Monday, August 31, 2015

Paul Hostovsky


There's a lot of baggage
in the garbage
at the transfer station,
which we used to call
the dump. Someone has thrown out
all these old suitcases,
a mattress and a box spring,
and a bunch of cardboard boxes which
the recycling cop is saying
are a violation: "They should be
broken down and recycled."
In the backseat of my car
a large black plastic bag
bulges guiltily, a small slit
divulging a suspicious-looking
refulgence. Black like a thief's
black woolen cap pulled down
over the shining evil face
of my old television, old computer,
and several small appliances—
cathode ray tubes which will take
a hundred thousand years
to biodegrade. When the Danish
nose tax was imposed in the 9th century,
delinquent taxpayers were punished
by having their noses slit.
But I'll be damned if I'm going to pay
the CRT recycling fee
just to throw out my old computer and TV,
especially after paying through the nose
for my new one. The leaden stink
of the unfairness of it all rises
as I lower my bag over the edge
of the world, the slit ripping open to reveal
a gaping, damning, luminous gash.

Paul reads "Guilt at the Transfer Station":

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Paul confesses: "In the town where I live, we take our own garbage to the dump. The things people throw out! It's a crime. Leftover cans of paint are a no-no. TVs, appliances, computers. Anything with cathode ray tubes. But they charge a fee to recycle the CRT's. So it's cheaper to just furtively toss them. Which I may or may not have ever done in my life. Poetry is fiction. But did you hear? Our country throws out 40% of the food we produce. Because it's cheaper to throw it out. If that's not a crime, I don't know what is."

PAUL HOSTOVSKY's newest book of poems is The Bad Guys (FutureCycle Press, 2015). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and two Best of the Net Awards. He has been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer's Almanac. He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter and a Braille instructor. To read more of his work, visit him at

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