Seventeen Mini-Essays on The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard


And then at the very moment of appreciation I had no problem.

                                          THE FRIENDLY WAY

“Our swordfish just had eleven babies and I’m not at all sure what to do with them.”


Nancy was always handing me jars that I couldn’t open.

Strange to read her because I can only do so by somehow pretending to be her.


I think that a lot of people think “being a nice person” is just a cover-up. I don’t think so. Or, if it is, it’s a better cover-up than most.

                                                   ON THE BUS

I’m never totally convinced, riding a bus, that I’m on the right bus.


I hope people know I don’t want to glance away, or down, sometimes, when we are talking.


My work never turns out like I think it is going to. I start something. It turns into a big mess. And then I clear up the mess.

                                              HAVING A SHOW

If you want to know what it’s like to have the rug pulled out from under you (don’t bother) (and besides, I’m sure you already know) try having a show.

                                MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

This would be an interesting place to “trip”.

                                                THAT FEELING

What defines that feeling one has when staring at a rock?

                                   TWO HAIRS PAST A FRECKLE

I remember “Two hairs past a freckle” when someone asks you what time it is and you don’t have a watch.

                                                    HARD HURT

(Hard hurt.)

                                                 TAKING CREDIT

That honest is only something you can try to be. (If you want to be.) And I do. But I don’t want to take credit for being honest.


It seems I am always looking for matches.


Dreams to me are a sort of bonus.

                                            A BEAUTIFUL BUTT

There is nothing I find more beautiful than a beautiful butt.