William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘My Father’

The Trusty Hamilton

Memory — June 20, 2009

For the first time in ages, I wound my father’s wristwatch, which I keep on my work table next to his brother’s old briar pipe. The trusty Hamilton started ticking immediately. The tiny secondhand, set in a circle built into the face where the 6 should be, started making its way around. Now, several hours later, I see the watch is still running — as am I, apparently, though I […]

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Nothing

I have not been myself lately, said the wind. Nor I, said the mountain. The shepherd boy, who had been listening, took up his flute. When he was an old man, he put it down again and died. And the wind rushed, and the mountain blushed, to the depths of the canyon.   Nothing I said to my mother, I said to my father, “I have nothing to do.” To […]

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The Hat Rack

My Uncle Before the War

After the grapes were all in and the raisins were picked up, boxed, and hauled away, my father’s attention turned to fall cleanup and house-painting chores. Always busy, everything in its right time and season. Oil-based, lead-based work. Paint thinner. Fumes. Open windows. Worried flies. The kitchen walls, the washroom — they stand out, as does the hat rack his older brother built before he was killed in the war. […]

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Still Farming

Still Farming

As an old farmer of the written word, I know that in my deepest cultivation I’m really just scratching the surface, and that the strange crops I bring forth, the cactus and the flower, are food of brief duration, and that when I’m gone, the land I care for and hold dear will be safe harbor for my feeble literary bones. Once, many years ago, while we were engaged in […]

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Sweet Kisses

Fifty years ago, when my father went to visit a farm neighbor dying of cancer, he heard him howling with pain the moment he entered our little hometown hospital. I was born in that hospital. When we were in high school, a close friend of mine died in that hospital. Three of our four children were born in that hospital. In that hospital, my appendix was removed. My wife worked […]

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Christmas Dream

Christmas Dream

  Christmas Dream By the time we had finished unwrapping my father, we were all very old and yet for all that he still blinked and smiled and said,                   “We need more wood on the fire.” Songs and Letters, December 24, 2008

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Comfortable Assumptions

These entries, however poetic, abstract, direct, or imaginal they may be, also reflect my understanding of the science of the day. And that understanding, as extensive as it is, is really quite limited. It’s also full of comfortable assumptions, gaps, fictions, and inaccuracies. It is imaginal, abstract, direct, and poetic, like the interwoven fibers of a beloved old coat. Many years ago, my parents gave me a simple but beautiful […]

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Winter Light and the Old Royal

Winter Light and the Old Royal

Somewhere in the house — I can only guess where — there’s a sturdy flat box meant to hold a ream of paper, with a patterned lid that fits neatly over the bottom portion; this box contains a long story I wrote for adults who are children, and for children who are adults — a sort of Huck Finn lightly fictionalized family history set on the farm where my father […]

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Tea Stains and Powder Clouds

As I see it, when I remember something, a new version of the past is created, which, however much like the previous versions, is subtly altered by the very act of recall, along with whatever else has happened or not happened since the original was first made and lived. This is why, when I am suddenly confronted with hard evidence from bygone years, I will sometimes go into a kind […]

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My Old Black Sport Coat

Today is our eldest grandson’s eleventh birthday. This poem was written not long after he was born. The coat in question is a thirteen-dollar woolen thrift store affair. I bought it in 2001 to wear to a wedding. It was made in Hungary. I liked it so much, and it held up so well, that I wore it regularly for a good dozen years, until it finally gave out. But […]

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