Jim Trainer

HIGH ADVENTURE IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS

In Uncategorized on July 11, 2019 at 7:59 pm

…the rain the light, the green and blue.
it’s a festival of colors and air
to keep us dancing and messing up.
Matthew Lippman

Then my wife had a fabulous idea to replant this forest. And when we began to do that, then all the insects and birds and fish returned and, thanks to this increase of the trees I, too, was reborn—this was the most important moment.
Sebastião Salgado

Even if I was not
born in a dumpster
between a moldy cabbage
and an expired loaf of bread,
I too was rescued by an extravagant woman.
Rodney Jones

Bread for myself is a material question.  Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.
-Nikoli Berdyaev

Well.  Another one in the chipper eh Good Reader?  Time moves blindingly fast and Papa’s sentiment, that the closer we get to death the less important it becomes, may only be braggadocio or else some wisdom to be lived through.  The closer I am to death the more important life becomes, but that’s only when I’m in my right mind and not recovering, like I do, and living half a life as a sufferer of a major depressive disorder.  The bad news is I’m depressed.  The good news is too.  The fact that I’m suffering from a disease means it can be treated.  Going on as I have, this long and addled with a hatred of everyone and everything would be impossible.  Realizing my problems with others aren’t necessarily others is something that can be addressed, even if no easy fix.  Trying to change them and the world not so much.  I’m not saying I’m going to re-commit to the human fold or that my rapacious appetite for solitude should be curbed.  Just that I can hide out and hole up too long and recharging my people batteries only takes me out the game.  I add it up, Good Reader, and it doesn’t look good and anyway folks are leaving this life, faster than ever now, while I’m stowed away “working” or licking my wounds and falling out in a virtual opium den of YouTube and bad blues.

Truth is it hurts to go out sometimes.  Who’s kidding most of the time.  My blues have physically manifest.  I know it can be beat though and it’s really what I set out to do with the founding of Yellow Lark Press—and my oath to release a collection of poetry and prose every year for 10.  At 40 I looked at my life and I was terrified.  I was on anti-depressants at the time and I may have mistakingly included that fact into the harrowing self-view I took at this moment of self realization.  I neglected to see that because of anti-depressants I was able to recognize I wasn’t living to my fullest and not going after my dreams.  Deep down I knew it but the Wisdom had some trouble translating—it couldn’t bubble up without triggering an already overwrought sense of self (or lack thereof) and so I just smoked and drank and fucked it down.  Some of the best sex of my life actually but sex isn’t everything. I miss smoking less than I ever did which doesn’t really say much except that now my desire for a cigarette is often coupled with the retching recognition of how wretched and vile and without class smoking is.  Not drinking is a no-brainer—I’ll even go as far as to say I don’t miss it at all except for how useful it is to forget the time and change the channel in your mind for any reason at any time.  The problem with all these is at any time became all the time.  I wasn’t free but most importantly I wasn’t making great traction towards how I wanted to live my life—that is, I wasn’t living my dreams.  As a Pisces and a punkrocker this was unacceptable but I couldn’t even recognize it, let alone do something about it, because of how overburdened I already was with self-hatred and how close I’ve always been to the total destitution of depression.

So there it is, Good Reader.  I don’t really hate them.  I don’t care for most of them so, why should I let them influence my Life?  I’ve got mad love for the rest though, and the truth is a friend is someone who sees you.  That’s all that’s required.  Get seen and you can take it from there.  And also no one runs this rig alone.  I could list the rank and responsibilities of the Crew but I don’t think I’m really on about the particulars here.  We need help.  I sure do.  I need Julie Niehoff to run my email campaign and Brothers Julian&Leo to have me sit in on the doghouse bass at the Spider House on a Saturday night, Ricky O. to bring ‘em out to the shows and anyway pass along my info to the Chancellor’s for a formal dinner gig in the middle of the week, Mike Baldwin to gear me up and down and continue to amass the MAMU until it’s in ship shape and ready for the road, Dylan Angell in Brooklyn to have me on at Quimby’s…and on and on but, what I’m talking about here is fuel.  My people are fuel and I’ve missed them.  It’s been a long dark night of the soul but I am re-emerging.  Do your people, your depressive and gnarly, anxious-artist types, a solid and accept them—blues and all.  Try and get them out.  Try hard but more importantly, see them when they make it and do get out.  I’ve a mission my bad blues has charged me with.  The bad news is I’m depressed.  The good news is too.

