William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for December 2019

Between the Lines

The private struggles of a writer, his burdens and cares, are like those of anyone. At the same time, he is given a choice: he can write about them, or not write about them. The choice itself is a burden, for one is no more wrong or right than the other; both are right; both are wrong; one is an affront to his fellow humans; the other is an affront […]

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The Long Way Home

A clear sky, frost, stars, and a waning moon. While walking this morning it occurred to me again that this body of mine is the world; and that what I notice, and my particular way of noticing it, reflects what is taking place in me on a cellular-spiritual level. The unforgiving concrete and asphalt, the falling leaves, the ripening fruit, the winding paths, the downed trees, and shimmering waterfalls — […]

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Fragile

You’re familiar, of course, with the tissue guards that grace the title pages and illustrations in many old books. Like veils on faces and mists in the grove, they protect what is tender and innermost more surely than any fence or wall, or lock and key. If we are to know anything, or anyone, we must understand the connection between hearts and fingertips. Love thrives by its very weightlessness. A […]

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Pilgrim

I am here and I am not here — what better way to describe this early-morning walk through the fog, accompanied by what seems, and what might very well be, my almost tangible presence after death? The sublime vagueness of it, the feeling that, if it is necessary, it must be in unfathomable ways, the dawning of innocence with the coming of age. I will not tarry. Life is the […]

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Specifics

Is the slug in the grass aware of the bee in the garden? An ambulance roars by and stops at a house up the street. Too late. A hearse pulls away. And why, in the time of crisis, did I feel nothing beyond my apple and persimmon for lunch? Why do I not know when a homeless man nurses his frostbitten feet in front of the mission downtown? Are my […]

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Calendar

There is in November, a December way of looking at things. Cold toes in old shoes. Drunken birds, shrill red berries. Yes . . . This is the place . . . And these are your big round spectacles. The garden door is overgrown. There is rust on the hinges. In the creak of the wind on the spring of the latch is the hand of a ghost. Is it […]

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I Feel Like I’m Falling

Flying and falling in dreams is not uncommon, I know. Although it’s been years, I have fallen and flown in many of my own. But the falling was always a good thing, and the landings lucky, if not sublime — soft meadows, gentle slopes, white clouds — a blessing in the face of unexplained dangers. This story, though, is not about that kind of falling. Then again, maybe it is. […]

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A Lesson to Remember

A Lesson to Remember

The following little story, which reads like a fairy tale — and would be, if every word of it were not true — is an old favorite of mine. Written in 2002 as part of No Time to Cut My Hair, it subsequently appeared in Ararat Quarterly in 2003; in Armenian translation in The Old Language in 2005; and in The Armenian Reporter in 2008. The accompanying image is from […]

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Monastery of Psalms

Now bare and heading into its winter dormancy, our young grapevine is supported by a sturdy stake and a tall narrow decorative arch shaped like a thirteenth century church window. Early in the summer, I made a simple temporary arbor by attaching some twine to the metal frame, which I stretched up to a hook near the eave at the end of the house, ran back and looped around a […]

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So Begins December

Winter Poems. It’s a slender volume, and its design is somewhat crude. But what does it matter now? Did it matter then? No. It was a joy to behold, and to see in my mother’s hands. Now I find it on her shelf, between Harper Lee and The Grapes of Wrath. Life is like that. So is death. All is good. Nothing blooms by half.   So Begins December There’s […]

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