William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for May 2019

Canvas 686 — A Growing Fool

Canvas 686 — May 5, 2016

  A Growing Fool On the rare occasions it was warranted, I was thrilled to wear a tie my father had long since banished to a far corner of the closet, so much out of style it was that it was a new style all its own, wide and long enough to serve as vest or bib, wild enough to please the choosiest of adolescent clowns. I had big shoes. […]

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After I Sing

Out listening to the birds before sunrise, gazing up through the shadowy scaffolding of the greening trees as I walk, I am witness to the natural cycle of waking and sleeping according to the light, and its restorative, medicinal benefits. Artificial light, clocks, television, alcohol, caffeine — one must wonder about a race of beings that works so uniformly and effectively against itself, that sees sleep as an obstacle, and […]

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Between Rides

Would I rather be peeled like an onion, opened like a pomegranate, or eaten like a fig? The answer changes from day to day. And yet if you were to ask me now, this moment, I would say all three. Or I might be a walnut, whose heart is exposed with the breaking of day. My grandfather had a pecan tree. The jays would pick up the nuts, and then […]

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Do my hands have lives of their own? I watch them setting out vegetable plants, and marvel at their confidence. The plants know they have nothing to fear, do not cease even for a moment their eager communications with the sun. My fingers are intuitive miniature plows. I might have been a barber. I visited a barber college once, with the thought that I might learn to ply that trade. […]

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Is the early-morning tapping of woodpeckers a form of communication? Is it song?

Is the mind’s ear the source of an echo?

And what of the mind’s eye? Is that where we go when we’re gone?

Canvas 1,176 — March 14, 2018

Canvas 1,176 — March 14, 2018


I see you on a swing in a doorway
between two failing timbers,

caught by an echo
in the black night beyond.

Recently Banned Literature, May 23, 2011

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Canvas 1,176 — Anonymous

When a Certain Cloud Appears

These writings run their own course. They are not at my command. They are the resurrection of old hats. The hand on the door knob. The closet avalanche.   When a Certain Cloud Appears When a certain cloud appears, and it seems your life has been lived in preparation for its arrival, only to find it gone just as soon, and then another, and another, and death is all around, […]

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A Larger Life

In his journal, around the year 1850, Thoreau writes of the gradual disappearance of wild apples, saddened by the realization that a generation hence, they would be virtually unknown in the land. They were planted anywhere it was thought they might survive — in odd corners, along roadsides, against walls — and left to fend for themselves — like us, it occurs to me now, a lesson in abundance and […]

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If the words I use are a record of my love, they are a record of my blindness and ignorance also. That I might inadvertently cause pain in another, is one more vote for keeping silent; but I know well that my silence can lead to the same result. And so where does my responsibility end, and that of the hurt party begin? That, it seems, is a faulty question, […]

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The Budding Lilac

The budding lilac isn’t concerned with my memory of last year’s bloom. All is abundance, even in dearth. There are dogs I see every day which no longer bark when I pass. I see a fairly large white one through a living room window; he sits upright in a chair like a human, his right paw on the armrest. He watches and makes no comment. At dusk I meet a […]

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