Friday, December 16, 2011


1                           at the center of which is Man,
said the woman unto him, laughing, her symphony a breath of hands.

2   There were walls in those days:

3   The cotton patch on one side, impossible to mend; her father at the window,
plotting murder; her mother knitting sandwiches:

4   Bolls, half open, scratchy to retrieve; the failed blood of Adam,
crying out to Eve; street signs, curbs, and gutters; the restless night brigade:

5   All the milk in heaven
in one swollen pale breast; the whispering of leaves:

6   The preacher in his trundle bed; the plumber with his bottle;
the widow’s magazine:

7   Presbyterians; Methodists; Lutherans; Catholics; Baptists;
the Four Square; the two-square; dodge-ball; hopscotch; tops; jacks;
monkey bars; jump-ropes; braids; and of course the scaffold,

8   For not all spirits break.

9   She sighed:

10   The birth of fiction; as if yes were a word and the owl
had known; as if need were the beginning and not before;
as if he were wheat in the field of her palm,

11   Trembling:

12   Gently, she eased his body down:

13   She sang it down, praised it down,

14   Cloth to the loin and thorns above,

15   As if many were chosen and one were called:

16   And he cried unto her,

17                           I cherish the death that I have been given,

18   And explained in a breath how it had been prophesied by trees;
how he had carried a lamb through winding streets; how men had looked up
from their work and derided him; and how they had returned
to their dwellings and hung themselves,

19   Fattened,

20   On the spit of their own lives.


Anonymous said...

I've been walking around in this off and on all day with a Blakean nimbus around my head. Amazing stuff, William. A new direction?

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Joe. I suppose time, assuming I live a while longer, will tell. Then again, maybe evolution is the word. Because unaccountable leaps are also part of the process. Either way — it beats the heck out of me.

vazambam said...

Partly because it reminded me of something I wrote which had little in common with what I'd written before and partly because it's wholly convincing in an ineffable way, it beat the heck out of me, too.Ow!Or should that be Wow?

William Michaelian said...

Vassilis, thank you. It can be either or both — as long as I don’t have to explain it, because I’m still trying to figure it out myself!

these temporal rooms said...

i keep coming back to this post
and i end up feeling both enlightened and confused all at the same time.
and my only conclusion is, this is life in all its chaos.


i love this piece.
it keeps me thinking and thinking
and revisiting.

William Michaelian said...

Robert, there is a lot I could say about “Verses,” but I’m quite sure it would only prove a distraction. I do like it (or them), but what you, Vassilis, and Joe bring through your reading is every bit as important to me, if not more. Thank you. This is my writing, but I, too, am an observer.

Gerry Boyd said...

your finest work to date. this is completely transcendent, beautiful, and profound.

William Michaelian said...

Gerry....... I thank you, sir.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...


I just spent the last hour trying to come up with an appropriate response to this poem, which is the best new poem I’ve read in years. I tried to think of something clever and erudite, a quotation maybe, or some intelligent reference or another that made the point.

The only thing I could come up with was:

Thank you.

William Michaelian said...

Gary, whatever we do in life, whatever we try, whatever we strive for, in whatever dimension, it does us a great deal of good to hear, at least once, something like what you’ve just said. That “Verses” has elicited such a response from you, and from others whose observations and work I’ve long admired, is encouraging and inspiring. Thank you.