I would sigh deeply,
wiping my brow, and step away a few yards, daring
to look at my fury with detachment —
only to wring my paint-smudged hands in despair
at the mis-gouged furrows and gestures flailing
the wrong way —

If I were a painter, a real artist, I would sit on the floor,
my back against the furious mural, and take a long
respite from being a painter of paintings. Perhaps
my kind neighbor will hire for me
a real painter of houses.


Definition Exercise

The Nose:
presents a united front
in front of the face;
it holds two nostrils,
both equally runny
or ardent in
sensing dinner,
seduction, stink.
Well, not exactly:
one may be clogged while
the other breathes, and
still the nose,
the single nose,
is said to be stuffed
up or clear, one or
the other, smelling
roasting garlic
or not a thing.
The nose is a fraud
of sorts, unlike the
honest dog of a mouth,
guarding the pairs
all by itself: the eyes, the ears.
The nose shows us
one but keeps
two, just in case it needs
to blame a thing or two
on the other nostril. 

Credits: First published in The View From Here.

About the poet

Russian-born Baltimorean Ellen Orner, by way of mastering the art of losing -continents, profession - violinist, bits of health - has found unexpected pleasure and some success in writing and translating poetry. Her work has been published in Barnwood International Poetry Mag, The View From Here, Little Patuxent Review, MiCrow and Danse Macabre.

Ellen loves being an amateur - as in loving the skin she is in. Her only ambition now is creating a garden for "garden bathing", akin to forest bathing practiced in Japan, for herself and for any friend who needs a breather.

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