Friday, June 18, 2010

Times Two


At the post office, I saw someone from our old neighborhood. He’d aged considerably. His legs were skinnier, his hair grayer, his posture less secure. On his nightly walks, he used to smoke cigars. The smoke reminded me of my father. Now everything does, in one way or another. And according to my grandson, the old one in the mirror is not the neighbor anymore — without words, of course. I drag my comb across his head. He loves the way it feels, the teeth of fate in neat deep rows, the steady feet in distant fields, this man he trusts with all his soul.

(first publication)


Updates:
“Times Two” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: digging beautiful French ditches.

17 comments:

Anthony Duce said...

Very close to home today.. Thank you.

Janice said...

How beautiful this is William. In just a few thoughtful words you covered ageing, old memories and the making of new memories...

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Anthony. I guess you could say we’re all on this road together.

Janice, I wrote somewhere that memories are like snowflakes — not all of them stick. And yet they have a cumulative power, and settle on us layer by layer. And I have seen them melt as well, as I know you have.

Janice said...

William what a wonderful way to describe memories...like snowflakes. I've often wondered why something as simple as my memory of our grade school field trip to the arboretum in Chicago when I was around 9 or 10 has remained with me all of these years. I remember exactly what I was thinking..."I love being here with all of these trees and plants and when I get home mom will want to hear all about it"! I also remember that I was so happy that "mom" was at home waiting for me.

William Michaelian said...

I have similar memories — such as when I was struggling to learn how to tie my own shoes, and then, on a Thursday evening when I was playing outside, I noticed my shoe was untied and without thinking I bent down and tied it perfectly. Why do I remember it was a Thursday?

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

"the teeth of fate in neat deep rows"

...I often move me in front of children not knowing what fate has in mind for them ...
and in the same I moved in front of the elderly (old people)who know what fate has reserved for them,
but the thing that give me a great force and power is to see a old people that trusts with all his soul and this is an incentive for me, a bigger push to move forward, it incentive me more than the innocence of children....

beautifull post William, after this post I can not wait, even more, to visit my parents in Italy and smell all those flavors that I try to reproduce here in vienna...

William Michaelian said...

Laura, thank you. To which we will add, “the color of memory.” This is one reason I love working in the kitchen and making the old recipes, the aromas and flavors my mother and grandmother made. And each time I relive the past, it becomes new again. I write with the same feeling. And I think that’s the way you paint, too.

I understand so well what you say about your incentive to move forward.

Joseph Hutchison said...

Pure magic here, William. Thanks!

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Joe!

rahina q.h. said...

it's good to pass on goodness... beautiful piece of writing.

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Rahina.

Denise Scaramai said...

it's always good to remember
that life is a constant transformation.

William Michaelian said...

Yes. Always new, always old, always unfinished....

Alberto Oliver said...

that is the very wheel of life..always unfinished, always the same...yesterday i was the present, today i am a faded shadow, the new present walks over me. And see the grass growing over my youth´s tomb

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Alberto. We might say that beauty is beauty because life is fleeting. Or we might not. We might just be silent and let it go at that. And of course silence is beautiful too. Always, there’s the need to explain, to show, to share. And that is beautiful....

Woman in a Window said...

Somehow you reach into me and pluck the strings of my memories. Gorgeous truths.

xo
erin

William Michaelian said...

Erin, as humans we have so much in common — it breaks my heart when I see how hard we work at being strangers.