Monday, November 5, 2012

Paul Hostovsky


I remember Nixon getting up in front of
my mother and father in 1974
and looking so earnest and guilty
that you had to feel sorry for the guy—I mean
I did. I didn't know what he'd done but
whatever it was, I knew my parents wouldn't
forgive him for it any time soon.
I could tell by the way they clicked
the TV off and left the room that Nixon
was grounded for life if my parents
had anything to say about it. I remember
turning the TV back on and feeling
closer to Nixon then, for he reminded me
a little of myself. But now, years later, with Nixon
gone and my parents gone and George W.
Bush getting up on TV in front of everyone
and not telling the truth, he looks so
earnest and guilty and he doesn't have
a good vocabulary either—I bet he never
reads books just for the pleasure
of reading them—that I can't help feeling
sorry for the guy. I mean everybody's mad at him
for the big mess he made, and there he stands
in the middle of that mess, with all the bodies
piling up—all the arms and legs and heads—
and he has to say something but he can't
say what he has to say. He can't say it.

Paul reads "Feeling Sorry for the Presidents":

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Paul confesses: "Some lies are crimes. Other lies are, well, poems. Sometimes a lie sounds so good we can't resist telling it. Children and presidents have this in common. I guess we've all experienced making something up out of nothing, then watching it take on a life of its own. Some have gone to prison for that. Others have won prizes."

PAUL HOSTOVSKY is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Hurt Into Beauty (2012, FutureCycle Press). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and Best of the Net 2008 and 2009. Garrison Keillor has read Paul's poems on The Writer's Almanac seven times. To read more of his work, visit him at

1 comment:

Nancy Scott said...

I'm a fan. Like your work, especially the truth of this one. Also am enjoying Hurt into Beauty. Keep smiling.