Exits & Entrances
ten very tiny essays
Exits & Entrances
In 2023, this library meeting room contains twenty or thirty poets, many of whom I haven’t seen since a Brooklyn brownstone party in 1992. I do the math and realize that most of these poets, when I first met them, were younger than I am now.
One day soon, a 60-year-old poet will recognize the elderly me with my hunched back and slow gait and remember when I was just 59.
The graveyards are filled with poets. Only a few of them have written poems that outlived them.
It’s funny to be fat and handsome.
You find yourself believing that the people who find you attractive are more willing to make the necessary compromises that a good life requires.
I Send My Regrets, My Regrets Send Me
In high school, I loved a white girl whose father kept at least thirty busted cars in the front and backyard of their rural house. He was a mechanic who scavenged them for parts
That white girl loved me back.
Also in high school, I was in love with an Indian girl whose father kept at least thirty busted cars in the front and backyards of their rural house. He was a mechanic who scavenged them for parts.
That Indian girl didn’t love me back.
All these decades later, I fondly remember being loved by somebody who loved me and I fondly remember not being loved by somebody whom I loved.
This is why it’s good to find romance when you’re young. That way, you’ll have decades to learn how to embrace all of your losses and regrets.
Introduction to World Literature
The people who most want to imprison writers are other writers.
I don’t believe in the death penalty but I also don’t object to the executions of the obvious monsters.
You smell that cologne? It’s my hypocrisy.
This life is fraught and contradictory so you gotta wear your full-body armor and clown nose when you leave your house for the long day ahead.
If somebody offers you a mint then say thank you and take it.
If somebody promises you that they know how to make the world a better place then kick them in the shin and sprint over the hills away from them.
I’ve only been to one karaoke night. I enjoyed all the middling singers but wanted to boo the three who were great singers. They felt like royalty and I don’t like royalty.
I didn’t sing that night no matter how much my friends and strangers encouraged me to do so. Apparently, karaoke pep talks are sacred. I’m no singer. I can hear when the notes go wrong but I can’t vocalize them right.
There are many kinds of joy that I don’t enjoy but I promise you that I’m a hilarious guy. I’d make you laugh even if we were out of bullets but still marching into war.
Humans Don’t Learn Nothing
On the airplane, somebody with a wet cough has decided to fly anyway.
I continually promise myself that I won’t watch the videos of ranting white women—of all the Karens of the world. But I keep watching them destroy their lives. And, yes, many of them are racists. But many of them are also mentally ill people in the midst of a mental health crisis. I think it’s quite obvious that some Karens are having a psychotic episode.
Here’s something that’s difficult for people to accept: mentally ill people can be racists.
And here’s something else: racism can be a symptom of mental illness.
And here’s a third thing: we should have empathy for the mentally ill Karens, even the racist ones.
But it’s hurts the soul to even think of holding such empathy, doesn't it? It’s easier to appreciate a bipolar pop star’s artistic honesty. And it’s far easier to pity the half-naked homeless man preaching to the sky.
Can I offer you some advice? The next time you see a video of a Karen, ask yourself this question: What has caused her so much pain that she’s aflame with sadness and rage?
If you believe that Native Americans are more spiritual than other Americans then you don’t know very many of us Injuns.