William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Reading’

With Or Without Us

Three vultures atop a dead tree at the edge of Goose Lake. The water has receded; the surface is crowded again with lilies. Around the edge, a dense colony of Sagittaria latifolia, the potato-like tubers of which, according to Lewis and Clark, were prized by the natives and filled their canoes during their watery harvest. Wapato. In bloom and attracting bees on the main trail, the fuzzy pink spikes of […]

Continue Reading →

How Do You Hold It?

Five in the morning. Seventy degrees. A light dew. Is there a way to separate memory from smell? It seems one is dry grass, and the other is ripening fruit. Shall we ask the toes? Is there anything they do not know? Early morning watering. The humans are expecting temperatures today as high as one hundred seven degrees. The plants, though, show no sign of concern. Which should we believe? […]

Continue Reading →

Death Sentence

A poem of a sentence from Emerson’s journal, written 19 June, 1838: A young lady came here whose face was a blur & gave the eye no repose. The story behind it? Gone. Or is it still to be written? Mass shooting. I wonder how old I was when I first heard or read that term. No matter — now it is commonly used in plural form. It was certainly […]

Continue Reading →

A Book and Boy

The first verse is a faithful telling of something that happened which my eldest grandson has likely forgotten, and which I had forgotten too, until I rediscovered the poem. The verses that follow are still happening. . A Book and Boy A book and boy in his lap, a farmer tellshis grandson how a big combine cuts the wheat,and loaves of fresh-baked bread come outthe other end. They compare hands. […]

Continue Reading →

How Your Speech

After some time away, I’ve drifted back into Emerson’s journal, where, after reading for a while today, I found myself on Page 590 of the first volume of the two-volume Library of America edition. This time around, the searching sweetness of his observations makes me feel like a butterfly or hummingbird; his hesitations, confessions, and insights are flowers. It’s a springtime, summertime reading. Our grapes are in bloom. After losing […]

Continue Reading →

Someday

In the evening, the lilac scent. When dry, the cones on the pine were open and appeared ready to fall. A little rain, though, and they have changed their minds. Now their upper halves are closed — not tightly, as when they are green, but enough to demonstrate their connection to the tree. While standing near the lilac behind the house this morning, I was visited by a little wren, […]

Continue Reading →

Canvas 380 — Wild Out, Wild In

You’re reading about a storm during a storm, and then, shivering, you look up. Much to your surprise, you find the trees calm, the street quiet, and the lamplight unwavering. You look back at your book: a mute brick: ink: paper: binding. You decide to rest your eyes. You close them. Here it is again! Here comes the wind! It’s wild out. It’s wild in. And it only ends when […]

Continue Reading →

Reading Weather

The reading ebbs and flows. Lately it has slowed to a crawl. Or maybe it goes on by itself while the reader is otherwise occupied — except that the reader often is not occupied at all. In fact, the reader’s presence should not be assumed, although his body may be, for it serves as a kind of bookmark in the story that is the reader’s life. A great many stories […]

Continue Reading →

Religio Medici

In the latter pages of his Religio Medici, Sir Thomas Browne mentions in passing that in addition to several regional dialects, he knows six languages. He does not write so to impress; it strikes me more as an expression of his generous, liberal nature: he sees himself not as the center of the universe as it was then known and understood, but as a fortunate participant in everything it has […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →