Jim Trainer

Apolitical Blues

In Activism, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, depression, getting old, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, news media, observation, PDX, Performance, politics, Portland, PROTEST, publishing, publishing poetry, recovery, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on December 1, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Everything is political.
Ian MacKaye

I’m glad that quote reached me from the mouth of one of the greatest intelligences of our time.  I’m sure Angela Davis or Terrence McKenna or Camile Paglia has said the same thing, but it wouldn’t have mattered much to me because, except for my punk rock allegiances, I was apolitical.  You know, too cool to be bothered.  Besides being on the wrong side of whatever side there is, I never stood for anything.  Politics were boring.  Activism was never as fun as bombing through the streets of Houston in a black Bronco with young trust funded Republicans, smoking meth and spouting on about the evils of socialism.  This is gonna be hard to reign in.  Especially while the most gorgeous young lady sits in front of me at Ford Food&Drink in downtown Portland, eating a tangelo and sipping tea in blonde curls and elf boots.

That’s right, Portland, and I fucking love it here.  Anything could be a step up from last week-being called a peasant by the boss and caught in a flame war about Kanye-for Christ-West with a Democratic choad from my past days delivering rich kids luggage in the hills of upstate NY and New England (love ya Nate!).  That, combined with the news these days made it a banner week for shittiness.  The only glimmer was listening to Father Ian on Tuesday and getting the fuck out of town and flying into the Emerald City on Wednesday.

I still haven’t got around to being political yet.  I’ve been balls deep in the design of the new book, waking up every day to find hours of work wasted, gone, and unusuable but rebuilding the book Mr. Miyagi style, my skills sharpened from failure after failure with Adobe’s Creative Suite.  There are some glitches, it’s true, but dealing with their Help Center for hours only to be told it’s not a fault of the s0ftware was time I didn’t have.  I had to get 150 book blocks printed by end of day Tuesday, and board a plane with them on my shoulder at 10am the next day.  All while on shift, you know, the peasant gig, and shutting it down, cooking dinner for the old man, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry and packing.   I guess it could be worse.  In fact I know it could, which, as stated last week, is the change in me.

This blog is completely self mired and utterly self referential.  I count on the readership of sensitive folks with anarchistic and anti-authrotarian tendencies who feel my pain.  It’s been nothing short of wonderful sharing the plight and the pleasure of being a poet with you, and,  best of all-it kept me inspired.  After all, I’m just a song and dance man, a performer-and this blog has been more a stage than anything else.  As far as being inspired, never having writer’s block as long as the main character in my writing is me-I wouldn’t exactly call it a deadend, as here I sit, 2,000 miles from home, in a cafe full of hipsters in sweaters listening to indie music, with 611 words written at the stroke of noon.  Jackpot and Hot Damn, as Dr. Thompson would say, victory over idleness and blues and for the simple fact that I got out of bed and made it into town and wrote all this down without a cigarette.  I’m useful, I’m writing and I’m communicating.  Thanks in no small part to you.  But when I hear the clarion call almost daily, and it’s been revealed that I’ve been sidelining it for most of my life, well I knew that much and it was in fact a deliberate choice, but that it’s not acceptable anymore and all I can do is write…I’m thankful.  Purposely.  Resolutely.

Ian MacKaye was right.  I’ll always need to get it out, get it down and “frame the agony”, somehow come to grips with the nowness and immediacty of everything.  Seeing Uncle Hank on Tuesday night reminded me what initially attracted me to the man.  He talked about being a hyperventilating borderline child who was on Ritalin until he was 18.  I remembered something about myself that I almost forgot.  I am what you call “too much” (but never how my cuntface X meant it).  Some of us are too much for this life, we can’t contain our energy and love and enthusiasm and pain.  Life is too much, the world is too much, it’s all too much.  So, we lift weights or do Yoga or run or smoke and drink and fight and fuck or, simply, write.   I’m still glad to be here with you  sharing these long hours on the sinking throne.  I know the pump is primed.  I know that, if informed (thank you President Elect Trump) I can write about anything.  I can’t be lazy though, and a Facebook and HuffPo diet have made me feel like I was doing something when all I was doing was being outraged.   Outrage is ok, until folks like Ian and Henry Rollins and Robert Kraft show you how work gets done.  And if you have a tendency to be outraged, like I do, it’s gonna be a long night.

