Jim Trainer

Archive for November, 2016|Monthly archive page

The Real Work

In Activism, Being A Poet, Being An Artist, Don Bajema, Jim Trainer, journalism, Maureen Ferguson, mental health, new journalism, PDX, Poetry, politics, Portland, PROTEST, publishing poetry, self-help, self-publishing on November 24, 2016 at 3:17 pm

 

I got bored of Bob then, so squinted,
to make him look more like the other poet, Cohen…
…would have looked up Iggy on my phone,
but we didn’t have mobiles in nineteen-eighty-two.
Me and Bob in Barmouth, Caroline Stockford

…it’s every bastard for himself
the last Century hasn’t ended yet
bring us the head of the King
the last Century hasn’t ended yet
–Unwound

Warmest Greetings from the War Room. The Wisdom is hard to come by these days. I’m sure we’re all at loss. I’ve been tits deep in the work and I’m thankful. It always gets my juices flowing and it kept me off Facebook for a couple weeks. Y’all have been busy! I’m proud of you. Really, I am. There’s a photo going around now, on social media, with a list of phone numbers to call and officially register a complaint, from the White House Situation Room to your local legislators to a pigfucker Sheriff from North Dakota who, when the credits roll will be on the wrong side of history. Aho. That wasn’t nice. I don’t know how that pigfucker can sit around a table with his family today, after blowing Sophia Wilansky’s arm off during a peaceful protest this week-which isn’t nice either. Wilansky’s conviction is what we’ll need now. If I’ve learned anything from my experience with neo Nazis, violence will be part of the conversation.

These are interesting times. Brother Don is emboldened and, as usual, carrying a torch of inspiration that’s astounding. Sister Maureen Ferguson writes that she’s “uncomfortable”, which sounds to me like she’s resolved.  You better watch out Brother. The lady does work. I get to watch these tremendously bright and strong people rise and shine. All I’ve done is footnoted a blog post, meant to get back to later-basically I felt like I should back up my dark intuitions. That’s the change in me. On my way to Starbucks this morning (and I really should just stop right there), I had my guard up, like I do, but was hipped to the reality of a rogue shooter, a Vet or failure of a failed mental health system that doesn’t care for the mentally ill at all. What I am trying to say is it’s always been dark for me. I won’t say I told you so because then I would be a dick but also, I’ve got some issues-I’ve been fighting depression for over twenty years. I’m a poet for Christ, sitting in a mansion writing you about my insights on the way to Starbucks. The world has risen (or sunk) to my expectations but I won’t say I told you so. There have been some real dark turns in the New Century.  It shouldn’t surprise me but it does. The change in me is that it’s not enough for me to write a post that says “We’re fucked.” three times and call it a day. I need to back my dire statements and grim predictions with fact.

These things take time. Time I haven’t had. The new book is practically in the bag. Text and pages laid out in InDesign.  I’ll do a final pore today and tomorrow, and finish a draft of the cover before I send the file to Minuteman for 150 insides to my third full-length collection of poetry. I fly out to Portland on Wednesday, to Letterpress the covers and bind and cut them at the IPRC. I’m 17 copies away from breaking even on September‘s second pressing, and I can’t thank y’all enough. Christmas is coming. Holler at yr homeboy. If your relatives piss you off, buy them copies of my dark and romantic poetry. That oughta fix their wagon. Support local artists. I do and I’m really happy about it. I might even make it easy and generate a list of artists who I respect, which is the real currency. I see you my Brother, my Sister. Let’s do our work and take some time out of our very privileged lives to give back. It’s always been dark but in the strangest turn of events, it’s gotten brighter for me, the littlest bit. You showed me how.

Vox populi vox dei.

See you in Portland motherfucker.
Trainer
Austin TX-Portland OR

 

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The Painter

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2016 at 5:38 pm

“Nothing’s changed. I’m still an old sap romantic. Just mangled some.”

Source: The Painter

Out of the Bag

In Activism, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, news media, observation, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, politics, PROTEST, RADIO, recovery, revolution, self-help, sober, sobriety, War, working class, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on November 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm

For years they had me locked in a cage
then they threw me onto the stage
-Bob Dylan

Ho hum.  Howdy motherfucker.  Trainer here, with the wisdom.  In the days following the election I didn’t know what to feel, let alone how to put it into words.  That’s because the focus of this blog has always been myself.  I didn’t have it in me to be selfish, and would never expect you to be into it either, after Tuesday night’s rude awakening.  I didn’t want to say I told you so, as if that ever helps anything except the pride of the fool saying it.  I know why I didn’t vote, and I’ve seen the readership of this blog decline for making that known, but I was still horrified at the result, and suffered bad constipation (among other things) as the reality sank in.

