Jim Trainer

Archive for October, 2015|Monthly archive page

Willamette

In PDX, Poetry, Portland, self-publishing, Writing on October 30, 2015 at 1:29 pm

get off the 4 at Division
face as blank as a cueball
I walk away from the sun
and toward the bridge.
prints I made shook out
the subtler hues
but the broad and gaunt
blacks cut down the page
in relief
blue emulsion in the nails
filling my lungs with shag
drinking Ford Food coffee
with cream
before I go back in and
close the building
box up the rest and head
out into Oregon Indian Summer

the West Coast is a lover
with stars in her hair
and a ring around the moon
when it rains
the first time I met her
with stapled copies in a clear valise
I was so much older, but the colors fade
you forget her, everything dies even
what you don’t need

I step out, and into it,
my 40s
and the valley opens its heavy hands of clay
the secrets of the streets just as precious
the night an ally, a black rose, a blade
cleaving me lean the lie of time
free as a ghost, alive as a memory.


september interior title copy

Jim Trainer’s second full-length collection of poetry is out now through Yellow Lark Press. To pre-order 1 of 83 poster pressed and perfectly bound, black on yellow copies,
‘Like’ Yellow Lark Press’ on Facebook and tag the page on a repost of this blog. Thank you very much.


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Emotional Physics

In alcoholism, anger, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting sober, going for the throat, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, Poetry, publishing, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on October 14, 2015 at 12:26 am

I’m about to have a nervous breakdown, and my head really hurts…
-Black Flag
Sooner or later we all hit the wall…
-Nathan Hamilton
How would you like a worms-eye view of your own psychology? The nuts and bolts of the machine, the blood and guts of the monster, your reasons, your dreams, your desires, your doubts and fears? Any of you curious about what really makes you tick should publish your own book of poetry. You’ll be pulled through the eye of the needle and shot from the mouth of the cannon. Hours of synchronous bliss working on a dream coupled with marrow scraping minutes doubting every decision you ever made.  Putting your work out into the world can prompt some gnarly questions. The design of my book saw my coveted verse suddenly swarmed by an army of critical voices. And but Christ the questions.  Keep in mind that you’re the one asking, especially if you’ve been sitting in the same chair in your apartment for 14 hours on your day off. Best believe you’re the only one there. You’re on your own and these questions of worth and purpose will surface, and pass through you like hot shrapnel. In fact it could just be the emotional equivalent of Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Translated, for every wild desire to be manifest there is a nightmare of Karma rearing at the same speed.

One of the biggest inspirations for this blog, its main thrust, is that one day I will finally and fully unreel the inner-diatribe of self sabotage.  I will have fully documented the script that grinds out any high hopes or goodwill about living like a cigarette butt.  And it will be here, online, out in the open for all to see. And we will laugh. And laugh and laugh and laugh. We will die laughing. It’s the byline of this blog for a reason. I really feel like I can do it, finally get it all down and slay the dragon, using words as brick and mortar to wall the fucker in. I bring this up because I smell like shit. I’ve been smoking a pack of triple-nickels every day since I first opened InDesign. I don’t answer the phone, don’t go to Yoga. My diet is the simplest form of protein which means bacon and eggs, every day, gross, and caffeine aho I been mainlining the shit. Espresso, iced mocha, bullet coffee (thanks Ceci!) and iced tea. I drink more seltzer than 10 recovering alcoholics and I hate my computer. I’m suffering a certain and specific stabbing pain which can only mean that my hips are cranked beyond any reasonable range of motion and I woke up, this of all mornings, throwing my phone against the wall, for reasons unclear but in doing so jarred something loose and nasty in my shoulder and I can’t wave my right hand without looking like I’m heiling Hitler.
My creative flow was blocked. Which could explain the colorful language of this post.  But at least that shit still works. Like wildflowers sprouting from my skull.  I mention this morning of all mornings because today was the day, or, depending when you read this, yesterday was, but today really is. Final file time motherfucker. Last proof before I get a mockup from Minuteman Press. After mockup and final file and any last edits there is no turning back. I’ll have 100 copies of the book-block of September. I’ll have accomplished a heaping third of actualizing a dream I’ve had since I was 17. But it came with a price.
This wasn’t free. Remember that?
Please live your dreams. It’s the best and worst thing you could ever do to yourself. The most ecstatic torture. While reaching for the stars you’ll feel the cold pull of the earth, and old voices will waft up from the grave, telling you a story of a 17 year old kid sitting on a stoop at his friend’s house in Upper Darby, looking down in awe at Rollins’ One From None.  That’s when the dream gripped me and this whole thing started.  We both know what happened next. The dream laid in my guts for 23 years, while on shift and in the yard, pissing my time away for a dollar, heinous in itself but tragic if my stagnancy came from a deficit of confidence. As it turns out all I had to do was confirm that that way of life was killing me.
When I say Karma I mean history.  The dream won’t be wrenched free easily. Reaching for a dream you’ll be checked at every venture, Brother,and every task and turn from frame to finish, with every edit and redo—you’ll hear a a nagging voice telling you it can’t be done, shouldn’t be done and you’re only your parents failure, you never should’ve left your hometown, should’ve stuck around the campus of community college and bided your time with a new drug addiction until you found your rightful place on Megan’s List.  You’ll feel a fatal gravity of doubt-but none of that matters because if you keep bucking and kicking you will confront yourself. You’ll live through it and have confronted yourself. You’ll come to the new understanding that Karma is behavior. And you’ll know what you always knew.  The writing life is a courageous life.

