William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Trains’

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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You Think You Know Yourself

The assumption that it’s difficult is what makes it so. But then, so does any assumption at all.   You Think You Know Yourself You think you know yourself — then comes a word, a phrase, a night, a moon, an oak in rust on a time-worn hill, leaves, twigs, and cloud-debris, horseless riders faceless until they swing right in front of you — did you dream them or did […]

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Morning Sounds

More often than not, when writing the first words of the day, I feel I’m returning from a long absence or great distance. Maybe I am. Each sound is a powerful summons. The tables and chairs have grown roots. And the house — is it moving? Am I at sea?   Morning Sounds When their horns echo in the mist, I’m half-convinced the trains have turned to ships. I go […]

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Early Morning, Waiting for a Train

We waited a lifetime, as I recall. And as I know now, the rich tragedies I’ve imagined for others have really been my own.   Early Morning, Waiting for a Train A year ago I turned the page, ripe it was, a field of poor man’s cotton marred by weak spots short of meaning, nut grass, gopher mounds, and swales, tire tracks on the boundary trail made in last year’s […]

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