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Portrait of Gerald Stern

by Paul Hostovsky There’s a poem in Gerald Stern’s mouth. If you’ve ever gone to see him read you’ve noticed that thing he does with his lips, pursing them, flaring them, wetting them like a pair of water birds come to drink and mate in the middle of his face, preening themselves between the words, […]

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October

by Paul Hostovsky Everybody called him Toby, though his real name was October, though nobody knew that except the teacher who assured him his secret was safe with her that first day in September, when he came in early, before any of the other kids and introduced himself to her, and told her about his […]

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The Way Out

by Paul Hostovsky The way out isn’t under or over or around or even through. It’s with. With is the only way out. In fact, out isn’t the way out either. Out is a misnomer. — Paul Hostovsky’s poetry collection Hurt Into Beauty can be found on Amazon.

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Solitary Reaper

by Paul Hostovsky I am writing on the bathroom wall at the summer writers’ conference where all of the poets are sitting around in their little tranquil groups circle jerking in my imagination: the blue- haired lady with her notebook spilling in her lap, the English teacher with his muscular sensibility, the diffident housewife, musty […]

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Fold this poem in half

by Paul Hostovsky Fold this poem in half now fold it in half again, and again. Notice how, if you did it right, it fits on an eighth of the page, the way the moon fits in the back-seat window of the car traveling through the night, the road unfolding like a story from childhood, […]

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Luxembourg

by Paul Hostovsky My best friend Rich Luxembourg had three older brothers, Norman, Jack, and Maury. They all sat in the backseat of the family station wagon together like Germany, France, and Belgium surrounding the little duchy of Luxembourg, tickling him, elbowing him, squeezing him until he laughed and wept with happiness while I looked […]

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Painless Poem

by Paul Hostovsky Remember this poem? Its simple rooms? Its window full of trees? The white gable which you loved about this poem, how its lone triangle seemed to encompass all humanity? And the spiky yellow sun exploding somewhere outside this poem? Of course you do. In fact you’re reciting it right now, standing on […]

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Gray Baseball Hat

by Paul Hostovsky I’m rooting for gray. Because there’s too much black or white in the world. Too much win or lose. And much too much rain or shine. Go gray! Give me a gray day with a very fine rain– more like a mist coming at the bottom of the 4th, deepening the colors, […]

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Shoe Poem

by Paul Hostovsky I love a good shoe poem so I go to the shoe store to find the name of that metal thing they measure your foot with. Now this is a good shoe, says Murray the shoe salesman, wearing a name tag and a tie, and holding up a shoe. I don’t want […]

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Workshop with Stephen Dunn

by Paul Hostovsky At first I mistook the Parkinson’s for exuberance for the poems, the tremor in his hand resting on his leg making the leg softly jackhammer under the table like the leg of a schoolboy dying to raise his hand or dying to escape outside into the field across the street, and because […]

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Still

by Paul Hostovsky When there’s nothing to say there is still this to say, still there is this like a birdbath in someone’s yard in your childhood, not your birdbath or your yard and no birds now, or rainwater yet, just this palm, this listening for the rain, this memory of a waiting place made […]

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The Dollar in the Wishing Well

by Paul Hostovsky Expensive delicate boat with a hundred chances on board floating above the drowned brown pennies with their one chance each piled on top of each other on the abject bottom. It wavers, shivers, turns over and the green president goes under and in god we trust and all that fancy acanthus leaf […]

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Unseemly Plum

by Paul Hostovsky The blind boy likes to rock and flail. And he looks like a little blind boy’s imitation of a flightless bird getting ready for takeoff. It feels good to him, all this energy he can’t get out through his eyes, being deflected into this dance, this genuflecting deliciously at his desk. It […]

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Revision

by Paul Hostovsky There used to be a live chicken in this poem, there was a glacier and a sailboat, the Pacific Ocean sloshing between stanzas, and me like Adam saying, Here am I, to God who was also near. — Paul Hostovsky’s poetry collection Hurt Into Beauty can be found on Amazon.

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Work

by Paul Hostovsky Someone has left an orange pylon here. I look around but there’s no work going on here, only this sign of work. Maybe it’s a sign that work needs to go on here. I look for the bump or the hole. But there’s nothing. Maybe it fell off a truck on its way […]

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