Sedulo,
TRAINER
Austin TX

We Love You Meaux Riley
You Will Be Missed
…class rivals beauty, and she had both see… 

 

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Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#24, Brother Heath

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2019 at 12:22 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
P.O. Box 49921
Austin TX 78765

Heath Brougher
400 N. 8th Street
Reading PA 19601

5/4/19, 2:36PM

Warmest Greetings From The War Room

Fitting I should be writing you, Brother Heath–both because I write letters when I can’t write and you are practically the Patron Saint of Writing.  I ‘Like’ every post of you thanking the innumerable and latest pubs you appear in–both to support you and look them up later, when I’m ready to submit.  Of course that begs the question Where’s the work, Trainer?  Between Farewell, September and All in the wind I’ve practically had to start from scratch.  It’s alarming running out of material. Perhaps it’s a problem you don’t have yet but anyway it’s not a problem at all.  The worst trouble is no trouble at all. Ain’t it though. My dilemmas are needling and particular…the constant maintenance on a typewriter older than I am, IBS and neighbors’ dogs.  Some of us write while others mow their fucking lawns with their dogs barking to oblivion. Between trips to the john I had to call the cops. Now it’s quiet out there, except for a car alarm, now and then (another irresponsible jerkoff neighbor) but I’ll take it.  A dog barking is the most random and piercing and most impossible to work with. I put earphones in, with no music–nope. I can’t write with music on either. Those days are gone. As are those nights typing with beer and wine. I miss those nights. They were a reprieve, Brother Heath!  Now I’ve none. I live sober with my blues and a kinghell anxiety–one that wakes me hours before shift and prevents me from evacuating waste on schedule like a normal human. The only comfort I take is knowing Bukowski had similar problems–but he drank. I’m fucked Brother but I can handle my trouble, can you?  The world is mired in its own shit, things are sinking or falling away and anyway politics will be worthless on an ice floe or in the domes that Bradbury prophesied. The most pressing concern for us as humans is the least acknowledged. Neil Young was right and Neil DeGrasse Tyson but being right won’t make a damn either–may as well hold each other close, stick to the real work and kiss it goodbye.  

Without a typewriter I’m fucked.  I can write poetry on a device but, who the hell wants to do that?  Meanwhile the jerkoff’s car alarm has gone off again, three times since starting this, but I’ll continue my correspondence with the Friend–what else?  Go charging into the alley, that’s what, in my Crocs and PJs and scowling up their backyard to see what the fuck is going on out there.  For fuck sake, Heath.  They want us to work. So we do.  We’re never free though, are we? We have to suffer weekends and weekenders, round pegs wielding weedwackers with dogs roped off in their yards, and any and every intrusive proclivity of Joe Citizen who doesn’t have the sense to invest in something worthwhile like the Arts so instead goes in for the cheap thrills and full ride of working for the man like a good consumer and full-on douchebag.  There’s some other business going on out there in the alley. A tree almost fell from my backyard and across the road. I think I hear the city out there now. The thing is resting on a power line but I’ma keep at it–writing, otherwise I’d go nuts.  

