Monday 22 January 2024

Three Poems by J. B. Hogan


Last Phone Call

(Dedicated to my late friend Terry Curley)


His voice was weak when he called,

said the call would be short, was

calling to say goodbye, the cancer

had metastasized, didn’t have long.

I was choking up, barely able to speak,

told him I loved him, he said he loved me, too.

I was choking up, barely able to speak,

dying, he told me to keep up my work,

it was who I was, what I was meant to do.

Then we said goodbye; I think I said “take care,”

I think he said, “you, too,” and then we hung up,

the call was over.




Like a thin sapling in a

forest of huge redwoods, a

dinghy cross-bowed with a

giant cargo ship,

old antelope pushed

from main herd,

frigid rock at edge of

distant iceberg,

single cloud over

barren plain, or

arriving home to a room

full of strangers, hooked

up to an IV in the quiet

dark of late night, splendid

isolation all, certainly, but

none more so than the blanket-covered

chair pushed outside in heat or cold,

under hospice bed sheets, ironed

clean and crisp, sharp enough

to scrape bony legs but not quite

able to draw the last thinning blood.




For the fights I didn’t take

for the pain I caused –

intentional and otherwise,

for the paths not taken,

chosen, blundered past

for cruelty, thoughtless,

intentional and unforgivable

for indolence, laziness,

not taking that extra step

for not caring enough

for caring too much

for not caring at all

for days wasted, and nights,

opportunities, breaks,

for lack of appreciation

for not understanding

for never doing enough

for too much reflection

and for not enough

for living for then

and not for now

for not seeing the night

sky nearly enough

for that time when there

will be no more sunsets –

no more sunrises.

J. B. Hogan is a poet, fiction writer, and local historian. He has been published in a number of journals including the Blue Lake Review, Crack the Spine, Copperfield Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Well Read Magazine, and Aphelion. His twelve books include Bar Harbor, Mexican Skies, Living Behind Time, Losing Cotton, The Apostate and, most recently, Forgotten Fayetteville and Washington County (local history). He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, just wow! Beautifully said words many of us dare not speak. Thank you.


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