William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Haibun’

Heaven

When I cut off the old fronds of the ferns, mold is my reward. Later, I celebrate with double and triple sneezes, violent enough to rattle the dishes. In the center of the mound, the new fronds are unfurling, prehistoric, hairy, and willing. I find treasure therein — needles, twigs, and shells; fir and filbert sprouts. The Creeping Jenny is rampant under the white birch. If not trimmed a bit, […]

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Morning Call

Clocks are a great human tragedy. A faithful sun, enough for the rest of creation, is not enough for us. Imagine a play in which all of the actors carry clocks — through love scenes and in displays of assumed moral courage, both hands occupied, fingers absentmindedly caressing the worn shells of those insistent, demanding objects as if they were pampered pets — while the audience nervously taps its feet […]

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Disaster

During my San Joaquin Valley childhood, there were still a few boxcars used as homes, tucked away in odd corners on useless bits of land. Nestled in mounds of chickweed, with old blown tires and chickens in the yard, they seemed like seeds scattered by a giant’s hand, or fruit fallen from a tree in a homegrown fairy tale. Life inside could not have been comfortable, too cold in winter, […]

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Elegy

The first warm weather, and suddenly the street is full of people who have been in hiding for the last five months, blinking, stretching, squinting, strolling, looking like pale ghosts. Who are these two children peddling by, and why have I never seen them before? Where do they live? I smile. My smile isn’t returned. Instead they stare. And I suppose to them I must look like a hermit down […]

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Narrow Road

Yesterday morning, the snow around North Falls posed no problem, but the ice formed by traffic on the hiking paths most certainly did. And so, after a bit of skating, we got back into the car and drove on to South Falls. Conditions there were much better. A little less altitude and a little more sun made all the difference. The paths were mostly bare. We had no trouble walking […]

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Watercolor

The weather term wintry mix makes me think of a salad without cucumbers and tomatoes, with carrots and cabbage and kale and lettuce of various curls and crinkles and hues, and perhaps an orange slice or two. On the street, though, with the wind in my face while climbing the hill, I’m not met by tangy vegetables and apple cider vinegar, but with rain and ice and snow. Clumps and […]

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Higher Ground

More rain, more snow, now Goose Lake overflows. The muddy water rushes across the main road that leads deeper into the park. It joins the next lake, which has swollen to the foot of the historic black cottonwood. Where the water broadens, an icy wind appears to move it in the opposite direction. The path is frozen. Between patches of snow, the muddy ground is stiff and easy to walk […]

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First Kiss

This has been a winter of books, and the kind of simple earthly pleasures that are priceless and free — a winter of clouds and ice and sun, of forest paths and waterfalls, of vanilla pages and chamomile grass and moss — a winter of Blake, Thoreau, and Don Quixote, of diaries and letters, and of all that lasts beyond its past and lights the present tense. And it’s not […]

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Syllables

What are the great questions? And if I were asked them one by one, what would be my answer? Life, death, God, love, philosophy, religion, good, evil, war — would it merely be a recycled version of what others have said, a hearsay ego-bath arrived at second-hand, or would I offer something entirely new and of the moment, a revelation of an exploration without expectation, ever free in flight with […]

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I Am Forgiven

I’m sailing down the road burning fossil fuel, fouling the air with exhaust made by my noisy, powerful engine, slaughtering countless insects, the occasional bird, rabbit, cat, deer, and dog, when I suddenly realize what an insane, barbaric thing I’m engaged in — all of this destruction at my hands while sitting in comfort and calm, with dials glowing, gauges, fabric, plastic, leather, and shiny knobs. I am a murderer, […]

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