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Endorphins make me think of dolphins,
and dorsal fins, and fishing with Eddy Dorf in
my memory or imagination, the two of us
sitting on a big rock, smoking a bone,
waiting for the fish to bite. Free association
is a technique for investigating the unconscious mind
of a preferably very relaxed subject
who reports all passing thoughts. I am thinking
of those logical relationship questions
on the SATs: this is to that as that is
to this. Analogies are to analgesics
as logical relationships are to sex, drugs,
and rock&roll. Porpoises are to dolphins
as memory is to the imagination: a sort of lesser
cousin, less acrobatic, less capable of adapting
to life in a tank. And now I'm thinking
of the first time I got stoned in high school:
I was with some friends in the woods out behind
the football field. The football players were
running in place, doing their squat thrusts
as we floated past them back to class on the riptide
of our buzz, doing the elementary back stroke,
giving them our wasted grins, our victory signs,
as they gritted and grunted and gave us
the finger, high on their own endogenous peptides.
The elementary backstroke makes me think
of snow angels. And frogs. And the jet propulsion
of squids. And of looking up at cloud formations
and seeing the shapes of countries. Continents.
Pomeranians. Sputniks. Saxophones.


All These Things

"We have a buttload of catching up to do,"
says my friend from the second grade
in the first

email that comes out of the cyber
blue. It's a large amount, possibly
a variant of boatload. I don't

recognize his name at first. And it's 108
imperial gallons, from the Middle-English
butt: a large

container or cask used for storing
liquids, especially wine. "We sure
do," I write back and click

SEND. He writes about his life, wife, kids, kids'
colleges. And it's more than a person can hold
in two hands, possibly

from the large size of some women's behinds.
I'm clean and sober one day at a time, twice

horny, peevish, bookish, parsimonious
with words, and disinclined to give him
mine. My replies

grow smaller and more distant in inverse
proportion to his long and sunny ones,
like a retrograde moon

of Pluto. Then die out altogether. And it's
a surprisingly large amount of contraband
that a customs agent might find

hidden in someone's rectum. It's all
these things. And the bus driver's name
was Carl. The school nurse

was Mrs. Knapp.



Me and Lisa Durfee
are playing Frisbee
at the beach house
on 6G.

It's hot out,
so I take off my shirt—
so she takes off hers

and the cars
honk and swerve
on 6G.

What the hell
are you doing?

I yell,

to the breasts
which are bared,

which are there
for all the world
to see.

she yells back
with a kind of

hearing loss
in her eyes,

her hands
thrown out to her sides,

her shirt
in one hand inside out,

smiling a big
Frisbee smile
that has a kind of



I Say

Let us not decry
the decline of the language,

Let the grammarians
and librarians
and Shakespearians

shake the tiny spears
of their red pens at us.

Let the letter writers
mourn the death of letter writing.

Let the virtuoso
conversationalists grumble
about their dwindling

Let them all
chill. We still
got a handle
on the verbal, baby.

And the language ain't
dying. It's cooking
with oil.

So I say, let us praise
on our geographic

this living gumbo,
this fine and thick
delicious and nutritious

whence all the beautiful
and endangered species
spring, sprang,



Paul Hostovsky's poems have won a Pushcart Prize and two Best of the Net awards. His fifth book of poetry, Naming Names, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag. Visit him at