Gil Hoy – Four Poems

Gil Hoy is a widely published Boston poet and writer who studied poetry and writing at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy previously received a B.A . in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. While at BU, Hoy was on the wrestling team and finished in second place in the New England University Wrestling Championships at 177 lbs. He served as an elected Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy is a semi-retired trial lawyer. His work has recently appeared in Best Poetry Online, Muddy River Poetry Review,  The Galway Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Rusty Truck,  Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, The Penmen Review, Misfit Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Chiron Review, The New Verse News  and elsewhere. Hoy was nominated for a Best of the Net award last year.

What We Throw Away

On Wednesdays, I take my trash
down to the curb. There’s a blue bin
for recyclables, a black bin
for regular trash, and a brown bin
for yard waste.

One of my neighbors
stays inside most of the time.
He’s drinking again. There are three
or four empty wine or bourbon bottles
in his blue bin every week.

An acquaintance living on the next street
over is an accountant. His blue bin
is filled with shredded tax schedules,
financial statements and old tax returns.
By the time April 15 comes around,
he has three blue bins that are overflowing.

Our richest neighbor has a large lot
with three birch trees next to his driveway.
His brown bin is filled with grass the yard boy
cut and birch tree branches that once
encroached on his driveway.

His shiny Mercedes can now
get in and out again without a scratch.
His yard is always neat, tidy
and carefully manicured.  He likes
to show off for all his neighbors.

You can tell a lot about a man
from the contents of his trash.

A divorcee living a few houses
down worries about getting old.
Her black bin holds odds and ends
from products promising
to make her gray hair brown again
and remove the wrinkles from her face.

She’s put on weight since her husband
left her for a younger woman
a few years ago. This week, there are
four empty pizza boxes in her black bin.

Another neighbor of mine now buys
as much as she can online. She obsesses
about COVID. Her son got sick a year ago,
was in intensive care and then died.
Her blue bin is filled with broken down
cardboard boxes every week.

You can tell a lot about a woman
from the contents of her trash.

A house up the road has two recyclable bins
that are always full. The black bin never has
much trash at all. The owner works for a company
that reduces greenhouse gases and makes clean water.
He attends political events most nights
and is always talking about climate change.

A widow who lives up the street recently passed.
Our town will pick up your bins when you no longer
need them. Her blue, black and brown bins are empty
and sitting in front of her house ready for pickup.

You can tell a lot about people
from the trash they don’t have.

Another one of my neighbors doesn’t play
by the rules. He puts his trash out early
most weeks. And then he’s fined by our town.
He was arrested a while back for stealing money
from his clients and had to spend a few years
away from his family.

You can tell a lot about a person
from how they handle their trash.

And as for me, my trash is not
what it used to be. My wife
passed away suddenly and the kids
have all grown up and moved away.
I don’t talk with them much anymore.
I haven’t seen them in a few years.

I miss the deflated balloons from birthday parties
and worn out hockey skates that used to be
in my black bin. And the leaves in my yard waste
bin when I could sometimes get the boys
to rake. I miss my wife’s fancy shampoo bottles
I used to have in my blue bin.

On a good week, when I’m eating well, my bins
may be as much as a quarter full. But most weeks,
they’re as empty as an old man’s broken heart.

You can tell a lot about a man
from what’s in and not in his trash.

Small Talk

Try talking to a person
who’s dying. I don’t know how
to do it. She’s 78 years-old
and has a rare type of cancer.
Her doctors say it’s incurable.
That she has two months to live.

Her gall bladder has to come out.
Her heart’s not working very
well. They can’t do a thing
about it.

Anything I say to her
seems trivial and uncaring.
It’s too painful to address
head on. So I talk to her
about her grandchildren.
About how much they love her.

My mother once said:
“if I could have chosen,
you would be no different.”
My sister drove us
apart. How did it get
so late, so early.


I remember tenth grade
English class. An Irish girl,
Renee Hogan, with shining
reddish brown hair.

We had to write a poem,
then read it to the class.
She wrote about a failed man
who drank too much
and smoked too much.
He wore old clothes, didn’t work,
and liked to hang out
in alleys and parks.

He approached her one day
in a park in Harvard Square.
“Can you spare 50 cents and a kiss,
sweet sister?  Just 50 cents
and a kiss for a song.”

I never spoke a word
to that girl. My tongue
always got in the way.

I don’t know where she is today
but I hear she still likes to write.
That she has a young son and daughter
and likes to read her poems to them.

I was her first true fan. She was
my first true love. That girl
could really sing.


You’ll need to own stocks. And pick
the right ones. Look for stocks with good
earnings potential and low PE ratios.
PEGs at or near 1. Pick companies
you know something about. Maybe
a new national food chain that has
the best produce and meat. Maybe
a corporation with cars that run without fuel.
Or a biotech company with a new
patented drug that can charge a good price.

Cuba was discovered by Columbus in 1492
and was first colonized by Spain. It was
under US influence until 1960
when it became a republic. Its minimum
monthly wage is 225 Cuban pesos, about $9 US.

You’ll need to own bonds. Choose bonds
with high credit ratings. Diversify by picking bonds
of different duration. Perhaps low-cost mutual funds
that have historically done well. When you’re
young, you might go 90% stocks and 10% bonds.

Tanzania is a republic and the largest country
in East Africa. It exports cotton, sisal, tea
and coffee. It consists of 120 ethnic groups.
Tanzania’s minimum monthly wage,
depending upon the economic sector,
is 40,000 Tanzanian shillings,
about $17 US.

Then there’s real estate. Particularly
commercial real estate and residential
rental properties. You’ll want to put little
or no money down. Leverage is key.
If you put 10% down, and the property
goes up 10%, you’ve doubled your money.
You’ll get lots of tax breaks.

The daily minimum wage in Mexico
is 123 pesos, about $6 US. Eleven million
people live on it.

Own precious metals. For inflation protection.
Gold’s the best. And keep some of your assets
in cash. To ride out economic storms.

Did you know the 15 wealthiest individuals
in the world have more wealth than the poorest
85 countries combined?

If you start early, and invest wisely,
you could be a millionaire while you’re
still in your 30s. Then you can buy a villa
on the ocean, in a poor country,
with 5 full-time servants. They can live
in the guest house. Be sure
to treat them kindly.



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