“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.”
—Rita Dove

my father holds
his favorite drink

“Artifact,” as Translated from Gluberhöff’s Lexicon

Any still figure at mid-late evening, when the long shadows make even crumbs appear arranged like furniture.

An Interview with Brian S. Ellis

The poetry of Brian S. Ellis unravels, inverts, investigates, and complicates. His poems are radical koans and invitations to forego common narratives.


you quit wearing pants
loaf around your yard
in hole-nipped panties

The State School 1984 His Given Name Was Wilbur  We Called Him Magpie

Mostly he ate what was put on his plate
snuck coffee grounds or dirt for a snack
Once a zipper Unzipped


Live the rest of your life
from one worst case to another.


You’ve spent a lifetime training
for this.


I suffer visions and many indignities
while looking for the Lobster

On Undressing a Color / On Undressing a Girl

I imagine that undressing a color, though, would be so much like peeling a memory away from the grey and the white matter of your brain.

close up of sun
Mercury in Retrograde

You said it was okay to blame
what goes wrong on the planet

heavy rain
The Plot

Long after midnight, we’re talking about our first time

Mom, in Her Dementia, Steals Oranges

and apples, mackintosh mostly, but any kind left in The Pub
at the Assisted Living Place

Letter To a Young Poet

Do not say anything anybody else has said ever. Things are not “bleached by sun.”

Unerased | Steep Steps

My grandmother asked, “Does it feel like being widowed?”

3:17 AM as Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks

Part of being a good sad person
is always painting the shadows
in the right direction and knowing
what sorrow to art with.

I Garden at the Edge of Autumn

There is so little left of the tomato plants.

Pit Stop in Kansas

we drove on through
the blue seal of morning as the turbines
turned and winked out their hearts


The storm passes without snow.
The car waits loyally in the back lot.