Jim Trainer

Archive for July, 2015|Monthly archive page

81 south

In blogging, travel, travel writing, Writing on July 30, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Leaving town can make you nostalgic, and whether you’re looking back fondly or no, you won’t be looking back long.  As the highway rises in front of you what can you do but punch it, forward and move-go.  1,483 miles to Austin.  2 and a half days in sleepy Shepherds Town in our belt.  Ben driving, jamming some Dylan covers record, and me beside, writing this.  Boss in the back strapped in with all our gear.  We’re driving into a panorama of large, lush trees.  I feel fine but I could do better.  Been juicing on the road, before coffee and smokes.  Found a Sheetz in Shetown that sells Black Spirits for $6 a pack.  These last 15 days, 10 states and over 2,000 miles have been a trial of sobriety, a wits-end, raw-nerved, white-knuckled keeping it together, and knowing that there’s nothing that can ever help you with the road. It starts to get into your bones and then you’re done for, just surrender, let it pass through you, bore you out and wear you down-exhaust you in the middle of a god foraken nowhere town somewhere in America and only taking solace in the fact that as bad as it gets out here it’s better than being back home. People are dumb everywhere, stuck in their own ruts, trying to survive in a cruel and dark world. But back home they know you. And there’s hardly any wiggle room in their perception of you. The streets sting, there’s nothing new around every corner, it’s familiar and staid. It’s the same out here, you can never outrun your demons-but you can try and exhaustion and frustration and the countless tests of dealing with people in their own arenas of dysfunction will have you reaching for it-sex, booze, cigarettes, sleep (if only you could!). You must bear down. There is no escape. The more I stay sober the more I realize that life is a series of jobs to do. You could fall off the grid for awhile, like I did for a sleazy decade in Philly, but there is a job to do and you might as well saddle up and get to it. Otherwise you’ll lay in bed thinking about it. Don’t do that to yourself. Jam that fucker until you have nothing left. Pack your gear. Load up your shit. Do the miles. The road awaits…you’ll sleep better at night and nothing helps cut through the bullshit more than a clock winding down, the sword of time. You’ll sleep better and your life will be your own.

Thank you for joining me out here in America. See you in Texas motherfucker.

all we brought’s what we carried

In loss, poem, Poetry on July 28, 2015 at 3:49 pm

and we threw our butts in the fire
picked peach yellow lilies from the wildgrass
cast the hot water over, from the corn
even ol’ Ave’, spilled over, in the lake.
“we’re made of all we lost”
but what is loss but a thin black line
perforating us from her starry cloth
that they lay smothered in, watching us
watching
laughter rent the heart loose in its cage of bone
watching
as we fill ourselves on food and wine and pie
all we brought’s what we carried
and something carried us
our lives theirs to covet and admire.

Going for the Road #4

In alcoholism, blogging, Jim Trainer, sober, TOUR, travel, travel writing on July 23, 2015 at 4:58 pm

7/20/15, after noon
Ah sobriety. Sartre’s wet dream. Before I go on I should mention that I’m smoking about a pack of cigarettes every 2 days. Which is good, for me. Haha. I bring it up because nicotine is a drug and a fine one at that but is mostly consumed in the most wasteful and deadly way. Yep so high on Camels. Yuck. And a little of the Boss’ G13. Very little. You don’t want me to break down on this mountain all alone, do you? Naw keepin it straight bra. Totes. The only thing for me to do when my underwear is done drying is head into town and park at Stewart’s root beer stand until some college girls say hi. We can cruise together down the killing roads of North Creek-Damn I forgot about these! 28N and 87 as chronicled in Farewell to Armor. I was astounded the memory of writing some of that book up here and what a different, well, boy I was then. So much has changed. And I am still climbing.
A deeply personal post on an already over-personalized blog (redundant). You’ll have to forgive the sensitive stuff. Marijuana. There just ain’t nothing doing up on this mountain, Brother. My sleep is fucked and I got 1 more day on shift before the big lazy. 3 whole days in Minerva with nothing to do. Hold on a second. I’ve got an idea.

Allow me to offer this, a post, as testament to the reason blogs are disrespected, often shagged by established or professional writers. I may be 40 but it ain’t no mystery to me-blogging is the shit. How else can I publish and send out my work to the world with just the click of a button? With no editor and no inclination whatsoever to cater to my audience or even find a target just hit ‘Publish’ and I’m published. It’s pretty fucking amazing and also trite and funny in a tragic way. I’m not innocent. I’ve posted many blogs on here like, well, this one-jagoffs and details of one life in seven billion, and nothing political or insightful to offer to the National Conversation.
And, I’ve been building walls. While some have sought to be a part of the world, make their mark, even make better, I have sought refuge from it and have found a way to work alone for hours a day and talk about what I want to talk about which are my feelings goddamnit and well, why not? Blogs can trump the establishment and big business of news reporting. Blogs can offer a truer voice than some earl grey-and-coattails choad newscaster. Or they can be much like dirty laundry-you look at it but only long enough to think to yourself why won’t he take that shit down? Speaking of which I think my skibbies are done. Sorry about this post. Next one’ll be a real dinger, I promise. I’ve got a hankering for root beer. This town sucks but it’s ok out here in the woods I guess.

