Friday, March 23, 2012

Dream fragment, 3:45 a.m.

A young man, of sixteen or seventeen and a stranger to me, leads me to a table, atop which is a curious arrangement of small objects, seemingly of a scientific nature. “If I die,” he says quietly, and with the utmost reverence for his work, “I want you to have them.” He looks at me, to be sure I understand.

Yes, I think, some things, like transparent bells with tiny copper gears inside.

And hummingbirds — do they not have names they forget to tell?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Like unto ourselves

Are we humans basically, intrinsically flawed? I think not. I think we are human, just as birds are birds, trees are trees, and whales are whales — beings like unto ourselves, in other words, bound by our own true nature. Part of that nature demands, as it does of every form of life, that we reproduce. Another part calls upon us to seek, and to wonder. When we look up at the stars, we do more than yawn or marvel: we want to know what it is we’re seeing, how it came to be here, and what might one day become of it all. In the same way, we look into ourselves. That we sometimes draw erroneous conclusions proves no flaw; rather, it teaches us that some lessons take a thousand years to learn. I do not lament, therefore, the limits of my senses; I seek, instead, the depths of my perception. The more I see, and the better I understand, the less likely I am to do harm to others and undermine myself with fear. It is a long road. I know this through experience. The same holds for our entire race. We are not here to assume the worst. We are here to live and learn. That, too, is our nature. Barbers and surgeons no longer bleed their patients. Someday, if we survive, I think we will say the same of our crusades, our inquisitions, and our wars. And when we do, I think we might also say, “Like us, our ancestors finally understood that our work is here, and our life is now. Love.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


So much like her hands, sure against the cares of this world.

Even as the wind loves daffodils, and snow falls in letters home.

See the miles in her hair.

How rough the cross, yet sweet the song.

One day, to have read them all.

And known the ghosts that seek this room.

Love. Are you listening?

They make no mournful sound.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Logic, n.

A common form of armor; frequently cumbersome and illogical to bear.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dream fragment, 1:38 a.m.

My father’s father in his work clothes,
kissing our grandsons’ toes;
his smile, his suntan, his smell.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Verse from a second childhood

Upon days and days of reading,
    hail and rain and snow,

I bless the holes in my thinking,
    for the light that’s shining through.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Drawn by the Moment (interview excerpt)

Much of your sketch work involves a meditation on the human face, one not unlike your own. What made you choose this subject and how have your sketches evolved over the years?

They are much more complex now, and contain so many lines, marks, and crossroads that some can and perhaps should be read as maps — soul maps, ghost maps, spirit maps. Others are masks. Many are trees, or visions on cave walls. All are self-portraits — every last one of them. They are also poems and journal entries. From the beginning, the process has been entirely organic. By that I mean spontaneous and unschooled. Each drawing is a response to the moment. But I don’t try to draw the moment. The moment draws me. I am a participant, and also a witness. The brain does what the brain does, the hand does what the hand does, the eye does what the eye does, and I sit there and watch. Each session builds on those before it. The mind harvests, discards, and combines earlier results and technique as it sees fit, solving and creating new riddles as it goes, thereby moving the work forward. That’s also what I mean by organic. It has a life of its own.

From “Bricklayers, Buglers, and Veterinarians”
an Interview with William Michaelian

Published in

A Listening Thing
Tenth Anniversary Authorized Print Edition


ISBN: 978-0-9796599-3-5

Canvas 287”

March 4, 2011

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