Forty Days, Forty Nights

This poem is not about the rain,
but it’s probably because of it.
In my mind, rain shouldn’t be wasted.
But I promise not to talk about it.
                        — the rain, I mean.

we all know what rain is,
what it does, the havoc it wreaks.
                        — the benediction it brings.

the feeling of sanctity,
in all things animate and inanimate,
though the latter category doesn’t really exist.
A rock is as much alive (I am sure of this)
as a squirrel dancing on a power line,
its compact, dense particles humming softly,
lulling us into thinking it is dead.
                        — like some people, in other words.

or well known institutions.
As a general rule, rocks are a lot more
subtle and dignified.
                        — which reminds me.

I remember a rock my father hauled down
from the Sierra Nevada fifty years ago
to use for added weight on a piece of equipment
he pulled through the vineyard with his tractor.
It was a long, narrow, folded piece of granite,
as beautifully speckled as a bird’s egg,
worn smooth over time by friction,
by the tough, polishing action of the soil.
In the winter the rock sat out in frost and rain.
                        — thinking.

or brooding, depending on the day,
depending on the mood I was in at the time
and the problems I was facing.
                        — all serious, you understand.

for I was all of seven or eight, or in my teens,
or married and in my twenties.
I used to greet the rock.
We would talk, through all kinds of weather,
and I would feel the rock with my hand.
By spring, we had both grown roots.
                        — like harmonious anchors.

wise, noble, moss-covered.
Today I am frequently seen carrying the rock
upon my back, through the streets of faraway cities.
I must admit, I have aged less gracefully
than my legless, armless friend.

“Forty Days, Forty Nights” first appeared in The Synergyst.

Note: Poems, Slightly Used, a growing collection of work first published in my blog, Recently Banned Literature, can be found here.

Available from Cosmopsis Books of San Francisco

Winter Poems
by William Michaelian

Winter Poems (click to view cover)

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
US $11.95; $8.95 at Cosmopsis Books
52 pages. 6x9. Paper.
Includes one drawing.
San Francisco, June 2007
Signed, numbered & illustrated copies

Winter Poems displays the skills and abilities of Mr. Michaelian at their most elemental level, at the bone. Wandering amidst a barren world, a world scraped bare, he plucks the full moon like fruit from the winter sky, goes mad and befriends a pack of hungry wolves, burns his poems to keep warm. He is a flake of snow, a frozen old man, a spider spinning winter webs. Spring is only a vague notion of a waiting vineyard, crocuses, and ten-thousand babies. The author is alone, musing, reflecting, at times participating. But not quite alone, for he brings the lucky reader along. I’ve been there, to this winter world, and I plan to go back.

                                                            — John Berbrich, Barbaric Yawp

Another Song I Know — Short Poems
by William Michaelian

Another Song I Know (click to view cover)

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
US $13.95; $10.95 at Cosmopsis Books
80 pages. 6x9. Paper.
Includes Author’s Note.
San Francisco, June 2007
Signed, numbered & illustrated copies

Another Song I Know is a delightful collection of brief, resilient poems. Reading them, one by one by one, is like taking a walk through our common everyday world and suddenly hearing what the poet hears: the leaves, a coffee cup, chairs — and yes, even people, singing their songs of wisdom, sweetness, and light.

                                                            — Tom Koontz, Barnwood poetry magazine

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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Collected Poems by William Michaelian
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Why I Don’t Buy Grapes
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It Was
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Someone’s Mother
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The Clerk and the Windmill
Roadside Distress, Part 2
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Café Poetry Night: Two Poems
Short Poem for Spring
Short Poem for Summer
I Find Him Eating Butterflies
For the Sister I Never Had
An Absurdist Play
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