As far as what’s wrong with me, well, anxiety I guess.  The fact that we got 12 summers left worries me more than it should.  I thought I didn’t care. I also never thought I’d live this long, so, maybe it’s time to reevaluate.  I took off work tonight. Other than shitting my brains out, calling the cops on my neighbor and stalking the alley in battle mode, it’s been alright.  I might head out to the bookstore soon but I’ll be sure to go online first. Plenty of friends of mine have been published, recently or otherwise, and I’ve got some reading to do.  Bet. Besides reading I suppose it’ll be an uneventful Saturday night, Another Bullshit Night In Suck City which I’m wagering will be heaps better than the days of liquid gambol when I was drinking–on the hooch and bottle and chasing my lusts in a debased pirouette and otherwise fucking off my lifetime.  4 years in to sobriety and I can’t say it’s better but it is certainly different. What a difference a little difference will make, Brother Heath–this quote from thee Greatest Rock and Roll Band of All Time is strikingly prescient now and anyway you can’t go back but if you do you’re different now.  Innocence only gets in the way of a purer Art. Ain’t it though. I try and approach life with a beginner’s mind but the only place I can really pull it off is at the type.  Poetry is still a highwire act and I’m always afforded discovery there. Were it not for the Arts I ruefully think I might be stuck somewhere, as awful as my hometown and probably worse, on some drug or other and locked in to a toxic codependency with a woman only slightly smarter than me who knows how to fight with a knife and fuck my black Irish brains out.  Since I’m invested though, in the inner life and the world of letters, there’ll be no amour fou for me or anything that takes me from this discipline.  I’ve come to rely on writing. It keeps me sane and from doing a common and dreadful thing like yard work.  F the neighbors, Brother, and the World. We’re writers and we’re all mad here.

We won’t need to know how going forward, I think, but will certainly need a refresher on whyWhy is paramount–when the debate over healthcare is non-existent, you can die at anytime anywhere at the hands of any Nutter with an AK, the top 2% of this country won’t even suffer ecological collapse and it’s always War somewhere in the world and never for the moral or crusading reasons they advertise.  What good’s sanity anyway, Brother Heath, as we advance darkly down the days of Nutter’s Rule? What good will being right or the truth have as we become the working dead and it’s cheaper to buy a gun and blow everyone away than it is to save our loved ones dying of a curable and otherwise Empire-engineered disease?  Hunter Thompson was right, Heath, and there’s nowhere to run or hide. It’s all conquered and the game they’re playing has factored in humanity as the cost of doing business. What kind of glory do they bask in, Heath, these Final Century cowboys and oligarchs shipping yachts full of cash overseas and living in highwalled palaces that keep them safe from the cancerous rays of a deathead and approaching sun?  What is their virtue and what God do they pray to and if that God exists shouldn’t we the People strike him down with all we got and bask when the churches burn and cops get clobbered on the street by the yellow jackets? And what is our virtue, when saving the world is a diminishing return and the order we’ve adhered to for centuries lurches forward over us, consuming us and soaked in blood?

Let’s do some anger, Brother.  Before the end gets here. If winning was everything we would’ve said quit a long time ago.  We will live to see stranger things than our own mortality.

Our work will save us.

Yours,
Jim Trainer

 

AHAB’S BLUES

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2019 at 11:39 am

The following post was written in the fallow and fucked winter months of 2018.  It’s no coincidence I was blocked then, it happens from time to time and it’s happening now, today–July 4, 2019.  Back then I solved the problem of writer’s block by posting a poem about a fling, well, about heartbreak, really–along with a photo of a woman who showed mercy on me at that time.  A few months before posting her photo, I wrote to tell her we aren’t friends and could not expect to be. I wasn’t waiting for an apology anymore and I wouldn’t be casual, suffer ribbing or be convivial with her, in public or in any way.  I told her to fuck off, basically, and then mistakingly posted her picture not long after, along with a poem that was derivative of our time together and anyway a time in my life when alcohol helped blur the lines between terrible isolation and dreadful disease.  The opening quote of this post is from her. I don’t need to slag this person but I’ve removed her from my life and I don’t drink anymore. It’s all-me-all-the-time, Good Reader, and I’m racked and buckled with my own bad blues, blocked creatively, sick, overbooked and exhausted.  It’s good to have a couple in the chamber for when this happens but, as my Editor Phil has observed, I had to dig deep for this one–and for this Sunday’s Coarse Grind.  All is not well but I’ll feel better soon.  Thank you as always for reading. I’ve come to count on our time together and your readership sustains me, even for the harrowing seasons of my distress.
Sedulo,
TRAINER

Please remove my photograph from your confused memories.
Rainey

I picked the wrong week to quit Creative Nonfiction.  Those of you following me on social media may recall me posting that this blog is self-interested, cannibalistic and loathsome last week.  I was only stating the obvious. I’d been systematically removing myself from these pages, more and more every week–the people I was writing about found me and reached out to me personally…and I was beginning to feel like a hack anyway.

