William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Aging’

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

Wayside

If I were a bluebell, or a tree in the mist . . . and I am, when we meet like this. And when I’m ripe and ready to fall? What need of fear on my way to the ground? Indeed, what need, even now? April 22, 2019   Wayside There appeared on the cold winter road a butterfly, Which came to rest on my cane. The cane, feeling her […]

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Better Blind, Than Blind

If I am not grateful in the knowledge that I will die, and possibly suffer untold, nigh unbearable pain between now and that time, then of what worth is my gratitude for my relative good health, and for an abundance of fluffy clouds, fresh air, and sunshine? Can such conditional gratitude really be gratitude at all? And yet even that is a start, I suppose. If I am alive in […]

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Silence Best Describes the Circle

It’s been years since I’ve taken a pill of any kind. In my experience, pills, particularly those meant to lessen or drive away pain, create their own set of conditions and demands, until they finally cause more pain than suggested them in the first place, as well as other side effects. And so now, if I happen to hurt, I simply go on about my business. I do my work, […]

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Oaks Remember Poppies

A friendly neighbor out walking is glad to see us. After exchanging greetings, he reaches out as we pass, and almost touches my shoulder. Someday we might even know each other’s names, and then forget them when we’re older. And someday when it’s warmer, we will be colder.   Oaks Remember Poppies Sunflower sprouting in a paw-print. A pot on the step by the door. Oaks remember poppies. We forget […]

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Wobbles

The crocuses we planted near the sidewalk and which had their first bloom last spring, doubled, tripled, possibly even quadrupled this year. Like love, the bulbs are spreading, and in so doing, they are making their own fertile ground.   Wobbles a squeaky old tricycle and a squeaky old man love is the child who gives him her hand

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Shall We Go See the Old Man?

How many people I had been before this poem was written, how many I was during the sustained moment of its composition, how many immediately upon its completion, how many I have been since then, how many I am now, and how many I will be if I survive this unwieldy sentence, all while being who I am in any recognizable, cohesive sense, is, I imagine, at least partly answered […]

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My Word, My Age, My Cage

I am as old now as I was when I was a child in my first pair of overalls, standing at the edge of the garden with my face near a flower. I even wear the same smile, a smile a bee might wear if he suddenly discovered he was human. And I am as old as the bee. I am as old now as I was when the fall […]

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Wings

One thing my wife and I have learned on our many hikes through the mountains, is that on the steep downhill parts of the trail, it’s best if we don’t try to break our momentum. Instead, we run. That way, when the hike is done and in the days following, there’s no pain in our feet and knees and ankles. Also, the alertness, attention, and coordination required is a stimulating […]

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My Mother Saved Our Baby Shoes

Each day, I give thanks for the unknown and unexplained.   My Mother Saved Our Baby Shoes My mother saved our baby shoes, two handfuls of wedding rice in delicate nets, flowers, roses, brittle stems, in her cedar chest. And in all her years of not remembering, I wonder which she forgot the best. I wonder which she smiled at when she sat here dreaming in her make-believe and present-tense. […]

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