Jim Trainer

Archive for November, 2013|Monthly archive page

gratitude from a grinch

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Calling out to y’all requesting any support you can offer for my good friend’s incredible film project. She is almost at 80% of her goal with a little more than 2 hours to go! Support!

Godmama Says...

Why do I need this film to happen right now?
Well, for one thing… I don’t like Christmas.
I used to love it.   Surprising people with gifts is a thing I love;  Christmas has that.   Colder weather is a thing I dig;  the holiday season has that.   Get-togethers and chances to entertain and laugh with friends?  Yep, holidays.  But most importantly– sparkly crap EVERYWHERE!  Twinkle lights.  I love twinkle lights and the creative to psychedelic ways that people make their homes and trees look like they came from outer space.  Christmas has that.
Oh and brighter stars.  Christmastime has that, too.
The constellation Orion doesn’t show up til around December.
I’ve always loved that constellation so much that I named my son after it.
He was born right before Christmas 2 years ago.  So now Christmas has that.
and endless songs about a little boy…

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Farewell to Armor Reviewed by Butch Hamaday

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Farewell to Armor exposes an earned beauty, present in all things, transcending muted and lost love, isolation, unflinching introspection and long days put in at pay and wage jobs. The 56 poems in the collection leave the theatrics behind. Shedding artifice and armor, Trainer takes the reader with him down bad roads of loneliness and points to a promised land of solitude. The celebration of survival is a strong theme throughout Farewell to Armor, but the collection also finds Trainer quietly lamenting what his survival has cost him.
Through a series of heartbreak and a string of mind-numbing day jobs, Trainer finds that in shielding his heart from the world he has hidden it from himself. “Don’t ever stop fighting,” he implores, perhaps suggesting that his real struggle is within, that only by revealing himself to the world can he reclaim his heart.

-Butch Hamaday, Norwester

Jim Trainer will read  from his latest work at a very special night of poetry and spoken word, presented by the Moonstone Arts Center, with Don Bajema and Maleka Fruean, at the Brandywine Workshop 728 S. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19146 on Wednesday December 11 at 7pm.  For more information check out the events page on Facebook.

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Farewell to Armor

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Got the raw, red window open to the wide, waiting world. These 3 roses on the broad oaken table will not drop their petals. The fuckers will not die. There’s a tour bus parked on 8th, the kids from Khabele are loading up for some kind of trip and I’m thankful for it. The bus is loud. It drowns out the sounds of construction workers building that insipid tower on 7th and the insufferable blower on the landscape crew (I know he’s out there lurking around I heard him earlier). I thought I’d just get back into the swing of things down here at the Office.  Pay no mention to my near three-week absence from this blog and life as we once knew it. But I’d be nothing if not honest and you are my People so-here goes…

The last two and a half weeks have not been fun.
Sorrow had marooned me in seas of cold linen and I was shot through with nightmares of loss and devastation. Waking fared little better, and it was nothing but pain in the black morning. I started every day of the last two and a half weeks with a ritual. The burning kind. The ritual was administering a type of pain I could control. 2 MCDs, 2-3 Espressos and the written word, first thing in the morning, every day for the last two and a half weeks.

It was a ritual of pain that I am very familiar with.

And what do you think I came up with in those bitter&burning hours, good&cherished reader? Poetry. That’s right. Motherfucker. Sadder than Morrissey on a codeine bender at the mink store. Ok, maybe it was somehow better than all that. I mean, we both know how pathetic that romantic shit can get and the stuff I came up with may be better artistically, but ultimately it was really much worse-for Life. That’s right, ol Grim Jim was holding court and trying to kill love by setting his heart on fire with carcinogens and hot, black coffee.
Whoa. I didn’t expect it to sound so…sad.

But I spoke to Brother Don Bajema on Sunday. He was in Central Park, feeding the mallards with his beautiful children.
“This is it Brother Don,” I told him. “Y’all are gonna have to carry me out of here.”
“Jim, Jim, Jim.” Don said sagely. “Your blues are chronological man.”
“What do you mean?!” I shrieked into the phone.
“It’s like you’ve been saying, what a drag it is, getting old? I’ve had chronic back problems ever since my Quadruple bypass. I’ve been using my 5 floor workout routine. The best single exercise is to walk up 5 flights of stairs with 10lb dumbbells extended over your head.”

