William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Everything and Nothing

When Water Falls On a Stone

Yesterday morning I distributed more than six gallons of water using my favorite one-quart child’s watering can, visiting each plant in the garden with a miniature rain shower, sans vocalizations. I might have thundered, but the can does not make that kind of rain. Its gentle blue drops are more like single notes plucked ever so lightly on a banjo — lightly, as in, composed of light as much as […]

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The Senses — Two Poems

If each of the senses is a unique form of intelligence, it would be wise to approach them not as if we are their petty dictators, conquerors, or owners, but as witnesses and explorers. Perhaps we would discover the senses are really not many, but one; or maybe we would learn there are more. Or it might be the other way around, and we are the living testimony of their […]

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After I Sing

Out listening to the birds before sunrise, gazing up through the shadowy scaffolding of the greening trees as I walk, I am witness to the natural cycle of waking and sleeping according to the light, and its restorative, medicinal benefits. Artificial light, clocks, television, alcohol, caffeine — one must wonder about a race of beings that works so uniformly and effectively against itself, that sees sleep as an obstacle, and […]

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Between Rides

Would I rather be peeled like an onion, opened like a pomegranate, or eaten like a fig? The answer changes from day to day. And yet if you were to ask me now, this moment, I would say all three. Or I might be a walnut, whose heart is exposed with the breaking of day. My grandfather had a pecan tree. The jays would pick up the nuts, and then […]

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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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The Budding Lilac

The budding lilac isn’t concerned with my memory of last year’s bloom. All is abundance, even in dearth. There are dogs I see every day which no longer bark when I pass. I see a fairly large white one through a living room window; he sits upright in a chair like a human, his right paw on the armrest. He watches and makes no comment. At dusk I meet a […]

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Look Again

The simple truth is, I might have died in the act of seeking publicity. That I escaped that tragedy proves my good fortune. But I claim no credit. I lived long enough, is all, to see that self-promotion is a poison or disease that needed to pass out of my system. Whence the immunity? By what process has it occurred? I might ask the wind what it heard, and expect […]

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A Man With a Hammer

The entire range of our emotions and activities, the worlds dreamt, built, and destroyed, the wars fought and the sublime accomplishments — is it not all true to our species? And is it not also true that if we survive, we may one day outgrow our cosmic, troubled youth? Would it not be just as true to our kind to live in peace in a world without borders, nations, and […]

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How

A setting moon, like a setting hen. And both of them brood. The seemingly nondescript plumage of birds viewed from a distance, and then the sudden revelation of their bright markings and colors when they are near. In the same way, people we are accustomed to seeing from a distance, and the surprise of their features in detail when we happen to meet them in person. Assuming one’s hair serves […]

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Word of Mouth

Earthquakes, volcanoes, and Man — Too much yeast, God said. “Judgment Day” Songs and Letters, April 25, 2008   Word of Mouth Someone who lives well west of us, in the first row of houses overlooking the river, said that the recent high water rose into her yard, but did not reach her house. When the water receded, it left behind all manner of filth from the homeless encampment that […]

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