See A Grown Man Cry

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Jim Trainer, poem, Poetry, self-publishing, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on October 8, 2015 at 9:16 pm

“you know you get up there
and tell these stories about how
all these crazy bitches have
done you wrong…”

-Pauper’s Parade

Me and my therapist never talk about women. We always talk about my career. Dr. Jones came recommended from the good folks at SIMS. They said he was confrontational, not the kind to let you get away with anything. Sounded perfect, and 7 months on the good Dr. is asking all the right questions.

Shame I couldn’t keep up with you, good reader. Have you here with me up in the high rooms where it’s killing time. Thanks to Josh Britton, I got 36 poems taped to my kitchen wall. I’ve just stared at them for the last 2 hours and they aren’t ready to tell me what their final order should be. Half are good, solid pieces in a logical order. As mentioned it’s a shame we couldn’t be together, but you can ask Ms.Hawk or any number of good-intentioned people who reached out to me thinking a break might do me good. They were right but I didn’t listen. I just smoked more. Cursed out loud. Blasted the Dropkick Murphy’s and Lords of the Underground. Basically, I behaved like a teenager, in turns proud and utterly destitute about the life I chose over twenty years ago.

Sometimes I draw strange but irrefutable connections in my work. Some days I walk around with the same poem beginning and ending, getting stuck on … in my mind, driving me crazy until I can get in front of the PC and load up InDesign to take a look. The point I keep coming back to in this seemingly pointless post is I wish I could’ve maintained our connection and continued with all other creative endeavor. As it was I had to put off KO, suspend Letter Day until further notice, change my mind about playing at the Brunch show and just show up at the gig and hope it’s entertaining. It’s not lost on me that I enjoy my work. It’s everything I ever wanted. You’re not lost on me either, good reader. I see you in my stats bar and it’s everything. I’d like to think that someday soon I’ll have it all together and I’ll be sending word out while I’m interviewing great writers, writing songs and practicing the harmonica, and all of it hinging on a robust Yoga/meditation practice. At the very least I could’ve bided my time making a business plan for the book, instead of staring at 36 poems and chain smoking on the roof on the verge of tears for the last 14 days.

Your readership is not nothing. In fact it’s everything and so, the de facto business plan for September and Yellow Lark Press is to fly up to Portland in a couple weeks, run off 100 books on a letterpress, offset the cover and do some screen printed broadsides. I know I can sell 100 books. And I know I can because I know you. Preorder your copy of September and you’ll receive one of a hundred machine pressed and perfectly bound copies of my latest work.

The collection is largely about what we already know. Long hours on the sinking throne, writing poetry while staring at grackle and drinking iced coffee until I spot her coming up Judge’s Hill dressed business formal. The thrust of her hips is the prime mover of the universe, her boom swagger swagger boom boom swagger boom boom boom knocking some sense into me, believing in the dream again, setting the veins alight with the gamble of life, ripping the page out, loading the wheel and getting back to work.