William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Archive for September 2020

Wash Day

The end of the world is a strange and beautiful place. It keeps growing, and it keeps ending. And as it ends, it gives birth to countless new beginnings. Eyes open, eyes close, eyes open again. Galaxies and atoms. Oceans and tufts of grass. A little boy’s pockets turned inside out for the wash. What he remembers. What he loses. What he collects. Where have you been? his kind mother […]

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A Feather on the Scale

We’re told this morning that more than 900,000 acres of Oregon’s forests have been burned or are in the process of burning. We’re also told that ten percent of the state’s population has been evacuated to safer areas. The valley we live in is dense with smoke. The air quality readings are well into and beyond what is deemed hazardous. Yesterday evening our youngest son brought us two air purifiers […]

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Idle

Another hour spent outside watering in the smoke, which is much thicker this morning than yesterday. The air, though, is noticeably cooler. The windy time has passed; I saw several spiders calmly working on their webs. I also heard the squawking of a scrub jay, and a brief exchange between nuthatches. A squirrel caught my eye; like an ordinary pedestrian, it was making its way along the sidewalk across the […]

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The Mind of the Multitude

It’s darker now, at one in the afternoon, than it is on the darkest of winter days. At six this morning I walked slowly to the second stop sign and back, the air smoky, everything coated with ash. The walk took, I would guess, about seven minutes. Then I watered the plants and gave some of them a bath. They depend on me. They are where they are because I […]

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Flames

Another Library of America book purchase: William Wells Brown: Clotel and Other Writings. Violence at Oregon’s state capitol — flags, baseball bats, guns. Only humans are intelligent enough to express themselves in this manner. High winds from the east. Smoke and ash. Fires raging in the Cascades. Widespread evacuations. Windows closed against the elements. Early morning. Here in the dark, one thinks of the birds. The cricket in the rhododendron […]

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Valley Firs

September mad and breathing fire — while mountains burn,              we valley firs cast off our words and add them to the sacrifice. Your gift is not despised. It sparks the angels’ eyes in paradise. . [ 864 ]

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Present Sense

I expect to write as long as I’m mentally and physically able. I realize, though, it’s possible there may come a time when I no longer feel the need to write. My present sense of the matter is this: the longer I write, the nearer I come to the beginning; I am now in my childhood, working steadily towards infancy; the very moment I’m born, I’ll lay down my pen, […]

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The Murder of Angels

Some of us are armed with guns, others with guitars, paintbrushes, and poems. Love, though, is not armed, and it remains the strongest, tenderest, wisest, most patient, pliant force of all. Is there a better way to follow? Does one need politics and religion in order to live peacefully and to act with love? No. And yet we have created a world in which nearly all of us are armed […]

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