Jim Trainer

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

a little ruin

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Way down west 5th, hidden behind boutiques and finery, internet startup offices and cafes, are the railroad tracks. Before you get to Mopac you get a clear view an old junction house and a derelict Mayflower tractor-trailer. There are alleyways and old, dead waters here; underside to ginkgo leaves only now turning gold in late December. This place used to be a speck, a fillup on the way to Houston or on out the state west. That old building, left to rot and stand like history, behind the ever-changing forward looking facade of new Austin, emboldens me. Gives me strength. I feel the decay of the city in my heart like a chiave. I covet the city’s rust like my own blood. I give over hours of my life to long walks through shells of wrought iron twisting in the sun. A little ruin motivates me profoundly. A little ruin reveals the true power of love.  Time…


In Uncategorized on December 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm

go by painted faces behind the glass
past the bouncer without a word
and the doors remain closed.
at the Star Bar on the corner
they’re playing Tom Waits to no one
on deserted shuffleboard courts
doesn’t look any brighter in there
where they’re
stowed away, day after Christmas
blind behind the light of t.v.s and
choking with laughter.
they don’t see me going by
village idiot
my boot heels clicking past
earning a lonely birthright
to stalk empty, open cages
and beat the pig-iron night.

Hero’s Journey

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Yesterday, Mickey the cab driver took me all the way down Lancaster from City Line Ave where I was born to the furthest reaches of Southwest Philly. We passed Cobbs Creek in the steel-dark dawn and took Island Ave the rest of the way to the airport. I looked up from my phone in time to see the wretched Yeadon trolley concourse, looking exactly the same as the menacing crossroads of it in my memory.

I thought about Buddy Lego, the murdered boy Pete Dexter wrote about in a column that got his teeth clipped to the quick with a pool cue in a Grays Ferry bar. Philly doesn’t talk big or act smart. There’s no advertising of its inherent brutality and no pandering to Hollywood tropes of danger or romance. Hollywood would be running pantless and bleeding into the wasted dawn after one night in Cobbs Creek Park or any week in Upper Darby.

But as we neared the airport and left the city behind, I thought about Lamont Steptoe, waving his human flag of love&righteousness, from Pittsburgh to West Philly and on down the miles of good red road that Afro-Native American travels to and speaks from.
And Maleka Fruean, a Samoan girl from New Jersey following her little brother into West Philly, bringing her fire with her and her mouth, and finding for fuel in neighbors like Ursula Rucker and roommates like me.
And Josh Britton-putting out album after album, year after year and just fucking insisting on his presence in an otherwise bleak and post ironic cultural landscape called the Philadelphia Music Scene.

Me&Mickey made it through. It was still dark in Hostile City when we pulled up to the entrance at American Airlines.
There is a strangeness to Philly somewhere between the senseless and the macabre that has enthralled me ever since I dropped acid as a 20-something, Ayn Rand reading hardcore kid&college dropout, by the fountain at the Art Museum.West Philly will always captivate my dreaming heart like some New Orleans of the north even though I will always have to move on.
It’s not ironic that I pushed against those streets for so long, looking for a friend, against a fear of death and a great isolation.
When I come back I have lots of friends. In fact the Imperfect Gallery last Saturday night was filled only with those I love, those I have touched, and those who believe in me. It’s really…odd, to tell you the truth, to come home and take my crown there, and not down here in Paradise, where the living’s easy and a man can win.

As the wheels went up and the flaps came down I thought of my sisters- fighting endless impossible battles against the absurd horrors of death and insanity to put forth some beauty in the world-with or without dignity and by hook or by crook.

