Some of My Closets (Poem 12)
Jewish kid who just wanted to fit in like probably every other kid.
Philly streets of cement, priest telling my friends not to play with me.
Nuns kicking me out of the gym for obvious reasons.
Why did I have to be different?
My closet thought was, Why can’t we be like everyone else?
Being a pre-dental student in college was to keep me from getting drafted
until I could come out of the closet when a safe draft lottery number made
we immune to the draft. Any real desire to be a dentist disappeared in
about a half second or less. A college art teacher had looked me in the eye
and asked if I really wanted to be a dentist. I lied to both her and myself by
Then opening a chiropractic office in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – infamous for the
Aryan Nations White Supremacists put me back in my original closet. “Schwartz,
is that German Doc?” was a common question. My true but elusive answer was
that it’s Russian (now Ukrainian and Lithuanian). But Jews were murdered there
for their religion and thus my grandfather came here alone as a teen.
And after all those years of hiding, I no longer have any skin in the game and so
it’s with great pleasure that I make it a point to always tell the truth. And maybe I
pretend to myself that I always did. Or if I don’t for some reason, I’m an expert at
telling enough of a half-truth that no one notices but me.
I notice that my clothes closet is always neat and clean with color coded clothes.
Maybe I want that because I’ve spent so much time in there.