William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Poems, Slightly Used

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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When a Certain Cloud Appears

These writings run their own course. They are not at my command. They are the resurrection of old hats. The hand on the door knob. The closet avalanche.   When a Certain Cloud Appears When a certain cloud appears, and it seems your life has been lived in preparation for its arrival, only to find it gone just as soon, and then another, and another, and death is all around, […]

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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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Jung and Easily Freudened, Specimen 1

I used to have dreams about work not done. I was behind on the farm, I was late, the necessity and importance of the job had completely slipped my mind. An example: suddenly it was April or May, and I realized I had forgotten to prune ten whole acres of vines. Always, or almost always, the dreams culminated in a feeling of guilt and shame. It has been many years […]

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What Kind of Flower?

Snow on the lilac — my mother has already forgotten that day. Poems, Slightly Used, April 27, 2008   What Kind of Flower? A couple of days ago, I straightened up our woodpile, which isn’t really a woodpile, but a collection of trimmings too thick to recycle. There are some nice husky lengths of fig, a few pieces of fir and maple, a rhododendron stump harder than a rock and […]

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Disaster

During my San Joaquin Valley childhood, there were still a few boxcars used as homes, tucked away in odd corners on useless bits of land. Nestled in mounds of chickweed, with old blown tires and chickens in the yard, they seemed like seeds scattered by a giant’s hand, or fruit fallen from a tree in a homegrown fairy tale. Life inside could not have been comfortable, too cold in winter, […]

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My Next Life

High upon my crooked ladder, cloud in one hand, sun in the other. “Balancing Act” Poems, Slightly Used, May 24, 2009   My Next Life In my next life I will paint houses for a living. I will dip my brush in a quiet field beside a stream, and work from the roots of my imagining. I will paint not as houses are, but as they will someday be, families […]

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Tenderness

Fool me. I am more than willing. Think me a fool. I am. Be the smart one, the intelligent one, the one who knows. Hold the clear advantage. Then, with your startling brilliance, use me to advance yourself, and manipulate me to accomplish your lofty aims and goals. When you are done, cast me aside, the dry husk of your ambition. How cold, your gravestone. How bitter and lonely, your […]

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