William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for June 2019

Bones

It is a petty kingdom that engenders fear and commands respect. It is a peaceful one that encourages hope, and acts with love. And that these kingdoms exist in the mind and heart, is what must first be understood. “Of Kingdoms” Recently Banned Literature, February 26, 2018   Bones Isn’t the news something these days? isn’t it always? wasn’t it when we were kids, and wasn’t it when we came […]

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Sunlight Stored In Bone

Once, during my childhood, I caused the death of a bird. Or I was caused to cause it, to drive a lesson home — That fallen from a tree, a sparrow is a rainbow on the ground.   Sunlight Stored In Bone Sunlight stored in bone — life, limb, bird, song, leaf, gone, flown. Recently Banned Literature, December 2, 2014 [ 403 ]

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Pumpkin

Last fall we brought home a small pumpkin and placed it on the front step. It sat out all winter beneath the shelter and remained firm and intact. Finally, earlier this spring, it softened at the bottom. I moved it to a garden spot within a few feet of the front door. It soon gave way in aromatic collapse. Now, in its place, after thinning a densely sprouted mass, there […]

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The dry grass of my ambition has a beauty all its own.

All the more so with the fences down.

And the graveyard overgrown.

William Michaelian 1988

Portland, Oregon — December 1988

Before Me, the Past

Before me, the past speeds ahead.
It arrives, I know not when.

Behind me, the future is silent.
It knows that I am dead.

Pity, there is no grief in starlight.
Mercy, cries for the unborn.

Duty, is a failed science.
Love, walks alone.

You show me a sign.
A bright, fathomless smile.

As if there were, anything.
As if we were, real.

As if, rainbows give birth to children.
And they do: rainbows, and strawberries.

Fallen angels, white as any snowflake.
Black as an eye in a song.

Blue, as when light returns.
Green, because everything is so damn silly.

Honeyed as any flower.
Or as the scent and color of skin.

Intimate, as graveyard stone.
Whispers, with cold gray fingertips.

Wet shoes: where have I been?
And how did you find me?

A siren in a cityscape.
Moonlight, on a table.

Perhaps, or, simply, fate.
A wet sponge by the sink.

A leaf, a candle.
An unexpected need.

Poems, Slightly Used, November 21, 2010


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1988 — Before Me, the Past

Van Gogh’s Dream

How strange it all is. Outside the grocery store, there was a large rack holding around two dozen potted sunflowers, each plant with a bright, cheerful bloom. I said to my wife, “If I could really paint or draw, I would make a similar scene, with one addition — Van Gogh, crazed, looking on. And each of his eyes would be sunflowers.”   Van Gogh’s Dream One day, Van Gogh […]

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War

An impartial reading of history reveals that with few exceptions, what is considered good diplomacy is really nothing more than pressing one’s advantages and driving a hard bargain. But these mean business principles are hardly something to take pride in, and the so-called fruits of their gains only strengthen the chains that bind us. There is no honor among thieves. And there is certainly no more dignity in their legalized […]

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On Any Given Day

Way back in my story-writing days, which might not yet have ended, it didn’t take much to get me going. For instance, a beginning could be as simple as this: She cooked her porridge without mercy. His dreams were potatoes and onions. And with that, the mean lives of two characters bound by fate were readily suggested. But they wouldn’t be all bad, as none of us are. In all […]

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Preface to the First Edition

The spirit of a book? The flesh of a man? The book is flesh. The spirit is man.   Preface to the First Edition Each time I pick it up, I find this book has changed. So many bends in the road, So many landmarks. Death. Rejuvenation. Bloody thorns and hollow skulls. The whisper of inspired stones. The velvet hush of stars. The crush of tattered ages. Garments torn that […]

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That We Write Each Other

I make no distinction between our online and flesh experience; wherever we are, whatever we are doing, this is the room we are in; this is our meal between us; this is our joy, and pain, and grief, and doubt.   That We Write Each Other That we write each other in this way fulfills a very old promise. And the promise is this: that those of us not met […]

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