Letter to an old friend

I am sorry to hear about your dog. I know he was special and fat and you loved him.

Yesterday in a bookstore I saw a postcard of Susan Sontag sitting at her typewriter and I thought of you standing in front of the classroom in harem pants while the kids ask why you always wear sequins and why you drink carrot juice and what does Adorno say about the culture industry?

And you, long-necked and withdrawn, turn to write ideology on the board, and start explaining about the production of mass culture and the theory of pleasure. The kids are wide-eyed and ask if everything popular is “factory-made,” and you turn it back to them—what do you think?

There are always a few students who care, you told me over spring rolls at the Thai bakery. I watched your mouth move and asked if you were happy. I should have said it then, but I’m sorry for calling you pretentious in high school.