William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

New Poems & Pieces

Imagining the Imagined

We imagine each other. And in so doing, we assign each other characteristics, assumptions, and motives of our own. The love and hate we feel for each other, the inspiration and beauty, the pride, the boredom, the annoyance, the disappointment, the confusion, we really feel in and for ourselves — which we have also imagined. This is only a suggestion, offered as a possibility. I suggest and offer it to […]

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Proverb 18

I was ankle-deep in organic composted dairy manure, shovel in hand, when the mailman stopped at the foot of the garden space and said with a smile, “I just realized you look exactly like Gandalf.” I pointed to the manure pile in the driveway and replied, “And this is the source of my magic.” Under the vine, then, under the apricot, under the blueberry. Under the sun, the moon, and […]

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Treble and Bass

Shall I spend what remains of my precious time merely agreeing or disagreeing with everyone I meet and with every piece of information that comes my way? Would this not keep me in a state of perpetual opinion, sure I am right, and therefore willfully blind? Or shall I work to remain open, and tremble and sway with life as it passes through me and around me, like the trees? […]

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Proverb 17

And what of the salamander we met on the trail, skin smooth, mud-colored, orange beneath, walking on its toes, crossing in the chilly damp? And what of the woodpecker knocking unseen from above? What of the massive cleft rock in the stream? Are we to think nothing of them and pretend their existence away? Or shall we carry them with us, and make ourselves living reminders that all is not […]

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Destruction and Joy

Finished early this morning: The Diversity of Life, by Edward O. Wilson. The leaves are changing in the canyon. Yesterday morning, all through our three-and-a-half-mile walk from North Falls to Winter Falls, to Twin Falls, and then back to North Falls and on to Upper North Falls, the canopy was dripping from the previous night’s rain. In fact, it was raining, but the rain itself was being absorbed well above […]

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Unplanned, Unrehearsed

For adventure, I need look no further than the changes in my body. I’m happy and fortunate it’s willing to have me along. Even my most basic habits need to be reexamined occasionally and held up to the light. Practical and beneficial as they may be, they all have the potential of becoming dead weight. In essence, they really shouldn’t be habits at all, but ideal, spontaneous acts born of […]

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From Sleep to the Precipice

Are we on the precipice? Are we already falling? Who can tell? October 5, 2021 . From Sleep to the Precipice This morning, like every morning, there is no greater surprise than being here — not that I know where here is, or if or who I am. And if I did, then maybe there would be no feeling of surprise at all — or maybe the surprise would be […]

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My Trust, My Hand

Cedar, juniper, green maple, red maple, pine. Arborvitae, crape myrtle, rhododendron, barberry, apricot. Blueberry, grape, fig, birch, fir. Grasses. Such, in varying numbers, constitute the perennials on this relatively average-sized suburban lot. Hosta, fern, moss. Lilac. Ivy. Rose. To arrive at a complete list, one would need to comb the area with notebook in hand, to look carefully, see calmly, patiently, making it the work of a lifetime, his own […]

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The Page and the Moon

The rising sliver of the waning moon is good company. So is a blank page. I have seen many of the latter dawn and fade over the years, very nearly one each day — fade into print, into scratch, swirl, and scrawl. But if I had to choose between the page and the moon, I would keep the moon and let go of the page. And while it is one […]

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Learning to Walk

Old friends, old souls — who else would care for these pages? In today’s mail I received a fall shoe catalog. It made me wonder: when was the last time I wore socks or shoes? I wish I had noted the date. A fair guess, though, would be somewhere in the neighborhood of four months. In that time my feet, ankles, and legs have gained a tremendous amount of strength. […]

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