Jim Trainer

Dear 116th

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2020 at 10:30 am

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Wear a mask.

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When I struck out at 42 I drove a 16′ stakebed through the wasteland of north Texas.  I left the cushest gig I ever had.  It was a live in position and the longest I ever lived anywhere since leaving home at 20.  I delivered electrical supplies for sometimes 12 hours a day, and had to get to the shop in Round Rock by 4AM.  About a month in to the job, I found out my roommate was overcharging me $250 a month in rent.  It was one of the worst times of my life but I borrowed the work truck and moved all my furniture up 45th street to a garage apartment in Crestwood.  I was seeing this crazy bat who left her husband when she got a gastro bypass.  Said she wanted to get laid and left her “fat husband” to start playing the field.  On our first date we got naked in her car in the parking lot of 777.  She left me in the new place after midnight when I told her I couldn’t fuck her if she had herpes.  Spring was good but only when I got laid off.  I wrote Love&Wages and met Little Brother.  I had a good 4 months with a good woman and sold books and read in Antigua that December.

Being homeless at 20 is a trauma I carry.  It informs my decision-making when it comes to working horrible jobs way past when they’re not good for me.  I always feel a job away from the park and I roll the dice with my dental health.  I put out a book every year and sometimes broadsides.  I closed a couple credit cards traveling to Columbus OH last summer.  I sold out of Love&Wages, a chronicling of jobs I worked–as a courier in a flatbed and all the way back to when I was a laborer in the hometown and slept in the park and graveyard with an abscessed molar.  Of all the barbs and crushed days, subsisting as a working poor, I was lucky.  I’m still lucky.  There are patches, of working jobs between, torturous stretches when the pain just goes on.  It doesn’t feel like it will ever end and then I get a coffee shop gig or ruefully suit up in serving blacks I’ve thrown away or donated so many times.  Sweat my dick off in mansions of the shitty rich and get talked down to in a way that begs my fingers round some twat captain’s throat.  My first gig at the new company, I got a $250 tip, released Love&Wages and drove to Houston the next day.  I got on a flight bought and paid for by Little Brother and got back to being lucky for a while.

I delivered corporate lunch that winter.  Bartended on the weekends.  Wrote.  Had a good run with sweet Shanti.  By then my guts were twisted, damage done on the courier gig and being back in the food service industry meant I wouldn’t shit regular or be able to be far from a working toilet ever again.  I moved out of Crestwood.  Into a large 1BR loft with Little Brother and Sexy Cati’s help.  I’ve a writing desk and recliner.  A bed and an upright bass.  I work for a non-profit, in front of a screen for 6 hours a day.  I got benefits, blood-work and am waiting to see the G.I.  I’m recouping Europe and publishing 2 books last year, getting gouged by the PPA and a change of flight and car rental fees while out on tour.  I’ll never forget poet Amy Turn Sharp picking me up in the rental garage.  An emerald green scarf blew out behind her in an icy plume of conditioned air, where she sat in a 2020 Ranger Rover wearing mirrored aviator shades.  I burned out on the food service industry and hopefully for the last time.  I write.  I’m hoping to stay lucky.

Curator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To find out more and to sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.

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In Uncategorized on July 21, 2020 at 11:31 am

When predominantly white-led crowds of largely unmasked protesters, some armed, take to statehouses to rally against the most basic public health advice—or refuse to mask while shopping—they are not just signaling their political affiliations. They are also performing their racial dominance, manifest, in this case, as selective exemption from the imposition of governmental control.
-Rhea Boyd, Nation Magazine

I don’t want to talk about anything in relation to him.
-James Charles

It’s going to be a very different industry when we get to the other side.
-Bill Banowsky, Violet Crown and former C.E.O. of Landmark Theatres

At the end of the day, I have to sleep with myself.
David Gutowski

The last of the great decades.
-Vanilla Ice

Very well, then! of that sort only are my readers, my true readers, my readers foreordained: of what account are the rest?  The rest are merely humanity.  One must make one’s self superior to humanity, in power, in loftiness of soul—in contempt.
-Friedrich Nietzsche

A wholesale white wash of history will not provide redemption, forgiveness of the past, or protect us from ourselves.
-Don Bajema

…the “great” America Trump set out to remake with his presidency is the city on Reagan’s hill, shining not with any moral virtue, but with the raging, white-hot, destructive fires of imperialism and capitalism.
Lucy Diavalo

Turn the light out, say goodnight
no thinking for a little while
-The National

Why aren’t we in the streets in every city?
Guerrilla Man

I thought I’d see you on the streets, motherfucker but it turns out I’d rather stay indoors.  Run down reams of feed and squander precious hours in a bubble of armchair outrage and YouTube shows.  If there’s anyone who’s not concerned about politics it’s the technocrats of the nouveau riche.  Alphabet stock is at fifteen hundred and rising and the last thing on Mark Zuckerberg’s mind is how you feel about Facebook’s support of the Campaign of Donald J. Trump for President.  Even if YouTube is showing some conscience by changing its algorithm and I shudder to think how the Police would behave if they weren’t on film, the passive window of social media is not good for my mental health.  The only world I see beyond this desk is the one they show.  I’m looking California good Reader and feeling Minnesota and anyway wondering how they do in Holland and Oslo.  We’re just a kiss away and when the shit hits we won’t be able to say we didn’t see it coming.  A fourth reich or else some Corporate state where our every move is made on a grid and we’re told what to think and know better than to say.  We make just enough to stay hungry but never get organized or strong enough to overthrow.  The strangest thing isn’t that it’s almost real but that we’re acclimating and accepting it by degree, every day and night at a screen and “protesting” within a character limit beneath a banner ad. 

