William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘The San Joaquin Valley’

Tenacious Fuzz

Out already for half an hour or so, the first person we met in the canyon early yesterday morning was a man we saw several days ago on the Perimeter Trail. Quiet, friendly, and about our age, he told us he retired last year, and that he hikes in the area about four times a week. With the stream rushing and the maples yellowing in the moss-moldy atmosphere recharged by […]

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Dry as Dust

A short dream: Without questioning its odd location, I realize that the bookshelf outside on our front step would be more useful inside. There are only a few books on it, while in the house there are enough scattered and stacked about to fill it and more. What strikes me most, though, is the near absence of dust. Why is there so much more dust on the other shelves inside, […]

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Apricots, Finches, Plums

Found early this morning, fallen from the tree: a very ripe, very sweet apricot — I know, because I ate it right after washing off the ants. The house finches prefer drinking from the shallow glass water dish that we have hanging from the fig tree. The main birdbath, it seems, is a little too large and too busy for them. After watering the barrels, planters, and pots behind the […]

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Cross My Heart

One hundred thirteen degrees. Yesterday afternoon, in the grass behind the house, we set a little sprinkler for the birds. It made a shallow lake in the shade. And out they came from the bushes, and down from the trees, children of the leaves. The tomatoes and peppers did not mind the heat. We protected the cucumbers with a sheet. We will again today. At four this morning it was […]

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Under Our Hats

I found an ancient pair of worn out jeans and cut them off a little above the knee. I’m wearing them now. I wore them early this morning while working barefoot in the garden and watering our assorted plantings and pots. Dirt, water, sun — childhood. We bought half a crate of strawberries yesterday. They’re called “Ruby June.” For whatever lucky reason, I’ve had more close-up meetings with birds. As […]

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Mint

I’ve started a new bed of mint between the apricot tree and the blueberry. It’s from the mint that grew on our old farm, behind my childhood home, where for a time near the edge of the bed there was a small, well-shaded hole in the ground, from which, in the cool of the evening, a fat toad would emerge for a meal and a peek through the mint at […]

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Around the Bend

A return to the Goose Lake trail, the bees humming, the chamomile deeper, the buttercups and blackberries in bloom. Barefoot for half a mile. While looking at our young cucumber plants, I was visited by a hummingbird, which paused in the air within three feet of me, long enough to say hello. Olive oil is the skin lotion I use. In my life I have planted one olive tree, which […]

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To the Wind

I used to hand her the wooden clothespins. I was too small to reach the line. And yet somehow, I could reach the sky. . To the Wind A poem of three taut lines, defined by his mother’s wash and her clean white sails Recently Banned Literature, April 16, 2014 . [ 1081 ]

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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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Remember Me

Another gentle bend in the road leading nowhere. . All things testify according to their natural, light-given truth: leaves, twigs, meadows, and birds, wild streams and errant tufts of fur, dry weeds whispering remember me, baked crust of aromatic earth. I nod to the mossy water conversing fortuitously in a ditch, push back my hat, scratch my head, wonder at the miracle of melted snow. I rub dirty hands on […]

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