William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Poverty’

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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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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