Born in London, Michael Paul Hogan is a poet, journalist and literary essayist whose work as appeared extensively in the USA, UK, India and China. His poetry has been published in over thirty magazines and in six collections, the most recent of which, Chinese Bolero, with illustrations by the great contemporary painter Li Bin, was published in 2015.
Triptych on a Bamboo Screen
My beautiful Susan is asleep.
Her slender body is drenched with moonlight
and her lovely skin still glistens
with the perspiration of our passionate desire.
Sleep softly, darling, always sleep like this,
your perfect breasts uniquely pearled with stars.
I want to be your every sunrise
but now am content to watch your eyelids fill
And afterwards the wind blew and the rain
through open windows,
and all the cicadas and castanets
made music for her dreams.
But what I remember, what I remember most,
is a single bead of perspiration
shining like a pearl between her breasts.
And afterwards not even.
Just the rain.
My beautiful Susan is awake.
Her arms, outstretched, are slender as the sun,
the color, also, of the bamboo screen
through which the sunlight illustrates her breasts
and makes the bedroom wall its tapestry.
Wake gently, darling, always wake like this,
tattoo’d with morning, parallel and fine.
The legs I kissed last night are bamboo-smooth
and absolutely perfect. Darling, this
is nothing. Just a poem. Love
Between The Tides
The old man
in a faded, oily shirt
as a split coconut.
His hands are the color
of last week’s papers,
fragile as elastic
stretched thin as possible.
Along the waterfront
the wood rots like cardboard.
The old men shuffle
along narrow walkways.
The roads in France
and in the fall
the river’s metal
is a sheet of zinc
curved like a heron’s back.
The blue-gray hills
are charcoal-smudged with trees
and on their slopes
the freshly whitewashed houses
catch the sun
like boulders in a stream.