William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Hunger’

A Feather on the Scale

We’re told this morning that more than 900,000 acres of Oregon’s forests have been burned or are in the process of burning. We’re also told that ten percent of the state’s population has been evacuated to safer areas. The valley we live in is dense with smoke. The air quality readings are well into and beyond what is deemed hazardous. Yesterday evening our youngest son brought us two air purifiers […]

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Self-Portrait in White

The third volume of Vincent’s letters. Yesterday afternoon, he cut off a piece of his ear. July 15, 2020   Self-Portrait in White A man and his donkey; a snowy field; a cart full of bones. The wind. Poems, Slightly Used, November 10, 2009 [ 807 ]

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Last Words

If I were to walk two hours in the heat, carrying my canvases through wild blackberries into the heart of the grass seed fields, and spend the day painting while hunger gnaws at my bones, and then come home exhausted with no means for my bills, and if you found me here, sitting on my only chair, ministered by angels and haunted by ghosts, what would you say to me? […]

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The Living and the Dead

Sometimes, when the bow is not taut, the arrow flies much farther.   The Living and the Dead A pair of starlings are feasting on something in the maple tree outside my window. The tree has just begun to bloom. Its larger branches are covered with moss, some of it old, much of it new. The birds have found something to eat in the moss — newly hatched insects, or […]

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Remnants of a Dream

Although I was quite poor, somehow, a new shirt had come into my possession. The shirt had beautiful buttons, no two of them alike. Having heard good buttons were valuable, I presented the shirt to a large, pale, flabby man standing behind a counter, hoping to exchange the article for a useful sum of money. The man glanced at the shirt, told me he had all the buttons he needed, […]

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Blind Fishermen

Early morning. Fresh air, dark clouds, robin-song. And I ask myself — In this paradise, if I am not ready to die, have I ever really lived? March 25, 2020   Blind Fishermen It’s been so long — I think of writing you today. Do you think of writing me? — And do you wonder what to say? So many letters set out this way — Like little rafts at […]

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The Wise Old Man

Autobiography is the strangest thing. It’s about everything, and nothing, and no one, and everyone, all at the same time. To be of use — is there anything more to ask? March 23, 2020   The Wise Old Man The wise old man noticed he was hungry. Then he remembered he had no food. “Ah, yes,” he said, “there is that.” A very serious-looking man entered his hut. “You owe […]

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Trade Policy

The symbol strikes me every time I see him — the homeless man with his hand out, under the light at the corner of Commercial and Division. December 22, 2019   Trade Policy If I have something you need and more of it than I can use; and if you have something I need and more of it than you can use; then let us simply give the excess to […]

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Image and Line

Canvas 595 — December 4, 2015

The autumn that began so early and that was so promising in terms of rain, has given way to a stagnant winter, even before winter has quite arrived. This morning, every molecule of vehicle exhaust hangs low in the street, held in place by fog. Wood smoke is a relief tantamount to fresh air. Inside, at least, one is able to mask the pollution with the scent of simple home […]

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Windfall

When one lives a simple life, is there a need to impose order? Doesn’t disorder arise from wanting what isn’t needed, and by following what’s traditionally accepted as the right way of doing things — doing what we are expected to do, buying what we are expected to buy, believing what we are expected to believe — without examining their wide-ranging, murderous implications? Observe an angry, disordered household, and see […]

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