William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Songs and Letters

Monuments

We live in a house full of old furniture, old books, old photographs, old dishes, old pots and pans, and sundry heirloom antiques. Wouldn’t it be strange if we were to populate it with smart devices — a term itself meant to last no longer than what it was coined to sell? Isn’t it better to speak to each other and to ourselves than to an array of gadgets and […]

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My Father Walking, and Twenty-Four Other Things

It occurred to me recently that I walked more than a thousand miles in the immediate neighborhood during the past year, and several hundred more on state park trails — in terms of sheer distance, roughly halfway across the continent. This is hardly a profound realization. But though it was made in small increments, the journey itself was far from mundane. And a journey it remains. Another year and I […]

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My Father’s Shoes

My Father's Shoes

I will never consider myself educated; the idea is laughable; and if the time ever comes that I honestly can, it will likely be too late to serve much purpose. As it is, I’m not even sure I know what I know, my life being the dream that it is. I confess a school boy’s understanding of the alphabet; and I’m fairly certain that if I go at it slowly […]

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Shadows on the Sidewalk

For sidewalk, Walt Whitman liked to use the word trottoir. Offhand, I can think of no other nineteenth century American writer who did so — this, of course, based on my faulty memory and limited reading. Word choice aside, one thing I’m noticing this time through his Specimen Days, is that buildings and trains are every bit as alive to him as oaks and sparrows — indeed, in his poetic […]

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I Am Redeemed

I would rather spend the day in a country graveyard than in a shopping mall. Is that so strange? I would rather handle old books and antiques than plastic merchandise. Does that make me odd? Is it obsolete to think the finest jewels are raindrops hanging from a naked limb? And that if there ever was, is, or will be a god, she is here to love me back again? […]

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A Thimbleful of Ash

My mother writing Christmas cards, late into the night. The darkest time. The greatest light. December 6, 2019   A Thimbleful of Ash If you don’t eat your supper, Santa won’t visit us tonight. All the cookies will go to waste, the cards, the toys, the bows. A fire in the fireplace. The front door left unlocked. Somehow, Santa knows. On the porch, a stack of wood. Long lives, a […]

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Between the Lines

The private struggles of a writer, his burdens and cares, are like those of anyone. At the same time, he is given a choice: he can write about them, or not write about them. The choice itself is a burden, for one is no more wrong or right than the other; both are right; both are wrong; one is an affront to his fellow humans; the other is an affront […]

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So Begins December

Winter Poems. It’s a slender volume, and its design is somewhat crude. But what does it matter now? Did it matter then? No. It was a joy to behold, and to see in my mother’s hands. Now I find it on her shelf, between Harper Lee and The Grapes of Wrath. Life is like that. So is death. All is good. Nothing blooms by half.   So Begins December There’s […]

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Wolves

Writing poetry all night. Some call it dream. Some call it sleep. In the morning the paper is blank. Snow has covered the ink. The graves. The hollow reeds. The bird tracks. Then you wake.   Wolves I sweep the floor, but not beneath your feet. Your brow defends the shadow fallen there. Frail sun leaves ice unscathed and windows cold. Another winter just begun, bolder than the last. Remembered […]

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November Song

Raking through the remains of mushrooms, their quiet cities dissolved of themselves, By tine-stroke their gray-purple thoughts entering the atmosphere in clouds, Scattering their soft lumps and particles, promoting their culture and furthering their aims, I am the ghost of the day; see me through your window in the soft yellow light of late afternoon; Tap on the glass and I will look your way — yes, like that — […]

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