William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Poems, Slightly Used

For My Father

Here is another “yellow poem” from the old age of my youth. My father left us in 1995.   For My Father Of the yellow in a wet fig leaf the ear makes sound of falling rain Poems, Slightly Used, October 12, 2010

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Birches

Fifteen words, seventeen syllables — this is one of several “yellow poems” I’ve found while looking through Poems, Slightly Used. It was written October 21, 2009, a bit further into autumn than we are now. But this year it seems the switch to fall has already been thrown. And if you happen upon this note in some other season, I hope love is all you know.   Birches She laughs […]

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Memento

This poem and Canvas 1,183, a drawing made earlier this year, look out and speak ever so softly from facing pages in the Fall 2018 issue of Akitsu Quarterly. Imagine, the journey from pixel to print, made in only eight years — about the same time it takes a snowflake to fall, and ash to turn a poet’s hair gray.   Mountain snow valley ash a hand a pen an […]

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Saving Grace

Almost all of my writing is done very early in the morning. “Saving Grace” is no exception. And yet I remember, or think I remember, that upon its completion, I felt an entire day had passed, and that the day was a lifetime. Such is memory. Such is rain. Such is writing. Sometimes you must leave almost everything out, to keep anything in.   Saving Grace Today it’s the rain, […]

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Haiku for August

In the brevity of my long experience — reading, writing, breathing, thinking — smoke is one of those magical words that is almost impossible to distinguish from the thing it represents. Like the sting of my youth and the gentle gathering of age, it finds its way everywhere, as color, in scent, in memory. And what I can’t quite fathom on the page because of it, I know the more […]

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Now and Then

About twenty years ago, I wrote a story about an old woman who died in a library. Had I taken this approach, maybe it wouldn’t have been rejected so many times — not that this piece is necessarily any better, but one never knows. Of course, twenty years ago this approach would never have occurred to me, as back then I was still struggling with occasional bouts of sanity. In […]

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No Tobacco

I clench the pipe between my teeth. No tobacco. I think about a trip to the store, the fine aroma of a newly opened pouch. But I don’t get up. Instead, I light an imagined match with the flick of a nail, pretending it’s my thumb, and then I puff and inhale, puff… and… inhale. The store is a little place on the corner in an undiscovered country. There’s a […]

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Street Scene

A beggar with a wide flat back, bent to tie what’s left of his shoes, laces foul, nails gone, smelling for all the world like human rust, and I, a lamp post anchored to this spot, painted like a song to resemble steel, desperately in need of hands. Poems, Slightly Used, October 10, 2010

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