William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

November Sky

Before committing these poems and pieces to cyberspace, I go over them again and again, aloud, listening for meaning, listening for ease, listening for rhythm, listening for music, listening for truth. When in my limited capacity I hear them, I open the cage and set the entries free. Some fly off right away. Others stay here in my room, roosting on the bookshelves, or gazing out the window at the […]

Continue Reading →

Weightless Wait

If we judge the depth of a poem only by the number of words or lines it contains, we will surely do the same when we read a woman, child, or man; such a waste it is, when we hurry to the end.   Weightless Wait A lacy maple, now orange, red, and yellow, is dropping leaves. Tiny birds arrive. Weightless. Wait. More leaves fall. Brushstrokes. Worn out shoes. A […]

Continue Reading →

The Enigmatic Child

Maybe you really can make something of yourself, as the time-worn advice goes, or threat, or promise, or admonition, depending on who says it or thinks it and under what circumstances, including you and your own. Maybe you really can become something or someone, a person worthy of respect, and on, and on, and on. I don’t know. It all seems rather strange to me. In a way, isn’t it […]

Continue Reading →

My Old Black Sport Coat

Today is our eldest grandson’s eleventh birthday. This poem was written not long after he was born. The coat in question is a thirteen-dollar woolen thrift store affair. I bought it in 2001 to wear to a wedding. It was made in Hungary. I liked it so much, and it held up so well, that I wore it regularly for a good dozen years, until it finally gave out. But […]

Continue Reading →

A Stranger Looking In

Now and then, someone will tell me my work deserves a wider audience. The truth is, I used to feel that way myself, and I tried everything I could think of to enter that magic realm. But the years went by, and the need fell away as I came to understand that the perfect number for an audience is one, and that this relationship we have — yours, mine, ours […]

Continue Reading →

Long Story Short

William Michaelian, No Time to Cut My Hair

These days, my hair and beard are long — depending on the light, home to an early winter, or to all four seasons at once, like one of Gramp’s old work shirts, blossom, grape, earth, leaf, frost. I practice simple daily cleanliness, wear clothes to match, and which require almost no closet space. And so I wonder — is my natural unadorned appearance a public invitation to set aside what’s […]

Continue Reading →

Stream of Consciousness

It’s easy for me to be alone, a natural thing, as inevitable as a stream in its bed, first the stream, then the bed, and then the other way around, each by and for the other. And when, after its long descent, a leaf falls in, and that leaf is you, that too is a natural thing, and for a time we are mirrors.   Stream of Consciousness He didn’t […]

Continue Reading →

Autumn Detail

Usually, when cold weather arrives, we move our jade plants into the garage, where they spend the winter with who knows what thoughts — summer, shine, patience, glory, generations and generations of hands. Come spring, when we bring them out again, it takes them a few weeks to get going. Which way do we turn? What is that sound? Is that a squirrel? A worm? The swish of a broom? […]

Continue Reading →

Days of Future Passed

William Michaelian — Photo by Tim Hinshaw, 1997

This picture was taken by a late writer-friend, Tim Hinshaw, to accompany my first published story, “Naneh’s Melon Thieves,” which appeared twenty-one years ago in Ararat Quarterly. The print was given to me in 2010 by Tim’s son after his father’s memorial service. The scene is Liberty Street, in downtown Salem. I’m looking west. Some thugs had just stepped off a city bus. Present and accounted for, I was ready […]

Continue Reading →

Prophet

Not far east of here, at the corner, across the street from the first stop sign, between two houses, there are two large redwoods. Last night, approaching them in the dark where they stand solemnly together, whispering, touching, knowing each other by their intermingled roots, I heard an owl calling from the tree behind in dread-multiple whooos; this was followed by a wild, eerie cry, which sounded like the lost […]

Continue Reading →