William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Smoke’

Autumn Fires

Can you imagine standing on your bare feet in dewy grass, and still thinking you must search for the truth? Sept 21, 2021 . Autumn Fires On the sidewalk after coffee, my dead father appears long enough to inhale the smoke rising from my friend’s freshly lit cigarette. The three of us smile, say nothing. Recently Banned Literature, November 12, 2009 . [ 1234 ]

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The Patience of Ferns

Four miles of dusty trails, with side trips down to what is now a very low-running stream. No clouds, no fog, no mist, no smoke. Far off, on the other side of the canyon, the great echoing voice of a raven. The talk now is of rain, and the patience of ferns. Bare feet. Thirty-nine degrees. Even in drought, we outlive our own death. September 16, 2021 . [ 1229 […]

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A Way of Life

Imagine a race of beings so in love with themselves, so jaded, so steeped in their bitterness, that they choose daily to revel in their own righteous filth. Impossible, of course. Yellowed cottonwood leaves on the trail. The trees shudder to think. Gray skies all day without a hint of blue, the smoke pushed east again for a time. Broken green husks of walnuts on the steps. Squirrels, or birds? […]

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Smoke in the Canyon

How proud we are of the useless nonsense recorded in our brains — jingles, slogans, brands, styles, and trivia of every kind — none of which truly enriches our lives or helps us survive. That these things have replaced a dependable catalog of natural wonders, such as bird song, the habits of insects, and the subtle changes in our environment and signs in the weather, is a sad commentary on […]

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What They Are Saying

It was very calm and quiet out, clear and cool, a lovely morning. I had placed our old ten-foot orchard ladder in the narrow gap between the fig tree and the little shed near the back fence. For the moment, my back was to the ladder. From behind me, very near, I heard the voice of a nuthatch. I turned around. Not three feet away, looking directly at me from […]

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Shall I Tell You of My Former Life?

Slow verse, dry stones, the river shows her age. Kind nurse, soft tones, her smile full of maple leaves. August 20, 2021 . Shall I Tell You of My Former Life? Shall I tell you of my former life? It happens in the strangest way, today, not yesterday, before tomorrow begins, and where my new life ends, over, and yet over, again. Like smoke, it rides the wind, and as […]

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Thinking of You Out There

Ripening grapes, the first crickets, and a few dry leaves. Light. Dark. Tired in the way of a warning. August 6, 2021 . Thinking of You Out There Thinking of you out there, deep in the dry grass and summer smoke, steady as a blind-cricket time-piece; how want is a dry well, and truth the tale of windmill blades. Recently Banned Literature, July 10, 2014 . [ 1189 ]

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Crazy Old Widow

Over the rise, past the cemetery, through the orange grove in bloom, on the Sunday morning side of the barn, the old rusted car your uncle drove, weeds through the floor board, cracks in the wheel knob, heaven’s own smell, the slowest kind of smoke. “Heaven’s Own Smell” Recently Banned Literature, May 21, 2014 . Crazy Old Widow The crazy old widow keeps a vineyard of gnarled old men arms […]

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Smoke and Quicksand

Yesterday afternoon, after reading several chapters of Nella Larsen’s novel, Quicksand, I had put the book aside to rest my eyes when a question came to mind: how long, I wondered, has it been since I would rather be doing something else? As I thought about this, the days, weeks, and months of my strange quiet life quickly gave way to years — so it is, at least, that long. […]

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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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