My Father Walking, and Twenty-Four Other Things

by William Michaelian

Am I truly limited by my senses, or are they, too, imagined? Can I prove my own existence? Is such proof desirable, or even necessary? What of my childhood, and everything else I am in the habit of believing I remember? Is memory a thing of the present? Is it a story told, and then countless times retold, changing and continuing of its own volition and accord? Drawing and writing; waking and dreaming; fiction and reality; life and death — I simply feel no need to know where, or if, one ends and the other begins. Does that make me strange? And yet what is strangeness, but the very delight of a beautiful, unaccountable world, ever the more vivid once we have learned to let it go?

 

Going Home

Going Home

 

By firmly gripping a pencil in grade school and beyond, I developed a callous on the middle finger of my right hand. It’s still there, to the left and just below the nail, despite the fact that I’ve been typing almost exclusively for decades.

When I was small, my father found a clump of white asparagus growing in the vineyard. He dug it out and planted it by our house well. It fed us faithfully each spring.

I remember my father
walking on the hard dirt avenue
at the end of the vineyard
rows behind our
house,

the cuffs turned up
on his jeans, the dust and sticks
and weeds, his impatient
stride, having to run
to stay beside
him

that hot July when I was four
and he was thirty-seven,

but I don’t recall our destination,
or what he did when we
arrived, what I said,

or his reply.

Once, on a hot summer evening, I aimed a BB gun at our old wooden basketball goal and fired. The shot bounced back and hit me in the forehead. I fished it out of the dust and put it in my pocket. I don’t remember what I did after that.

When I was about ten, I took nine snails from the irrigation ditch that ran alongside the east end of our farm and put them in the aquarium on top of my chest of drawers. A few weeks later, the aquarium was teeming with snails.

My first car was a bicycle. My first bicycle was a scooter. My first scooter was a tricycle. My first bus ride was in a dusty red wagon.

One night, my mother’s Aunt Mildred took out her teeth and showed them to me.

In the kitchen during a family get-together, with my mother looking on, I ate a piece of uncooked marinated lamb intended for shish kebab. It tasted good and I didn’t feel ill at all, but I never did it again.

We grew all of our tomatoes back then, and bought all of our onions and parsley.

Same as now, there were stars in those days that had no need of names.

If I were a lizard on a woodpile, I would still be able to write, but I would do it differently.

If I were a pumpkin on a vine, I would want to face east so I could watch the sun rise.

If I were a faithful old hound, my name would be Bill.

Late one night, driving home with some friends from the mountains, I pulled off the road, stopped the car, and told everyone to get out and look at the stars. They did, in amazed silence. I wonder if they remember that now.

I still feel thrilled when I find a marble.

Back in his heyday, Willie Mays lived near my cousin’s house in San Francisco. We rang his doorbell. No one answered.

My father used to chase them when he was a kid, but I myself have never seen a roadrunner.

The first thing I smoked was a nickel cigar.

To this day, I feel funny referring to myself as a man. A man was always someone older, someone responsible. My father and grandfather were men. I am still a boy.

I cannot blow my nose using my right hand. It has to be the left.

I always tie my left shoe first.

I kick with my left foot.

The first poem I remember reading is “O Captain! My Captain!”

When I first started piano lessons, I used to sing with every note. The teacher told my mother I had perfect pitch.

There are some things I will never write about. That, too, is how you will know me.

 

William Michaelian is an American writer, artist, and poet. His most recent book is the Tenth Anniversary Authorized Print Edition of his first novel, A Listening Thing. He lives in Salem, Oregon.

Website: http://www.william-michaelian.com

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Art, Writing

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58 Comments on “My Father Walking, and Twenty-Four Other Things”

  1. wjacobr
    February 11, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    I don’t know how this showed up in my mailbox … while listening to Armenian music (Djivan Gasparian)… it was a perfect match. I read it over again… slowly, the pace of the music.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. wjacobr
    February 11, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

    Reblogged this on Jacob Russell's Magic Names and commented:
    I don’t know how this showed up in my mailbox … while listening to Armenian music (Djivan Gasparian)… it was a perfect match. I read it over again… slowly, as I listened… the pace of the music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvhU7Th9_OI

    Liked by 5 people

  3. March 11, 2016 at 7:32 am #

    This brings me peace. Beautiful.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. March 23, 2016 at 1:13 am #

    So Beautiful, Nice Job

    Liked by 10 people

  5. March 29, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    This was mesmerizing, enjoyed it alot

    Liked by 11 people

  6. March 29, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    This is an amazing piece. I loved it! So peaceful so mesmerizing. 🙂
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    Liked by 9 people

  7. March 29, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

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    Liked by 6 people

  8. March 29, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

    I keep reading this. I wonder if I wrote twenty five of my own things how many would be the same? How many would be different? My heart caught on so many of them, like the marble, but in twenty five, or s hundred, could two people ever have the same ones? Thanks for sharing. I’m really excited about following this and reading more.

