William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Did You Know?

We have a little haiku club that meets daily at our house. The birds serve tea and the trees play host. One talkative bright-blue scrub jay, I call Boccaccio. The dark fir, Shakespeare’s Ghost. Despite their windy natures, both of late kindly defer to the cherry, who is better known in our club as Kobayashi Issa — another name for wealth. Cherry blossoms — which secrets will she keep, and […]

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Day Book

Which should I believe? Which should I trust? Earth’s April, or the April in my mind? The many Aprils, the Aprils of loss, the Aprils of discovery, the Aprils of love? None? Both? All? The Aprils of the foolishest of the most foolish of fools? The April of fine calendars, of which my mother has no need, and knows nothing about? March 11, 2020

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Steps

The worm moon — on such a clear morning, even her robins are visible. March 10, 2020   Steps “When she rests in the apple tree —                             that’s when we’ll harvest the moon.”          And they took great care with the ladder,                      not to               make a sound.   “Son? Do you see her face? Why are you looking down?”          And that is what he remembers,                             this day in the […]

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Four Old Canvases

Four Old Canvases — March 10, 2011

I see myself rattling along sleeplessly in a train at night, through unnamed towns and across the wide prairie, alone in my compartment with a large battered trunk full of canvases. I’m on my way to a one-man show in New York. When I arrive and step out on the platform, someone informs me, in an astonished whisper, “New York, sir. It’s gone. Something happened to it, and we’re trying […]

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What Happened to Emily?

It would be foolish to suppose I know more about Emily Dickinson than anyone else who has taken the time to read her nearly eighteen hundred poems. In fact it’s likely I know much less. But I’ve loved her music, and will go on loving it. Cryptic as many of her poems seem to me, she was an artist in her subtle use of near rhyme and transformative rendering of […]

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Symbols

Life is the ultimate virus — it kills everyone. It’s also a symbol — of love. March 7, 2020   Symbols Flight and Bird — and then one day Light became Word, And Sky and Heart concurred.

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Winter Trees

“The bird names have trapped me. They exist in a realm of unsolvable mysteries: the realm of nothing more than connotation. And yet I want to know what the bird behind each looks like. Why? I shouldn’t care.”   Winter Trees † Feline huntress, dozing on the grass. Along the fence, a cortège of wary sparrows, each dark face a funeral card. On my lips, imagined bird names:                            Shwittl, Tikipap, […]

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Counting Corners

Somewhere in the 444-page doorstop that I affectionately call One Hand Clapping, there’s an entry in which I am preoccupied with counting all of the corners in the house we were renting at the time. It ended up being an absurd number — but of course all numbers are absurd — at least I have always found them so. But that didn’t stop me from counting. The big rooms were […]

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Dizzy

Just after dark, two women in their fifties, home from work, one out to get her mail, the other stretching her legs on the sidewalk after her drive home — both offer a greeting and a smile — and I feel like a little boy on a merry-go-round, turned by fate’s precious little girls — who kindly do not laugh at me. March 3, 2020

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