Jim Trainer

Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

In alcoholism, day job, police brutality, politics, working class on October 18, 2018 at 10:00 am

If it keeps on rainin’ levee’s goin’ to break…
-Memphis Minnie

What Deford thought would be fun ‘for a few months’ turned into 37 years.
-Liberal Radio

In America it’s not Republican and Democrat–it’s just those are the only options people have.
Trevor Noah

The fear of not doing what I want to do in life made me do what I want to do.
Dave Chappelle

I think they will be both miserable and emboldened.
Karl Rove

For fuck’s sake.  A silver lining to this shitshow is I’ll take it to the mattresses and bring you back a slick 600, neat and fine and ain’t it though.  It’s been raining since the end of summer and today the weather has turned brutish and cold.  The news of a dismembered journalist is on the wire and 30-35 people are still missing in Mexico City, FLA–ravaged and otherwise destroyed by the 3rd worst Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the U.S.  In other news, somewhere in America someone is perfectly happy with the way things are, follows James Woods on Twitter and sees no contradiction in a GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS, ESPECIALLY OUR SNIPERS bumper sticker emblazoned above a dangling set of TruckNutz on his black Chevy Silverado.  The Grateful Dead were wrong.  The trouble ain’t with you or me but everything and everyone.  The mounting mud and torrential rain falling out the window of this garage apartment are great reason to stay indoors, at least until my shift starts, and it could always be worse.  That sentiment carries a lot of water (sorry) with me and is sure to carry me through the gnarly vice-like moments in which we have found ourselves in the dark New Century.  I know it could be worse because it has been, and holding a sign in the freezing rain for 6 hours is heaps better than sleeping in the park of your hometown with a pack of Marlboro and a copy of The Fountainhead in your sleeping bag.

This is the end Beautiful Friend.  But I’ll still try and make it because I don’t know what else to do.  We’ve got 135 months to right our course ecologically which seems to be the issue of our time.  I suppose if I was black I might think differently though, seeing as how cops kill you if you’re black and you’re marginalized and hemmed in by a capitalist system in a country where it’s a crime to be poor.  Holland has never looked so good.  Early voting opens October 22 and the Chinese Century looms like a sleeping dragon.  I’m still writing poetry,  and in turns sleeping as terribly as a zombie and a babe in the arms of a sweet blonde witch out in Bee Caves.  Landlord’s raised the rent here and I know it’s time to move on but not before I get a couple books out and finally amass the MAMU.  I’ve been shitting liquid since January and the contusion on my left heel rages, swollen and unhealed.  I probably need glasses, someone sideswiped my car and I’ve got a cyst on my lower back.  I been working–doing shifts at $14 and $15 an hour, holding a sign and ushering corporates to their shuttle downtown, and like a pig out in the sticks of Texas, sweating and sore in black closed-toe non-slip shoes.  I have yet to pore over the bank statement from my summer abroad, the whole thing was a journalistic failure if not a great opportunity to see how horrible some of my friends are and glean enough inspiration to carry me through another season here in Paradise where it’s overrun with technocrats and Californians but practically better than anywhere else in the U.S.

As fucked as it is, and oh how it is fucked—getting old and staying sober, taking orders from 20-something twats in full black bistro attire, living in a cold-tile flat with limited hot water, suffering IBS and constant headaches, ecological collapse, murdered journalists, news as entertainment, reverb soaked pansy-ass jive perpetrated by sexually ambigious college grads, stolen elections, rhyming poetry and the torture of Ugandan dissidents–it could always be worse and by the looks of it will be very soon.

See you downtown in the rain, motherfucker.

#JusticeForJamal

 

Advertisements

Finally Fall

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2018 at 9:36 pm

This morning I waited. Sometimes you have to. Most times you have to, in this business. I waited for it to come. Or not. That’s the thing. You have to be open to it. Maybe you’ll find you’re not inspired. You’re obviously not inspired so you sit and wait for it to come. I read a story about the great writer. He would sit bolt upright, his machine on and humming before him. Then, in a start, he would dive down into those keys, really start working those keys, in a buzz and a flash. He was a great writer. I’ll never live him down. Always feel like I’m in his shadow somehow. So I sit and wait for his shadow to pass over me. And all the things I was supposed to be. All my yesterdays, and every foolish last night. Sometimes it doesn’t come. This was one of those times. Some thoughts aren’t easy to shake. She is relentless. And thoughts of her are interminable. The way she looks in that photo. So platonic and fake. She looks neither as happy as the day I told her or as sad and mean as the day she broke the news. She’s as phony as they come. Gone but not gone. We split and now the summer is over. I couldn’t be happier. It’s finally fall. But the way she looks in that photo really fucks with me.

Loretta’s right. I’m the tragic romantic. Loretta’s got long, long legs. They just go up the fucking wall and to the ceiling. We were at her sister’s bar for the Talk Dirty Podcast. And the roof was coming in. Water, water everywhere. I was sitting next to her, on the lovers’ sofa, and those incredible long legs.
“You’re 4 on the anagram,” she said. “The tragic romantic.”
I smiled. She had her hair pinned up like a Hollywood starlet, dressed in a tight silk kimono and amber Corsican pumps that drove me crazy. I was imagining those pumps and her legs wrapped around my fucking head. That’s when Guy moved in. She’s got a coterie of guys. They swarm and hive around her. Follow her around the bar and buy her drinks. He offered to buy us one.
“Whisky and water.”

