Thursday, June 23, 2011

There is something in this world


Another summer, and all that dream portends. Lazy water in a ditch, polliwog-infested, one sigh from a raft on the Mississippi, bacon and a pipe, bullfrogs calling in the night. Whirlpools and eddies. A rusted can torn from its jagged lid, a cry from the netherworld. The crows are moving in. No one really knows how old I am. But someone, somewhere, remembers.

A letter arrives. I stare at it for days, unopened. Death, perhaps, or a reason to rejoice.

I make of it a fire.

I strain the ashes into my cup and drink them to the dregs.

Unread, it becomes a part of me.

Now, there is something in this world called Wisdom, but it’s nothing more than sunlight, or the sweat on my skin. My hair falls around me, my bare shoulders are its friends, twigs, seeds, pollen, dust, the swirls on my chest. That which the mirror offends, the sky defends. I’ve opened many a book that way, sung countless songs, picked up pennies by the road, recited poems inside bottle caps. I am not as old as I pretend.

We call them paragraphs. But they are blood and snot and breath. I ply them as I would any horizon, my face to the wind.


Earlier this morning: In Contemplation of My Right Thumb

9 comments:

Aleksandra said...

Uh!! Beautiful one,I love it actually! Much!! I can see it,feel it clearly ....

Wine and Words said...

William, this is so lovely. I wish there was a better word for the peace and freedom I felt here. As I am lamenting of age, it seemed to no longer matter. Suddenly I am ageless, and that which the mirror offends, the poem defends. I feel absolved of any necessity to be 40, or 50, or 90. I am simply the fluids of my body, for as long as they flow. Thank you for such a moment.

Bitch said...

I felt a lot of sadness...
between the lines....

William Michaelian said...

I’m glad, Aleksandra. Thank you!

And thank you, Annie, for the one you’ve given me.

It could be, Monika. I don’t deny it, or my joy in anything you find.

Old 333 said...

Have you tried smoking the letters? Or perhaps curing them, yellow-brown and waterproofed, and making a coat...

William Michaelian said...

What a silly question. Of course I’ve tried smoking them.

erin said...

an odd moment: somehow worlds are melding and coming apart. the other night i was hiking through the forest. it was a wonderful progression of me first resisting sweat and then inviting it. finally soaked, i gave myself to the river. i looked up shirt soaked and there was a young man in the middle of the river on a rock where i have never seen another soul. i thought i recognized him. i thought he was the long haired disturbed boy who is the son of the local poet farmer. i rounded the river and looked again while singing. he was not. but it seemed to me in that moment that it had been. and so too while reading this and the polliwogs in the ditch and the tin can so obviously there, it seemed the boy was actually you. you quite resemble one another, for what is thirty or forty years in the scheme of comets and space and rivers? i walked on pulling water from the trees left held bowled in the leaves from a recent rain.

and then i came here.

there are more things afoot in this world than any of us know. there is something in this world.

xo
erin

William Michaelian said...

Erin, it isn’t unreasonable to think that we can be as much in one place as we are in another at any given time, without being aware of it. Somewhere in Songs and Letters, I wrote once in vivid detail about the barn and shed behind the house where I grew up, and ended asking whether the people who live there now might not sense my presence, or sense something, if they happened to be in the building at that moment. Most of us are so anchored in so-called reality that we brush such things aside, or we have built up some form of mental armor around ourselves to keep them at bay. We want only what will serve us, what we can control. But when our guard is down, when we are very ill, for instance, or are transformed by some new beauty or sorrow, then we see through the barriers to other possibilities. I think you’re right — there are more things afoot in this world than any of us know. And that is exactly what makes life the beautiful thing it is; that, and the fact that we are here (as we know ourselves) for such a short time.

erin said...

yes and yes. and some more
yes~

xo
erin