William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘My Father’

Main Street

I remember from my boyhood a man in the old hometown who had survived a tragic car accident, and whose face was disfigured beyond recognition, having been reconstructed by the doctors into a featureless, expressionless mask. In the barbershop one day, the first time I saw him, I watched from my place high in the third chair as he entered and exchanged friendly greetings with several men waiting who apparently […]

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The Old Road

One Hand Clapping February 2004

Who knows why, but this morning I find myself thinking about jackrabbits, vineyards, and dust. These are but a few significant emblems of my childhood, which, rather than ending, gradually became the insanity I labor under today. Polliwogs, crawdads, slow-moving mossy water. The sound of our tractor in the distance, the tractor and my father pursued by a cloud of blackbirds looking for bugs, seeds, and worms. As I look […]

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My Father Walking, and Twenty-Four Other Things

It occurred to me recently that I walked more than a thousand miles in the immediate neighborhood during the past year, and several hundred more on state park trails — in terms of sheer distance, roughly halfway across the continent. This is hardly a profound realization. But though it was made in small increments, the journey itself was far from mundane. And a journey it remains. Another year and I […]

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My Father’s Shoes

My Father's Shoes

I will never consider myself educated; the idea is laughable; and if the time ever comes that I honestly can, it will likely be too late to serve much purpose. As it is, I’m not even sure I know what I know, my life being the dream that it is. I confess a school boy’s understanding of the alphabet; and I’m fairly certain that if I go at it slowly […]

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Shadows on the Sidewalk

For sidewalk, Walt Whitman liked to use the word trottoir. Offhand, I can think of no other nineteenth century American writer who did so — this, of course, based on my faulty memory and limited reading. Word choice aside, one thing I’m noticing this time through his Specimen Days, is that buildings and trains are every bit as alive to him as oaks and sparrows — indeed, in his poetic […]

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When I Stand

Closing out this quiet round of winter record-keeping, the present offering follows “So Many Angels” and “Between the Ivy and the Big Rhododendron.” I wonder what the old cemetery looks like now, and if it remembers me. A crazy question, I guess. Of course it does.   When I Stand When I stand, I marvel at the almost-feeling where my appendix used to be. It’s as if its ancient forgotten […]

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A Thimbleful of Ash

My mother writing Christmas cards, late into the night. The darkest time. The greatest light. December 6, 2019   A Thimbleful of Ash If you don’t eat your supper, Santa won’t visit us tonight. All the cookies will go to waste, the cards, the toys, the bows. A fire in the fireplace. The front door left unlocked. Somehow, Santa knows. On the porch, a stack of wood. Long lives, a […]

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A Sturdy Leaf

Memory’s a sturdy leaf — sycamore, say, or valley oak, placed beneath a sheet of grade school paper fleck’d and grain’d, and a crayon in your hand — rubb’d across its ribs and veins, it surfaces in your chosen color — and all you love begins again — father, mother, supper table, open kitchen window — and somewhere, off in the distance, carry’d nigh by the divine providence of dust […]

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If this is the letter O,
I can only wonder about the rest of the alphabet,
and what brings on these spells.

The Letter O — August 26, 2019

The Letter O — August 26, 2019

In a Vast White Space

A little boy, with a little apple and sticky hands,
busy the spirits about him, busy the wind,
many the voices, solemn, joyous,

in a vast white space,
written in plain white words,
a white ball chased by a wide white hound,

an alphabet of snow,

and you, with your funny little arrows,
ink-tipped, turned upon yourself,

in a vast white space, an apple,
turning red.

Recently Banned Literature, June 2, 2014

(written on the nineteenth anniversary of my father’s death)

The Letter O — In a Vast White Space

Scene from a Recurring Childhood

If my age is equivalent to the number of times the earth has traveled around the sun since I was born, how old would I be if I lived on another planet, or in another galaxy, or in another universe altogether? And isn’t this what I already do? The degree to which I resist things as they are — that might be a more accurate rendering of my age. The […]

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