Jim Trainer

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


  1. […] through over 250 poems to come up with the final manuscript for Farewell (and fall in love with the editor in the process). That book kept me alive. Kept me current. Prompted me to reach out to great […]

  2. […] won’t say I’m redoubled.  We’ve heard that before.  I like reborn better, cuz I know now, and I’ll never unknow.  I’m 40 and everything I ever […]

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