Hearing from a great American writer who just one year after quadruple bypass surgery is walking up flights of stairs with dumbbells over his head almost quite shamed me, but ultimately snapped me out of it and I knew I’d have to get back to the task at hand.

“Got it, Brother Don.”  I snapped back.  “Here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna turn this motherfucker out. I’m going to interview you and we’re gonna put it in print and we are gonna make ‘em know. We are going to kill it, sir, and kill it good, at our reading in Philly. I’ll get the publicist on it, we’ll send out promotional postcards, we’ll send out a bangup press release and launch jimtrainer.net any day now; I’ll be coming home in style. Return of the King. Good Goddamn. Yes sir. Fuck it. Let’s go.”
“Atta boy! Don bounded. “Now, how right on is Too Skinny?!”  Of course Bajema was referring to the silly and shameful shenanigans going on in the Miami Dolphins locker room; but if I know Brother Don at all, he’s probably figured out a way to tie it all together, and ram home what it says about this violent&doomed nation of ours.
“I’ll send you an installment for tomorrow night.  Readership dropping means I am not giving readers what they want. I’ll have to think about that. I would also like to invite critiques from readers-pro, con, in between.  The story is topical but I am not giving readers what they want. I’m gonna have to think on this. Let’s keep fightin’ Brother Jim! It gets weird for writers but then things line up and we realize we were entitled to write by virtue of intuition.”

And that was that. I was suddenly looking down the barrel at the fuckton of a workload.  It was far from the end of my bad blues, but I’m open now.
Aho I decided to open myself up to someone who I knew would hurt me. It brought me a lot of pain, but I’m a better man for it.  I chose to open myself and I am open now.
Now what about that ream of bitter, sullen bravado, those poems&screeds I wrote while conducting Kauai in my kitchen in the black&burning-bright November mornings?
That’s Art, brother. A fun way to spend your time and sometimes the only alternative to the suicide option. Don’t get me wrong, Art is great. It helps you to visualize, to see a little further down the savage road, maybe to a night when you’re not so choked with love and the world takes its boot off your fucking throat. Art can be a means of survival. It’s always worked for me.
But it won’t take me further.
And it accomplished nothing for what I was under. It was a pill but it wasn’t the cure.
Aho the reams of shit I came up with for the last fourteen days were more of a tribute to death than any kind of paean to love lost or heartbreak. I paid tribute to death by dying and I wrote it all down. I bound them all up and wrapped them in a pink chiffon slip I found strewn downstairs in the old man’s library. I titled it “the last day of mourning” and just fucking got on with it. The rain and the winter. The readings, the shows and the website. You know, life. Simple, ordinary and solitary-life. Aho.  Brother Don’s words rang true. They redoubled me.

Well, the tour bus is moving out. Those kids are off on their own adventure. Innocence is theirs, as is love. Hopefully many of them haven’t reached the zero point in their lives just yet…That day Dean Koontz has described so well, when the world as you know it is turned upside-fucked, and everything in your life from then on out is yoked by the senseless absurdity of it all, and your only refuge is some distant point in the past before that tragic day.
But warriors like us, baby, we know.  And tramps like us baby we were born to run!
Innocence stolen and true hearts broken? It comes with the territory. It comes part&parcel with the human experience and it’s one of the conditions for those of us walking around on this side of the sun. It’s the only game in town and what a life it is, Brother. For true. If winning was everything we would have said quit a long time ago.

Which of course is a gross oversimplification. I’m not out of the woods yet. There is so much more that I could say and in fact I probably will over the next couple of weeks.  But now, if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to work.

You have renounced putting on a new suit of armor.
You have renounced growing a thick, hard skin.
You are willing to expose naked flesh, bone, and marrow to the world.
Smile At Fear: Awakening The True Heart Of Bravery by Chogyam Trunpga


Too Skinny, Too Small Chapter 5 by Don Bajema

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

You begin thinking about the game from television and hours out in the street with friends. Getting the rudiments of the game, catching, throwing, running with the ball. In grade school the game is kind of an elaborate tag game with a ball. Two hand touch-pretty benign, maybe a shove here or there skids a kid in the dirt, or the drive for a reception might bring an accidental collision. But fun to play and we played for hours from the school days end to dark. Nobody got hurt. Because the game demands at least a handful of players on each side to make it any fun at all-the little kids got to play too.

