Three Guys in White Kaftans


Sleep is good. Death is better.
but even better yet
would be not to have been born.
– Heinrich Heine

Life was a narrow cage,
with multiple iron bars
with only one escape route.
– Leonid Andreyev

What can happen to a man
that is worse than having been born?
That question is like asking a drowning man
whether he is not afraid of getting wet.
– Leonid Andreyev


The chimes on my entrance door rang.
I went to the door and looked through the peephole.
Three guys in white kaftans were in the hall.
I opened the door and they said in unison
that they had good news for me.
They looked gentle, so I let them in.

I led them to the dining room table
where they refused my offer of beer,
so brought glasses and a pitcher of water.

They said in unison that I did well
and that I deserved another go.
Reincarnation would be my reward!

At that I ran to the door and tore it open.
“There’s the goddamn door!” I shouted,
“Get the hell out fast!
Once was more than enough!”

– Herbert Kuhner