William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings


It’s a peculiar thing, the urge, perhaps even the need, to make poems of private, personal experiences you know that others, too, have had. After a while, there gets to be an easy inevitability about the process, to the point that the occurrences of poem and experience often overlap and even seem reversed; sometimes it’s almost as if one is remembering the future, or that the past is about to happen. At the heart of the matter is the understanding that no experience is common or ordinary unless through inattention and laziness we see it as such. A poem is one way of reminding us that that in which we are participating, is nothing less than a miracle.



Imagine your picture
waiting for years
at the bottom
of a desk drawer
in a room in a house
a thousand miles
from home.

Imagine the moment
it is finally found,
then examined
by a stranger
you used to know
and who once knew you,
or so the story goes.

Imagine the unexpected
weight of his thumb
on the cardboard frame,
and the longing it stirs
when the vibration
reaches your face
and hair and hands —

Hands which cannot
be seen or felt by him,
only remembered,
noted in their absence,
as is the rest of you
hidden beneath clothing
long since thrown away.

Imagine your eyes
adjusting to the light.

Imagine the sound
of your voice
when first it conquers
the intervening years.

Imagine how helpless
he must feel now,
and how foolish,
when he tries to answer.

Songs and Letters, June 19, 2006


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Categories: Songs and Letters

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