And on Saturdays and Sundays you watch a game on TV thrilled the whole time as you place yourself in the uniform of you favorite players and dream of that sound and that glory, those announcers praising you, the camera adoring you on the sideline. The camaraderie the whole manly getting off the beach, pulling on the helmet out onto the field for combat. You go to High School games on Friday nights, you see the fans full of cheering girls and unfortunate boys sitting there in the stands beside them. You see the players in the grocery store wearing jackets and manhood walking through the cereal aisles like gods.

All those years as a kid, out on an asphalt field on the playground with the cold making noses run, breathing like smoke as they gather for the huddle and the plans, the defense trying to listen in from the other side of the line of scrimmage, watching fingers drawn on the ground of pass routes, counting to three after the ball’s snapped to rush the quarterback, hands up jumping in the air.

Then there’s the uniforms, if not Pop Warner pre-high school plastic armor, helmets, pads and the beginning of ‘contact’. Then into high school where ‘contact’ becomes tantamount to the game. Impact. Knocking people down. The game’s ballet disappears and it becomes a chaotic scrum a kind of barroom brawl of awkward pushing and shoving and grabbing and pulling the ball carrier to the ground.

But in a short time the game gets more sophisticated, the coaches instruct technique, “Get your pads under the man.” So that the leg drive from your levered advantage and the mass chaos becomes more mano-a-mano combat on the line, buying time for plays to develop so that the running backs can learn to run through moments of open space made in the line, and then with that, later, the quarterback can take a moment to see a receiver crossing or running a quick out pattern and if he runs faster than the defender to the point where the ball is most likely to land-makes a catch.

While high school play gets pretty sophisticated and violent, and there are casualties along the way, awkward pinnings of knees in piles that blow ligaments apart, wrench and twist bones off their mounts and send kids to the surgeons table. There’s fingers broken, noses banged up, shoulders in young men are vulnerable being as they frequently are exposed in the ball and socket without the benefit of any muscle to pad them.

Depending on the program at a four year college a player might enjoy an extension of some of the harmless level of play in highschool. But some programs begin the corporate approach and every snap, every pre-season moment, every thought in your head, every aspect of your identity and all import in the world comes down to football.

It becomes your corporate church. And you’re rewarded with stadiums packed with a hundred-thousand people to watch you distinguish yourself on the field. Scouts get serious, if you’ve been scouted in highschool your courted now. Observed from a judging distance, your future being assessed. And then there’s the promise of money. Lots of money.

And on the grade school field where the game is actually fun there’s no locker room. And then when the pads come on and the need for a changing room comes into the game the beginning of the football player mentality begins to reveal itself. Suddenly individual personality becomes part of what fits into a team, you can be the joker, you can be the inspiring one, you can be the specimen, you can be the bully.

And those archetypes move on through high school and into the college locker room. But when you put men into constant unremitting time together in endless meetings, endless practices, dorm rooms, airplanes, motel rooms and the locker room, the gathering place before and after every practice and every game. All I can tell you, and I’ll tell you more, is that it gets real weird. Very strange. One thing, there are players, the warriors of a Sunday, rich, giant, freaks of speed and strength, agility and drive who are like little babies. Outside of the violence on the field they are helpless whining, Bible thumping, narrow minded, giants and physical geniuses ensnared forever in a kind of arrested development. Yet the import of the game must be stressed, the live and die of it, the laying your body on the line ethos, the playing through pain and injury. The entire cold military, police, goose stepping organizational hierarchy of veterans and coaches and rookies and starters and depth players.

The news guys hanging on every word. The groupies. The families and the whole top to down abuse and rank within the corporation.

I think the game makes suckers of every fan in the stands and in front of the television, this game is the most cynical con that ever became a billion dollar industry unless its when you send guys off to war.

Donna woke me up, it was all one of those dreams where it’s demanded I give my opinion, My head ached and the thoughts disappeared like steam.

Don Bajema will be reading  from his latest work at a very special night of poetry and spoken word, presented by the Moonstone Arts Center, with Jim Trainer and Maleka Fruean, at the Brandywine Workshop 728 S. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19146 on Wednesday December 11 at 7pm.  For more information check out the events page on Facebook.

