Two Poems by Philip A. Ellis

Advice to Students

When in doubt, quote Baudelaire,
or Darwin upon insects,
any of the Decadents
but not Stalin nor Hitler.

Never give the impression
that you only know Mahler
by way of those quotations
found around the internet.

And never quote Derrida
with nouns replacing pronouns
unless the pronouns would lie
like a stone in swaddling clothes.

So that, if you avoid verse
that rhymes like a stutterer
quoting from lists of cliches,
you should get along all right.


To Tarkovsky*

This land, this zone,
iiiiiwhat did it bring you
other than your death?

A certain memory,
iiiiisnow caught in summer trees,
foam upon the river.

That so many others were to die
iiiiiafter the filming was over
is something unforeseen.

But the zone remains over us,
iiiiiour assembled heads,
a bright projection

upon the cinema screens of our thoughts.

*Andrei Tarkovsky, Russian filmmaker (1932-1986)


Author Bio

Phillip A. Ellis is a freelance critic, poet and scholar. His chapbooks, The Flayed Man and Symptoms Positive and Negative, are available. He is the editor of Melaleuca.


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