William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Collected Poems

At the Armenian Home

Even after his stroke and up to his death on January 6, 1990, at the age of ninety-three, my father’s father never did forget who we were. Many at the Armenian Home in Fresno, where he chose to spend the last few years of his life, weren’t as fortunate. This short poem was inspired by our visits there, and by the vineyards we used to pass on the way. “At […]

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A Larger Life

In his journal, around the year 1850, Thoreau writes of the gradual disappearance of wild apples, saddened by the realization that a generation hence, they would be virtually unknown in the land. They were planted anywhere it was thought they might survive — in odd corners, along roadsides, against walls — and left to fend for themselves — like us, it occurs to me now, a lesson in abundance and […]

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To French Vanilla and All the Other Flavors

Someday, perhaps, the unhappiest and most destructive of our kind will simply be loved by the rest of us into grace — caressed, as it were, by the whole human race. Now, look at the face. Look, and then ask yourself: Am I willing to love? Or am I above such tragic disgrace? And: If I am above, how came I to be so unlike the truth I proclaim — […]

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Revelation

I’m a fictional character of my own making. I’ve lived this fiction all my life, adding to it one thought, one word, one sentence, one page at a time. And while it isn’t my intention to deceive, or to create a world of make-believe, by the very process of living I do create such a world. This is my reality. And a beautiful one it is, because it includes you […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Second Act

The Second Act

According to my notes, this poem was written long ago after I awoke one morning from a troubling dream I couldn’t quite remember, and with a terrible sinus headache. If the dream was the first act, the poem is the second, and reading it is the third. Or maybe writing the poem was the second act, and the poem is the third, making reading the fourth — unless the poem […]

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Forty Days, Forty Nights

This poem is not about the rain, but it’s probably because of it. In my mind, rain shouldn’t be wasted. But I promise not to talk about it.                         — the rain, I mean. we all know what rain is, what it does, the havoc it wreaks.                         — the benediction it brings. the feeling of sanctity, in all things animate and inanimate, though the latter category doesn’t really exist. A rock […]

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Friends

This poem, too, was written about twenty years ago. If I still have the original typescript, it’s in a crate in one of our closets. Sometime after it appeared on my first website, I’m Telling You All I Know, it was noticed by a writer in France, who took it upon herself to translate the poem into French. “Friends” also appeared in a little magazine called The Synergyst.   Friends […]

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What Will I Give You?

All these many years later, I no longer ask myself if I’m worthy, or if my poems are good. I ask, Is my life a labor of love? Then I shake my head and laugh. And then I sleep, and then I work. So goes this essay in the dark. So goes my funny little life. So it goes, even without words.   What Will I Give You? Trouble, mostly. […]

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