Jim Trainer, Blogger
Going For The Throat

Going for the Road #3: The North Creek Blues

In blogging, Jim Trainer, travel, travel writing, Writing on July 21, 2015 at 4:07 pm

7/19/15, 10:29 AM
Minerva, NY

Ain’t much happening in North Creek. Smoking a Marlboro on the sun porch. The wind through the tops of the trees is a warm bliss hissing, something I forgot about living under the barren palms of Texas-trees offer a perfect example of how to be. Suddenly I am so very glad we came, and that’s what the trees are saying. 1,977 miles may not seem like much to an old road dog like me, but I slept in fits, was woke suddenly in the middle of the night remembering the Preacher’s daughter. Remembering that I forgot to wish her a happy birthday, rather, I was swept up by the road, geared and up on my haunches behind the wheel, geeked on Marlboro Reds and gas station salad. I had to get up several times last night to tend to the Boss which means he had even less sleep than I did. I can’t complain, what sleep I did get was deep, and total, and I was able to dream lucidly of her and it made me smile and it made me hard. I was woke by the screeching of the loon. There’s something beautiful and lonesome about her calls. Shrill yet deep, they resound off the lake and through the bowl of the mountains. Her call is able to communicate how vast and empty it is out there and the more you listen to it the more you discover it’s quite mad sounding, and unhinged. A far cry from that glorified pigeon of a mourning dove. The common loon makes the mourning dove sound like an ungrateful toddler. The loon she is old and lonesome and quite insane on a placid sheet of lake at dawn screaming her fucking head off. There’s Izzy.

Between me and the lake I can see the Boss’mother out there throwing a ball for Dakota her little buddy. I am always thrilled to see her and will constantly try to persuade her to smoke a Marlboro with me. She’s 83 with every bit of wry WASP sass she ever had. Makes me think that in her younger days she was a real badass. The kind of trouble you like. She’s a storm of a woman and wise. You can sense her years but would never guess her age. And so, it keeps coming back to the crone, for me. God knows I spent enough time worshipping the maiden, and the mother I never put enough time into, but always tried. The crone she knows about the end of all this. All this glory and impermanence, life’s roaring and fleeting parade. She knows about the masks on all the faces. She’s old enough to know that masks will go slack, and slide down your old bones, to reveal not a face but a presence. Which is all we can offer this life, and all this life can offer us-a moment, fully aware, is perfect. Moments labeled agony will seem to last forever, and we shut ourselves out, we steel ourselves to it and deny it to ourselves, deny ourselves to it. And moments of bliss, when labeled, are gone.
Sadness and mourning need us too, friend, and we must make ourselves available to them.

After leaving the cult of Christianity, the only thing, besides my father’s death to give me pause spiritually was Buddhism. It was as simple and profound as when Bass Player X offered it to me on a roaring autumn day in West Philly. He said he would pray for my dad. A queer thought for an admitted iconoclast and nihilist post punkrocker like me. The dead need us. The dead need our prayers. This spoke to me and quite specifically had me recognize the power of the living, the whole Herman Hesse deal. We live only in each other’s hearts. God is wherever 2 or more of you congregate. If we live only in each other’s hearts than we only die there as well. But we don’t have to. Love is stronger than death.
All you have is your work. And for me, my work is in your heart. And it’s out there in the ether which could explain my lifelong love affair with radio. And I’ve always been hip to the bluesman’s charge-get it out there, out of you, holler it high into the air, conjure and put the bad bitch down. The blues is just a good man feelin bad. And as I told the Boss on the final leg, those blues men of yore will smoke a thousand Dave Grohls and they’ll do it all by themself with a 12 string and a polyrythmnic blueprint of rock and roll and their father’s song. With a country twist. A little country never hurt anyone.

