Jim Trainer

Archive for February, 2014|Monthly archive page

made a fool of my pain

In Uncategorized on February 27, 2014 at 9:32 pm

succulent daisies in a vase
replacing the dead roses
w/petals shorn
and water-soft thorns
the counter’s full of books
and coffee and wine and food
it’s not quite spring and the streets
are still quiet
gone the jagged cloying
gone the young&careless summer
gone the girls, whose father’s hands
like black tendrils, snapped them back
from real love
no more banging ‘ginst
the big blue world
and asking “why?”
I wrap my hands around your thick waist
at the sink
and the sun comes in like a
soft chisel
suddenly you are all I see.

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“Punk’s not dead, it just sucks now.”

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Life is waiting for the next thing to happen. Am I right, Brother? Might as well sideline it with a Michelada on the roof of a Dead Confederate palace and wait for the phone to ring or the mail to arrive. No use hopping in the CRV and heading downtown looking for kicks with every other hapless fool in the Live Music Capital of the World. Right?
I call bullshit on the lot of ya, but mostly on myself. I like a good Michelada in the afternoon. Yes the hated afternoon, when the young promise of morning is gone and the dreaded hammer of night is yet to fall.
Ian MacKaye was right about, well, everything. Time waits for no man and if you want to do something right you’ve got to do it yourself. Do you think the punk rock movement had time for Micheladas in the warm Texas sunshine?
I’ve been hit too hard, I’ve seen too much
-Bob Dylan
Tomorrow night we’ll be listening to Brother Sicko and Sister Amy Yates-Weulfing talk about No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens, so pull up a chair. Come on in and learn something for a change. I tell you good&cherished Reader cuz I am old enough to know-there used to be an underground. And it hummed along vibrantly in cities like D.C. and San Francisco and Los Angeles. But, you knew that already, didn’t you? Well, what about Philly?
Philadelphia-the town that gave Tom Hanks AIDS.
-David Yow
Philadelphia, where they shoot ya fer yer shoes. Heh. Yeah but ol Hostile City cain’t hold a candle to Trenton. You know, Trenton Makes, The World Takes? Yeah, that Trenton. Stanchioned down the foul river in that great backwoods quagmire of a state they have the nerve to call “New”, fucking Jersey.
I saw some shit at City Gardens, back in the day, heh. Indeed. I saw Gorilla Biscuits, Judge and Sick of it All there one summer night, back in 1989. That would be before Nirvana for all you teeny-boppers out there and before it all turned to shit. At least for me it did. I had to turn my back on the underground and head for greener pastures. But there ain’t a thing wrong with punk rock, Brother. Except that it’s all over now and there has been a no more profound or lasting social movement of the Twentieth Century. Aho but the Twentieth Century is over too and you can’t even see Thompson’s high-water mark from here (although my generation never really could to begin with). It’s gone, Brother. The way of the rhino. Ah but don’t too wise. In the New Century legions of American kids are recording, pressing, distributing, promoting and marketing their own bands. It’s all shit but that doesn’t matter.
I mean, for all I know or care the flame still burns but-there was a time!
Good Goddamn there was a time when it meant something. Christ it could mean your life in my high school or on the streets of Trenton. Back when there was such a thing as Nazi Skinheads and our music shocked the squares to their core so irrevocably and more profoundly than any whiteman blues band of the Flower Power Generation ever could. My point is that punk rock showed ’em how. Made ’em know. Punk rock didn’t need the music industry 40 years before Steve Jobs gave you GarageBand and rock&roll somehow became retro and cool again. Fuck you.

Whoops. I’m out of beer. This rant is over. Tune in tomorrow night and turn off your radio. Pop punk erodes your street cred and shrinks your testicles. It’s got to mean something to the folks back home, n’aw mean? You don’t? Oh well, whatever, never mind.
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Dying poet, hack journalist, antiquated troubadour. Farewell to Armor, Jim Trainer’s full-length collection of poetry is out now through WragsInk and available on Amazon.com. Trainer currently lives in Austin, TX, where he serves as contributor, curator, editor and publisher of Going for the Throat, a semi-daily publication, at jimtrainer.wordpress.org. Plato was right.

Workingman’s Blues#1: Pack up, I’m straight, enough

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2014 at 12:48 pm

NO PAYCHECKS WILL BE DISTRIBUTED UNTIL ALL PAPERWORK IS FILLED OUT AND ALL APRONS AND WINE KEYS ARE RETURNED TO COURAGEOUS FEAST CATERERS!

