William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Poems, Slightly Used

Stream of Consciousness

It’s easy for me to be alone, a natural thing, as inevitable as a stream in its bed, first the stream, then the bed, and then the other way around, each by and for the other. And when, after its long descent, a leaf falls in, and that leaf is you, that too is a natural thing, and for a time we are mirrors.   Stream of Consciousness He didn’t […]

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Autumn Detail

Usually, when cold weather arrives, we move our jade plants into the garage, where they spend the winter with who knows what thoughts — summer, shine, patience, glory, generations and generations of hands. Come spring, when we bring them out again, it takes them a few weeks to get going. Which way do we turn? What is that sound? Is that a squirrel? A worm? The swish of a broom? […]

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Prophet

Not far east of here, at the corner, across the street from the first stop sign, between two houses, there are two large redwoods. Last night, approaching them in the dark where they stand solemnly together, whispering, touching, knowing each other by their intermingled roots, I heard an owl calling from the tree behind in dread-multiple whooos; this was followed by a wild, eerie cry, which sounded like the lost […]

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In Confidence

Based on what I’ve salvaged here thus far, it would be easy to draw a number of conclusions about me; however, I advise against it, even if they seem obvious or reasonable, and even if you’ve known me for years, as a brave handful of friends and readers have. I do not say that you don’t know me; I say, rather, that there is much more to know. What I’m […]

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After the War

Yes, where there’s a monster, a mob will form. Some will throw stones. Others will cheer the monster on. This will be accompanied by systems of outraged justice and law, hypocrisy, and war. And yet through it all, there will be those who love. They will not be part of the mob. They will not steal. They will not kill. They will not be indignant or righteous or loud. And […]

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Yellow Fever

In the park by the river, a walk through the old walnut grove. Yellow now. Yellow cottonwoods, too. Yellow brambles. Yellow squirrels. Yellow chatter. Yellow nuts. Yellow holes. Yellow mounds. Yellow talk. Yellow love. Yellow clouds.   Yellow Fever Fig leaves so bright, the birds don’t sleep at night. Poems, Slightly Used, October 23, 2009

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Museum Piece

In a forest of people, it can be quite dark near the ground. It can be quite light, too, even without the sun.   Museum Piece In need of a few days off, I spent them among old trees that were whispering terrible secrets. When I returned home no one could understand me; I was begged to come in from the yard. Doctors were called; I pummeled them with cones. […]

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This Will Be

I’ve been at it so long, I suppose it’s inevitable that often, when I sit down to work, I’m reminded of other things I’ve written. I’ve covered a lot of ground — not always well, certainly, but the old lines and images keep surfacing and reappearing, and it’s not unusual for them to arrive in the form of a lesson. One of the greatest of these lessons is, Don’t be […]

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Like a Flower

In a recent letter, a friend told me he’s reading the English translation of a diary by Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz, an 800-page tome published in 2012 by Yale University Press. He found it in Santa Barbara, at a bookstore named Chaucer’s. Naturally, I would like to have a copy, although I probably wouldn’t get around to reading it for thirty years. I’ll be ninety-two then. Will I still be […]

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