I learned the rain in cursive slants
I learned lying on doubts
spread on the sacred and not
spread on my bed, my pillow, my exhale
the crust of every lie I loved
tainted with silver sliver of your tongue
I turned that night on its back
after you went to bed
your streets indebted
to shadows of restless dreams
bruising on its replaced ribs
where trash collectors compress
in the ruble
life’s severed limbs
an envy here
a longing there
a nothingness holier than my prayers
and I add
that face without the lips
under the face with muffled shame
under the face I used to have
on heaps of unfinished poems
where a lemon tree and jasmine blossoms
colored and scented at my fingertips
I learned the rain in every lie
in stammer of your pavements
where Saints gather in line at rock bottoms stacked
between my howl and a crow’s black squawk
wrists dripping prayers on St Rita’s solemn face
she sympathizes but says tonight she owns the ledge
there’s always mad laughter at the foot of beds
where Saints sleep on their sides facing the drapes
that catch the city’s quieting breath
misting under street lamps
that catch impelled compromise
in bourbon shots and blues on a clarinet
as lonely as you
that time when you asked my name
sometimes I tell you
long after you’ve gone to bed
Silva Zanoyan Merjanian is a widely published poet residing in Southern California. Her work is featured in international publications. Silva’s second volume of poetry Rumor will be released by Cold River Press in March 2015.
If we cannot love everything and everyone,
can we, truly, love anything or anyone?
In choosing whom or what we love (if such choice were possible),
do we not proclaim that our judgment is larger than life itself?
Is not that choice an illusion?
If we love only what we think we love, are we not, then,
defining love and placing on it certain limitations?
Would it not be better to be defined by love,
than to try to define it?
Are we so small in our uncertainty and fear that we must love
only that which pleases us, or which we think reflects well on us,
or which loves us in return? If so, how can we call that love?
It is a grave error we make in thinking that anything exists
outside of love.
Can you, in your deepest thought and contemplation,
say which part of you loves and which does not?
If you say the mind loves, or the heart loves,
or that love is harbored in various glands and organs,
what, then, of the rest of you? Are parts of you worthy
or unworthy of love? Is love necessary to one part,
but not to another?
Is love a condition that changes with history,
time, and weather?
And what of the insane?
Are we love’s orphans, love’s abandoned step-children?
William Michaelian is an American writer, artist, and poet. His newest book is the Tenth Anniversary Authorized Print Edition of his first novel, A Listening Thing. His Author’s Press Series now contains three volumes: The Painting of You, No Time to Cut My Hair, and One Hand Clapping. Two poetry collections, Winter Poems and Another Song I Know, were published in 2007 by Cosmopsis Books. He lives in Salem, Oregon.
I thought my most recent painting, Royal Song (the first image), might work with the pulsing ebb and flow of William Michaelian’s poem. Love and gold work together on some mysterious level. There is a lot of air (and thought) in this poem and the painting depicts a scroll and throne (in the open air) beneath a sun. The idea of light informing the conscious mind influenced my variations on the original image.