The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

Michael Hogan: 1 Poem Published

Poems by Michael Hogan

(Mexico/ USA)

Published in issue 40 of The Ofi Press






ARIZONA MOON                                         


The moon fades over Arizona and the morning sun is more dangerous.

Even the rain when it finally falls is no friend to man

or woman either.

Toads cry like lost children when the torrent ceases

and flash floods drain from arroyos in swirls of mist

drifting past homeless camps and shattered dreams.


There was a time when this was bearable

when the moon was closer in Arizona

when the Church gave sanctuary to exiles and immigrants

when Hohokam danced out under open skies

snakes rattled a clear warning for all

and good gringos spoke in soft Spanish vowels.


We’ve been born in the wrong century:

ramshackle houses on the outskirts

deliver their children to a legal snarl

that’s nothing more than a catch-all

for the those bronzed by the desert sun.

We see them as we pass on the highways

laboring on chain gangs in pink coveralls

while the High Sheriff, unapologetic and fascist,

leaches his poison into the political soil.


It doesn’t seem so long ago when

the moon was closer in Arizona

when  lobo mexicano and  jaguar roamed free across Sonora

when there were no walls, no barbed wire,

when people did not mistake love of this brown land

for love of a flag over a border checkpoint.


Now the children of their children

books stolen by politicians, grandmothers’ histories erased

struggle to learn the words of an alien race:

The moon was closer over Arizona. Say it!

La luna estaba tan cerca sobre Arizona.

La luna estaba tan cerca.

About the Poet

MICHAEL HOGAN is the author of twenty-two books including the best selling Irish Soldiers of Mexico, the history of the San Patricio Battalion. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines including the Paris Review, the Harvard Review, New Letters and the American Poetry Review. His work has received two Pushcart Prizes, a PEN Award and an NEA fellowship. He lives in Guadalajara with his wife the fabric artist, Lucinda Mayo and their dog Molly Malone.

Image: "Mt. Lemmon in Orange" by Kevin Dooley.