William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

New Poems & Pieces

Lost and Found

Let’s say you have a little radio about the size of the moon, and that as you dial slowly through each of the craters listening for something that appeals to you, you suddenly realize that each dip, pit, and divot is broadcasting the news and music of a single solitary human life, and that their signals are being bounced from star to star in your brain. And yet, somehow, despite […]

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The Climb

The potted petunia bloomed itself silly, then we cut it back, and now it’s covered with fresh green growth and a wealth of new flowers. Purple, púrpura, velvet, terciopelo. One thing I notice about older hikers who walk with a stick, is how the stick is as much a companion as it is a physical aid. For me, metal walking poles, as useful as they apparently are, have no appeal. […]

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Where Dragonflies Sleep

Somewhere between 1965 and 1968, a box of fifty Santa Fe Fairmont cigars cost eight dollars at the liquor store next to United Market. The price for a transistor radio battery was nineteen cents — three cents more than a single cigar. I was too young then to buy cigars. But I smoked them, indirectly, when my father lit one. Back then, he smoked several a day. But he quit […]

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Edwin and the Rattlesnake

I think I remember hearing many years ago that my grade school friend and neighbor, Edwin, was bitten by a rattlesnake in the foothills east of our little hometown in California. But I have no idea who might have told me, and I haven’t seen Edwin since before then. The last time was in 1975, in the bowling alley at the student union at the university in Fresno. He was […]

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Specifics

To open a watermelon, we must first choose a place for the door. Remember: there will be no handle, no lock, no bell — only light, and a thumping sound sure to call children — a split and a crack like a limb or a shack weighted with ice in the winter. Out back is the mind. Leave it behind. This is no time for thinking. And what do we […]

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And Birds Are Words

In the cool dark this morning there was a disturbance in one of the small trees a few feet from our open front window. A bird called out as if from a dream, in a tone of voice one doesn’t hear during the day. A minute or so later, a towhee spun a few notes, as if to say, I can’t see, but I can hear. This was repeated perhaps […]

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The Painting of You

Every now and then, I like to remind people that I’m well aware that by publishing my efforts, I’m really charting my decline. It’s intended as a statement of humor and truth. I don’t fear losing my mind, but maybe I should. It is going. But in which direction? Is it strengthening and gathering force? I’m healthier now physically than when my books were written. I’m also older, grayer, and […]

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Canvas 1,221

Canvas 1,221

  Surely you can imagine the street, the stones, the carriages, the table, the coffee, and the coming revolution. Or maybe you’re just thinking about an old friend, because today is his birthday. You remember sitting near the curb, beneath a tree, and how your cup somehow became full of tiny spring spiders, but not his. And then, the last time you were to meet, you waited alone, not knowing […]

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A Mouthful of Marbles

At 4:55 this morning I finished the third volume of Los Hijos del Pueblo: Historia de una Familia de Proletarios a Través de Veinte Siglos, por Eugenio Sué. Only one more volume to go. The first contains 1,150 pages; the second, 912; the third, 1,070; the fourth, 962. I read ten pages every morning while having my first cup of coffee. Sometimes, later in the day, when it’s too hot […]

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Letters and Figs

It was too hot yesterday evening to walk any great distance. I went to the first stop sign, turned right, then went to the next stop sign to where the fig tree is. The tree has swallowed the sign. There are ripe figs against the white letters. Letters and figs. I opened the mailbox and found one fig from my uncle, one letter from my aunt, and one stop sign […]

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