Jim Trainer

Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

The Creative/Destructive Process of the Artist: No Help From Heroes

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2013 at 4:50 pm

sthira-sukham-āsanam
The practice of Yoga is the cultivation of the balance between effort and ease.

Greetings. Perhaps you are wondering, where has the author been? I’m proud to report that my absence from this blog had nothing to do with writer’s block. The practice of writing and posting on here has fine-tuned my outrage and given me focus. Even when I’m out of material I’m able to write about that and when all else fails I’ve always got 1-4 blogs in the chamber, ready to be posted. The goal was to develop the skills and habits of a columnist and come up with 800 words every day, neat and fine. I have had vague aspirations to find work as a columnist, to fly it up on their pole and reap the benefits of a syndicated readership. These things have not changed. I am confident that I can deliver on the daily, should I find such gainful employment as a journalist. The practice has paid off. It worked, and it’s been nothing but kinghigh fun and real adventure in the great indoors coming up with these missives to deliver to you all.
As a devoted (and cherished) reader
you’re also aware of my deeper desire to always find ways to serve my Art more efficiently. Ultimately I have been finding for a way to have my Art serve me.
Aho. I am after nothing but the complete realization of the Artist, that one day my work will sustain me. Differing from these catch-as-can hours stolen from the dayshift and the dayjob-on the hustle, I envision a time, perhaps 10 years from now or even tomorrow, when writing is the hustle.
Throughout the 190 posts written over the last 3 years a common thread has emerged and reemerged and it is one of health. Getting better. Getting effective. I envisioned that my health and well-being would ultimately only serve my Art, maybe even add some years to my life, years that I could devote to this grand vision I have been serving for 21 years now.
And what a grand vision it is. The fucking weight of it is, at times, debilitating. Or buggerall, I’m flying so high that even less gets done. Oh well I didn’t intend for this post to be about my insanity. Or maybe I did.

Where I’ve been-the reason Going For The Throat has been relegated to a weekly publishing schedule is because I’ve been taking it easy. Yup. I know, unheard of right? Lazy sod. Wrong motherfucker wrong. Aho. I’ve been taking it easy in the grandest sense. It’s not like I’ve been stuck in bed or chasing tail around town. I’ve been taking a break from the inner critic. The mechanic, the motherfucker behind the wheel who calls the shots and gets shit done around here. He’s such an asshole. I’ve dealt with him a few different ways over the years but mostly I’ve had to face him with one burning. That’s right, smoking. Nicotine motherfucker. But some shit went down in the mansion and my smoke-free method has failed. The approaching heat of summer has forced us to turn on the air, which of course has opened up the vents, which of course just blows smoke throughout the house and into all the high rooms, even into the ones of tenants who don’t smoke and don’t want to smell it in their apartment. It was a condition of my hire here that I could smoke out the window. But every 6 months or so I get a text from Camp, next door:
The cigarette smoke is getting out of hand.
All this is beside the point. Or maybe it is the point. The act of creation is coupled with the act of destruction. I’ve ratcheted my focus with the help of caffeine and nicotine. Then, when it’s all over, I start to drink. My heroes have taught me well. Not only have they left me with a body of work that I can sink my teeth into, they have shown me how to live. My heroes have shown me how to survive, how to get through and squeak through with the smallest bit of light coming in through the impassive slow corners of nights full of fucked, too-small life. I owe it all to them. But they can’t help me get where I’m going.

As for the weight and scope of this grand vision, shit. I’ve been pecking away at it for decades. But this much madness is too much sorrow. And I’m 38 and it’s time to get this show on the road. Simply put, you haven’t heard much from me these last few weeks because I couldn’t smoke while writing and worse, I couldn’t imagine writing without smoking. So I just smoked. Outside. That was me on the porch reading Phillip Levine with a Dunhill in hand. That was me on the roof smoking MCDs with Hater Blockers on.

