William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Poetry’

Sweet Blue Smoke

Let me tell you, it’s no easy thing coaxing these out of the brambles. You’d believe me, if you could see the blood on my arms, and the thorns.   Sweet Blue Smoke Now, let’s say you aren’t here, and that what’s happening to you is what’s happening to everyone, and that they aren’t here either, and that this is togetherness, and that togetherness is another word for solitude, and […]

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No Tobacco

I clench the pipe between my teeth. No tobacco. I think about a trip to the store, the fine aroma of a newly opened pouch. But I don’t get up. Instead, I light an imagined match with the flick of a nail, pretending it’s my thumb, and then I puff and inhale, puff… and… inhale. The store is a little place on the corner in an undiscovered country. There’s a […]

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Street Scene

A beggar with a wide flat back, bent to tie what’s left of his shoes, laces foul, nails gone, smelling for all the world like human rust, and I, a lamp post anchored to this spot, painted like a song to resemble steel, desperately in need of hands. Poems, Slightly Used, October 10, 2010   [ 72 ]

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To open a watermelon, we must first choose a place for the door. Remember: there will be no handle, no lock, no bell — only light, and a thumping sound sure to call children — a split and a crack like a limb or a shack weighted with ice in the winter. Out back is the mind. Leave it behind. This is no time for thinking. And what do we […]

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I, Leonardo, have but one more thing to say:
no day is just as you imagine — no world, no man,
no mortal lump of clay. Life is a blind wind
that devours words and bones. It is a fervent hope,
the breath of breath itself, a poison that is
its antidote. Flesh of my flesh, child of my child,
learn this song and sing it well. We are orphans
on this road. Our triumph is to be alone.

“I, Leonardo”
Songs and Letters, September 30, 2006
Another Song I Know, Cosmopsis Books, 2007

Canvas 178

Canvas 178


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Canvas 178 — I, Leonardo


Dawn, n. 1. In summer, the time when one side of a tree is awake, the other side asleep. Some say enlightenment begins this way, then spreads, leaf by leaf by leaf. In winter, when the branches of many trees are bare, they resemble the open arms of loved ones; in spring, belief; in autumn, secrets kept for years. 2. An uncanny explanation of the night. 3. That which follows […]

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The Painting of You

Every now and then, I like to remind people that I’m well aware that by publishing my efforts, I’m really charting my decline. It’s intended as a statement of humor and truth. I don’t fear losing my mind, but maybe I should. It is going. But in which direction? Is it strengthening and gathering force? I’m healthier now physically than when my books were written. I’m also older, grayer, and […]

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He Took the Morning in His Hands

He took the morning in his hands and said it was an orange. I’d never seen one peeled that way. He offered me a slice of daylight. I remember the way it felt on my tongue. Papa, I said, Tell me, Is this really the sun? He laughed. Yes, he said, As long As we’re young. He peeled it up. He peeled it down. He peeled a house. He peeled […]

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What Others See

There’s one thing I’ve become convinced of over the years: we are all angels, and we are all mirrors.   What Others See Somewhere, in a fairy tale beside a dream, there is a boy who swallows a firefly, and a girl with seven knees. Beautiful knees her jealous mother tries to hide. The firefly lives inside the boy, makes his hair and fingers glow. The boy and girl meet: I […]

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