William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Politics’

In Session

Around Salem, the size and number of homeless encampments have grown dramatically, and of late, with winter coming on, the process has accelerated. Homeless people appear now in places they were rarely or never seen before — in neighborhoods, walking along quiet roadsides, watching, resting, and waiting in the relative safety and privacy of brambles and brush and small stands of trees. Where there is one makeshift tent, others soon […]

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Prune, Persimmon, Plum Bun

This afternoon I swept the walk, the driveway, and the moss-covered patio area behind the house, which was buried in dry, frosted birch leaves. Then I ate two dates, two prunes, a piece of dried mango, and a fresh ripe persimmon. Lately I have had to delete several telephone messages, in which were the recorded voices of people telling us in ignorant, angry tones how we should vote. One man […]

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Flames

Another Library of America book purchase: William Wells Brown: Clotel and Other Writings. Violence at Oregon’s state capitol — flags, baseball bats, guns. Only humans are intelligent enough to express themselves in this manner. High winds from the east. Smoke and ash. Fires raging in the Cascades. Widespread evacuations. Windows closed against the elements. Early morning. Here in the dark, one thinks of the birds. The cricket in the rhododendron […]

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And Meet Here an Angel

Up at three-thirty, for no particular reason, other than, like an oft-reheated meal, the sleeper was done, and then some. But the night joys are great ones, with dawn coming on. Dawn, the grand assumption. It is a cricket-morning, the first of the late-summer, early-fall season. Crickets cast no votes. They do not need mail boxes or polling places. They have no gerrymandered districts. They have rhythm and purpose. They […]

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Fool’s Gold

Is there a problem that’s not more readily, fully understood after setting aside the ego? And when a problem is understood, is it still a problem? Even the much-respected word solved is an obstacle. One solves many problems during the course of a lifetime, only to find that the so-called solutions spawn new, more complicated problems. Complication is the opposite of understanding: first there’s one problem, then there are three, […]

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One More Cherry Blossom Poem

Death, or politics? Politics have neither death’s dignity nor purpose; and they lack death’s sublime, optimistic future; for after death, that which is once said to have been living, goes on living in myriad forms and ways; whereas politics are an accumulation of toxic waste matter that is dangerous to all living things. That politics often cause death, is reason enough to set them aside. Why sacrifice my precious energy […]

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Letters, Journals, and Poems

This afternoon I finished reading the third volume of Thoreau’s journal — the third of fourteen, as published in 1906 by Houghton Mifflin and Company. And I am set to begin The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, after reading the introduction for the fourth or fifth time early this morning. As with Whitman, I continue my habit of reading aloud — except in the case of The Letters of Henry […]

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Long Island Line

In the form of his complete poetry and prose, Walt Whitman has been a daily companion of mine for the last three months. Today I opened and closed the uncommon-common book of his life for the last time — but not, if I am granted the necessary health and a similar span of years, for ever or for all time. Clearly, there is much about our time that would not […]

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Trade Policy

The symbol strikes me every time I see him — the homeless man with his hand out, under the light at the corner of Commercial and Division. December 22, 2019   Trade Policy If I have something you need and more of it than I can use; and if you have something I need and more of it than you can use; then let us simply give the excess to […]

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I Love the Flower Girl

Politics is a filthy sponge. Do you want it in your sink? Do you want it in your mind? Yesterday evening, after two warm days, a cleansing ocean wind rushed into the valley once again. This morning the air is sweet and still. And I sense something else, which makes me say these words aloud: autumnal understanding. If I do not return your wave, is the loss not mine? For […]

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