William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Adagio

What of someone who is happy and joyful, but unable to communicate, while those around him assume he is miserable and sad? And what of those who are miserable and sad, who assume everyone else is? Early morning the day after Christmas — not one soul out to see the frosty rooftops. I saw, or think I saw, an eagle in the neighbor’s fir tree the other day. But it […]

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Canvas 499 — Little Boy Blue

Canvas 499 — December 25, 2014

  Little Boy Blue It’s my pleasure and good fortune to work every day of the year — to set down a few words, to draw, or to otherwise tend to the bookish details of my elderly childhood. But the word work should fool no one; I use it only to distinguish from the rest of the play that constitutes my daily life. For I’m as silly and eager about […]

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Canvas 498 — Are You Listening?

Canvas 498 — December 24, 2014

  Are You Listening? There are times when the spirit-feeling is so powerful that physical boundaries — gravity, flesh, walls, even death — seem to melt and fade in its presence. And yet this feeling might well be physical itself. But why assume there is a difference at all? Would I do so if I were a giant sequoia, in nightly contact with the stars? Some will say man cannot […]

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My Father Walking, and Twenty-Four Other Things

It occurred to me recently that I walked more than a thousand miles in the immediate neighborhood during the past year, and several hundred more on state park trails — in terms of sheer distance, roughly halfway across the continent. This is hardly a profound realization. But though it was made in small increments, the journey itself was far from mundane. And a journey it remains. Another year and I […]

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Trade Policy

The symbol strikes me every time I see him — the homeless man with his hand out, under the light at the corner of Commercial and Division. December 22, 2019   Trade Policy If I have something you need and more of it than I can use; and if you have something I need and more of it than you can use; then let us simply give the excess to […]

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Ten Years

Just before waking this morning, I saw an old friend who died in 2010. We were in a used bookstore. I said, “Were you asleep?” And he said, “The truth is, I’ve been sleeping far too much lately.” Recently Banned Literature, January 5, 2013   Ten Years Whether they return in the flesh or as memory, old friends often have a ghostly, disorienting way about them — especially those who […]

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My Father’s Shoes

My Father's Shoes

I will never consider myself educated; the idea is laughable; and if the time ever comes that I honestly can, it will likely be too late to serve much purpose. As it is, I’m not even sure I know what I know, my life being the dream that it is. I confess a school boy’s understanding of the alphabet; and I’m fairly certain that if I go at it slowly […]

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Shadows on the Sidewalk

For sidewalk, Walt Whitman liked to use the word trottoir. Offhand, I can think of no other nineteenth century American writer who did so — this, of course, based on my faulty memory and limited reading. Word choice aside, one thing I’m noticing this time through his Specimen Days, is that buildings and trains are every bit as alive to him as oaks and sparrows — indeed, in his poetic […]

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Ghosts and Angels

Walking the downtown streets on a winter afternoon, every brick familiar, Smiling to myself at the sheer number of doors I’ve tried and shops I’ve entered, At each set of stairs leading up from the sidewalk to sundry offices and rooms, And at the strange wealth of memories that come unbidden, The nerves, the tension, the fear (all of it precious and love always near), The glory of press time, […]

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