Love Parade
(Francis Picabia, 1917)

When machines fall in love
There are few complaints
Only the wonder that their circuits spark.

There are no questions
Of polarity or cultural class
Mechanical differences too slight
That they cannot be engineered
Or how they would raise their young.

They take a vow
Like the rest of us--
I do take thee to be my mate
To have and to hold
In sickness and in health
Till death do us part
Knowing that death is rust
As it is with the rest of us.

They raise families, go to church
Where they worship an electrical god
Who gave them life
And the promise of not being
Stripped, disassembled and junked.

They work and seldom sleep
Devote their lives to the greater good
Face the usual dilemmas of their kin
And ours.

They grow old and their armatures creak
And then they die
Just like the rest of us.

Invisible Sleeping Woman, Horse, Lion
(Salvador Dali, 1930)

Even vanilla ghosts
Live out their orgasmic dreams
Something they never lose
Like everything else
When they pass through
To the other side.

Without eyes
They fumble like children
Learning how to play
At grown-up games;
Without brains
To guide them
They fumble like adults;
Without genitals
Not even the possibility of young.

They do what they do
Almost out of habit
Primal throes.

A horse, a lion,
It’s all the same to them,
And if she’s there
The invisible woman sleeps
And dreams of little ghosts.

The Man in the Bowler Hat
(Renee Magritte, 1964)

The man in the bowler hat
Most certainly is a spy
And not a good one at that
Trying to disguise his face
Behind a white-winged dove
Of all things
As inconspicuous as another
Making a grand entrance
At Casino Royale
Perfectly groomed
Impeccably attired
In dinner jacket, silk shirt
And satin tie
After having just been ejected
From a helicopter about to crash
And then announcing
To the arch villain,
“The name is Bond, James Bond,”
His cover blown
It’s no small miracle that 007
And the man in the bowler hat
Whose face is so cleverly concealed
Behind a white-winged dove
About to fly
Have not themselves been killed.

© Neil Ellman

Neil Ellman is a retired New Jersey educator who frequently combines his love of poetry with his equal passion for modern art.  His poetry has appeared in many print and online journals, including Anastomoo, Astropoetica, Bolts of Silk, Concise Delight, Every Day Poets, and others.  A chapbook, Galleys and Galleries: Ekphrastic Reflections on Modern Art is forthcoming from Pudding House Publications.