Jim Trainer
Minerva, NY

A Thousand Down

In alcoholism, TOUR, travel on July 17, 2015 at 8:27 am

We pulled into the Crown Plaza Louisville at 8, or what I thought was 8.  We had just spent the last 10 hours in the van burning through Arkansas (thank Christ), Mississippi, Tennessee and a 1/4 of Kentucky.  The trees gave way to the hills, the hills to rock and then finally back to the hot and flat sprawl of downtown Louisville.  Last night at the Quality Inn we had to walk through 2 police officers and an African American gentleman in his PJs.  There were 8 shots fired outside my window just after 11, but I slept soundly and we were back on the road by 10:15 the next day.  The contrast between these two hotels is stark, but I’ll take the squalor of the Quality Inn in the ghettos of Benton, AK over the many floored splendor of the Crown Plaza any day.  Know why?  Cause I’m from Philly and I find most ghettos laughable or at least very doable for a 6’2 Italian-American with an anger problem.  But also because, despite the police, we were able to slide in to our rooms at the Quality nice and sleazy.  No problem.  In the lobby of the Crown Plaza there was a line to the front desk.  Me and the Boss waited the length of an Aerosmith song.  And then we waited some more.  When we finally got to the desk the clerk asked us where we were from, then regaled us with the story of his roadtrip, when he was younger, and was bestowed an ’88 Bronco on the condition that he drive it all the way from Big Sur to Louisville, but of course he broke down…he broke down in Vegas and
“You ever been to Vegas?”
We got our room keys.  Flagged a bellhop.  Loaded the cart.  With Ben’s bags, my bags and git, and the assorted necessaries of a quadripilegic’s bedroom.  Unloaded Blair.  Unloaded Ben.  But when we set up the baby monitors for a test, all Ben could hear at his end, around the corner and down the hall, was static.  This wouldn’t do.  We went back down to find the line had quadrupled.  Flights out of Louisville had been cancelled due to weather and the line was full of anger and pouting children.  Our man Chris (the bellhop) was able to butt in line, but not for long.  He got us a new room for Blair and we headed up.  Loaded Blair onto the cart again.  Loaded Ben.  Went to our new rooms.  Repeat.  When we finally got to my room I had lost the key.    Me and Chris went down AGAIN, got a new key and unloaded me and a $20 into the palm of his hand.  I looked at my phone.
“9:30?!”
We’d lost an hour.  Eastern Standard.  We’d already lost a half hour looking for the place and God knows how long doing the Hotel Shuffle.  Now it was 9:30, I’d been up since 8 and drove five hundred miles through 3 states.

Now I’m in my room.  It’s quiet here.  A far cry from the Quality Inn.  Loading in here was a CF of the highest order.  I would’ve thought a room over twice the price would’ve been easier to get into but that’s the road for you.  Today was the day the universe wanted me to drink.  It REALLY did.  But I said no.  Had a shortrib.  7 seltzers with lime.  Dessert.  Some smokes.  I should really get to bed.  We’re doing this whole thing again tomorrow.  I really can’t complain.  I’ve been on tours where something terrible happened EVERY SINGLE DAY.  No exaggeration. These things can happen when the band your driving has blown their tour support on coke, and the manager is a jilted X-member on psychotropic drugs that he should under no circumstance should drink on. Which of course he does and wakes you at 2 in the morning, kicking your bed for yelling at the girls you hung out with earlier about the war in Iraq.  This fuckaround?  This little snag?  Ha.

800 to go.
Trainer
Louisville, KY

TRAINER out

In TOUR, travel on July 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm

As a tourdriver I’ve been to every state in the lower 48 barring South Dakota.  I’ve been clear across Canada in the middle of Febuary in a 30′ RV hauling a single axel trailer.  I’ve gotten up close and personal to the people out on the road and that’s not always a good thing (Indiana).  And, late in the afternoon on a brisk day on Victoria Island, I envisioned a future for myself in Austin while smoking Duvalier’s and reading Chronicles.  I’ve travelled with some real pieces of work-I’ve been on tour with 5 seperate dudes with 5 seperate drug addictions.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to see America is with Europeans. Norweigians to be specific, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more eqipped or better oiled machine than Satan’s Roadcrew (on the road with 1349 in 2008/9).  Those boys are doing work and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single complaint from any of them over the couple hundred days being on the road together.  Those tours are very special to me.  And ironically some of the hardest.  Nothing beats working together especially when times is tough out there and laughter shit the laughter is all you remember after you’ve been through the fire with your comrades.

When you’ve done 32 cities in 35 days, a couple thousand miles seems like a dream.  A cake walk.  Ah but don’t too wise.  The road can bring out the worst in people.  And it’s all about how you roll, brother.  Will you crack?  And if so, it’s ok, but will you be able to put the pieces back together, get back on hitch and keep rolling down the highway until the road runs out or the wheels fall off?
I’ve seen some beautiful women on the road.  And I’ve had more than one relationship ruined by the road.  It’s a hard gig, takes allot out of you and the ones you love.  And if you’re petty or controlling (a Virgo) you won’t be able to handle your partner being away for so long and in so many cities and backstage areas with groupies and porn stars.  The truth is I never saw much of that, barring L.A., and the fact is, when the real shit was going down I was horizontal in the RV with the doors locked, dreaming my Benadryl dreams until sometime after 2 when the roads are clear and the cops don’t care and you can really jam it to Worcester or Orangevale.  It wasn’t very glamorous for me out there. At all.  Matter of fact all I did for long stretches of time was sleep and drive.  But I believed in it.  The Work. I believe in black metal and the Work of 1349 and as such I let it become my life for awhile.  I wonder if I could ever go back to that life.  There’s a thought.  Ah but I was so much older then.

