Jim Trainer

Eye Teeth from the Artiste

In Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Philadelphia, Poetry, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, recovery, self-publishing, TYPEWRITERS, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on December 31, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Christmas Eve 1995 was the end for me.  Or the beginning.  Either way I was on my own.  I’d had it with school and my parents, well… their 20-year old college dropout of  a son was sleeping in the park with an abscessed tooth on Christmas Eve.  To say that this hardened me and made me bitter is an understatement.  The bitterness came in handy for the next 20 years.  The hardness only left me feeling locked outside myself, right up until my 37th year, when I started writing the transformative poetry collected in the aptly titled Farewell to Armor.  What have I learned these last 20 years as a landscaper, busboy, telemarketer, dishwasher, sexton, demolition man, junk man, sales ambassador, barista, carpenter, server, tourdriver, bartender, piano mover and caregiver?  Nothing much.  Except that I traded one shuck-and-jive for another.  Staying in school might have been easier, but there’s always a price and you always pay.  Wondering if I made the right choice is about as pointless as wondering who I might have been had my parents stood behind me.  Besides, working in the land of the free-coming home covered in pitch with 550 in your pocket and a beer in a bag-is allot better than almost anywhere else in the world.  I can’t complain.  But I will.

College was a huge letdown.  Being blue collar wasn’t any better.  But I can proudly say I survived.   I’ve worked some unbelievable jobs, man.  Horrible rigs, all cash and carry.  I flew my jolly roger for years but nothing much has changed.  I’m only a paycheck away from that hardon 20-year old homeless kid with a copy of The Fountainhead and a pack of Marlboros in his sleeping bag.   I still get knocked down a rung or two.  I lose another tooth and the reality of this life punches me in the balls.  But being a writer and trying to get it down all these years has hipped me to the real story.  And as long as I was writing it down the real story was still being written.

A 3-hour break on this shift affords me the solitude to write this, a golden three hours of silence.   Walls.  My own time to reason it out with me.  The real work still calls, I’m still inspired.  And once in a while, on a cold street corner, I’ll get struck with it-the pathos of people moving through this life, the story of their suffering, the streets coursing like capillaries through this pocked emotional body, weaving through loss and love and waiting to cross at 6th&Guadalupe and get home, back to the beautiful machine.  Behind the typewriter or out on the street, what have I lived but the inner life?  And a rich one, the life of Kings.

We both know I been on that cheap fuel too long.  It’s true that nothing will quite get you through like pure hatred but maybe I need some new heroes.  Even one.  What I’m trying to say is that I am still writing it down.  And while I’ve rivaled my parents, the hometown, school and the job-I just want you to know how much you mean to me.  You see me as someone who’s followed his dreams.   Maybe you’re right.  I’m still knocked out the game by something as simple as dental work.  I’m still out on the corner, singin’ for my supper down at 12street and Vine.  But you see me you read me you feel me and my struggle and you support me.

On the outside I’m about as down and out as ever.  Maybe she’s right.  I’m nowhere in this life.  The world is something I must seek refuge from.  I’ve found my refuge.  You’re still reading me.  And I am still writing it down.

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The Beautiful Machine #typewriter #writing #writer

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