Maybe you’ll recall me writing at The Coarse Grind how I’d be getting out there and founded the CP&WS for it?  Well that was a months ago and Black Lives don’t matter to the media unless there’s blood to purvey.  I’m feeling helpless Good Reader though  I don’t know how much better I’d feel out there.  I said I’d get busy writing but I’ve been writing to get by.   Which is exactly what I trained myself for–here and at the Grind and even poetry, for years I wrote my way through while working full and part time, playing gigs and self-publishing.  I’ve raised a couple hundred dollars for the ACLU with my work and it could be my proudest moment as a writer.  But I won’t rely on charity for ego strokes, not the least of which because that’s not what charity is for.  I’m having a real hard time these days looking back over what I wrote and knowing I ain’t got out there for fear of getting sick or because I already am.  I’ve stayed in and wrote to keep the demons at bay…and it worked but the reality is sinking in.  It took 4 months of isolation and acting like everything was fine.  Everything is not fine.

What’s coming is a third-world order and corporatocracy which I’m sure is just fine with these jackbooted slobs as long as they’ve occupied their reptile brains with who to hate.  This is really it, a showdown and culmination of every rollback and dismissal of basic human kindness and generosity.  The 20s aren’t looking great though Brussels looks like a dream and the personal journalism I pioneered here for the last 10 years won’t stop what’s coming now.




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In Uncategorized on July 16, 2020 at 11:07 am

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Sign of the times

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Play stupid games win stupid prizes.

-Bernadette Klaus

A budget is a moral document.
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Work on your intellect, ability to reason and your humanity.  And goodbye.
-Billy Brent Malkus

I just hope that karma and Darwinism does its stuff.
-Nick Barber

Believing passionately about the palpably not true…is the chief occupation of mankind.
-H.L. Mencken

Another week at the chipper blades.  Days winding down and peeled off the Anthropocene.  Hours mired in cesspools on the people’s platform while getting fleeced and mined for habit and political persuasion online.  I don’t need to get into it.  Without presentism and the belief that life, as is, was how it was and how it will be, there’s little to no hope in the day-to-day.  It’s compounded by The Stupid, of course, and the end of the world can’t be comprehended or felt fully without some armchair pundit telling you it ain’t so or it’s all because Masks Guns Gays Blacks Muslims China Obama.  Whoops.  Said I don’t need to get into it.  The sun’s heat, trapped in a carbon layer we put up there, will melt the polar ice caps which in turn will release methane into the atmosphere, trap even more heat overhead until we’re burned right off the face of the earth–but they won’t stop and it looks like we won’t even be able to die in peace with the noise these nutters make.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve made a career of evasion.  I like you but not them and I make my money and come home, pull up to the writer’s desk and get busy writing it down and anyway chronicling life on a dying planet in a Pig Nation full of science-deniers.  It’s one thing to have to die this way and another knowing the New Dumb will already be at the extinction event, decked out in Reich-red, angry and armed and looking like the beer line at NASCAR on flag day.  I tell you I don’t engage and that’s nothing new.  I fight my own battles and sing my own blues.  The worst thing about having boundary issues is not that people can’t be good but that I’ve resolved to a life alone rather than have to fend them off.  I’m not lonely but I’m sick and strange.

They mean no harm.  Ok, yes they do, but underneath their authority fetish, behind their ALL CAPS screeds and white trash talk radio they’re scared.  Ask you who isn’t?  What’s wrong with me on the other hand, well—The Problem With Jimbo has been fine motivation, some might even call it fuel, and anyway I know I’m never out of material as long as I maintain this heady mix of Catholic guilt and a shunted sense of self stuck somewhere around the age of 15 when the bottom dropped out.  Those were some days Good Reader.  Adolescence in the township, carrying a wrench in my bomber jacket for any jocks or Nazi skins I met on my way to school and back home to lying parents who played each other and us kids as a second and third thought.  Whoops, don’t need to get into that either.  Took me 473 words to get to point and the point is this–I haven’t been affected by the barbs and throes of the final century, at least not in any grave or catastrophic way.  They bleed us incrementally.  I wouldn’t tell you otherwise.  I’m angry but I’ve always been.  There’s a fight happening but for me it’s not with them.

I’ve coped with what was wrong with me and I lumped what was wrong with them into column B.  With my rent paid and food in the fridge I could close my door and so I did.  What was wrong with me only trumped what the world was going through and I always felt like I could never make a change as long as I was a depressive fuck up with zero self-confidence and colossal intimacy issues.  So, I kept the world at bay and I did this work and it got me here.  I’ve come around the bend though, Good Reader.  I laid my burdens down.  I got better and the world got worse.  I’m happy to be alive and choked with regret–in blinking fluorescent clips.  I needed writing to get through and I’ll need to write to get through.  This much hasn’t changed.  It’s been a gorgeous and thorny thirty years.  Days of beauty and ire.  Days feeling like I’d never survive.  Though, I did.  I survived.  I’m up and looking around.  I’m here.

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