    Liked by 10 people

  9. 2020naykrip
    March 29, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

    This is a very beautiful piece. Is this all based on personal experience? From your imagination? For some reason, tears were coming to my eyes when I read this.Considering that I have never teared up from reading something, I would say that this is a piece that really tugged at my heartstrings. I thoroughly enjoy your writing. It’s thought-provoking, beautiful, and it really feeds the soul. I want to strongly encourage you to keep writing and to share it with the world. Reach out to more publishers because this is true talent. I myself have recently started a writing blog ( poeticeloquence.wordpress.com ) and I’m trying to enhance my style of writing by getting feedback from others. It would really mean a lot if you gave us feedback on our writing because you clearly have the skills of an established author. I wish you good luck with your writing and all of your future writing endeavors!

    Liked by 9 people

  10. March 29, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    Beautiful piece☺.I enjoyed reading.

    Liked by 9 people

  11. March 29, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

    Beautiful Art! 🙂 And by the way, please follow me and like and comment my posts! 😀

    Liked by 8 people

  12. March 29, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

    Oh my did I love reading this peace.

    Liked by 7 people

  13. March 29, 2016 at 10:00 pm #

    Interesting piece of work, questioning the very existence through memories.
    This piece might go well with this

    Liked by 8 people

  14. March 29, 2016 at 11:17 pm #

    Your words are invoking, thank you, for now I know there are others!

    Liked by 11 people

  15. March 30, 2016 at 12:16 am #

    Absolutely love !

    Liked by 9 people

  16. March 30, 2016 at 12:32 am #

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  17. March 30, 2016 at 6:31 am #

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    March 30, 2016 at 7:08 am #

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  19. March 30, 2016 at 8:07 am #

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  20. March 30, 2016 at 8:13 am #

    Nice find to start my day! These days I often find myself laboring to change the memories of my childhood (for better or worse). And the story goes on.

    Liked by 11 people

  21. March 30, 2016 at 8:14 am #

    So awesome it is.

    Liked by 11 people

  22. March 30, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    You make me remember the way my father walked. Down the beach ahead of us on family vacations, toes pointed out, strong calf muscles bulging. Dependable. Strong. His name was Bill.

    Liked by 10 people

  23. March 30, 2016 at 8:41 am #

    What a beautiful story, i always love reading such interesting stories. I also love writing, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE – i will subscribe back 🙂 TY

    Liked by 10 people

  24. tizwy
    March 30, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    this was impressive, i feel like i just got out of a dream after reading this. Keep on writing, you do it so well !

    Liked by 12 people

  25. March 30, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    Nostalgia. Takes us back to childhood, no matter to which country we belong

    Liked by 11 people

  26. March 30, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    awsm….so nice

    Liked by 7 people

  27. March 30, 2016 at 10:17 am #

    Reblogged this on abstract relations vi and commented:
    a soul that speaks to mine.
    i love this.

    Liked by 8 people

  28. March 30, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    Your writing is beautiful. Are these personal experiences? I relate to many of them.

    Liked by 8 people

  29. March 30, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

    Your writing is amazing. I enjoyed reading this article, very much!

    Liked by 9 people

  30. March 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    amazing:) such an inspiration!

    Liked by 8 people

  31. Armen Martirosyan
    March 30, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    Great to see fellow Armenians creating amazing content for everyone to enjoy!

    Liked by 7 people

  32. March 31, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    I like this piece and want more people to read it!

    Liked by 6 people

  33. Gama
    March 31, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    Great work, content was good

    Liked by 5 people

  34. Gama
    March 31, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    https://pkgama.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/my-mile-2/?preview=true have a look at this post

    Liked by 3 people

  35. March 31, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

    Loved this one!

    Liked by 5 people

  36. March 31, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    Beauty.
    The seamless mind of a child for some reason drawing seams about himself.

    Liked by 6 people

  37. April 1, 2016 at 3:49 am #

    After searching for good blogs to read I finally found this link and its worth the read.. I enjoyed reading the whole post. Especially the first paragraph was so lovely and true .Later on, all those moments are so beautiful ..One should cherish little moments…Well written 🙂 I will be sharing this blog
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  38. April 1, 2016 at 4:27 am #

    this was impressive !!

    Liked by 5 people

  39. April 2, 2016 at 2:16 am #

    I’m feeling happy after reading it. Is it spontaneous or I just lost in this? Really beautiful.

    Liked by 5 people

  40. April 2, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    i remembered my father through reading this…….his goodness,kindness.i took it all for granted.the most valuable writing is about the parent you had or the parent in you.

    Liked by 5 people

  41. April 2, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

    Awesome!

    Liked by 4 people

  42. April 3, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

    I love this!! Xx

    Liked by 4 people

  43. April 4, 2016 at 2:36 am #

    Time is such a funny non-thing, its like the wind, most of the time you barely feel if, others, it sweeps you away like a huracane.

    Liked by 3 people

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    April 4, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

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    Love this!

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  47. April 7, 2016 at 3:21 am #

    awesome!
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