William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Poetry’

To French Vanilla and All the Other Flavors

Someday, perhaps, the unhappiest and most destructive of our kind will simply be loved by the rest of us into grace — caressed, as it were, by the whole human race. Now, look at the face. Look, and then ask yourself: Am I willing to love? Or am I above such tragic disgrace? And: If I am above, how came I to be so unlike the truth I proclaim — […]

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When I see ignorance in a face, or anxiety, or arrogance, or fear,
I see the road that brought me here.

When I see compassion, grace, and love,
I see sweet rain on distant fields. I see where I was born.

When I see my fingers on the keys of this strange machine,
I see an entire species on the precipice of itself.

Canvas 1,132 — January 12, 2018

Canvas 1,132 — January 12, 2018

 

Less a Tightrope Walker

Less a tightrope walker or juggler, more a snowflake or butterfly.

And then, when you least expect it, a man, in a grave, at the end.

That’s when his bones dance without help from his skin.

Don’t think it sad. Be a friend. Look in.

And don’t think me mad, if that’s what I am.

Think me flower, or ball, or pin.

Think me weightless.

Or melting.

Yes. Think of me then.

Recently Banned Literature, January 12, 2017

Canvas 1,132 — Less a Tightrope Walker

The Door Swings In, The Door Swings Out

We had been away from the falls for several weeks. But when we returned to find them recharged by the rain, it was like a meeting of old friends, the kind of gathering one sees in the brick coffeehouses downtown, where tables are pushed together and chairs have coats draped over them like the ferns and moss that cling to the bare maples and line the canyon walls. Mist everywhere. […]

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Winter Work

Book by book I go, dusting, cleaning, reading, examining, inhaling, arranging. A library is a strange, quiet joy. It is good fortune, and in these times, when ignorance is vaunted, heralded, and prized, it is a reminder that wisdom and sanity are still alive in the world. And then when the rain stops, I put on even older clothes and go out and prune the fig tree, which, over the […]

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Definitions

In Recently Banned Literature, there was a department I called Definitions. Written about a year and a half apart yet clearly related, “Life, A Funny” and “Hurry” are two brief entries from that odd between-the-ears dictionary I fall back on to make up for Webster’s occasional gaps and misunderstandings, while revealing my own.   Life, A Funny Life? A funny kind of bark, on a funny kind of tree, and a […]

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Haiku Shoes

While cleaning up after a recent windstorm that pelted us with cones and buried us in branches, I noticed signs of life in the iris bed behind the house — lush green moss, rotting mushrooms, and something else.   Haiku Shoes Sprouting irises — someone’s muddy footprints led me here. Poems, Slightly Used, March 19, 2009

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Shepherd’s Song

Love, if I must speak, let me be brief, for the birds are singing. And Love said, Each to his joy, his grief, his responsibility — not as tyrant, or teacher, but as melody.   Shepherd’s Song Your hour, my century, said the mountain. Your stone, my grief, said the man. Your words, my longing, said the wind. Poems, Slightly Used, January 16, 2010

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Dream

I love the droughts in writing, the minutes that seem like hours, the deserts and barren fields, the dust bowls, the great depressions, the jalopies abandoned by the road like these hobo wayward notes. I love raindrops that take years to fall and then land acres apart, if they land at all. I love the peace of a dry well, the coyote’s howl, free for the taking.   Dream The […]

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As I Recall

A few days ago, a red-tailed hawk swooped past the window and landed in the small bare maple opposite the front door. Not a very large bird, it was still too big for its chosen perch. With each move it made, it was poked and brushed by twigs. Finally it braved the maze and dropped to the ground. After investigating the muddy dahlia bed, it flew off across the driveway […]

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Tell Me, Grandfather

We sit down, we go to work, the work turns out to be play. We stand up, we go out, we face the day.   Tell Me, Grandfather Somewhere, long ago, a village, a woman, a broom. Here, now, this road, this hunger, this sweet-ripe orange. But . . . is there no dragon? Yes, there is, if you wish. And a bottomless well. Does the dragon fall into the […]

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