A Closed Mouth Catches No Flies

What shall we do
with his long gray beard
and hair, the tattered coat,
this worn out shirt?

Should he wear his hat?
Maybe yes, maybe no,
to hide these creases
in his brow.

No need for flowers.
He preferred weeds.
Fiddlenecks and twisters,
purslane, nettles, henbit.

Lay his pocket knife
on his chest,
a lizard�s tail, rock,
or feather.

Put a book in his hand
to see him home,
a journey of many pages.
Musty, yellowed,
precious map of words.

He looks like he�s asleep.
If we turn our heads
or leave the room,
he�ll be up and gone.

Give him something
to write with.
Look in his pocket,
you�re sure to find a song.
A crazy love letter
to humanity,
or a peasant�s acerbic wit,
A closed mouth catches no flies.

Death, death, and more death.
A thousand lives he�s lived,
yet he�s laughing still.

Let�s put his cane beside him, too.
His shoes. His shoes.

They say he was a great man.
A poet. A troubadour of dreams.
And it�s plain to see.

Look outside.
A grand procession waits.
Stray dogs. Orphans. Prostitutes.
Laborers. Felons. Clerks.
Our very own children,
taken to the street.

February 17, 2006

Previous Entry     Next Entry     Return to Songs and Letters     About the Author

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

Main Page
Author�s Note
A Listening Thing
Among the Living
No Time to Cut My Hair
One Hand Clapping
Songs and Letters
Collected Poems
Early Short Stories
Armenian Translations
Cosmopsis Print Editions
News and Reviews
Highly Recommended
Let�s Eat
Favorite Books & Authors
Useless Information
E-mail & Parting Thoughts

Flippantly Answered Questions

Top of Page