I ain’t singing the praises of my hometown. Just the people in it. My people. My blood. I was only passing through. Don’t ever stop fighting.


typing in triplicate

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I must be
out of my balloons
to spend my time this way
to work
in cold buildings
and come home
to the bottle of Baguala.
to sit here and type
sit here and type
I have been
for worse things
and sane
for things worse than that.
but through it all
beauty and loss
struggle and foment
I have sat here
the keys pecking away
at a great Wall.
the Wall looms
as I sit here
typing in triplicate

-from Farewell to Armor, out now through WragsInk Press.  Join Jim Trainer for a very special night of poetry and spoken word, with Don Bajema and Maleka Fruean, at the Brandywine Workshop, 728 S.Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19146 at 7pm.
For more details, please visit the events page and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Guest-posting on the publisher’s page about my “life” as a “writer”.


look at this place
a cathedral of wineglass
rising from black dunes of
cigarette ash
-from Tuesday, too late

It was true enough. Three months inside the pages of a book.  My life, otherwise ruined, was editing; punctuated by trips to the Conoco at 12th&Lamar for MCDs and big boys of Sapporo while muttering my mad verse into an iPhone and walking into the screaming afternoon traffic.
I came in from my last trip to find last nights french fries&ketchup drying on the table beside the carbons and the white sheets, the red pens and candles, the cigarettes and the wine and the ruin and the waste.  All spread out on the broad oaken table.  Also, there was a note from the publisher:

Hey Jim! If you’re going to post poems, could you possibly add more than just the poem? Maybe a little bio on yourself, the fact that…

View original post 632 more words


In Uncategorized on December 9, 2012 at 9:48 am

CONTACT: Maleka Fruean: 267-205-4546, malekakay@gmail.com

Philly/Austin Poet and Musician Jim Trainer Releases His First Full Length Poetry Collection

December 9, 2012, Philadelphia, PA:

I don’t know why
between trouble&the Blues
We’re expected to function this way 
some small window 
some real gamble 
we may have 
day in the sun 
we may ride high 
some fearless Nights 
we will have to come back down 
we will have to hash it out 
between trouble&the Blues.
-from “between trouble&the Blues” by Jim Trainer 

December 9, 2012, Philadelphia, PA:
Jim Trainer will read from his debut poetry collection, Farewell to Armor, on December 15. The book release party will also open with award-winning Philly poet Lamont Steptoe, and journalist Maleka Fruean.

Jim Trainer is a communicator. Growing up in the hardcore punk scene of the early ’90s taught him everything he needed to know about real work. And Trainer put in the work, playing a vivid mix of blues/folk music around venues up and down the east coast, across the country, and many, many Philadelphia bars, house concerts, and coffee shops. It gained him a following, becoming known for his intense style that rode the artistic fine balance of romantic longing and unexpected social commentary. Trainer also read his poetry out extensively, and one of the readings led to his first full-length poetry book, Farewell to Armor, being published this month by local press WragsInk.

Trainer took inspiration from a Bukowski biography, learning that the great poet didn’t start writing until he was 35. That’s when he really got serious about getting the words down, on a President XII manual typewriter for $17. “I devoted myself to the simple line,” says Trainer, who now resides in Austin, Texas, and plays a regular rotation of music and poetry there. “I remember mornings coming off a graveyard shift, just beat-to-hell tired, pulling into the Shell, getting a quart of beer and heading home where I’d type and drink into the 8-9-10 a.m. hours. Looking back, I think I was forging a new language for myself. I had to get those lines down simple, and quick, because I was working three jobs. It was my only release. Writing has always been a means of survival for me.”

He’s carried the torch for independent media, broadcasting as one of the early voices of Radio Volta 88.1FM while writing for the Philadelphia IMC’s wire in the early ’00s. He currently serves as contributor, editor and curator of Going For The Throat, a semi-daily publication of cynicism, outrage, correspondence and romance.

For more information about the book release party, or Farewell to Armor, please contact Maleka Fruean: malekakay@gmail.com, 267-205-4546.

Farewell to Armor Book Release&Reading
w/Lamont Steptoe&Maleka Fruean
Saturday December 15, 2012
Imperfect Gallery
5601 Green Street
Philadelphia, PA


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