William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

New Poems & Pieces

Pigeons Are Old Poems

Empty barns, dry grass by the door. A house once here, Not here anymore. And yet pigeons are old poems, of that I am sure. Pigeons, and grave stones, where once there were words.   Who knows the dreams that lie here buried? About a mile down the road from the house where I grew up, there is a little cemetery situated on a corner knoll where the soil is […]

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Shore Birds

For the past several days, the valley we live in has been full of smoke from wildfires burning north, east, and south of us. For a short time yesterday, we escaped to the ocean to breathe.   Shore Birds About the ocean, I can’t quite decide. Is it relentless, or does it have something to hide? Is helplessness its plight? Is it mine? A man with a kite — in […]

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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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Yesterday we had the good fortune of visiting the Grove of the Patriarchs
in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. Ancient red cedars and firs.
It was ninety-five degrees. Their bark was cool to the touch.
Old people there, and infirm. Little children with wide eyes and walking sticks.
The crossing of a suspension bridge one or two at a time.
A woman with a cane, a man with a long white beard.
Both were dusty, sweating, and smiling.
The Grove of the Patriarchs. The Grove of the Matriarchs.
Words. Names. Do we really need them, with so much patience around?

Canvas 1,223 — August 9, 2018

Canvas 1,223 — August 9, 2018

 

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Canvas 1,223 — Cedars and Firs

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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