William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

The Painting of You

Every now and then, I like to remind people that I’m well aware that by publishing my efforts, I’m really charting my decline. It’s intended as a statement of humor and truth. I don’t fear losing my mind, but maybe I should. It is going. But in which direction? Is it strengthening and gathering force? I’m healthier now physically than when my books were written. I’m also older, grayer, and show more signs of decay. This doesn’t bother me. I’m one who actually likes my age, and who likes it more with each passing day and year. Blow me down, make furniture of my limbs, burn what remains — in fact, this is an apt description of what I go through when looking at my old work, and it happens whenever I write or draw something new. It’s happening now. Is my memory as good as it once was? Would an expert see in me the early signs of the disease that took my mother so far from herself that she could no longer find her way home? Am I simply rewriting The Painting of You? And if so, could I choose a better way to go?


The Painting of You

Each day,
a little more,
the painting of you
is changed.

It is richer,
yet somehow
less complete,
an erosion
of graceful form.

And yet until
they’re gone,
no two rainbows
are the same,
no two smiles
or loaves of bread,
no wrinkled
pair of hands;
until they end,
no two sorrows,
no fateful journeys,
no buried grief
or pain.

When you sigh,
you turn
another page;
I feel like
a watchman
coming in.

Your soup
is warming
on the stove;
see the bright
colors there,
the carrot suns
and blistered
drops of oil,
your wooden spoon
a solemn oar
to ply both
sea and land,
to tumble fear
and harness
fleeing reason,
to calm the spirits
waiting by your side.

Songs and Letters, November 14, 2005
The Painting of You, Author’s Press Series, 2009


I love not knowing. To me it’s a gift. For others it brings fear. But every bird makes its last flight. And everything is near.


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Categories: Everything and Nothing, New Poems & Pieces, Songs and Letters, The Painting of You

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