William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Poverty’

Water, Clear and Cold

The celebration of rain is past. The wind has changed. A great part of the moisture has been reclaimed by the sky gods. The air is smoky again. But it is not as smoky as before, at least here at ground level. Instead, there is a high haze thick enough to keep the sunny fall days several degrees cooler than they would be. One can feel the smoke. The robins […]

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On the Precipice

Little by little, the ocean is breathing life into the valley. The air is still dangerous to breathe, but now it contains far more moisture, which is helping to slow the spread of the fires. Yesterday afternoon, there was a lot more bird and squirrel activity — the birds bathing, splashing, and scratching for seeds and worms, the squirrels with nuts in their mouths, scurrying along the fence tops. Humans […]

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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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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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Fire and Rain

The bees are busy in the wilderness. The blue star creeper is thriving, and has covered a wide swath of the west-facing slope. The red and white clovers are in bloom. Also in bloom are numerous dandelions, their long stems nodding in the breeze, each with a tiny sun affixed. Interspersed are some soft flowering grasses about a foot high. Hugging the ground are oxalis; spurge; purslane; creeping jenny; moss. […]

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Image and Line

Canvas 595 — December 4, 2015

The autumn that began so early and that was so promising in terms of rain, has given way to a stagnant winter, even before winter has quite arrived. This morning, every molecule of vehicle exhaust hangs low in the street, held in place by fog. Wood smoke is a relief tantamount to fresh air. Inside, at least, one is able to mask the pollution with the scent of simple home […]

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Windfall

When one lives a simple life, is there a need to impose order? Doesn’t disorder arise from wanting what isn’t needed, and by following what’s traditionally accepted as the right way of doing things — doing what we are expected to do, buying what we are expected to buy, believing what we are expected to believe — without examining their wide-ranging, murderous implications? Observe an angry, disordered household, and see […]

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Poor Man’s Song

I have had my taste of country life, and of city life too. I have begged on my knees at the well, and my poor numb feet have known the pavement grain by grain. In each kind of life I have found an intimacy that gladdens every curse, and thwarts the common misconceptions. Each helps explain the other. The old graveyard that is surrounded by houses now, once stood alone […]

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Tomorrow

Do my hands have lives of their own? I watch them setting out vegetable plants, and marvel at their confidence. The plants know they have nothing to fear, do not cease even for a moment their eager communications with the sun. My fingers are intuitive miniature plows. I might have been a barber. I visited a barber college once, with the thought that I might learn to ply that trade. […]

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