William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘My Father’

Luxury

Cloudy and calm, with an occasional glimpse of the moon. All through the neighborhood, the robins were silent this morning. While I was growing up, there was one telephone in the house. It was in the kitchen. When we went somewhere, to stay for a week in the mountains, for instance, no one could call us. And while we were away, the only clock we had was my father’s dollar […]

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Tenderness

I go on reading things in Emerson’s journal he thought would never see print. And yet here they are, more than a century and a half later, and so here is Emerson. Almost word for word, I remember many things said by my grandparents. And so here they are. Friends, parents, relatives, animals, places, here they are, to be forgotten and remembered for however long. And here we are. Glaciers. […]

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Kirk’s Nose (and other stories)

A few words about my recently departed brother — a short, incomplete remembrance, if you will: Kirk was born November 22, 1946, on our parents’ third anniversary. He was named Kourken Haig, after our father’s mother’s youngest brother, Kourken, and after our father’s older brother, Haig, who was killed in the Second World War. Kirk didn’t begin talking until he was four — then, suddenly, he started in with what […]

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Ten Horses, No Sails

I haven’t raked the leaves from under the maples, or those that are piled deep beneath the big rhododendron by the front door. What’s living in, on, and under them plays a far more important role in the local ecology than any so-called neatness I might achieve. The walk is swept. The flowerbed is ready for spring. That’s enough tidiness. Behind the house, the irises are pushing, and an abundance […]

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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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Explain Yourself

Open, honest, illuminating, inspiring, heartbreaking, profound — I am glad to have read James Baldwin’s masterfully written essay, “Notes of a Native Son.” Yesterday morning, upon rising and after the coffee was on, I drank two large glasses of water. This morning I had less than a glass. Sometimes I have one, sometimes one and a half. Day in and day out, all through my growing up years, my father […]

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A Letter to the Boys

Yesterday afternoon I cleared the driveway of snow with one of the old manure shovels my father and grandfather used on the farm during the Great Depression and after the Second World War, and which we continued to use in later years, and which now reside, along with several other tools from that earlier time, in an old barrel in the little shed behind the house. While I was out, […]

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Proud Old Men In a Row

More snow during the night — about an inch, maybe a little less. Thirty degrees on the front step; barefoot down to the end of the driveway, and then back up, possibly a little colder. Still, relatively speaking, the weather is mild. Real cold — Solzhenitsyn’s cold and Jack London’s cold — is not a joke. It is not to be trifled with. It’s easy to walk barefoot outside for […]

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Uncertain Terms

Alternating between two wide dirt roads on either side of an even wider river, my father driving, asking which road I preferred, changing directions in mid-air, crossing the water and lightly touching down, then continuing on . . . I said any road is fine, they all lead in the right direction — not because I knew, but because he was happy, and I wanted him to go on enjoying […]

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