William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for November 2018

Days of Future Passed

William Michaelian — Photo by Tim Hinshaw, 1997

This picture was taken by a late writer-friend, Tim Hinshaw, to accompany my first published story, “Naneh’s Melon Thieves,” which appeared twenty-one years ago in Ararat Quarterly. The print was given to me in 2010 by Tim’s son after his father’s memorial service. The scene is Liberty Street, in downtown Salem. I’m looking west. Some thugs had just stepped off a city bus. Present and accounted for, I was ready […]

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Prophet

Not far east of here, at the corner, across the street from the first stop sign, between two houses, there are two large redwoods. Last night, approaching them in the dark where they stand solemnly together, whispering, touching, knowing each other by their intermingled roots, I heard an owl calling from the tree behind in dread-multiple whooos; this was followed by a wild, eerie cry, which sounded like the lost […]

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These States

If words had but one meaning, I would have died long ago and found no rest. Instead, I wept a while, and when it passed, I found this, my gravestone in the grass. It is a dictionary. And my name is filed neatly in the back, beneath Weights and Pleasures.   These States Winter one day, fall the next, sparrows in beds of leaves, birch-bright colors float in cold stone […]

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The Good Life

Untrimmed Edges, Tobias Smollett Novels, London, George Routledge and Sons, 1884.

Truth be told, I’m as content to face a gale as I am to sip rare verse — even when, a moment later, I forget the blessèd words.   The Good Life Let’s say you’re bathing in an eighteenth century English epistolary novel, in which words are soap bubbles, and paragraphs are beads draped by the door, when you hear the footsteps of someone you love cross the floor; The […]

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After the Storm

We hear time and again of artists cut down in the eternal youth of their prime — painters, writers, poets, musicians — and wonder at the gifts they leave behind. And I think, thank goodness they did not put off doing the work they were born to do. I feel the same about mothers and fathers, farmers, caregivers, teachers, and everyone else who meets their fears and answers the call. […]

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Mirror Words

An inch or two of rain, and the falls are transformed. How easy it is to walk for miles on uneven ground — up, down, rocks, roots, leaves, ferns, moss, mud. On the hard surface of a residential street, where there are no obstacles, the feet soon tire and the muscles compress like old bed springs; but the trail is a veritable massage and the perfect recipe for dreamless sleep. […]

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Questions

With November upon us, I thought I would point to November 2016: Poems and Passages, an entry I posted in Essays and Collections not long after launching this website. It was hardly noticed at the time, and I think that the few who did see it were probably put off by its overall length. But the individual entries it contains are quite brief, with the exception of one or two […]

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Letter to Myself

In my mind, writing for publication is a sacred trust. To approach it as anything less would be a form of abuse. But I think the same can be said of any walk of life, any kind of work. Don’t you? Because, by each and every act, we publish ourselves.   Letter to Myself Yours are meager words circling the drain while the world outside rages on. No books exploding […]

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The Fall Way Home

Of the clump of hyacinths we planted recently in front of the crape myrtle I now call a pomegranate, the Muscari armeniacum jumped out of the ground as soon as we turned our backs. Soon there will be enough to cover an entire hillside. Then I will exchange my pen for a shepherd’s crook, and lead my sheep into their purple presence. Fig leaves, bright-yellow, as big as elephant ears. […]

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