William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Trains’

Foolish Questions

On the tracks to the east, a train’s heading north. A long train. North through the fog, beneath a full moon. The moon that kept us up most of the night. Light in the room. Light between the closed blinds. But it’s the silence up there that I wonder about. I can’t help thinking how strong the moon must be. Is that why it’s round? To keep it from being […]

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How, of a Morninge

Goose Lake. A dense fog, the cottonwoods dripping, the oaks, the cherries, the brambles, the berries. For the first time in a year we are able to walk to the water’s edge. This end of the lake is very shallow and full of decaying lilies, between which can be seen the mossy bottom just inches below. Quiet. Few birds are out, and none are chattering or calling from the immediate […]

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Revival

Sometimes, as I sit here writing in the dark, I feel as if my hands belong to someone else working just beyond the veil — a parallel realm in which objects roam free of any given meaning, and the sound of a passing train — I hear it now — is that someone’s remembered childhood. “Arrival” Poems, Slightly Used, February 18, 2010 . Revival . . . and now / […]

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Long Gray Train (I Pay the Porter)

I woke up in the middle of the night needing a sip of water. I walked down the hall, and as I passed through the dark sitting room, a sentence sprang to mind, or the beginning of a sentence — a phrase, a breath, a sound, a combination of sounds — a powerful suggestion, insistent, dreamlike, meaningful, profound, but I didn’t have the focus to pick up a pen and […]

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Last Rites

Each silence has its corresponding sound, and the other way around. The bird, the bee, the softly falling gown. The words by which they’re known. The waiting train, the one insane, the cricket, and the temple bell. The gentle rhyme, the end of time, the thing that makes you smile now. . [ 845 ]

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And the Answer Is

Rain, enough to thrill the garden, but not to silence the scent of the grass seed fields. The delicate maples, red and green. The same towhee, in the same tree, sure each sentence must end differently. Flicker with an earth-brown beak, probing, searching, finding, swallowing. Little boy with a wet new bike, testing its frame against the curb, feeling the vibration in his bones. Funny how some words end up […]

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Four Old Canvases

Four Old Canvases — March 10, 2011

I see myself rattling along sleeplessly in a train at night, through unnamed towns and across the wide prairie, alone in my compartment with a large battered trunk full of canvases. I’m on my way to a one-man show in New York. When I arrive and step out on the platform, someone informs me, in an astonished whisper, “New York, sir. It’s gone. Something happened to it, and we’re trying […]

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Wealth

It took the whole day yesterday to change — one word. What patience they both had! — and not a shred of jealousy. You first — It’s not my turn — Are you sure? I held the door — the train — left — the station. How lonely the platform! — the night — concurred. February 4, 2020   Wealth n. so little there’s nothing left that wasn’t here before […]

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Shadows on the Sidewalk

For sidewalk, Walt Whitman liked to use the word trottoir. Offhand, I can think of no other nineteenth century American writer who did so — this, of course, based on my faulty memory and limited reading. Word choice aside, one thing I’m noticing this time through his Specimen Days, is that buildings and trains are every bit as alive to him as oaks and sparrows — indeed, in his poetic […]

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