THANK YOU!
MANAGEMENT
COURAGEOUS FEAST CATERERS

I was surrendering the corporeal to the tyranny of the mind but I was young so I didn’t care. I didn’t care about much of anything back then except for a pouch of Gauloises and a bottle of Manischewitz back in my room at the hated timeshare.
We were in the Catskills, upstate NY, catering to some of the filthy-richest people in the world for Passover. 8 days and 7 nights serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to folks celebrating the tradition of death passing over their ancestors and sparing them hardship and famine, with Kosher meals and deserts and coffee and wine; brought to them hand and foot by folks like me and the Puerto Ricans from the Bronx and Anthony from Queens. I think the pay was supposed to be like $1,800 for the whole rig and the entire shuffle: 16 hour days, very little sleep, allot of complaining and hemming&hawing in the pre-dawn hours over samovars and baskets of full of flaky pastries. And ALLOT of drug use and partying. I was up there with my girl posse. That’d be Hilferty
(Laura), McCaffrey (Kate), Imani (<3) and Red (Marie).
The check was actually $15 hundred and change. But you couldn't get paid unless you returned your apron and wine key to Big Shit Craig and signed some forms like a W2. At least that was the protocol until most, if not all, of the Puerto Rican crew could not find their apron nor their wine keys. Some got lucky looking beneath the now bare tables in the dining hall. There were a few winekeys to be gleaned but not an apron was to be found and handed back to COURAGEOUS FEAST. It became an issue and Big Shit Craig lost his big shit. Yelling and throwing chairs and spilling over piles of folded napkins. The Puerto Ricans looked on, neither displeased nor reactionary, but perhaps a little amused. They possessed a detachment that only the best poor and working class can.
Their lives are hard. Any relief their hard, working class life can afford is welcomed and enjoyed. Be it: squares or blunts behind the kitchen, a swig of something hidden among the backline, xanis, percs and speed-the cheap kind (ephedrine) or the tantrum of a fat white Jewish man on the verge of stroke with anger.

They all came up in a couple of cars. They fit more Puerto Ricans in 2 Hondas than you've ever seen. Or they took the bus, TRANSPORTATION PROVIDED BY COURAGEOUS FEAST, at $27 a head. They'd just worked a 102 hour week and were past trying to hide
their amusement the short angry man was providing. They called me ‘Cholo’. I was tired, too. And heartbroke (Imani) but that's another story, for another time. What you need to know, good&cherished reader, is that I had neither a winekey nor an apron. And I'm not fearless by any stretch but I am from Philly and if you back me into a corner I will fight you and it doesn't matter who wins or loses but a fight you will have. So Big Shit Craig lost his big shit, Anthony's in the corner hitting on that white girl from West Chester, the Puerto Ricans were looking on and Big Shit Craig was saying something about nobody leaving the “Goddamn mountain!”, let alone with our hard earned money. And so that's when I stepped up. Me. Jimbo.
“Excuse me, sir, but do you think you are somehow above the law?”
“What did you say Fonzie?”
I walked over to Big Shit Craig and looked down on him, glowering.
My tux jacket was wrecked, my eyes were red and my breath stank. His fat jowls quivered a little and that’s how I knew I had put the fear into him. Which didn’t mean that we woudn’t have a fight on our hands but I took my chances. I reached down beside him without breaking eye contact. I grabbed the pen and the clipboard and signed my name and dug through the stack of paychecks.
Now I’ve always lived by what Tex Cobb told me about growing up in North Philly.
“You either know how to fight or act like you do.”
At that point in my life I’d been in more than a few fights with small men/big shit bosses who tried to get funny with the money. And I’ve gone to acting school. Subtext was big in acting school.
After three years training at the Wilma Theatre, I had an uncanny knack for it, and
“It is expressly illegal to withhold the paycheck of any employee in any state of these United States. Sir.”
might have been what I said, but what I intoned, however, the subtext, was
“I shit bigger than you and if you think you can take me bring it on Fat Man but win or lose I’ve got 37 angry Puerto Ricans behind me so you wanna shoot some pool, Cholo? Rack ’em up.”
I ripped my check from the stack. And began opening the envelope and that's when Carlos bounded into the room.
"Meester Craig!"
Handing out aprons like it was Christmas. And Matea wasn't far behind him with the box of winekeys. We would be getting paid. We would be going home.
After everybody had their checks and had picked up and restacked the folded napkins, and hugs and business cards and email adresses and phone numbers were exchaged; me&my girl Posse got in the car. I was in the backseat, next to Imani. I was exhausted and heartbroke and bitter. But I didn't care. I had a case of Manischewitz at my feet and a check for $1,580 tucked into my cumberbund.
I felt Imani’s thigh warm against mine. I caught her smell-some combination of baby powder, perfume and cocoa butter.
“Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs came on the radio. I put my hand on her thigh.
“Jim…don’t.”
Tears welled up and stung my eyes. I turned away from her and looked out the window. It began to fucking snow. Then we trawled down the mountain, bumper to bumper in the falling fucking snow, and drove the hateful 6 hours back to Hostile City without another word between us spoken.

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Long Cold Winter

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm

-for Maureen

For decades you paraded as a crazy bitch
wretchedness your lucky charm
hung on a bracelet
displayed on your arm.

