William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Poems, Slightly Used

Afternoon Nap

You love this mirage, this idea of yourself looking out on the world, when, all the while, the world is within you. And you love the sanctity of what you imagine is your private space, when that same space is outside you. And if what is outside is in, and what is inside is out, where are you, and what are you? Just what becomes of the who of you? […]

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Escape is a Cage

What is it that keeps me saying what I’ve already said? Self-love, perhaps? Indifference? Ignorance? Or is there simply a birdsong mechanism deep in my heart or throat, the purpose of which is to express a prehistoric loss or need? And yet, for the life of me, if I’ve lost something, I don’t know or remember what it is. And what could I, fortunate as I am to perceive such […]

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Scene from a Recurring Childhood

If my age is equivalent to the number of times the earth has traveled around the sun since I was born, how old would I be if I lived on another planet, or in another galaxy, or in another universe altogether? And isn’t this what I already do? The degree to which I resist things as they are — that might be a more accurate rendering of my age. The […]

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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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