William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Songs and Letters

Early Morning, Waiting for a Train

We waited a lifetime, as I recall. And as I know now, the rich tragedies I’ve imagined for others have really been my own.   Early Morning, Waiting for a Train A year ago I turned the page, ripe it was, a field of poor man’s cotton marred by weak spots short of meaning, nut grass, gopher mounds, and swales, tire tracks on the boundary trail made in last year’s […]

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I Count the Bricks in Buildings

Reading this poem now, more than thirteen years after it was written, it seems to reveal as much about the process of writing as it does about the little city that has been my home since 1987. I include it here for both reasons. I also include it because I’m a sentimental old fool who loves his poetic children for all they have taught him, and who is exceedingly grateful […]

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Fall

Fall

For each of the twelve hundred pages in my first website, I’m Telling You All I Know (2001-2011), I made a little drawing, occasionally in ink, but almost always with a school pencil, after which I scanned it into the computer and added it manually to the HTML page. Then I uploaded the page to the host server. Without exception, the drawing was done after the writing. The pages were […]

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Another Song I Know

This is another of the sixty-four very short poems that comprise one of my first published books. I say one of the first, because Another Song I Know and Winter Poems were released by Cosmopsis Books in San Francisco on the same day in June 2007 — released, it might be, like birds, or, better still, like children, whose idea of home changes ever so subtly every day for the […]

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Dreaming of Books

I did something a couple of days ago that I’ve never done before. I bought books online from a shop in England: The Works of Sir Thomas Browne, published in three volumes by John Grant in 1927 in Edinburgh. Anymore, there are very few of these complete sets available. I’ve watched them come and go at prices higher than I’m able or care to spend. This time around. I was […]

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Pain

It’s that almost in the last verse that stops me. Without it, the poem would be entirely different. As for the truth of the two possibilities, it might be best to dwell on it, or in it, for a century or two; because, as one’s understanding of pain changes, one’s notion of time does as well. In fact, we might come to realize that it doesn’t exist at all.   […]

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Our Old Farm Remembers Us

Some mornings, before it’s light, I think of the first hen down from her roost, standing silently like a ghost in the yard, unseeing, waiting, unsure, solemn, surprised, and a little confused. It’s almost as if she and I have both been pressed into service by an unseen hand, one if not wise, then bemused. So what’s left but to join her? Or maybe we should consider an exchange: she, […]

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2011

I, Leonardo, have but one more thing to say:
no day is just as you imagine — no world, no man,
no mortal lump of clay. Life is a blind wind
that devours words and bones. It is a fervent hope,
the breath of breath itself, a poison that is
its antidote. Flesh of my flesh, child of my child,
learn this song and sing it well. We are orphans
on this road. Our triumph is to be alone.

“I, Leonardo”
Songs and Letters, September 30, 2006
Another Song I Know, Cosmopsis Books, 2007

Canvas 178

Canvas 178

Canvas 178 — I, Leonardo

Dawn

Dawn, n. 1. In summer, the time when one side of a tree is awake, the other side asleep. Some say enlightenment begins this way, then spreads, leaf by leaf by leaf. In winter, when the branches of many trees are bare, they resemble the open arms of loved ones; in spring, belief; in autumn, secrets kept for years. 2. An uncanny explanation of the night. 3. That which follows […]

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The Painting of You

Every now and then, I like to remind people that I’m well aware that by publishing my efforts, I’m really charting my decline. It’s intended as a statement of humor and truth. I don’t fear losing my mind, but maybe I should. It is going. But in which direction? Is it strengthening and gathering force? I’m healthier now physically than when my books were written. I’m also older, grayer, and […]

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