The Struggle of Giants

paper mache monsters are fighting for my love

in the suburban chicago november late afternoon
dodging, ambling softly about the dried yellow grass
in the backyard of my parents’ house.

the dog is yapping at them. my mom doesn’t
know what’s going on, stands on the deck and stares
and my father reads the paper.
my brothers are both getting high out of sight. i love them.

paper mache monsters are throwing punches

i want to go to sleep but i know i can’t
fall asleep until twelvethirty and even
then i toss and turn i’m a bad sleeper
if there’s light or any sound or my feet are
too cold

i want to go to sleep but how can i with the
crumpling sounds from the backyard, these giants
white and ten feet tall and fat and falling over crushing
each other getting back up they are so fragile
so light and i hear the lightness of their every move
of their breathing through their paper mache tracheas.

my mother approaches me on the deck, where i
in the fading light stand arms crossed and i’m shivering, asks me

to please take the dog in, he’ll aggravate the neighbors, asks me

are they fighting for your love? and i nod and get the dog.
they are almost ecstatic, you can read it on their faces
which are white entirely and blank and devoid of shape.

Susan Hogan ( )

Resident Poet, Caffeine Arts Collective
Columbus, OH * San Diego, CA * Chicago, IL

Susan Hogan is a box of crayons.
She is mad scrawled language on the walls shouting YOU ARE ALIVE RIGHT NOW.
She is vibrant and immediate.
In different colors and shapes, she is a poet, an editor, translator, book-creator, mentor to the word-wary. She embodies ambition, movement, and energy.
Language is her yellow. She’s ignited and inspired by everything around her.
She’s un-keep-in-one-place-able, darting around between her homebase Columbus
and her other homes in San Diego and Chicago. She pauses to collect beauty in all the places in between.
She’s hopelessly in love with our shared existence.

Susan Hogan swallows up books like they’re water. Uses pencils as bookmarks because she’s constantly sketching notes in the margins. She has studied at the University of Illinois-Chicago (English), Moscow State University (Russian), the University of Denver (Book Publishing), and San Diego State University (Poetry and Translation). She served as editor-in-chief of her undergraduate honors literary journal, has worked helping underprivileged students in San Diego with English as a first or second language, and interned the Poetry Foundation’s think tank, the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute. She worked for a small arts book publisher, and currently works as an English professor, most notably teaching Russian lit.

Her writing has been published in online and print journals (Alchemy Journal, the Prairie Light Review, others), college newsletters (UIC’s Word of Mouth), and independent newspapers (the Chicago Gazette). She has read her poetry at events across America. She signs her poems with her initials SACH (pronounced “Satch”). She is constantly generating new work, with help in part from her co-collaborators at the Chicago-based Caffeine Arts Collective, where she is resident poet.

A box of crayons, cardboard worn but colors shining brightly, Susan is vivid for writing. To schedule a reading, for updates about her upcoming book, or for more information, you can reach her at


Caffeine Arts Collective
West Coast Translation Review
Poetry International