William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Love You Too

The ego wants a safe place, and plants a thousand flags. But the spirit — oh, the spirit, has wings. We were married in January 1976. Our first summer, we had sweet peas that flowered to the top of the fence. Today we have some in a vase. And through the open window drifts love’s fragrance. A bright-yellow tanager sits high atop an open sunflower; a fuzzy black-and-yellow bee lights […]

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Delicate

Such a lovely dragonfly . . . ah, very well, I was too near after all — too near, too long . . . but what are time and space in the garden? and this newly planted cedar stake . . . the bleeding wound it makes . . . and the ground, which still remembers how to heal . . . [ 794 ]

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Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits — January 30, 2009

Some of us see ourselves as damaged goods, and wear that image as a badge, or a kind of shield against the world. And even in this stage, we are beautiful. But we are beautiful in every stage; for instance, we are beautiful when we foolishly think we are above all that, and that we are the only ones who know. We are beautiful when we think ourselves insignificant and […]

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Swallows

Early most mornings, past the big oak where the street bends, I see swallows — usually a pair, but sometimes one or the other is out alone. I say one or the other, but they move so quickly I can’t tell them apart, or even judge their relative size. It’s possible, too, they’re not the same swallows — just as I’m not the same person who sees them from day […]

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Smoke and Robins

If it takes me as long to read Thoreau’s journal as it did for him to write it, I will never finish. I have, however, read the first four volumes. Ten remain. At the beginning of the fifth, he refers to himself as a mystic, transcendentalist, and natural philosopher, and says that in most cases he finds it best, or at least easiest, to let people think otherwise — that […]

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Offstage

Offstage — July 9, 2013

You’re waiting in the wings for your turn to go on. You pull back the curtain. The stage is dark. The audience is gone. The time has come. You say your first line. Light is a poem. And somewhere, somehow, someone hears you. June 25, 2020 [ 790 ]

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Like Yours, Like Anyone’s

On good days, I remind myself of a cuckoo clock. There are no bad days.   Like Yours, Like Anyone’s When you take advantage of someone in any kind of dealing, business or otherwise, you may think you have gotten away with something, but you have really only sold yourself. For a few pennies, millions, or a sense of power, you have sold your dignity. You have sold another chance […]

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Fire and Rain

The bees are busy in the wilderness. The blue star creeper is thriving, and has covered a wide swath of the west-facing slope. The red and white clovers are in bloom. Also in bloom are numerous dandelions, their long stems nodding in the breeze, each with a tiny sun affixed. Interspersed are some soft flowering grasses about a foot high. Hugging the ground are oxalis; spurge; purslane; creeping jenny; moss. […]

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Weeds

Weeds — June 22, 2020

Let’s just say these sprouted here, and that we decided to let them grow. Let’s say the rain came, and that our hoes and shovels broke. Let’s say we are weeds ourselves. Yes, and before we die, let us recognize the truth.   Weeds I love the weeds growing around my door, Familiar, independent, working without pay. They would be on a hillside if they could, And someday will be […]

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Last Words

If I were to walk two hours in the heat, carrying my canvases through wild blackberries into the heart of the grass seed fields, and spend the day painting while hunger gnaws at my bones, and then come home exhausted with no means for my bills, and if you found me here, sitting on my only chair, ministered by angels and haunted by ghosts, what would you say to me? […]

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