Truth is I’m kind of bummed we’re leaving.  I’m really getting the hang of being a writer and my days are filled with the Work.  I’ve sent out over 20 letters in the last 2 weeks and when I’m not writing poetry I’ve got it on my mind.
Just this morning in fact, I got an idea for the new book.  It involves several cities, actually, and maybe it’s because we’re leaving tomorrow and I’ve got the road on my mind.  Yes and of course it all comes back to me…busted and lumbering back from Amarillo, rejected by a Christ Church woman, stopping in Houston for an ill-advised trip down memory lane, through West Virginia where I’ve been the happiest in love, up in the North Country, all alone on a mountain top wondering how I went wrong and why, when I think about love, all I think about are clay pigeons up on a wire and shooting ’em down.  One by one.  And as I was conceiving the idea a single butterfly lit down on the Pride of Barbados out there and I realized something about love.  Maybe I need to work on myself.  Maybe I need to be alone.  Single.  I guess the point is that I am.
Do your work.  Stand in the world like it’s your truth.  People come and go.  You know the price. You know the deal. A butterfly lights down, from out of nowhere, from out of the noise and ruckus and smells and whistles of construction crews building towers of greed into the blue lazy Texas sky.  And here she comes, too.  In gold and white laced pumps, her tawny brown legs and arms hazing a long lazy S swaying in the heat coming up the street-the prime mover of the universe.  She is why, brother.  She is why the everything.  She is why I get to live this life and slum it here in Paradise.  She is creation.  It’s her world.  Keep your war.  I’m hitting the road.

Sweethearts sat in the dark and sparked,
they hugged and kissed in that dusty old dark.
They sighed and cried, hugged and kissed,
instead of marriage, they talked like this:
“Honey…so long it’s been good to know ya’! “

-Woody Guthrie
July 14, 1912-October 3, 1967

See you on the mountain motherfucker.

Jim Trainer
Satan’s Roadcrew
Austin, TX

Tracer Round

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Jim Trainer, media, news media, poem, Poetry, recovery, sober, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on July 9, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Welly well well. What the fuck is up meng. Rather than recount the many twists and turns that have kept me from posting on here, and instead of having a go at the big news I’ve wanted to share with you for so long, I’ll just take a little stab at it, here, on the roof (where else?) on a warm July afternoon with a pack of triple nickels and a cup of drugstore coffee. Still feeding the beast of nictoine. But I’m giving myself a little slack, if not only because I haven’t had a drink in over 4 months but because my therapist posed the question-what if I don’t quit smoking for the next 2 months? S’alright with me, counselor. Nevermind that cigarettes are the filthiest of habits barring heroin and writing creative non-fiction. But quitting drinking is what I’m concentrating on now, which means lots of seltzer, lots of Topo Chico (see “bullet for the mourning dove” ) and lots of cigarettes. The other thing I’d like to mention, in passing, and in this tracer round of a post, is I hit a snag in the order of things ie. my Art. If you’ve been keeping up with this blog you know that I thought I had it made. The medium of blogging had helped me “become a writer” (albeit perverse and grand that most of my writing was about writing). As a reader of Going For The Throat you understood that the story had been cast, the protagonist was me, caught up in the thrust and sway of the plot, which was me becoming a writer. And all the crazy shit that happened along the way. It was all there and it was simply me, in a chair, posting missives to you (or trying to, and writing about that).  I won’t get too bogged down with it just now but I will say that a few letters from an editor gave me considerable pause. Her comments on length or how overly personalized my writing is dashed my hopes of being a professional writer and had even gone as far as queering me to the beast of creative non-fiction I had been feeding for the last 4 years writing for Going For The Throat. I felt outdated and old. The world had moved on without me. Which shouldn’t have come as any surprise considering I dropped out of the world at the age of 20, sleeping in the cemetery across the street from my old high school with a Fakebook and an abcessed molar. But I thought I had found a way in, after all these years on the outside. She liked my voice, she liked the anger and the irreverance. But in the end it came down to a generational divide and a rediscovering of what my art means to me.

Understandably, I turned to poetry. But even there the arena had changed. I turned 40. I quit drinking. I redevoted myself to the practice of Yoga. And the blues-I buried that bitch and didn’t look back. I came back from the Big Easy with nothing on my mind and no great tragedy with which to pull the good and strong verse. “Fuck the world” was my answer to my thwarted hopes of being a columnist. And I started writing poetry again. That is, until now.

NEW BLOG UP AT GOING FOR THE THROAT. LINK ON PROFILE. "SHOULDA KILLED ME LAST YEAR."- #icet &ME.

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