William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Poverty’

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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As It Is Written

I have pruned orchards, and rows and rows of vines. Mud on the ladder, frost on the ground. This makes me different somehow. Cold toes. Orange peels. The bright fur coats of faithful hounds. Now my pen has wooden handles, with a blade at the end. In the fog, its voice makes the strangest sound. November 29, 2020 . As It Is Written After a long day’s work, the writer […]

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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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