William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Birth’

The Mask

Warm, cloudy, humid. Fires east, fires south. And here I am, recognizing once again the sheer luxury it is to be able, for so long, to pursue my tiny line of thinking — to read my books, to write my notes and poems and then pretend them to the world — for pretending and publishing are much alike — tho’ the mask I wear is nearly identical to what it’s […]

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Isn’t Is

Hot days and warm nights. But it’s all relative. We used to call these temperatures cool in the San Joaquin Valley. Still, one hundred is one hundred, and seventy is seventy — just as my name is what’s stated on my birth certificate, and on all of my other “important papers,” the electronic ones included. In other words, it is, and it isn’t. Or, to frame it as a question: […]

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Timeless Trivia

Thirty-seven degrees. A snow sky. Vegetable plants in the garden shops. The heart leaps, a bird peeps, returns to its fir needle bed. I wish I had written that. And the life that led to it? Do you wish you had lived that as well? A fondness for quoting Jesus — but crucifixion is something else. A crown of thorns. Nails through the palms. Snow in April? Isn’t that unusual? […]

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Borne by the Bier

Sweet sleep, for we might say sleep is that from which we arise, to emerge at birth and find ourselves astonished by the light; and then, at the appointed time, that to which we return, ripe and ready for the next miracle. Sweet, for how could it not be? — as sweet as the sleep of the child one was, is, and will become — sweet as the dew on […]

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A Flower for Marian

Today is the birthday of my father’s little sister, Marian. It is also the anniversary of my grandfather’s death in 1990 and the day the ancient orthodox Armenian Church observes Christmas — except in Jerusalem, where the Brotherhood at the Monastery of St. James follows an older calendar and Christmas falls on a later date. In the dimly lit, incense-laden sanctuary of St. James itself, there is a nook where […]

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Newborn

I raked some leaves that didn’t need raking, Just to feel my muscles and lungs. I walked some ground that didn’t need walking, To see how the sky would respond. I watched some birds that didn’t need watching, I ate an orange that didn’t need eating, I thought a thought that didn’t need thinking, And the thought thought the same about me. Then I sat, then I stood, then I […]

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Remember

Everything I eat, everything I wear, everything I use; everything that sustains me and makes my life easier and more comfortable; everything that educates me, everything that stimulates me intellectually and inspires me in the realm of art — these are all proof of how directly my life is related to others, and of how completely I depend on people almost all of whom I will never meet and know. […]

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The Fear of Death and the Desire to Be Remembered

I slept for a few minutes yesterday after lunch. When I awoke to the tender tips of the lacy green maple moving in the breeze, and the pine needles glistening in the light of the clear blue sky, and its swirl of upward-curved branches gently lowering and rising, I was nigh overwhelmed by the timeless, trembling, whispering intimacy of what was happening, not only outside, beyond the open window, but […]

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Why I Sing

Some of us are loved into existence. Some are hated into existence. Some are conceived as pawns in a game. Some are born of hope, or grief, others of disinterest, selfishness, ignorance, boredom. Some are born of brutal possession and unbridled lust. And yet, however it is brought about, our arrival is a living symbol which transforms and transcends its cause. And our death? Some of us are loved away, […]

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