William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Wildfires’

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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Tell Me

Smoke. But we have windows. Through and between smudges and spots, we view a tiny part of the world. Mystery. But we have knowledge. Through and between fear and belief, we view a tiny part of ourselves. September 8, 2021 . Tell Me If you cannot see the beauty, in your beard, in your body, in the brevity, abundance, or absence, of your own tender breasts; the down, or the […]

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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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Ocean, Boat, Sail

Fresh air and a bright blue sky, with just a few thin white clouds arranging and rearranging themselves, all as if there were no fires in the West, or, for that matter, no trouble, land or sea, anywhere in the world. Out of this there comes the loud scolding voice of a crow in close pursuit of a smaller hawk, the birds matching speeds high above the treetops and rapidly […]

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Drought

Grass fires. Forest fires. Climate change. Drought. A neighbor decides he does not like his wise old fir. He cuts it down. Grinds the stump. Pours concrete. Complains about his electricity bill. June 21, 2021 . Drought Laughter in the well. Granddad, you come out of there. Buried him that very same year. Songs and Letters, January 30, 2009 . [ 1141 ]

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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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Naked in the Realm

The air was so fresh and clean yesterday, so perfectly scented with subtle fall fragrance, the edges of the clouds so beautifully crisp and defined, that one would think there had never been a fire in Oregon, or that nearby there are fires burning still. And now, borne by the southwest wind, rain approaches. In the afternoon I took out our tired old tomato plants; the cherry tomatoes, though, I […]

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