William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for June 2019

Departure

As much as by touching, reading, and simply having them near, I think any poet would gain by the calm, deliberate practice of describing the scent of old books. To describe, in essence, what can’t be described, and yet must — this is his domain and his charge; to illuminate what is haunting, yet painfully familiar — this is why she was born; and then, when she dies, to haunt […]

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Ask Me How Or Why

Up in time to find a dove confessing to a weightless sliver moon. “First Impression” Poems, Slightly Used, July 20, 2009   Ask Me How Or Why Ask me how or why, I simply do not know. There is no purpose, only setting out. No work as precious notion. Or play that means escape. Prayer, perhaps? In the sense that love’s an ocean. And everything is yes. That the pieces […]

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Ancient Blue

Year by year, the neighbor’s irises have crept like a floral glacier across the narrow path I maintain between his yard and our garden. This spring, they were so heavy with blooms, I had to prop them up to keep them from smothering our young tomato plants. It was a beautiful sight — so beautiful that sometime in July, if I am still living, I will dig and divide those […]

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Fewer Words

Q. Do you have any advice for writers? A. Yes.   Fewer Words Fewer words, and fewer still — until you find yourself rich pulp, seed blessed, sweet juice, expressed. Recently Banned Literature, July 13, 2015

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The Great Questions

Was I sand then? That’s what my father asked when he was a child listening to family stories that took place before he was born. The ritual began when his mother first told him, You were sand then. In time, he no longer needed to ask. He simply said, I was sand then. Born in 1923. Sand again.   The Great Questions The great questions, and as many stars or […]

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Changes

The deep voice of a bullfrog — the lilies are so dense, he can cross Goose Lake without touching the water. On the high platform used by the ospreys, the heads of their young can be seen above the edge of their big rugged nest. Three brown rabbits. The cry of a flicker. Fields of daisies. Budding chamomile. In shaded areas, there is one kind of general scent; in sunny […]

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Stale In Her Pages

All through the neighborhood, I find the wrinkled lips and toothless mouths of decaying iris blooms. Some are still sticky with color, evidence of spring sweets consumed. The evening breeze blows powder from their necks. No one visits. And so they pass, without regret, from glory days to introspection. Time for tea. The blessing of infinity to wise old aunts, so patient with the foolishness of boys and men. June […]

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I Have Paid My Debt In Pain

I’ve received nothing but kindness all my days. Every difficulty I’ve suffered was kindness in disguise. The meannesses and cruelties, the deceptive, crooked ways — I give thanks for each of them. And for each that I’ve committed, I leave a flower at its grave. There are some unmarked, some with names. I bow to all, but not in shame. I accept the grief and love the blame. I go […]

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To take a lifetime to write it, even when it appears quickly and suddenly on the page.

To discover how deep are its roots, and how bright its leaves.

To see the space around it, the light behind it, and the shadows it casts.

To listen to it breathe.

To marvel at its strength, in a savage and brutal age.

To die for it, if that’s what it takes.

To read through the fire, and write from the grave.

Canvas 1,207 — May 10, 2018

Canvas 1,207 — May 10, 2018

The Sentence — Canvas 1,207