Brother Don


In Uncategorized on November 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm


Moonstone Arts Center Poetry Presents An Evening of Spoken Word and Poetry: Featuring Austin Poet and Singer/Songwriter Jim Trainer, Don Bajema and Maleka Fruean

Austin, Texas – What is a poet but someone who reshapes the listener’s perspectives and challenges the reader to think differently about the world. Vision is a subtle thing in the hands of those who express it well.

Jim Trainer expresses his vision through poetry.

good poetry

it’s hard to find
but it’s hard to find
in the dark
hard to find
a woman with a
heart of gold.
so what?
Rumi was drunk
on the
word of god
and Papa was just
drunk in Los Angeles
Levine wasn’t drunk
at all
and Dylan Thomas
drank it all.
good poetry
sings out
it finds you
it wins you.
good poetry
takes you out of
the arena
it re-doubles you
with an impossible
it sends you
out into the wasted land
collecting grains of rice
with just a bowl
& a song.

Trainer lives with impossible – and impassioned – intimacy.

The stations of this poet’s cross have included time as a hardcore homeless punk; an acting student, a communications major, a late night freeform pirate radio DJ, a power washing remover of pigeon shit from I-95; a driver for touring metal bands; a landscaper in the projects of his native Philadelphia, a crew chief supervising underpaid hardworking minority men in converting an old candy factory into condos for the rich and largely white, and, as he recalls today, “a bartender at a pizza shop in Shitsmear, Delaware.”

Oh, yes, and a quite short stint as sexton in a Presbyterian church where he collected one, maybe two, paychecks.

Trainer’s, then, is a life led, not learned in a classroom. And he extracts from those varied experiences the essence of what it means to be a living, breathing, craving, wounded and compassionate soul in this world, mining the same rich veins that Bukowski did before him … Bukowski, who “not only showed me how to write (simply, yet profoundly), but also showed me how to live,” as Trainer notes.

Trainer, the poet, was trained by the poet Bukowski. And so it goes.

Other exemplars Trainer have turned to include poets Adrienne Rich, Philip Levine and Lamont B. Steptoe and songwriters such as Warren Zevon, John Lee Hooker, Cory Branan and Randy Newman.

So it’s not surprising that Trainer also is at home with a guitar and a harmonica, bringing his biting lyrics and bittersweet stories to life with the same fervor that defines his readings.

Now living in Austin, Texas, that so-called live music capital of the world, Trainer performs frequently in listening room venues, coffeehouses, wine bars and dive bars throughout the city. His 2010 recording “Swamp Demo” captures the unique sound he’s cultivated in the sonic soils of east coast guile and Americanish authenticity, and today, Trainer says “In the past, when something devastating or heartbreaking happened to me, I would be inspired to write a song and take refuge in music … Now that life isn’t a series of heartbreaks, I hope to move songwriting to the forefront and do it as regularly and daily as I write poetry.”

But it doesn’t stop there. The poet and performer is a communicator with a digital dais in the form of the blog, “Going For the Throat,” where he opines and pontificates on moods of the moment.

Also reading at the Moonstone Arts Center Event:

Maleka Fruean is a writer, publicist, community events coordinator, and artist. She has recently been named as one of the writers in residence at Big Blue Marble Bookstore in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. She’s created and organized events and programming for Big Blue Marble Bookstore, iMPerFEct Gallery, Torchlight Collective, and more, and has read her prose and poetry all the way from Tribes Gallery in New York to communal houses in West Philly. Her writing has appeared in Molotov Cocktail, WHYY News Works, Germantown Avenue Parents, Patch and Elevate Difference (formerly The Feminist Review).

Novelist, screenwriter, actor and spoken-word performer Don Bajema first came onto the literary scene in the early 90s with Boy In The Air (2.13.61). A proud son of Newfoudland, Canada and current resident of New York City, Bajema has toured extensively in the US, Canada and Europe, sharing the spoken word stage with the likes of Hubert Selby, Henry Rollins, and Jim Caroll. His latest collection of short stories, “Winged Shoes and a Shield”, was released in October 2012 by City Lights Books.

Moonstone Arts Center Poetry Presents An Evening of Spoken Word and Poetry featuring Maleka Fruean, Don Bajema and Jim Trainer.
7 pm Wedensday December 11 at Brandywine Workshop
728 S. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19146

CONTACT: Jim Trainer: 512-203-6288