Rodan's hands

A Little In Love A Lot

Poem from A Little In Love featured on
The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor read “Exegesis” on National Public Radio’s
The Writer’s Almanac
on Wednesday, February 8, 2012.
“Exegesis” is from A Little In Love A Lot by Paul Hostovsky. © Main Street Rag, 2011.


We couldn't have been more than twelve
or thirteen, sitting on that green bench in the late
sixties or early seventies, me and Michael Zucker
who was much more savvy and world-weary
than I, when I asked him to please explain
the meaning of the words to a song by Carly
Simon, who was simply gorgeous—that much was
plain—after we'd resolved the essential question
of whether or not she was wearing a bra
in that photo of her with the blue top and thick
lips on her album cover. "I don't get it," I said.
"'You're so vain. You probably think this song is about you.'
But the song IS about him, isn't it?" I asked Zucker,
holding my palm up in the air like one who is
trying to ascertain the truth about whether or not
it has started to rain. Zucker looked away then,
gingerly fingering the green slats, as though he were
reading the carved names of the lovers and obscenities
tactually. Then he took a deep breath and exhaled
miserably, took the album cover out of my hands
and gazed awhile at Carly Simon who was gorgeous,
famous, braless, and older than me and Zucker put together.
"That's the point," he said. "She's in love with him."

Tree Poem

Garrison Keillor read “Tree Poem” on National Public Radio’s The Writer’s Almanac on July 30, 2016.
“Tree Poem” is from A Little In Love A Lot by Paul Hostovsky. © Main Street Rag, 2011.

It wasn’t that he wanted to take his life.
He wanted to take his death
into his own hands. There was
a difference, he knew, though he couldn’t
articulate it. More contemplative than suicidal,
more curious than depressed,
more interested than not,
he didn’t want to talk to a therapist.
He wanted to talk to Walt Whitman.
He wanted to talk to his best friend from
kindergarten, who’d moved away
on the cusp of first grade, and he never
saw him again. He wanted to climb a tree
and sit up there all alone in the top branches
watching it absorb the carbon dioxide.
He had a bit of the tree in him himself.
He had similar aspirations
and spent much of his time in the branching
ramifications in his head. But because his children
would never be able to live it down, he climbed
down from the tree in the car in the garage
every time, and walked back into his life with a few
leaves and twigs still sticking to his head.