The thing is, even when I was writing/posting every day and my golden hours of productivity were up and I was drunk in the afternoon or spooned out in the damp night looking for a way to murder the day, the real fuck in the ass is that this method did not serve the vision either. It’s mostly either perpetuated the blues or helped me deal with them. For true.
When you consider that my plans include owning and operating my own printing press, equipping myself with a home studio for podcasts and getting out on the road once or twice a month, lying around like a fuckall Hemingway and whiling away the afternoons won’t cut it. Aho. It just won’t do.

So here we are. Up on the plateau but at an impasse. Finding for a new way to make this dream real, hoping the new ideal and trying to break through, listless and without product-derelict and bored with no help from heroes but-it’s ok. I can see a different way and it makes sense to me now.

From up on the mountain I can suddenly see the chain.

mala

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All My Heroes Are Dead

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm

You gotta admit Life magazine made 1968 look great,
My father said it sucked, everybody died.
All the troops you couldn’t save, no one knew how to be brave,
He said sometimes you were afraid to turn your radio on.
It was enough to make you quit that peacenick scene.
Well I heard about leaders, yeah I heard they’re no longer around,
Cause peace was abandoned, and bravery hanged in his town.
And they passed down a sentence for building on the beauty of some dream.

All my heroes are dead, I got them in my head, saying
Never again, never a war, no more fighting.
So I’ll stay true to them, and they’ll come home again,
I’ll carry the light, follow the dream, I’ll remember.

The ’68 convention was a singing the times they are a-changing,
Well I guess they a-changed back.
Oh I miss those peaceful folk, love and humor when they spoke, hey
Phil Ochs you still sound great, should’ve stuck around to hear it.
They say that compact disc makes songs come true.
But Phil I never expected that I’d miss you like a friend,
Cause I never expected that we’d be marching again.
And the soldiers of peace would tumble from this life as in a war.

All my heroes are dead, and all the books I read,
Said “This is greed, this is wrong, fight your war at home”.
So I’ll stay true to them, and they’ll come home again,
I’ll carry the light, follow the dream, I’ll remember.

So back to the present passion, romance, love, or simply
put a lack thereof.
Shall we go on?
I don’t take it personally, it’s our post-modern history,
You know since Nixon was impeached it’s just been hard to commit,
So we cast our allegance left and right.
But I always believed that our souls would come through.
So I never expected that you’d take her home with you.
And I never detected, how hardened and not sorry you
could be. Don’t you know?
All our heroes are dead, we got ourselves instead.
And oh my friend, all your lies, they won’t do you.
You gotta stay true to them, and they’ll come home again,
I miss them too, I miss them too, you know I miss them
more than I love you.

-Dar Williams
(c)1992 Burning Field Music (ASCAP)

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Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#11: Hometown Love

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Jim,

I would love to include your poems “desde el escritoire con amor” and “I Feel Alright in the P.M.” in the next anthology. Congrats! I think both will make excellent additions to our book.

Attached is the agreement for you to print/sign/scan/email to me. Thanks for being a part of the next antho.

Den
anthology-philly-image

Goodbye bravery.

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm
I time every journey 
To bump into you 
Accidentally I
Charm you and tell you
Of the boys I hate
All the girls I hate
All the words I hate
All the clothes I hate
How I'll never be anything I hate
You smile, mention something that you like
How you'd have a happy life
If you did the things you like 
-Franz Ferdinand, The Dark of the Matinee

