William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Death Sentence

A poem of a sentence from Emerson’s journal, written 19 June, 1838: A young lady came here whose face was a blur & gave the eye no repose. The story behind it? Gone. Or is it still to be written? Mass shooting. I wonder how old I was when I first heard or read that term. No matter — now it is commonly used in plural form. It was certainly […]

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What Is Needed

I know nothing of heroism, bravery, or courage. I simply try to do what’s called for or needed. To do that, I must recognize that need. And the need is always present; it arises anew each and every moment. So I, too, must be present. And I can’t be present if I’m chasing half-truths and recycled thoughts, or laboring in defense of my own self-made legend. I might rescue someone […]

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King of the Dull Boys

There was a little rain yesterday, and some again last night. At six this morning I swept the driveway. Then I swept the sidewalk, which was covered with a nice accumulation of fine needle growth from the juniper. The sidewalk, being mostly shaded most of the time, is quite mossy. It’s also in fairly rough shape, with pits and divots where stones have worked their way free from the concrete. […]

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What Do We Miss?

Whatever we anticipate, whatever we dread or desire — good, bad, peace, strife, difficulty, ease, agitation, calm — might or might not come to pass. We can, in other words, be floating on a cloud or tied in knots by something that doesn’t exist. And when we’re caught up in this state, what do we miss? Everything — even this: a tiny bird, drinking rainwater from an ivy leaf. June […]

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Ambassadors of Silence

If you want to change your life, change your vocabulary. Then, use it only when you must. . Ambassadors of Silence I don’t find words. Words find me. And what do they say? We come as ambassadors of silence. And then they drift away. Hence this white space, and this light space, today. And the wish that you see it that way. Recently Banned Literature, March 4, 2017 . [ […]

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A Safe Distance

After writing for so many years, after devoting so many pages to pixel and print, it’s only right to ask myself what, or how much, I might be keeping hidden — not from those who are kind enough to read them, but from the one sitting here, tapping away at his keyboard. It’s not simply a matter of confession. Even if I were to divulge the most private and personal […]

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From Wing to Wonder

The dragonflies are out again. Yesterday two landed on stakes in the dahlia bed to sun themselves. Each, after resting for several seconds, would lift off, hover briefly, then land again. They did this three or four times, until one finally decided to change stakes, flying up near my face before landing. The dragonflies were small and of a reddish color. As easy as it would be to find out, […]

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Among the Living

Early morning. Cloudy. Quiet. Owl acoustics. Most birds don’t mind singing in the wind. But owls prefer a hushed auditorium. Dimmed chandeliers. Hills sloping downward, soft carpet leading to the stage. A voice captures the audience. Hear it once, and you will wait forever to hear it again. Owl heartbeat. Owl meditation. Owl silence. Hear it a second time, and a third, eternity in between. It comes from the south. […]

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That Precious Bit of Nothing

It would be a lie to say the mile I walked barefoot near Goose Lake and the river this morning was completely pain-free. But the little discomfort I felt was well within tolerance, and I enjoyed every step of the way. The only thing my feet haven’t fully adjusted to are the small, sharp rocks the park service has used in a few places to firm or help drain the […]

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A Book and Boy

The first verse is a faithful telling of something that happened which my eldest grandson has likely forgotten, and which I had forgotten too, until I rediscovered the poem. The verses that follow are still happening. . A Book and Boy A book and boy in his lap, a farmer tellshis grandson how a big combine cuts the wheat,and loaves of fresh-baked bread come outthe other end. They compare hands. […]

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