William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Poems, Slightly Used

Front Walk

In his journal, Emerson writes of walking with Hawthorne, talking with Thoreau, Carlyle’s latest book, and Tennyson’s new poems. In mine, I write of you, in terms of my own plain self. And this is our wealth: that we are each a funny blend of science and superstition, of pain, nerve, and luck. And this is our grief — the loss of dear Waldo, Emerson’s five-year-old son. August 4, 2019 […]

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My Second Language

Oh, the things I break into dazzling little pieces. Oh, the faith you have in rainbows. “Love Story” Poems, Slightly Used, February 3, 2011   My Second Language English is my second language, Earth my mother tongue. Near a wild rose on a goat track, An avalanche of sun. A blind afternoon, Guessing about love. I said, “The map is torn.” You said, “Yes. But not ruined.”

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High Tide

Yesterday afternoon, from the front window, I watched a pair of sparrows feeding on the tiny flies, if that’s what they are, in the heavy crop of purslane at the shoreline-edge of the garden. But I think they might also have been eating the purslane itself, because several times one or the other tugged at a leaf with energy and enthusiasm. But only now, after many hours have passed, and […]

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July Rain

The art of making it rain, I learned from my father. That I am here to explain, I learned from my mother.   July Rain Dying is such old work — I settle the dust in our yard with a hose. Poems, Slightly Used, July 5, 2009

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Ask Me How Or Why

Up in time to find a dove confessing to a weightless sliver moon. “First Impression” Poems, Slightly Used, July 20, 2009   Ask Me How Or Why Ask me how or why, I simply do not know. There is no purpose, only setting out. No work as precious notion. Or play that means escape. Prayer, perhaps? In the sense that love’s an ocean. And everything is yes. That the pieces […]

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Strawberries — Haiku, Poem, and Dream

Indeed, love bids the earnest question: Can one have truly tasted a fresh, ripe strawberry and still believe in politics and war? The answer is, quite clearly, No. May 17, 2019   Haiku June With my very own eyes — a ripe strawberry picking a little girl. Poems, Slightly Used, June 18, 2009       Rainbow Ring Around the Sun Rainbow ring around the sun rain to come grandson […]

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Work Notes

I love how a trace of rain transforms a garden, even one that is already doing very well. I see the same in the neighbors and in myself. Our greens are more vivid and intense in the charged atmosphere; our purples and reds draw notice from the hummingbirds. I wonder now if, in all my years of writing, I have ever used the word aura. I think not. But it […]

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Melody

However patiently and faithfully I try to record the quotidian, I find it becomes charged with memory and dream, as if these states of mind or being are infused with a fine mist, like that which heightens the illusion of any natural scene. Set down the most common of items, and it buds and flowers before the sentence ends.   Melody Words are living things. Sometimes, through ignorance and arrogance, […]

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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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Tomorrow

Do my hands have lives of their own? I watch them setting out vegetable plants, and marvel at their confidence. The plants know they have nothing to fear, do not cease even for a moment their eager communications with the sun. My fingers are intuitive miniature plows. I might have been a barber. I visited a barber college once, with the thought that I might learn to ply that trade. […]

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