William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for September 2018

Real Time

In the same letter, the friend who told me about the Gombrowicz diary mentioned seeing deer in the quieter, more secluded areas of the campus of the college where he works, and how those lovely creatures live in their own version of time. He meant it in a philosophical way, but it’s also true in the scientific sense. Every species on earth experiences time differently than we do, and sees […]

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This Will Be

I’ve been at it so long, I suppose it’s inevitable that often, when I sit down to work, I’m reminded of other things I’ve written. I’ve covered a lot of ground — not always well, certainly, but the old lines and images keep surfacing and reappearing, and it’s not unusual for them to arrive in the form of a lesson. One of the greatest of these lessons is, Don’t be […]

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Like a Flower

In a recent letter, a friend told me he’s reading the English translation of a diary by Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz, an 800-page tome published in 2012 by Yale University Press. He found it in Santa Barbara, at a bookstore named Chaucer’s. Naturally, I would like to have a copy, although I probably wouldn’t get around to reading it for thirty years. I’ll be ninety-two then. Will I still be […]

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L’Absinthe

L'Absinthe

As silly as it seems, I have even tried, a few times — with questionable success — to write poems based on famous paintings. I first encountered L’Absinthe on the cover of the 1980 printing of the Penguin Classics edition of Zola’s L’Assommoir. That is the image I worked from. It is ideally suited to the novel. The poem, on the other hand, is ideally suited for the bottom of […]

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My Old Age

The personal, private, public nature of this project notwithstanding, I’ve noticed lately a new idea creeping in; namely, that I’m also bringing these pages together for my children. While they’re too busy living to read them now, and although they know me well enough that it really isn’t necessary, I know them well enough to say that if this website survives, they will appreciate it when I’m gone. As we […]

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I Can Imagine

Yesterday afternoon, I watched through the kitchen window as a spider tried to move into a web that was already occupied. The rude visitor was slightly larger, but the two looked almost identical and might well have been from the same spring hatch. There was a steady breeze. Sunlight shone on the web, highlighting flecks of autumn debris. Both spiders paused in their encounter when they were disturbed by the […]

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Roads

Roads

I’ve often wondered where drawn lines end and poems begin. Some will say poems must be made of words. Strictly speaking, that’s true. But I’ve lived long enough to know, I’m made of words too. And when you read between the lines, I read you. Of the photographic self-portraits I attempted several years ago, Roads, I think, is one interesting example. The image first appeared in Recently Banned Literature in 2011 and […]

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One Pebble, One Pond, One Croaking Frog

I’m sixty-two. As I age, the desire to work grows ever stronger — the urge, the need, the understanding that it’s as much a matter of health as it is accomplishment — health physical and mental, a kind of spirit-health, which comes of living as lightly as possible on this earth and in this body, this body compromised and informed by years of stress and foolishness, clouded by ego and […]

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Henry

Henry was my great-grandmother Eliza’s husband. I know even less about him than I do about her. Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood — I remember my mother saying the fall from his horse that killed him was no accident. Penny Thoughts and Photographs, November 8, 2009

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Desire

I posted an old family photograph earlier this morning, and I think I will post another tomorrow. All in the balance of things. But in between, there is always desire — what it is, and what it does and doesn’t mean.   Desire Inside the flower, down the stem, into the roots — a dark hum: that’s where we learn about desire, that’s where the sun can’t hear what we’re […]

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