William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘My Grandfather’

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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Between Rides

Would I rather be peeled like an onion, opened like a pomegranate, or eaten like a fig? The answer changes from day to day. And yet if you were to ask me now, this moment, I would say all three. Or I might be a walnut, whose heart is exposed with the breaking of day. My grandfather had a pecan tree. The jays would pick up the nuts, and then […]

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The Long Way to Goose Lake

The long way to Goose Lake on a bright frosty morning, birds in the sun over a field of stubble. Or is it your grandfather’s face? Yes, it is, he has returned. No, he hasn’t, he never departed. Yes, you are in his lap and you feel his warmth. And the birds are his thoughts, they are everything he remembers, they are songs of old times never quite ended, only […]

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Long Story Short

William Michaelian, No Time to Cut My Hair

These days, my hair and beard are long — depending on the light, home to an early winter, or to all four seasons at once, like one of Gramp’s old work shirts, blossom, grape, earth, leaf, frost. I practice simple daily cleanliness, wear clothes to match, and which require almost no closet space. And so I wonder — is my natural unadorned appearance a public invitation to set aside what’s […]

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Papa, 1908

Papa, 1908

 

This is my father’s father, from a large photo-portrait taken when he was twelve, about two years after his arrival in this country. Since to a surprising degree this picture shows the way I think, I might attempt more of these strange collages.

Penny Thoughts and Photographs, August 6, 2009

Papa, 1908

The Poem I Wrote Is Glad It Missed the Train

The poems grouped here were written in a nine-day period near the close of 2007 and comprise the whole of Volume 17 of Songs and Letters. To me, each word they contain is a kind of love letter. Is it any wonder, then, that, by the very act of reading them, I imagine you tying a ribbon around the whole sweet bundle?     The Oldest Poem The oldest poem, […]

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Two Dreams

October 28, 2010 A child’s doll has died. At his request, I ask his mother for permission to conduct a funeral service in a language no one understands. This she grants. The doll is in a shoe box, beneath a fastened lid. Sunlight finds us in the street outside. A lone trumpet: inside the box, the doll begins to sing.   December 21, 2010 My grandfather, alive again and in […]

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