William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Ignorance’

Street Song

Shorts, a T-shirt, and another run through the dark in the rain. Fifty-two degrees, a joy to move and breathe. And then there’s the news: the neighbor’s overflowing gutter, a streetlight out, a car with a for-sale sign, the sound of distant geese. Wet arms, wet face, wet hair, wet feet. Nations come and nations go. Rally ’round the flag — a mother’s grief, her bloody sheets, her once-bright tablecloth. […]

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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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Peacefully Ignorant

Tiny towns and crossings on the west side of the river: Amity, Hopewell, Eola. Lincoln. Zena. Bethel. On this side: St. Louis, Brooks, Mt. Angel, Bethany. Churches. Barns. Cemeteries. Oaks, firs, winding roads that give way to gravel. Smoke from fireplaces and stoves. Deer. Wild blackberries. When was the last time I wanted something I didn’t really need? It must be the forthcoming Richard Wilbur translations of Molière. And the […]

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Dress Rehearsal

One of the blessings of memory is the opportunity it gives us to go back in our minds and apologize to those we have thoughtlessly made suffer, and promise them such a thing will never happen again. And though at first it may seem contradictory, the blessing is especially great when the person we are addressing has already passed on. When the wrong is acknowledged and the apology and pledge […]

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No Thinker to Think, No Doer to Do

I try to learn something every day. The subjects vary from the natural environment, to diet, exercise, and health from ancient and modern perspectives, to human behavior and the mechanics of habit and addiction, to sleep, dreams, and memory, and to other things seemingly related or unrelated that suggest themselves along the way, and which seem to shed light on this existence. That this does little to allay my general […]

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Granite and Flesh

The level of relaxation I reach stretched out for a rest on my back on the floor is death-like. It might be for only a few minutes, or for half an hour, or occasionally even for an hour, but the sleep that comes to these muscles and bones is deep and profound. Arms at my side, toes to the window, face to the ceiling, I am, for a brief dreamless […]

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A Way of Life

Imagine a race of beings so in love with themselves, so jaded, so steeped in their bitterness, that they choose daily to revel in their own righteous filth. Impossible, of course. Yellowed cottonwood leaves on the trail. The trees shudder to think. Gray skies all day without a hint of blue, the smoke pushed east again for a time. Broken green husks of walnuts on the steps. Squirrels, or birds? […]

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It Might Be a Stone

Blue elderberry — one fairly dense shrub about ten feet tall alongside the path above Goose Lake; another twice as high, several hundred feet farther on where the path and dry stream bed turn; a third, the smallest, but with a crop every bit as ample as the others, not far north. Mission Lake, below the old black cottonwood, green with algae, very shallow, dotted with softly illuminated shore birds, […]

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Front Row Blues

If I were a songwriter, I’d make it a good one. I’d make it a hit in the fast food parade. People would pay me, then they would slay me, all while they sit — in the fast food parade. August 22, 2021 . Front Row Blues Fences and flags, rich men and thugs, pickups and guns — see them all at the fast food parade. Pay to get in, […]

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