William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Poverty’

Acorns and Oaks

I ran before five yesterday morning in a driving wind and rain. The only person I met was a very large skunk, which was crossing the road in front of me when it stopped briefly at the sound of my footsteps, then scurried on. It ran along the edge of the opposite sidewalk for a distance of about a hundred feet before taking cover in some bushes. The rain was […]

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For Your Own Sake

Men seek wisdom, sunflower sprouts spring from the warming soil. * Rich or poor, for your own sake, ask yourself what you would do if money weren’t a concern. * Love is the sound the shovel makes. * Birch clock: the dead branch, the singing bird. * Cedar clock: the low branch, the rope swing. * Old or young, ask yourself what you would do if time weren’t a concern. […]

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Cracks in the Sidewalk

In light of our ancient, wild heritage, it’s interesting that we imprison ourselves in flat, stale, climate-controlled boxes filled with every convenience, where we grow sicker and weaker with each passing year. We’d be better off climbing on the counter than cleaning it, swinging from the chandelier, and chattering from atop the nightstand and dining table. Such precision. Such order. Such safety. Such security. Teams of professionals trimming our bushes […]

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Poetry Saves Lives

Let us say, for the moment, that poetry saves lives. Then, let us imagine a world in which only those who can afford to pay for it, are able to go on living. Meanwhile, old people and young, children and in between, are dying everywhere — all for the want of poetry. Some will shrug and say, That is the way of the world. And others will say, It’s only […]

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Feathers and Dust

When once we see everything is a flower — from wayward child to walnut shell, changing sky to ancient, mottled hand — we understand that no measurement or value can express the shimmering grace of this world. Life is so fine and so rare, it cannot be fathomed by means of comparison, or appreciated on such narrow, limiting terms. Just as there is profound strength in the whole, the individual […]

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Loose Ends

When I was born, I was given a genocide. I was also given a dear dead uncle who had killed, and been killed, in war. I was given simplicity, poverty, hunger, and joy. I was given anger and disappointment. I was given pride and competition. I was given physical and psychological pain. I was given fear. I was given honesty. I was given laughter. I was given play. I grew […]

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Resting on the Rim

Insects, resting on the rim of a wide blue flowerpot; a bird, eating them one by one; each is acting according to its need, until the need is no more. No greed, no poverty, no depleted resources; no waste, no alleys lined with overflowing garbage cans. Good fortune: in times of plenty, all are filled; when times are lean, all are lean. Gratitude: to be here now, in joy and […]

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Grief’s Exile

Our family library contains more than books. It contains cousins, uncles, and a wealth of secret, sacred knowledge which would be comical to some, useless to most, and inspiring, if not dangerous, to eager, impressionable young minds. For it was this knowledge, embodied in these living examples, that made me want to be a writer long before I knew the real meaning of the word. Dangerous? Oh, yes, when one […]

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James Joyce Singing

James Joyce is an experience. I’ve read him in English. I’ve read him in Gibberish. I’ve even read him in Armenian. In Finnegans Wake he made use of sixty languages. I read the entire work aloud. I did the same with Ulysses. I’ve been in Jerusalem. I’ve been in Paris. But my tongue has really been around. . James Joyce Singing Like his wife, I can only understand him when […]

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A Bird in the Hand

I often rhyme without meaning to. On the bright side, though, I am not a senator. . A Bird in the Hand How many juncos must there be, that we always have our generous share? How many scrub-jays, chickadees, and crows? They are everywhere, from breathless dawn to chilly dusk. They make shadows of memory, soft gray mist of thought. They do not mind our ways, our windows and our […]

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