William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Oregon’

Gray October

Our garden space is small, but this year we were still able to give away dozens and dozens of cucumbers and many baskets of cherry tomatoes. Now the garden is on the wane, with a tomato here, a cucumber there, and as many sunflower seeds as the birds can hold and the squirrels can tuck away. Whole heads, their spiny necks broken, jays squawking, squirrels chattering and scolding — we […]

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Neskowin

When the tide is out, one can see the barnacled stumps of an ancient ghost forest on the beach at Neskowin, one of several along the Oregon coast. Seen through the mist, the trees look like spirits — part wood, part rock, part man. They are Sitka spruce, and carbon dating has revealed their age to be around two thousand years. Our feet bare, we walked the beach for about […]

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Mortality: Three Short Poems

The rain isn’t falling in huge amounts, but there’s enough of it every day to keep things glistening and drenched. There are piles of ice storm debris to attend to, but getting to them leaves deep footprints, where miniature lakes form, not in the shape of Italy’s boot, but in Oregon’s mud-and-moss-encrusted hiking shoe. And so that work waits — or, rather, the worker waits, while the debris does what […]

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Copper Rain

More than halfway through, I’m not quite sure how I feel about George Schuyler’s satirical novel, Black No More. It’s certainly not without humor, and not without a large measure of truth. In the clever guise of science fiction, it is, in effect, a witty, sharply drawn editorial cartoon on American race relations. That I find the bitter edge of its caricature unappealing, says as much about me as it […]

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Smoke and Quicksand

Yesterday afternoon, after reading several chapters of Nella Larsen’s novel, Quicksand, I had put the book aside to rest my eyes when a question came to mind: how long, I wondered, has it been since I would rather be doing something else? As I thought about this, the days, weeks, and months of my strange quiet life quickly gave way to years — so it is, at least, that long. […]

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Naked in the Realm

The air was so fresh and clean yesterday, so perfectly scented with subtle fall fragrance, the edges of the clouds so beautifully crisp and defined, that one would think there had never been a fire in Oregon, or that nearby there are fires burning still. And now, borne by the southwest wind, rain approaches. In the afternoon I took out our tired old tomato plants; the cherry tomatoes, though, I […]

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A Feather on the Scale

We’re told this morning that more than 900,000 acres of Oregon’s forests have been burned or are in the process of burning. We’re also told that ten percent of the state’s population has been evacuated to safer areas. The valley we live in is dense with smoke. The air quality readings are well into and beyond what is deemed hazardous. Yesterday evening our youngest son brought us two air purifiers […]

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