William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

The dry grass of my ambition has a beauty all its own.

All the more so with the fences down.

And the graveyard overgrown.

William Michaelian 1988

Portland, Oregon — December 1988

Before Me, the Past

Before me, the past speeds ahead.
It arrives, I know not when.

Behind me, the future is silent.
It knows that I am dead.

Pity, there is no grief in starlight.
Mercy, cries for the unborn.

Duty, is a failed science.
Love, walks alone.

You show me a sign.
A bright, fathomless smile.

As if there were, anything.
As if we were, real.

As if, rainbows give birth to children.
And they do: rainbows, and strawberries.

Fallen angels, white as any snowflake.
Black as an eye in a song.

Blue, as when light returns.
Green, because everything is so damn silly.

Honeyed as any flower.
Or as the scent and color of skin.

Intimate, as graveyard stone.
Whispers, with cold gray fingertips.

Wet shoes: where have I been?
And how did you find me?

A siren in a cityscape.
Moonlight, on a table.

Perhaps, or, simply, fate.
A wet sponge by the sink.

A leaf, a candle.
An unexpected need.

Poems, Slightly Used, November 21, 2010

1988 — Before Me, the Past

Is the early-morning tapping of woodpeckers a form of communication? Is it song?

Is the mind’s ear the source of an echo?

And what of the mind’s eye? Is that where we go when we’re gone?

Canvas 1,176 — March 14, 2018

Canvas 1,176 — March 14, 2018

Anonymous

I see you on a swing in a doorway
between two failing timbers,

caught by an echo
in the black night beyond.

Recently Banned Literature, May 23, 2011

Canvas 1,176 — Anonymous

There is, for me, the feeling that they have always existed,
and have only been waiting for me to notice.

Their patience is a lesson in itself.

Knowing we may travel a time together,
and that they will likely outlive me, are things I love.

And so, if this is drawing, it’s from a deep, hidden well.
A reservoir of dreams. The fragility of health.

Three for the Road

Three for the Road — April 2, 2019

Three for the Road

Perpetrator, subject, and witness all in one.
Impulse, mood, and countless other things I’ll never know:
The image arrives much as a poem — which is to say,
It was, and remains, beyond my control.

Alone

Alone

Self-Portrait, August 15, 2011
The Old Language: A New Revised Edition in Armenian,
translated by Samvel Mkrtchyan,
S & H Project, 2013

Alone