Greetings. Trainer here. Taking yet another stab at pure writing and hoping it could be of some use to you, good&cherished Reader. Also, I’d like to welcome some new folks into the ranks, as my readership and likes on Facebook have more than doubled in the last week.
What can I say? It’s been a long cold winter, eh Brother? And Shit is Grim. Some of you have endured enough tragedy to last a lifetime this winter; while others (like me) have had it no easier, our bad blues wrenching the sotted nights and giving no quarter but making even the sunlight brutish and mean.

I’m beginning to see the light.

-The Velvet Underground

Hold on my people. We may have buckled under it and had to surrender to altars of ruin, but a great strength was uncovered in these grim times and a vulnerability, too. It may be high time for us to forgive-another, ourselves, our parents-whatever. And forgiveness may just be the opening we’re looking for.
Not only is hell real but hell is a place!
-The Field Recordings of Alan Lomax, Land Where the Blues Began

Indeed we’re called to praise feeling the hammer of the daisies beat up through the hard dead ground. Called to praise as the yellow lark quietly lights down and sits with us as if to laugh at our foolish loss in only the most honest and cruel way. Whatever it was or is that had us stanchioned up on the high, frozen wires of isolation has ultimately only made our love strong. Shit’s Been Hard. For real. But it’s only made me love you more and miss you even more than words could tell and has me looking forward to when we’ll meet again, so desperately, someday.
Indeed my pain has tossed out the alabaster rooms and our hateful dawns apart have razed the horizon impossibly bare. Fact is I got beat down with it, pretty bad and I ran the full gamut of my defenses. I pulled out all the stops and it wasn’t until I truly surrendered that I could finally molt myself out of this bitter, old skin.

The irony’s not lost on me that it’s ol Grim Jim bringing you some good news for a change. There was a time when I would have told you that life is a continual loss, a continual moving away from what we love and only towards death-the only and great absolute, death-that terrible godhead of the stalwart truth in an inauthentic world gone mad.

Well I guess I am still telling you that but also, reveal yourself.
Didn’t we deserve a look at you the way you really are?
-Shellac
That’s right. Ol Grim Jim’s back from the dead to tell you to open yourself up to it, Brother. Feel it all. Let it wash over you and pull you from your mula dara back to black, take it all in and never lose sight of that dark nest behind you. But also-turn now away from the West, and face forever now the Dawn of the Great Eastern Sun.
It is from within the terrible claw of loss that my heart now beams through. And it is to this wisdom that I am now endeared,

there is no love to be attained
this humble house has many rooms
to feel pain but never be pain
has taught me how to welcome you.

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From the First Row of a Poetry Reading

In Uncategorized on February 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm

“No doubt about it. If you had stayed on the path you were on when we met, you would most certainly be dead by now.”

The girl had a point. My downward spiral during the Never Ending Summer of Evil Kanevil veered dangerously close to the other side of life. So much so that I eventually had to pack up my world entire into a Ryder van, cross St.George’s bridge and ride on down to the slower-lower on New Year’s Eve 2007. There were too many close calls, even for someone born in the Year of the Rabbit, like I was. Too many blank nights and too much Jersey off-roading in the Sentra, too many sad and angry walks of shame home from the Republican in the wee hours with nothing but vengeance on my mind. Philly will only let you push your luck so far before you’re standing on the corner of Passyunk East with a bike lock and a broken nose, no cash and a 20 bag of baking soda.
We were having dinner at Raphael’s when she brought it up. Natalie and me. I remember this part of our conversation well, but little else. The night devolved into too many pale ales at Rembrandt’s and the next day I was on a plane to Houston, so I don’t remember much else, except for our drunken writer’s pact. Aho, it was over the aforementioned too-many pale ales that me and Natalie made our vow. We would publish the blogs we had been holding on to. We would outsmart our shared and most hated writer’s block with a promise to each other to post. This is her end of the deal. Here’s mine.
The reading went off without a hitch and the promotions too. The promotional machinery assembled by me and the publicist cranked out the good stuff in fine gear. I penned a 1,600 word interview with Brother Don Bajema for Philadelphia Stories and attendance at the reading was strong. The film of the reading, done by the good folks at Keystone Pictures, looks great. We’re in the final stages of editing now. But more on all that later…here is great writer Natalie Kelly’s version of events on December 11, 2013.

2013-12-13 22.23.40

a series of moments

jim and maleka

The hum of a fluorescent light fills the silence of a room full of people. The floors are concrete, the ceiling is high. For reasons unknown, no one is speaking. Perhaps the acoustics generate an uncomfortable level of self consciousness. If you were to speak in an environment like this, the words would be absorbed by everyone in the room. That’s kind of the point for a poetry reading but not so much for small talk before the reading begins.

I walk in feeling enthusiastic to see my friend Jim from Austin. People are sitting quietly, waiting for words to be read. I make my way past a legitimate looking piece of filming equipment and whisper hello to Jim. Neither of us are sure why everyone is whispering but our discussion continues at the same volume you would use before funeral services begin.

Jim Trainer and Maleka Fruean are what…

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