William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

To End and Begin

Everything I write is meant for an audience of one. I address no group, large or small, and I don’t spray my words scattershot with the idea that if I aim high enough, they’re sure to hit someone. No, I’m still the farm boy I’ve always been, with a homemade slingshot and the nearest clod. And if you happen to be the one I clobber, I apologize.

In person, I’m the same. Face to face, I can make reasonable sense, but not always. The truth is, in any serious kind of conversation, I far prefer listening; and writing is much easier for me than speech. Only when the talk is lighthearted and the subject matter trivial and ordinary, can I at least momentarily hold my own. I say momentarily, because to me nothing really seems trivial and ordinary, whether I’m alone or in the company of another. That said, I understand I’m expected to hold up my end, and I almost always do. Along the way, I’ve received my share of puzzled expressions and doubtful smiles. I’ve even made others angry. Such instances are few, and they always catch me by surprise, especially when in my heart I know my words and my meaning are kind.

Writing or speaking, I make a conscious effort to listen to myself. And though I’m told and reminded by others again and again that words are unequal to a full understanding and expression of truth, I don’t subscribe to that notion myself. Words are much more than people think they are; and, for better or for worse, they could not be what they are without them. And silence would not be what it is. But a great many people think silence can’t be expressed either, never realizing they are an expression of that very silence.

To end and begin, I am the audience. Are you? Because to listen at all, you must listen with your heart.

November 18, 2021


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Categories: New Poems & Pieces

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