William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Childhood’

Long Gray Train (I Pay the Porter)

I woke up in the middle of the night needing a sip of water. I walked down the hall, and as I passed through the dark sitting room, a sentence sprang to mind, or the beginning of a sentence — a phrase, a breath, a sound, a combination of sounds — a powerful suggestion, insistent, dreamlike, meaningful, profound, but I didn’t have the focus to pick up a pen and […]

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Hollow Hobo

I had just finished vacuuming the kitchen floor and was about to turn off the machine when I saw an enormous spider walking my way. I pressed the off button. The spider was beautiful, brown and hairy like a small tarantula, but of a much less stocky build. And even if it was not beautiful to my dull standards, I had no desire to end its life, especially in such […]

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Naked in the Realm

The air was so fresh and clean yesterday, so perfectly scented with subtle fall fragrance, the edges of the clouds so beautifully crisp and defined, that one would think there had never been a fire in Oregon, or that nearby there are fires burning still. And now, borne by the southwest wind, rain approaches. In the afternoon I took out our tired old tomato plants; the cherry tomatoes, though, I […]

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Wash Day

The end of the world is a strange and beautiful place. It keeps growing, and it keeps ending. And as it ends, it gives birth to countless new beginnings. Eyes open, eyes close, eyes open again. Galaxies and atoms. Oceans and tufts of grass. A little boy’s pockets turned inside out for the wash. What he remembers. What he loses. What he collects. Where have you been? his kind mother […]

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Present Sense

I expect to write as long as I’m mentally and physically able. I realize, though, it’s possible there may come a time when I no longer feel the need to write. My present sense of the matter is this: the longer I write, the nearer I come to the beginning; I am now in my childhood, working steadily towards infancy; the very moment I’m born, I’ll lay down my pen, […]

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Amazing Grace

Early morning. From North Falls to Winter Falls via the Rim Trail, then down into the canyon, still in shadow. Soon after beginning the descent we meet a raven as big as the next two or three crows, its beak and head capable of lunacy and wisdom, prophecy and mayhem. Its flight up from the path to a mossy low maple branch is an action deliberately made and slowly taken, […]

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Everything and All

If the individual plants in our patch of grass were people or trees, how much space would they need to survive and thrive? They are a multitude. However, I walk through or in a forest or a crowd, and I walk on a lawn; I am small in one instance, large in another; a humble supplicant; the possessor of great strength and power. And always, I have a choice of […]

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Closing Time

Even if I could remember what was passing through my mind when I was writing this poem thirteen years ago, how important could it be? Stumbling on it today, I’m simply glad that it is a poem; and I’m glad it’s still willing to speak to me. And what does it say? It says, Come in, come in. Whatever it is, whatever it was, is all forgotten and forgiven now. […]

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A Small Boy and Others

The language of Henry James in A Small Boy and Others is a softly spoken dream that gently begs the use of the reader’s own tongue. The dream is in color; it has no corners or edges or sides; it is more like the distance one travels between a robin’s breast and a fully ripe strawberry — the kind of journey a child makes many times each day — even […]

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