Lunar Tropic — Poetry by Michael Paul Hogan

Pieces from a fisherman’s notebook



At six p.m. the street
submits a false gradient,
seems to tilt towards the bay,
as though one coin has been taken
from a pair of balanced scales
and made into the moon

(an absolute circle
of fine white gold, with
the Presidente’s head smoothed
almost entirely away
except for one eye
and a vestigal stern smile).


Tonight the moon is sharp
as a fish-hook, trailing a few strands
of seaweed-colored sky.

So, come,
Joaquin, let the girl you sleep with sleep
alone this baize-blue evening.
We have a boat made of tar and ricepaper
and an acre of phosphorescent ocean
to sail beyond.

Look! I bring a jug of seagreen
wine, and a necklace made of shark’s teeth
to protect from storms.


Like the dial on an old-style bakelite telephone
the moon is silent, circular, and filled
with imaginary voices.

In his shack
by the water’s edge the blind sailmender
straightens his knuckled back and hears
the hum of transatlantic conversations.

Michael Paul Hogan is a poet and journalist whose work has appeared extensively in USA, UK, India and China. He currently lives in NE China, where he is the Features Editor of an English-language monthly magazine.

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