The people who don’t like being written about hardly ever understand what I wrote about them, which makes it hard to give them any credit.  The fact that their feathers are ruffled kind of makes me feel like I’m doing my job as a writer and I’ve never denied that I’m being spiteful at times.  I work things out in writing and bodies will be caught. There will be collateral damage. I take pride in those barbs, not because I have the last word or because I’m catty but because if it affects them then my writing has legs and it’s getting up and walking across the room, even if only to slap them in they fool face.  There aren’t many folks I’ve slagged on here I wish I didn’t. Things might’ve gone down differently between us in real life if they never read Going For The Throat but I doubt it.  At the end of the day, we come here for the Real and all my most base and unsavory instinct, sexist attitudes and unethical thoughts are best examined here.  I read over posts from ’13 that make me cringe. I haven’t taken them down but I’m not promoting them either. There is a revolution happening and I’ve got a bad feeling about where it’s headed, but, the #metoo movement is a good one, especially in this dark and dumb age.  Trying to be Bukowski or no, a lot of shit I wrote won’t and should never pass muster in these evolving times. The paradigm could be shifting, and the more things change the more they could stay the same, but, either way, I’m able to examine myself out in the open, with you.  The quote above is from someone who asked me to remove her picture from the blog last week. She was kind of who I was writing about but not really. In fact, some of you may recall that earlier versions of the post went up with the caption but don’t flatter yourself, it ain’t about you.  She’s the fling at the end of the poem.  Happy now?

She doesn’t remember it that way.  She doesn’t remember a lot of things but it’s not my job to remind her.  My job is writing and remembering it my way, romantically or critically otherwise–whatever.  I don’t explain it. I shouldn’t have to. My work should speak for itself but if it doesn’t then it’s back to the drawing board, and in the meantime–who the fuck is she that I should have to explain it anyway?  She was the person in the photo. She has no other power, over me or my memories, my work and my poetry. She publicized a Facebook message I sent her telling her we aren’t, nor will ever be, friends. And she demanded I take her photo down.  Whoopty do. She’ll still have to live her life and I’ll still have a blog to write. I’ve been extricating myself from these pages for weeks. I dug up an old poem, one I had hoped time forgot or at least cast a wistful and romantic sheen on, that doesn’t need to be fact checked to be felt, and a ghost reached up from the nethers to paw at it and demand I take it down.  Again, it was kind of about her but not really. She certainly informed the writing of that piece. My point is, she might’ve been on my mind when I wrote it, but she ain’t on my mind anymore. That’s why I write about my life ain’t it though. You either hang yourself or you hang it on the wall. Some lady got her feelings hurt and I’m able to move on with my life, maybe even examine it later– during a cultural revolution and I might even discover that I was wrong.  It’s called growth. Introspection+time=Wisdom. Ain’t it though?

I spend my time building columns of words.  Thankfully, other people read them, comment on them, appreciate them–or passively aggressively mine them for how it relates to them, and subsequently demand it be edited or explained.  It’s been a long time I should be far from here. This blog’s been on its last legs–for a couple years now, and that HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HER. I’m just feeling like a hack, and negative–in a bad way.  There’s hardly any benefit here anymore. I feel like I could do so much more for you good Reader, really live up to the love you’ve shown. The haters were just too easy. 

I’m up to my knees in corpses and like the song says there’s too many skeletons in my room today.

I’ve so much to share.  Hopefully it ain’t about me either.
Onward.

Ab irato,
TRAINER

PART 17 OF THE COARSE GRIND THIS SUNDAY AT INTO THE VOID MAGAZINE
JIM TRAINER’S POEM OF THE WEEK

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I am thrilled to announce that Yellow Lark Press will be releasing No Comebacksthis year.  Over forty poetic meditations on the champions of American boxing—working class fighters, dancers and jabbers, griots, gamblers and grifters and warriors all.  A wonderful collection from the brilliant poet Will StenbergNo Comebacks is a human tapestry embroidered in blood and stitched with sweat.  Step into the ring with No Comebacks this year, through Yellow Lark Press.