William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

At the Poem Museum

Like the poem that follows, this collection, too, is a poem museum. At least I imagine it as such. But 1,000 pages? Was that really necessary? I wonder if I will ever know.


At the Poem Museum

The other day, I went to the poem museum. There were poems of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Some were made of words and others were physical objects, or word-extensions that very closely resembled physical objects — I couldn’t always tell.

One that I really liked was a small piece of wood that had been carved into the shape of a poem. The sign beneath it said, “Poems of this type were often used in ancient rituals.” I tried hard to imagine a ritual that would require the use of a wooden poem. Had I been able to touch it and hold it in my hands, I might have had better luck. But at the bottom of the sign it said, “Do not touch.”

In the next room, I saw a clay figure of a man sitting beside a fire under the stars. I couldn’t see the fire or the stars, but I knew they were there because of the way the man was sitting. I thought it was a very nice poem indeed.

Awhile later, I overheard two people talking about language. “That doesn’t prove anything,” one of them said. They were standing in front of a very large, beautifully wrought word-poem, arguing. After they had moved on, a custodian quietly swept their argument into his dustpan.

For a brief time, a poem that looked exactly like a fly buzzed around me.

Another display was called “Common Poems for the Common Man.” It was a real live family sitting around a table, eating soup and bread. But I must have gotten a little too close, because their dog bit me. Very effective.

Poems, Slightly Used, December 28, 2008


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