William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘My Father’

At the Armenian Home

Even after his stroke and up to his death on January 6, 1990, at the age of ninety-three, my father’s father never did forget who we were. Many at the Armenian Home in Fresno, where he chose to spend the last few years of his life, weren’t as fortunate. This short poem was inspired by our visits there, and by the vineyards we used to pass on the way. “At […]

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Canvas 686 — A Growing Fool

Canvas 686 — May 5, 2016

  A Growing Fool On the rare occasions it was warranted, I was thrilled to wear a tie my father had long since banished to a far corner of the closet, so much out of style it was that it was a new style all its own, wide and long enough to serve as vest or bib, wild enough to please the choosiest of adolescent clowns. I had big shoes. […]

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Long Time Passing

For weeds in tight spots, I use an old folding grape knife we brought from the farm. It was given to my father back in the Seventies as an expression of thanks by a man for letting him work for a short time to meet a few immediate bills. If I remember correctly, his employment lasted two or three days, and was ended not by my father, but by the […]

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Piano Man

The printed certificate with ornamental border shows that I was born in 1956, on the twentieth day of the month of May, in the small town of Dinuba, in the county of Tulare, in the central part of the San Joaquin Valley of California, southeast of the much larger town of Fresno. The third of three sons, I was named William on the third day after my glorious Sunday afternoon […]

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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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