William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Poems, Slightly Used

Haiku Shoes

While cleaning up after a recent windstorm that pelted us with cones and buried us in branches, I noticed signs of life in the iris bed behind the house — lush green moss, rotting mushrooms, and something else.   Haiku Shoes Sprouting irises — someone’s muddy footprints led me here. Poems, Slightly Used, March 19, 2009

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Shepherd’s Song

Love, if I must speak, let me be brief, for the birds are singing. And Love said, Each to his joy, his grief, his responsibility — not as tyrant, or teacher, but as melody.   Shepherd’s Song Your hour, my century, said the mountain. Your stone, my grief, said the man. Your words, my longing, said the wind. Poems, Slightly Used, January 16, 2010

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Dream

I love the droughts in writing, the minutes that seem like hours, the deserts and barren fields, the dust bowls, the great depressions, the jalopies abandoned by the road like these hobo wayward notes. I love raindrops that take years to fall and then land acres apart, if they land at all. I love the peace of a dry well, the coyote’s howl, free for the taking.   Dream The […]

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Auld Lang Syne

All these years later, I still find sadness, beauty, and hope in this little Bojangles of a poem. While we look back, let us go forth into the world, even if it’s where we’ve been all along.   Auld Lang Syne I haven’t been this drunk in a long time, said the poet to his dog who had died years ago. But the story really begins when daylight licks his […]

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Long Time to Know

Could there be anything more arrogant and absurd than thinking I have someone, or many, in the palm of my hand, that he, she, or they, are under my influence and at my command? Could there be anything more self-crippling, isolating, and sad than the need to be someone at such a tragic expense? Would it not be better to be a tree in the wind, a survivor of sixty-two […]

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Crowku

Quite often, later in the day, I’m apt to think of something I’d like to write about the following morning. In some cases, the urge is strong enough that I’m tempted to begin right away. But I rarely do. First, I’d rather wait and see if the following morning does come. If it does, and I’m blessed with that bit of good fortune, I make coffee and read Spanish for […]

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Face to Face

The owl I heard down the street a few weeks ago has taken up temporary residence in the fir trees behind our house. I hear it often in the evening when returning from my walk, and I hear it again this morning. Of course, I only think it’s the same owl. There seems to be only one in the neighborhood. And from my poetic-unscientific perspective, thinking and seeming are enough. […]

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In the Half-Lit Damp I See a Face

In a dream last night, I was visited by one, or two, or three white-haired gentlemen I apparently should have known, but who were only vaguely familiar. They knew my name, but I did not know theirs. They seemed to be waiting for me to remember. Finally, I confessed I was at a loss, upon which one gave me a hint, a rather long and mystical-sounding title of a musical […]

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Fate

I’m comfortable with the idea that to some I am an extra serving of dessert, or the dressing on their salad; rare is the soul who sits down to me as a simple, sustaining bowl of rice — a beggar’s bowl, like mine, filled with gratitude, and worn with use, on the narrow road to the deep north.   Fate A shadow on the snow                    after the last flake falls […]

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Canvas 1,228

Canvas 1,228 — November 23, 2018

If I had not fallen from my horse
she might never have licked my face

hay on her breath
ice through my back

a shout to the hearse
at the edge of the pond

go home our tongues are on fire

“If I Had Not Fallen from My Horse”
Poems, Slightly Used, January 28, 2011

If I Had Not Fallen from My Horse