I come up from the boiler room. She’s turned off all the lights. There are candles burning in every window. The windows are open but the furnace has stopped blasting the room with hot air. She’s left no note. In the kitchen a sole lamplight is glowing above the type and made brighter reflecting off the blank white sheet in the reel.
I sit down. I crank the silver arm of the President XII, advance and return the reel. My hands are black with furnace grease. My breath is musty, wet&cold.  I’m still exhaling cellar air. I start typing. I begin…
…South Philly…by the sign of the cross on a Monday morning. I am overcome with complete and utter sexual exhaustion. I can feel her in the ease of my joints and in the cracked fascia of my arms and legs. I can taste her and the salt of our sweat. Catholic School kids make their way down the cold pavement in twos and threes. Church bells crack the autumn air.  I walk down the steps to the orange line and sink into another dream…
…A dark rainy morning at the shop.  Auggie and his weed.   Spicer cracking wise.  Led Zeppelin and Bush and Live.  Lightning out through the double doors and then thunder booming down the suburban sky.  The nervous feeling in the bowels of a 19-year-old kid, standing there, waiting for the storm to come.  He’s trying not to hope for the day off.  He doesn’t want to jinx it.  But he is hoping for the day off  just the same…
…Up on a high hill above Wheeling.  It’s just him&her and this connection of feeling between them.  She’d never be so old again.  He’d never be less bitter.  He had the rest of his life to wonder about the wound and the opening.  He was 23, wearing wingtips and innocent to his own game.  They pile into the van and bomb their way through Appalachia.  They’re coming home…
Then this, the blurry amalgamation of my youth in three memories.  I keep typing…
…the yard is filling with water.  It’s up to at least 4″ by now and me&my sisters can’t get inside.  The doors are locked and we don’t have our key.  Mom’s Nova’s in the driveway but Dad’s pickup isn’t.  We run around to the backyard and find the rabbit,  floating by the porch drain, dead.  His solid black eyes seeing nothing.  His paws stretched out, waterlogged and useless.
and then…
…He comes in, hulking and quiet.  The silence of the house is weighted.  It hurts.  There is a shame coming from an anger unexpressed.  I look into his room from the hall  and see him sitting with his freckled back to me on the bed.  He is sinking and silent.  Then I see her face,  giant, pursed, as she shuts the door.
this is much later and I’m 14 now…
…we’re at Dunkin Donuts smoking and drinking coffee before school.  We’re late for homeroom  but we’d make first period and slide right in.  At 8:20am we get up, slap 1$ bills and quarters down and make our way out into the working class morning.  We walk down the length of the counter.  I’m ready to explain to anyone in my way that what I’m doing is my own goddamn business and if they don’t like it then they’ll have a big fucking problem on their hands and a fight they will not win…
It’s the bravest I ever remember being, then this…
…the last day of 9th grade at Upper Darby High.  Someone’s playing I’ll Stop The World in the parking lot.  She’s coming out from the stands toward me.  The sunlight catches her hair, her legs, her eyes.
She’s incredible, gorgeous as always but not so much the cheerleader anymore.  There’s something softer in her eyes and sad.  Her movements have an openess to them now and she’s moving toward me with the unmistakable language of her budding sexuality.  I want to tell her I want her, that I’d stop the world and walk away with her, across the parking lot and across the street from school, through the cemetery and into summer forever.  See you next year, I say instead, and walk away.    I don’t find out til the beginning of sophomore year.  Her father died that day, in the parking lot, when I walked away with more conformity than the lot of them rallying  in the stands behind me and yelling into the hot open air.  Goodbye bravery.  

I rip the sheet from the reel and sit there in front of the President XII.  Goodbye bravery, hello Blues.

This Perfect Machine

My Beautiful Day by Jim Trainer

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#10: Dear Butch

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm

And so it goes. ‘Twas ever thus. A pound of flesh and an eye for an eye on the too-small working class streets of my first love has made a war of my heart. What a waste. And what a dumb decade we spent in the pent-up rooms and shut-down shacks at the corner of nowhere&oblivion. It’s a wonder we survived at all.
There’s nothing left to do but take our Crown. Don our coat of wounds and crank the twitching hours into a masterpiece of pain&resistance. Resistance would’ve worked. It could have been the way but now the body gives out and the mind grows tired of the chase.
We won’t need their paper-thin platitudes of false love anymore. Nor their comradery.  Nor their praise, pride or prize for half-bravery.
We have starved to the truth long enough. Now let us feast.

Welcome to the mountain chain.
Yr Brother,
James

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