Stay tuned for some incrdible news about the new collection and rest assured, for this week at least, about the political nature of your work, your striving, your song and your poetry.

I speak here of poetry as a revelatory distillation of experience, not the sterile word play that, too often, the white fathers distorted the word poetry to mean-in order to cover a desperate wish for imagination without insight. For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
-Audre Lorde

 

The Real Work

In Activism, Being A Poet, Being An Artist, Don Bajema, Jim Trainer, journalism, Maureen Ferguson, mental health, new journalism, PDX, Poetry, politics, Portland, PROTEST, publishing poetry, self-help, self-publishing on November 24, 2016 at 3:17 pm

 

I got bored of Bob then, so squinted,
to make him look more like the other poet, Cohen…
…would have looked up Iggy on my phone,
but we didn’t have mobiles in nineteen-eighty-two.
Me and Bob in Barmouth, Caroline Stockford

…it’s every bastard for himself
the last Century hasn’t ended yet
bring us the head of the King
the last Century hasn’t ended yet
–Unwound

Warmest Greetings from the War Room. The Wisdom is hard to come by these days. I’m sure we’re all at loss. I’ve been tits deep in the work and I’m thankful. It always gets my juices flowing and it kept me off Facebook for a couple weeks. Y’all have been busy! I’m proud of you. Really, I am. There’s a photo going around now, on social media, with a list of phone numbers to call and officially register a complaint, from the White House Situation Room to your local legislators to a pigfucker Sheriff from North Dakota who, when the credits roll will be on the wrong side of history. Aho. That wasn’t nice. I don’t know how that pigfucker can sit around a table with his family today, after blowing Sophia Wilansky’s arm off during a peaceful protest this week-which isn’t nice either. Wilansky’s conviction is what we’ll need now. If I’ve learned anything from my experience with neo Nazis, violence will be part of the conversation.

These are interesting times. Brother Don is emboldened and, as usual, carrying a torch of inspiration that’s astounding. Sister Maureen Ferguson writes that she’s “uncomfortable”, which sounds to me like she’s resolved.  You better watch out Brother. The lady does work. I get to watch these tremendously bright and strong people rise and shine. All I’ve done is footnoted a blog post, meant to get back to later-basically I felt like I should back up my dark intuitions. That’s the change in me. On my way to Starbucks this morning (and I really should just stop right there), I had my guard up, like I do, but was hipped to the reality of a rogue shooter, a Vet or failure of a failed mental health system that doesn’t care for the mentally ill at all. What I am trying to say is it’s always been dark for me. I won’t say I told you so because then I would be a dick but also, I’ve got some issues-I’ve been fighting depression for over twenty years. I’m a poet for Christ, sitting in a mansion writing you about my insights on the way to Starbucks. The world has risen (or sunk) to my expectations but I won’t say I told you so. There have been some real dark turns in the New Century.  It shouldn’t surprise me but it does. The change in me is that it’s not enough for me to write a post that says “We’re fucked.” three times and call it a day. I need to back my dire statements and grim predictions with fact.

These things take time. Time I haven’t had. The new book is practically in the bag. Text and pages laid out in InDesign.  I’ll do a final pore today and tomorrow, and finish a draft of the cover before I send the file to Minuteman for 150 insides to my third full-length collection of poetry. I fly out to Portland on Wednesday, to Letterpress the covers and bind and cut them at the IPRC. I’m 17 copies away from breaking even on September‘s second pressing, and I can’t thank y’all enough. Christmas is coming. Holler at yr homeboy. If your relatives piss you off, buy them copies of my dark and romantic poetry. That oughta fix their wagon. Support local artists. I do and I’m really happy about it. I might even make it easy and generate a list of artists who I respect, which is the real currency. I see you my Brother, my Sister. Let’s do our work and take some time out of our very privileged lives to give back. It’s always been dark but in the strangest turn of events, it’s gotten brighter for me, the littlest bit. You showed me how.

Vox populi vox dei.

See you in Portland motherfucker.
Trainer
Austin TX-Portland OR

 

The Painter

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2016 at 5:38 pm

“Nothing’s changed. I’m still an old sap romantic. Just mangled some.”

Source: The Painter