William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Contaminated Spirits

It’s well worth putting on a mask and spending a short time in the thick, hazardous smoke for the birds’ sake alone. As before, within minutes of refilling and refreshing the birdbath, I saw a robin vigorously splashing in the water. Even as I stood there with the hose, I heard him chirping not far above me in the birches.

Found early in the first chapter of the January 1877 issue of Dostoevsky’s Writer’s Diary, is this passage: . . . There is a contaminated spirit, at times, the spirit of the whole nation, which is frequently accompanied by such a degree of blindness that no facts can cure, no matter how persistently these point to the straight road. On the contrary, this kind of blindness remodels facts to its own taste and assimilates them with its own contaminated spirit; and it even happens that a whole nation would rather deliberately die, that is, holding onto its blindness, than be cured, refusing the cure. . . .

In the driveway next door, despite the thick smoke, there is a gathering of friends busily vacuuming their cars. No one is wearing a mask. Some are smoking cigarettes. They are in their thirties and forties.

September 14, 2020. Afternoon.


[ 871 ]

Categories: Everything and Nothing, New Poems & Pieces

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,