William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

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 clever. Being clever is as cheap as it is easy, and it turns everything into literary ad copy.

I have to dig deep, down to the bone, to the raw central nerve of myself even to begin to discover what I understand of this life. And when I grow lazy and lose my curiosity and focus, I must still be able to recognize it and steer clear of the wreckage. I must throw my ego overboard, or the ship will sink. And even words like these are dangerous. How easy it is to be clever, smug, and self-satisfied! — until I remember, for the ten thousandth time, that nothing I know or can do really belongs to me; it’s only on loan from life and the human race. The light can go out at any moment. What value will my cleverness have then?


this will be

this will be the poem I write when I am dead

no shades of meaning and even less articulate

until you dig

                  and find

                        that words

            are bones

Poems, Slightly Used, July 31, 2010

[ 137 ]

Categories: Everything and Nothing, Poems, Slightly Used

Tags: , , , , ,