Loretta is all class. All legs and ass. A far cry from her sister–Lorraine, my boss for the podcast. Crazy Rainey. Crazy Rainey’s hard scrabble and green-eyed. If Loretta is all class then Lorraine is uncouth. They’re both Geminis. Have the same birthday actually, but years apart. Loretta’s older, closer to fifty and Rainey’s still coming up and trying to prove herself with her latest venture–the bar, and hosting edgy acts and performers like me. When I get up to use the john Guy takes my place beside Loretta on the lovers’ sofa. Wade the poet is onstage and I don’t mind even though I hate poetry. Rainey approaches me on the way back from the john. In the dark.

“We need to talk about the show.”
“Now?”
“Now.”
We go outback. Beneath the eaves. I can see Sybil out there beneath a picnic umbrella. Resplendent and dry reading a copy of Sexual Personae.
“Did you get my email?”
“Yep.”
“So what do you think?”
“It depends.”
“On?”
“How much shit you’ll give me while I’m doing it.”
“Oh, come on!”
“Ok I mean, I’ll do it but if you give me reams of shit for it then I’ll just quit the show and it’ll be all yours just like you wanted.”

She was edging all the literary content out of the show. Guess I can’t blame her. Me and my coterie of tragic romantic poets weren’t exactly wowing ‘em in the stands. But neither were her readings of classic playwrights and Oscar Wilde monologues. She was onto something with the format. I’ll give her that. Dirty talk. Frank and honest. Real. I didn’t really care. I mean I cared about the show but I was willing to give it up just to get between her sister’s incredibly long legs. Loretta really turned me on. She’s older, hotter. Sitting next to her on the lovers’ sofa looking up and down those legs, that was it.  And that was all. We finished the show and left. Without saying goodbye. Out front the bar she offered me her arm.
“Shall we?”
God she was sexy.

We headed out. Into the night. Me and Loretta. Hot damn. It felt good to be out on the street again. Finally fall. I remember reading how the great writer would associate certain albums with the seasons. How this Lou Reed jawn will always be his go-to in the Fall. Walking the streets of Berlin with his invisible woman blues. Leaves turning inside him. I had my start. The story was gaining traction. Me and Loretta finally leaving, finally fall. Last summer. Shit. Last summer was a goddamned albatross. I really thought I was in love. I had found love again after all that time. She turned out to be a phony. As phony as they come. But the summer was over and it was finally fall.

We pull into Loretta’s.
“Go on in.” I tell her and back down the drive.
Priscilla is standing there like a statue in my rearview. She’s porcelain-white, flashing her phoniest smile.
“Can we talk?”
“No.”
I get out the car put my hands on her waist and pull her close. We kiss ravenously. I pull her hair back on her head. Ease her onto the drive and mount her.
“Wait here.”
I get in to the El Camino and slowly pull forward. Then I put it in reverse and gun it. It feels like I’m backing over luggage. When I pull forward it sounds a little softer and I gag a little. I had my start. The story was getting some traction. I look at the photo on my desk. She’s still smiling but now a tire print is hatched across her face and legs and arms. It’s ruined. I get out of the car. I can see Loretta in the doorway, bathed in light with a drink in hand, standing on those incredible long legs. Smiling.

//
From All in the wind-Rejected, Neglected&Accepted Work 2009-2016 on Yellow Lark Press.  Visit jimtrainer.net for one of four different collections of Jim Trainer’s poetry and prose.

My Beautiful Day

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

the headline read:
Grim Day For A Small Town
then the cop came over
to the periodicals rack
told me there’s a
NO HAT& NO SUNGLASSES policy
in the
CITY OF AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
but I could put my cap on backwards
if I wanted
so I did.

the clerks at checkout looked on
as I stood
at the info desk
I stood there for minutes
until
it was obvious I was doing something wrong
I picked up the info desk sign
flipped it around
it read:
INFO DESK CLOSED PLEASE GO TO
SECOND FL
CITY OF AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
so I went up
asked her
“Do you have
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills by Charles Bukowski?”

I got the book
went back downstairs
and the clerk at checkout
told me
I’d have to pay
$60
in overdue fees,
but if I still had the overdue book
I could bring it back
and
they wouldn’t have to fill out
“all that paper work”
(I would have paid the $60 but I didn’t want to be a bother.)
I went back up to the
SECOND FL
to the copiers
but I had no cash
so
I went back down
past the clerks at
checkout
past the smiling cop
and out onto the street.
I passed the hulking courthouse,
stood
waited
and crossed.
the ATM took $2
of my money
and my bank took 3.
I walked back into the
CITY OF AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY
turned my cap around
passed the clerks
at checkout
back up to the SECOND FL
and grabbed the book.
The copy card dispenser
took my $1
gave me .40 cents
I made two copies
went back down
and I was back out
on the street.

then I bought two roses
from Billy
on the corner.
he’s half blind
terribly overweight
and an amputee.
“Thanks Billy.”

no one’s got a right to any
King pain
we do our own suffering
or we
find a way
to make someone else pay
“Be careful,” Billy said
behind me
as I walked into the sun.

 

Winter 2014

Winter 2014 Austin TX

This poem originally appeared in Natalie Wilson’s wonderful A Series of Moments.