on prison and the cold

Winter-cityHoward Tharsing at Threepenny Review:

When I got out of County Jail following my second arrest, one of the friends I wanted to get in touch with right away was HG. When I texted him the news that I was walking out of the jail at 850 Bryant Street, breathing freely for the first time in ten days, he said the strangest thing in reply: “I don’t know what I should say to you,” he said.

I have been often struck by the fact that HG constantly describes himself as driven first and foremost by Jewish guilt. He complains all the time about his mother and her oppressive concern with propriety. (Indeed, as someone whose mother is no longer living, I have found his denigration of her and the bitter feelings he expresses about her make me uncomfortable.)

So at first I took his remark to mean that he felt he needed some formal or conventional words to use on the occasion, that he was searching his mind for something his mother would say to a friend just released from jail. But his mother, no doubt, would not have a friend who had been released from jail because she would not have a friend who was in jail in the first place.

more here.