William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Hate’

Acorns and Oaks

I ran before five yesterday morning in a driving wind and rain. The only person I met was a very large skunk, which was crossing the road in front of me when it stopped briefly at the sound of my footsteps, then scurried on. It ran along the edge of the opposite sidewalk for a distance of about a hundred feet before taking cover in some bushes. The rain was […]

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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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The Old City

If I am correct about the year, I first read Dostoevsky in 1984, on an airplane bound for Israel and the old city of Jerusalem. I had bought a paperback copy of The Brothers Karamazov, not quite aware at the time that I was beginning at the end, with what is considered the great writer’s crowning achievement. I read for several hours from Los Angeles to New York, and then […]

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You Will Forgive Me

Maybe I have changed. Clearing the downspouts of birch leaves in a light rain at fifty-three degrees while wearing shorts and short sleeves and being barefoot is something I have never done before. That I felt warm and completely comfortable while doing it is, I think, as good a sign as the early fall rain, which is drenching everything in fine winter style. Fifty-three, of course, is not cold. The […]

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The Family Tree

It’s a pity, in a way, that each of us can’t, during the most heightened moments of our righteous anger, suddenly find ourselves surrounded by our ancestors — not just to the extent of our easily accessible family tree, but all the way to the beginning. For surely, in genetic, genealogical terms, we are not who we think we are; we are far different and far more than the knowledge […]

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William Wells Brown

The Library of America volume devoted to the writings of William Wells Brown begins with his 1847 Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave. I’ve read twenty-eight of its forty-five pages thus far. And while it has revealed no general detail about slavery that I haven’t already encountered, the simple, stark clarity of Brown’s writing, coupled with his frank honesty in terms of his personal regrets and easily forgiven […]

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The Mist and This

If I had not walked in the mist before dawn, I would not have heard the owl calling from the fir tree on this side of the wetland. And the land is wet, as were we. I need to explore the backyard, which has been transformed by the recent storms into a forest floor strewn with branches, cones, and leaves. There are fir branches six to eight feet long on […]

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Reply

Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem, the second offering in the Library of America’s two-volume collection of nine Harlem Renaissance novels, is an outstanding, refreshing, exhilarating, musical work full of sweet longing and suspense, an artful record of the timeless love affair between pain and laughter in which each, mutually and gratefully dependent on the other, flowers and bleeds. The source of pain: American history, ignorance, hatred, prejudice. The source of […]

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Contradictions

Stars and clouds. The moon a sliver, upon which rests its round shadow. Nearby, within just a few million miles, Venus. Air cool, immaculate. A light rain, then no rain. At the top of the hill, while looking up at the stars, I see a string of lights, which at first glance look like more stars. The lights, though, are moving. For the most part, they are evenly spaced. They […]

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