William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Recently Banned Literature

In the River Remarkably Still

Will the doves choose the fig tree for their nest? They were back again yesterday afternoon, settled peacefully in the same place, which would safely support a new home. Maybe if they are left undisturbed long enough, they will decide to stay. Then again, considering the way they watch us through the kitchen window, they might also be angels. Earlier in the day, I rode with our eldest son up […]

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Steps

The worm moon — on such a clear morning, even her robins are visible. March 10, 2020   Steps “When she rests in the apple tree —                             that’s when we’ll harvest the moon.”          And they took great care with the ladder,                      not to               make a sound.   “Son? Do you see her face? Why are you looking down?”          And that is what he remembers,                             this day in the […]

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Four Old Canvases

Four Old Canvases — March 10, 2011

I see myself rattling along sleeplessly in a train at night, through unnamed towns and across the wide prairie, alone in my compartment with a large battered trunk full of canvases. I’m on my way to a one-man show in New York. When I arrive and step out on the platform, someone informs me, in an astonished whisper, “New York, sir. It’s gone. Something happened to it, and we’re trying […]

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In the Forest Heard

Almost two miles into our walk near Goose Lake, where the path winds around an open field, we saw two coyotes trotting along on the bare ground, their reddish-brown coats gleaming with health in the morning sun. Headed in the direction we were, they paused and looked our way. Then we all rounded the bend, and they set off without urgency on another course, as if they might have been […]

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The E Train

“The E Train” is part of a very short-lived series of guitar notes. Now, almost eleven years later, I ask myself — which E string? The low, it appears. Or, Lo! It appears!   The E Train Fascinating. The harmonic at the ninth fret can also be played at the sixteenth, and the harmonic at the twelfth fret can be played at the nineteenth. And I’ve learned that if I […]

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Warm, the Flesh, Sweet, the Veil

Noted thus far, very lightly in pencil, near the top of the blank page opposite the Index of First Lines, the poems numbered 435, 712, and 730, beginning, respectively, Much Madness is divinest Sense — I could not stop for Death — Defrauded I a Butterfly — all three of which are old favorites of mine — and yet when I encountered them in my slow but steady progress through […]

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Canvas 843 — February 15, 2017

Canvas 843 — February 15, 2017

 

Heaven and Hell

A pebble in a child’s pocket, a feather, a shell.

A child in God’s pocket, a star, a well.

God in a pot on a stove.

Soup in a bowl.

Where is heaven, Master? Where is hell?

And the old man smiled.

I too once asked foolish questions, said he,

And brought his spoon to his mouth.

And when we die, and leave this world?

Maybe when we arrive, we will know.

But for now, I beg of you, please, sit down.

This is better warm, than cold.

Recently Banned Literature, February 15, 2018

Canvas 843 — Heaven and Hell

Canvas 534 — The Power of Decency

Canvas 534 — February 6, 2015

The good in these pages has come at a price. The bad is the price. Both are dust. Both are feathers. Both are light on the wind. February 6, 2020   The Power of Decency I look at myself, my rapidly aging body, my limited range of ability, and ask, What, really, is within my power? And the answer is, Decency. At home, online, or in the grocery store, I […]

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