Thick With Conviction - A Poetry Journal
thick with conviction a poetry journal

Paul Hostovsky

Time & Money

With difficulty you produce your voluminous wallet
and the girl behind the counter takes a deep breath.
The line behind you swells. The wallet just sits there
on the counter obscenely, half-open, like an obese drunk
exposing himself or herself to you and the girl who says
eww. You dip two fingers, then a third, into the vagina-like
folds of the wallet and rummage around for the required
item. This seems to take a very long time. So long, in fact,
that you have forgotten what the required item is, the girl
has grown very old, the line behind you has withered
on the vine and fallen off, and finally a blue library card
falls out, then a ticket to the Gardner Museum, a flurry
of band-aids, several bills, some coins, a yellowed corner
of napkin with a girlís name and phone number on it. Could it
be this girlís phone number, you wonder, the pointy teeth
of a spare key kissing your fingertips somewhere deep inside
the reaches of your wallet. You fish out the key and offer it
to the girl. Her old, mottled, gnarled hand, which is beautiful
in a way you never thought of as beautiful, closes around
the key, with its promise, its heft, its glinting mountainous teeth.

Boxy Poem for Mr. Beck

Mr. Beck taught gym and sex education
back when there wasnít a curriculum per
se. So he mostly punted in the classroom,
relating blow-by-blow what he and his wife
had done the night before. It was x-rated
and educational. You had to hand it to him
for thinking outside the box that was our
classroom; the box that was our high school;
the box that was our life in small town USA.
In gym we all did fifty pushups while Beck
walked among us, shirtless, like a gardener
coaxing a crop of callisthenic chrysanthemums
pushing up. He praised the virtue of the pushup,
said you could do them anywhere, anytime.
He said he did them all the time in his office
between classes, in his bedroom between sex
with his wife, and for all he knew he would
be doing pushups in his coffin after he died.
We could tell just by looking at his pecs that
he wasnít bullshitting us. For all he knew we
didnít love Mr. Beck. But we dearly believed him.

Paul Hostovsky is the author of three books of poetry, Bending the Notes (2008), Dear Truth (2009), and A Little in Love a Lot (2011). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer's Almanac, and Best of the Net 2008 and 2009. To read more of his work, visit


Current Issue:
December 2011


Russ Brickey
Jackson Burgess
Robert Demaree
James H. Duncan
Carol Lynn Grellas
Paul Hostovsky
Seif-Eldeine Och
Jane Olivier
Timothy Pilgrim
Russell Rowland
M. Travis Walsh