NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
MICHAEL PAUL HOGAN: AMERICAN VOODOO
Bluechrome Publishing
PO Box 109
Portishead
Bristol
BS20 7ZJ
UK
ISBN 1 904781 95 0
7.99

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MICHAEL PAUL HOGAN: AMERICAN VOODOO

Michael Paul Hogan values the space between lines and around words, arranging words as a painter slicks paint. No surprise then the images of films and occasional reference to artists slips in, eg, INTERIORS IV / MANHATTAN (complete poem)

	The dress she wore shone like a movie screen
	before the movie. Like parachute silk.
	Or the label on a bottle of vodka.
	A collapsed star
	absorbing color.

	She was alone, that much was obvious
	from the wary looks the other women gave her,
	but her detachment was something deeper,
	the loneliness of the vampire,
	of Dracula's daughter.

	I watched her across the room,
	holding but not drinking a pale blue cocktail
	and staring intently at a (genuine) Mondrian
	as though recognising
	her own abstraction.
People too are images as the writer observes, in STILL LIFE WITH A TYPEWRITER (VI)
	When I'm old 
		she said
	(lighting a pink and gold Sobranie)
	I'll borrow your typewriter
	and write my memoirs

	a catalogue of lovers, past and present
	poets and artists mostly

	my mother's been married for thirty-eight years
	to a guy she still worships
		can you believe that?
The specific detail lavished on the cigarette brand is missing from the speaker who could be any woman or no woman. The space on the page, suggesting layers, allows the reader to build their own image. Providing that image conforms with nostalgia, in THE ORCHID HOUSE:
	...Her breasts
	are the color of small money.
	She is old photographs
	where everybody
	is the color of iced tea.

	The writer watches
	(it is now, now)
	while his fingers crapshoot
	the typewriter keys
	against the paper...
The writer appears frequently too, always observing, never taking part. Even in a hurricane, his mind is absent, HURRICANE SEASON II starts
	The wind is coming.
	Great bombs of it explode against the windows.
	The writer in the corner of the bar
	hears the silk rush of palm trees,
	remembers a girl in a lilac sweater
	and a noise like tearing paper...
We never learn anymore about the "girl in a lilac sweater". She (none of the women have names) is any woman and everywoman and, in her two-dimensional role as decorative backdrop, ultimately no-woman. She epitomises the poems: decorative, carefully constructed images but flat.

reviewer: Emma Lee.