Jim Trainer

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#27: Hello In There

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2019 at 9:02 am

22 June 2015          


I thought it fitting to write you while waiting in a chilled room for a judge to need us.  I am in a collective of rumpled Americans doing civic time.  We have a
nswered our summons.  We are jurors.  2 days prior I came quite close to purchasing an American flag shirt – button down, made of some light silky polyester.  Not red, white, and blue but worn brick red, yellowed-white, and faded cornflower blue.   I have America on my mind. Recently an Iranian attached himself to me.  He is here on political asylum trying to get a life together which is not easy when you’re a middle easterner who does not understand colloquial English.  A lost kitten.  Though he is an accomplished musician and tailor he will try to convince a man he wants to install windows and if he can he will be closer to the American dream.  I looked at all the faces of my fellow jurors.  And like a corporation concerned with its image, the mass was made up of all colors and classes.  A whole rainbow of voters. I imagined each of them standing behind a short curtain, torsos concealed in the name of democracy.  The day before at a sparsely attended Portuguese heritage festival I drank green wine and stood under the hot sun while dancers festooned with red, green, and gold spun in circles their arms straight up and waving like they were signaling surrender.  My fresh-off-boat Portuguese companions railed their government and the whole European Union in one breath and the next invited me to their quaint city to eat Bacalhu prepared by their elders.  I listened with a half dead ear.  The night before lasted until the morning after. I slept lightly in a room with blackout curtains from 6-10am and thought about World War II.  The whole day took on a sheen of something not quite real that I remembered from my years as a teenage insomniac.  That feeling of being superhuman—outside of the need for rest, and knowing the night’s secrets. At home on my couch is sleeping a genderless human come to my state to rectify the backwards law we keep that allows a boss to fire someone for being gay.  I am all up in the business of how America works.  Immigration, heritage celebration, trial by jury, boots-on-the-ground democracy.  

The week before, when you shook my hand you invited me to dinner.  I declined.  I need to make a salad. When you shook my hand you placed your other hand in the mix and enveloped my fingers in a tight, slightly rough, manly grasp.  The air in the room felt still and stupid.  The thoughts in my head were jumbled and inarticulate.  I wanted to lie on the grass.  I wanted you to lie on the grass and cup your hands over my ears as I closed my eyes and hummed trying to recalibrate or shake something loose.  That night I went home and lay in a bed with my ears wide open.  No dreams came.  I shot up awake at 3 or 4 am and wondered what I had forgotten.  

I am reading books voraciously and writing a play that is molasses-dense with personal meaning.  I am walking 4 miles a day sometimes 5 or 6 and jogging 3 at a time.  There is so much momentum that standing still causes vertigo.  The soles of my shoes are coating the city sidewalks like a bloodletting.  I am aiming for the seaside soon to see if I can be motionless on the sand allowing the ocean to make the moves.  If that reads as anxiety it is accurate.  But, make no mistake, I also live in Bobby McFerrin’s world.  My cheeks often hurt from laughing.  

I had a pen pal when I was an odd teenager.  Incarcerated, he wrote to me on yellow legal pads and sent letters with prepaid postage he had bought from the commissary.  I sent 8, 10, 12 page letters full of my young, yet already jaded ideas of the world.  He reciprocated once writing a full letter in runes.  What else are you going to do with 23 hours a day in your cell?  I have written almost no letters since.  Did I do alright?

Keep your ear to the ground,
Demi Jurada

  1. […] I DECIDED to be open, in dowtown Louisville no less.  Otherwise, I’m just so tightly wound, Demi, I walk to the top of the hill of the drive behind the cabin with my guitar and try and belt it […]

  2. […] Jurada wrote me in the summer of ’15 but I didn’t get her letter until I was up on a mountain with no […]

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