William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for November 2019

Maybe on a Summer Day

Twenty-six degrees. I’m reminded of a similar morning in my mother’s old age, when the furnace stopped working, and how for the entire time during its repair, I chatted with the workman while she stayed in bed to keep warm, snug and unperturbed beneath her grandmother’s quilt, secure in the haze of her thought and non-thought, as if her dementia were a pair of soft comfortable pajamas. Now my wife […]

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Unnumbered Poem

After I finish reading the Library of America edition of Walt Whitman’s complete poems and prose, and when the wind dies down, I think I will turn to Emily Dickinson — 1960, Boston: Little, Brown. October 30, 2019   Unnumbered Poem If each act isn’t sacred, and each moment divine, tell me, then — who are you, and what do you do with your time?

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All of the Dance

What exists is imagined, and what is imagined exists — our demons and gods, our presents, futures, and pasts, our truths, our errors, our facts. Observation, reason, instinct, fear, madness — these are all of the dance. This is my experience, and so this is my guess. It is the ultimate solitude — there can be none greater than my knowing, and none greater than my not knowing. It is […]

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After

Sunday evening and the house is calm, the voices have returned to the street and their bodies have followed them, their bodies have gone to the stars, gone to the moss on the sidewalks and cushioned retaining walls, to the dogwood leaves on the ground and the soft velvet cedar, padding on dark wild feet with sharp nails exposed to the frost, where the owl shakes down a wealth of […]

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Pumpkins

The stub of a candle in a rotting old pumpkin — let’s light it one more time — then watch brave autumn cave in on itself — and treasure the rind.   Pumpkins I love them best on frozen steps with sunken cheeks and moldy breath, abandoned. I love the rest in muddy fields, bright with age and ripe with next year’s children. I love them riding on a truck, […]

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Paradise, Tragedy, Love

Near the river this morning, we walked through beds of maple leaves six or eight inches deep. The leaves are still bright. And there is a pungency about them, for in the moist atmosphere their undersides are already being consumed by the elements. What sticks to our shoes is paradise to a host of our fellow beings, even as we innocently help hasten their end. And so paradise and tragedy […]

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London Bridge

A full three hours before dawn, and the geese at the pond are already in an uproar. What starts them so, there in the dark? What fuels their urge and feeds their eyes at this hour? Their sound makes light of the intervening mile. Waxed apples are a modern tragedy. Surely their trees would weep to see them. A truck hauling apples across the country is a chilled mausoleum. The […]

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Burying a Bone

Whatever its origin, I am part of this universe, however it may have been, or may be, scientifically and imaginatively defined. I feel neither significant nor insignificant in the face of this seeming immensity. I am not small. I am not large. I am as much star as I am snail or stone. I do not fear the unknown. I am part of the unknown. I do not believe in […]

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Pleasure and Pain

If the mind’s a muscle that remembers its pain, Then work it, work it, and work it again. And if pleasure be its prowess and rightful domain, Raise the chalice, and treasure the palace it’s in. October 24, 2019. Late Afternoon. Upon finishing Herman Melville: Complete Poems. Library of America, 2019.

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