William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for May 2019

Look Again

The simple truth is, I might have died in the act of seeking publicity. That I escaped that tragedy proves my good fortune. But I claim no credit. I lived long enough, is all, to see that self-promotion is a poison or disease that needed to pass out of my system. Whence the immunity? By what process has it occurred? I might ask the wind what it heard, and expect […]

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When Last In the Dooryard

Bury me with the old gray hat. Let it rest on my chest and cover my hands, that each new spring may imagine them.   When Last In the Dooryard Now the lilac’s in bloom. Have y’noticed how flowers use their voices, And how some need only whisper To be heard? Recently Banned Literature, April 26, 2018 [ 364 ]

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If I were a bluebell, or a tree in the mist . . . and I am, when we meet like this. And when I’m ripe and ready to fall? What need of fear on my way to the ground? Indeed, what need, even now? April 22, 2019   Wayside There appeared on the cold winter road a butterfly, Which came to rest on my cane. The cane, feeling her […]

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A Man With a Hammer

The entire range of our emotions and activities, the worlds dreamt, built, and destroyed, the wars fought and the sublime accomplishments — is it not all true to our species? And is it not also true that if we survive, we may one day outgrow our cosmic, troubled youth? Would it not be just as true to our kind to live in peace in a world without borders, nations, and […]

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When I cut off the old fronds of the ferns, mold is my reward. Later, I celebrate with double and triple sneezes, violent enough to rattle the dishes. In the center of the mound, the new fronds are unfurling, prehistoric, hairy, and willing. I find treasure therein — needles, twigs, and shells; fir and filbert sprouts. The Creeping Jenny is rampant under the white birch. If not trimmed a bit, […]

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The paint is peeling on a two-story house I walk by every day. The window frames are in rough condition, and many of the slats in their decorative shutters are missing or have settled at odd angles. The double door in front is scarred and worn. The man who lives there is in the same condition. We’ve met a few times as I was passing and he was rolling out […]

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Together, Alone

Beautiful, singing words — somehow you end up stacked like bricks. “Poet’s Lament” Songs and Letters, October 13, 2008   Together, Alone As deep as a worm, as radical as a plow. May it serve as a proverb for now. A church and its graveyard, at the convergence of roads. A cart ’neath an oak, in the hollow of a palm. A poet with a shovel, near the end of […]

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A setting moon, like a setting hen. And both of them brood. The seemingly nondescript plumage of birds viewed from a distance, and then the sudden revelation of their bright markings and colors when they are near. In the same way, people we are accustomed to seeing from a distance, and the surprise of their features in detail when we happen to meet them in person. Assuming one’s hair serves […]

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Word of Mouth

Earthquakes, volcanoes, and Man — Too much yeast, God said. “Judgment Day” Songs and Letters, April 25, 2008   Word of Mouth Someone who lives well west of us, in the first row of houses overlooking the river, said that the recent high water rose into her yard, but did not reach her house. When the water receded, it left behind all manner of filth from the homeless encampment that […]

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