William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Canvas 843 — February 15, 2017

Canvas 843 — February 15, 2017

 

Heaven and Hell

A pebble in a child’s pocket, a feather, a shell.

A child in God’s pocket, a star, a well.

God in a pot on a stove.

Soup in a bowl.

Where is heaven, Master? Where is hell?

And the old man smiled.

I too once asked foolish questions, said he,

And brought his spoon to his mouth.

And when we die, and leave this world?

Maybe when we arrive, we will know.

But for now, I beg of you, please, sit down.

This is better warm, than cold.

Recently Banned Literature, February 15, 2018

Canvas 843 — Heaven and Hell

Soliloquy

If my past is a fiction, and my present a dream, my future could be anything. If my past is a dream, and my present its awakening, the future has much to explain — And that much must be little, if it means what it seems. Such is the play. Such is the scene. To write is to be written. To speak is to sing. Where the mind fails, I […]

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Tree People

The intimacy of the charcoal-green outlines of trees near dawn — grayer at a distance, greener in their fairy tale approach — these sisters and brothers, the dark redwoods and bare oaks, the wise owls of one’s thought. Lights on over breakfast tables. Still wind chimes, wondering which clothes to put on. I shall wear a sparrow. And another, The mist is enough. February 13, 2020

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Lincoln Memorial

Afternoon sunlight on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, following a long foggy prelude. In it, the rising snowflakes are small moths. Earlier, juncos were splashing in the mossy-leafy rainwater collected in the birdbath. Most birds, I have found, do not like a clean tub. A scrub-jay just arrived, bright-blue against its bare perch in the fig tree. The shepherd’s purse is starting to bloom. The front sidewalk and retaining wall are deep […]

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The King’s English

When I was about ten or twelve, I had a ten-gallon aquarium. In it were zebra fish, little darting neons, tetras, a sword fish, an angel fish, a scavenger, and a bright and very friendly silver dollar — these were their names, at least as I recall them. The angel fish and silver dollar were small when we brought them home, but they grew rapidly, the angel fish becoming stately […]

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Troonk and Hamph

Among other things, in his journal entry for May 25, 1852, Thoreau mentions hearing the first troonk of a bullfrog — a lovely word, although I have for years spelled the sound hamph — this based on my recurring basso profondo imitation of bullfrogs heard while drifting with my father in his twelve-foot aluminum boat down California’s Kings River, in that lazy stretch below the town of Reedley where it […]

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All Things Considered

Opinion, some say, is a right we hold — as long as we agree — but I prefer to understand and learn, to whatever possible degree my limits deign to show — and to pray the child in me may have the room to play and grow — and never stop, and stand, and say, I know.

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Novice

Yes — if I live long enough, I might believe anything — of this I am the proof. And if I die soon enough, I might believe one thing — this budding apricot, this eager rose, this frosty springtime — even truth.

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Minds and Moons

Bare feet on the tile floor — the sensation of cold traveling instantly from soles and toes through limbs and on through the top of the head — or was it something I thought, or lost, or said? This morning’s nigh-full setting moon, illuminating great towering clouds. To be illuminated just so, and blessed to never know. And after even the heaviest of rains, the air remains. Need I look […]

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