William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Recently Banned Literature

The dry grass of my ambition has a beauty all its own.

All the more so with the fences down.

And the graveyard overgrown.

William Michaelian 1988

Portland, Oregon — December 1988

Before Me, the Past

Before me, the past speeds ahead.
It arrives, I know not when.

Behind me, the future is silent.
It knows that I am dead.

Pity, there is no grief in starlight.
Mercy, cries for the unborn.

Duty, is a failed science.
Love, walks alone.

You show me a sign.
A bright, fathomless smile.

As if there were, anything.
As if we were, real.

As if, rainbows give birth to children.
And they do: rainbows, and strawberries.

Fallen angels, white as any snowflake.
Black as an eye in a song.

Blue, as when light returns.
Green, because everything is so damn silly.

Honeyed as any flower.
Or as the scent and color of skin.

Intimate, as graveyard stone.
Whispers, with cold gray fingertips.

Wet shoes: where have I been?
And how did you find me?

A siren in a cityscape.
Moonlight, on a table.

Perhaps, or, simply, fate.
A wet sponge by the sink.

A leaf, a candle.
An unexpected need.

Poems, Slightly Used, November 21, 2010

1988 — Before Me, the Past

War

An impartial reading of history reveals that with few exceptions, what is considered good diplomacy is really nothing more than pressing one’s advantages and driving a hard bargain. But these mean business principles are hardly something to take pride in, and the so-called fruits of their gains only strengthen the chains that bind us. There is no honor among thieves. And there is certainly no more dignity in their legalized […]

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That We Write Each Other

I make no distinction between our online and flesh experience; wherever we are, whatever we are doing, this is the room we are in; this is our meal between us; this is our joy, and pain, and grief, and doubt.   That We Write Each Other That we write each other in this way fulfills a very old promise. And the promise is this: that those of us not met […]

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No Foothold

My first thought this morning: If I slept like a rock, it is a rock that dreams. My second thought: If I slept like an angel, it could mean anything.   No Foothold No foothold on the brooding rock, or memory of the climb, only joy in stepping off, and these awkward wings of mine. Recently Banned Literature, August 7, 2014

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The Time of Year

It’s easy to think nature is subdued in cities and towns. But turn your head for just a moment and the pavement is cracked and the cracks are full of weeds. Walk through any neighborhood a time or two and you begin to see wood fences rotting, metal ones rusting, house siding softening, paint peeling, and rooftops covered with fir needles and moss — at least such is the case […]

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The Chosen Ones

This world I see, feel, taste, touch, imagine, dream — is my consciousness. And so my early-morning walk, with its chimney smoke, irises, and crows, is my own private mirror. A quick glance, and I see what I think I see. But a deeper gaze reveals eternity, and thus the futility of all thoughts mercenary, by which to the loser goes the spoils. To hate someone is to hate myself. […]

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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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And All of This

It does not seem to me that I ply an ocean of certainty as a vessel bearing the rare cargo of my imagination. It seems the ocean itself is imagined, and that it possesses its own imagination, which gives rise to me and mine. And if the ocean is deep, deeper still is the sky, into which the stars and planets are dropped one new dream at a time. May […]

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When Water Falls On a Stone

Yesterday morning I distributed more than six gallons of water using my favorite one-quart child’s watering can, visiting each plant in the garden with a miniature rain shower, sans vocalizations. I might have thundered, but the can does not make that kind of rain. Its gentle blue drops are more like single notes plucked ever so lightly on a banjo — lightly, as in, composed of light as much as […]

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The Senses — Two Poems

If each of the senses is a unique form of intelligence, it would be wise to approach them not as if we are their petty dictators, conquerors, or owners, but as witnesses and explorers. Perhaps we would discover the senses are really not many, but one; or maybe we would learn there are more. Or it might be the other way around, and we are the living testimony of their […]

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