Jim Trainer

Archive for April, 2015|Monthly archive page


In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Jim Trainer, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing on April 21, 2015 at 7:01 pm

I’ve been doing this for twenty years
but only the last 5 in earnest, that is
as a working poet, that is
one who works the keys every day
everybody knows the muse is fickle
and anybody who’s ever stared at a blank page
it’s madness and folly
pulling things out the air
seeking communion with all you lost
maybe there’s some love back there
maybe there’s a purple in your blues
you ain’t seen before
it’s a strange gig and I’d be
hard pressed to describe
the sense of victory you feel
when you nail it
or the way seconds pass like cinder-blocks
when you can’t write at all


In Jim Trainer, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE on April 20, 2015 at 1:13 pm

working graveyard in a bookstore
coming home every morning at 7
drinking a quart of beer, smoking
and writing poetry
those poems gave me the littlest
bit of space in a very dull routine
as thin as a sheet of paper, that space
but growing
with the stack of poems
the magic of it was,
I could fight a battle on those pages
while in life there was no fight at all
on those pages was movement
a shedding
a recasting, an imagining
I was practicing
warming up for a better time.


In Jim Trainer, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE on April 19, 2015 at 5:26 pm

all conquest folded, those legends
never told your full glory
to tame the beast you had to
step into his cage
you passed their limits but
you’re only ornery&bored
and at odyssey’s end there is
no peace in your life
wasn’t that what they told you was wrong
the road is still yours but whether to
forge ahead or go back
isn’t the only choice
the sky can’t hold on to lightning
without faith, the dead gods still reign
what love have you won, the crone sinks
like a stone
and the maiden’s rise will only
be cut down in the Fall


In Jim Trainer, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE on April 18, 2015 at 10:24 pm

it’s been years since they shut down the Grand
and we stood on the steps with Henry eulogizing
how matter is only transformed
never destroyed
she went out west
me I headed south
neither remarried
these are brass for gold days now
ragweed for roses
foregoing victory for the small prize
of survival
watching our children grow
strumming songs sad&low
in twilight
of those years I have only a vague fondness
but her I remember clearly
she keeps coming back
our love like an exhaustion you never get over

I steer the car slowly
going nowhere down a country road
shadows are growing long but Kate
it’s not over
the stalks heavy, their
celebration of petals over
another terrible summer
another day means nothing
Kate it’s not over.


In Charles Bukowski, Jim McShea, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing on April 17, 2015 at 3:16 pm


contests have nothing to do with poetry
and confessional poetry is a very hard dollar
great poetry is born of great consequence
but often comes to none
Hank said great poetry’s got blood in it
so tell me, who bleeds on command?
your praise has been encouraging
and I appreciate it
it’s good to know you’re out there
while I panhandle the muse
suffer 30 deadlines
and blow smoke in the face
of the inner critic.

Curator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE 30 FOR 30 CHALLENGE, along with 6 other poems and an essay written in tribute to Charles Bukowski, are available in the latest issue of The Schuylkill Valley Journal.


In BIRDS, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on April 16, 2015 at 4:26 pm

there’s a cardinal out there the color of rust
she’s busier than the others, I see her quite a bit
and I like her just fine
the grackle always seem to be having meetings
they weave and bob in a loose circle
until one of ’em gets upset
meeting adjourned
the mourning doves are loners
I can only hear one of them out there
which, as anyone knows, is too many
there are the starlings all lackluster
varying between spot and speckle
or how close to gold their yellow
the bluejay must be the most temperamental
maybe it’s his military hair cut but
he seems to be marshaling the events of the day
yelling out occasionally for reasons unclear
and the redbird, the cardinal, has found a way
to steer clear of all the drama
rocking in his own corner of the shade somewhere
all this I can see from behind the beautiful machine
I’ve engineered it so I can see out there while typing
and it’s a slow day, at the office, nothing blazing through
no poems, no stories, the kind of day that stops some writers
before they even start
but that’s how it goes
somedays you’ve got to pull yourself through
sit down and type anyway
stare out the window at birds
waiting for inspiration or the white-eyed vireo.


In Broken Heart, Jim Trainer, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry on April 15, 2015 at 3:25 pm

I was slogging through the wet months
salty, cashed, despondent, blue
I wore out all my friends
probably took years off my life
I really regretted not believing in God
it was a hard, hard time
getting over her
I’m not even sure it was her I was getting over
but that maybe I had some catching up to do
I’d been loving on the run for over a decade
when I met her
I was a player, a night mover, a Don Juan
when she broke it off with me
it was like a an avalanche of faces
a parade of attrition
I had to say goodbye, really say goodbye
to all the women I laid with
I had to look back at the years
&ruefully account for all those
young&open hearts
all the love I threw away and wasted
when I thought I was a man.


In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Jim Trainer, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry, Writing on April 14, 2015 at 9:11 pm

do it
with courage
do it
with flash
go live it
really seek it out
shake the foundations
make the gods reconsider
be mad with it
get wild
push the walls of the temple wide
show them the beginning
at the end of their suffering
burn brightly without apology
yell it from canyon to peak
don’t just sit there,
like me,
writing poetry.


In National Poetry Month, Philadelphia, poem, Poetry, TOUR, travel on April 13, 2015 at 9:10 pm


Amtrak offered 4 cities for $800
and since Lafayette, LA was one of the two dates I had booked,
I got laid over in New Orleans for free.
I went clear across the country
all the way to San Francisco
when I got there I signed up for food stamps
and sold them to the Asian ladies out front
at 2 on the dollar
I sold my return leg to a girl at the hostel
and rebooked the same 4 cities
for my return
Aurora-Houston-Lafayette (NOLA)-Wilmington
I had the best gig of my life in Houston
at Notsuoh on Main
and I met allot of nice people along the way
I was 25
it was the end of the century
I spent the next 10 years of my life
lost in the city of Philadelphia.


In Jim Trainer, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry on April 13, 2015 at 12:01 am

nightly, in the lamplight, poems
rising from the wasted dusk
with the nightbird’s song
up here, in the writer’s chair
a museum curator
with a divining rod
can I talisman
the relics, the wrecks, locks of black hair
and heavy dead coins
into a specific and undeniable truth?
do I deserve to be so lucky?
can I spin the characters,
of memory
and molt the meaning of what was
into something tangible, something
to work with
an easel or a target?
can I make petition
with these poems
to the girl who walked on
and went west to become
a woman,
to the woman who came
up from the south
to be held in my arms
like a child?