We’re fucked.  I’ve lived long enough to feel that way 3 other times in my life, and all of them have to do with the highest office in the land.  This feels different though, and I’m different, and as twisted and dark as it is right now, I’ve nowhere to hide.  The last time a candidate who won the popular vote was denied the Presidency, I was 25 years old.  I had, or thought I had, plenty of time to fuck around.  I got lost in West Philly.  I devoted myself to the Arts, even got involved in the battle for free radio.  I fought as much as I wanted to and even though between me and myself it’s never enough, I can look back proudly on that time, my Radio Days.  The truth is it wasn’t enough and it’s never enough but it was the end of the Century and I sure had a good time.

The next time I knew we were fucked was in the next race, 4 years later, and the country had gone stark raving mad for War, and persecuted you for saying otherwise.  The news media in the Land of the Free was onboard.  It was fucked.  It still is.  If we can’t agree on the intricacies of hegemony and U.S. interventionism, then surely we agree that the luring of our young men and women to fight for a lie and come home to a country that doesn’t care about its mentally ill is treacherous, inhumane and wrong.

The collapse of the market and federal bail out that ensued is the watershed moment, good Reader.  It’s when the capriciousness of the Bush dynasty came home to roost.  As progressive and even glorious were the advances made by President Obama, the mess he inherited and how he handled it, has fucked us, the People of the United States for the remainder of this country’s existence.  Something exceptional would have to happen.  Vigilance was needed and a tireless commitment to righting the vessel.  None of those will be forthcoming.

I think it’s worth mentioning that little would be done under Hillary, either, and business is as business does could be the slogan of either party in this cracked oligarchy we will be living in for the rest of our lives.  The little that Hillary would’ve done might’ve been enough to keep spirits up, and her election might not have emboldened the homogeneous bigotry of this country like Trump’s has, but they would still be out there and deals would still be cut in there, hand over hand in her Oval office or his-certainly our inhumane actions abroad aren’t going to change no matter who is President.

The DNC is broken, or, it’s only fulfilling what it always had in mind.  The Republican Party should be over and done with, except that they rule the House and the Senate.  The fact that a reality TV star ran on a non-policy of hate and fear, lost the popular vote and will be President is fucked.  His attitude and bias is piggish and without compassion but even the 47% of people who voted for him will tell you that.  Great writers have already concluded that this is the American character.*

You don’t need to hear it from me that we’re fucked.  If you’ve tuned in and read me-I thank you.  The fact that I started this blog aiming for an outsider’s voice either more critical or accurate than mainstream media, but only came up with a self-help journal and reason to go on, spend a couple hours writing instead of going out to the bougie store for a pack of triple 5s or hanging myself from the chandelier in a dead confederate palace on a slow Tuesday night in Hippie Town is what it is.

I want you to know, though-despite your kind words and appreciation and readership that’s kept me from swinging-I have really let myself go.  I’ve let my writing go because on the eve of ruin in the Land of the Free, I was without words and the only thing I could come up with was a parable about getting old.  Don’t get me wrong, getting old is a thing and a very sad thing when you consider how far I am from my goals and how slow going it’s been.  Every shock of the world and hysteria brought on by charlatans of the news media was dealt with by putting my head back in the bag.  Now I’m sober and the story is the same.

I’ve been here almost 5 years, been posting on here for 6.  I don’t have the spring of youth in my step and I’ve retreated so far inside myself that it took the election of a diabolical asshole to wake me up to the reality-I’m not living to my potential.  It’s a popular refrain down here at the Office.  I’ll never know if the Inner Critic is just on overdrive or if I should just be doing more.  I’ve still got a monkey on my back though, and Art has been re-purposed again as vital, life saving and something to live up to.  This is just the beginning.

See you on the streets motherfucker.

Ab irato,
Jim Trainer
Going For The Throat
Austin TX-Portland OR

A Constipation of Wisdom

In Activism, alcoholism, American History, anger, anxiety, mental health, mid life, middle age, politics, PROTEST, recovery, revolution, self-help, sober, sobriety on November 10, 2016 at 7:59 pm

…living systems need shocks to stir up stagnant equilibria and stimulate development.
Jonathan Zap

The idea is not to confront bad ideas but to come up with good ideas.  Otherwise, your enemies define the game and you are the loyal opposition.
-Terence McKenna

Turns out it was just a giant, toddler arm-sized turd. A Moby Dick of a thing that I felt like I was having a stroke while pushing out. I tried last night but I thought maybe I was just tired. And this morning I thought I was just blue. Then I went out, into the America, and caught every red light in Austin’s antiquated downtown district. Got to the CVS, parked. Waited in line and wondered, is this it for me, just when things were starting to get good?  Would I only succumb to failing health-shortness of breath, enlarged prostate, constipation and failing eyesight? I’m 41 and the thought of it horrifies me.

In allot of ways I’m just getting started. Certainly past and over allot of stupid shit that was weighing me down.  When you’re done putting out fires you can get some real work done.  If you take away the cycles of vulnerability and isolation I’d been riding for the last twenty-six years, I’ll be wide open.

I know I’ll have to face the America because it’s everywhere.  I’m starting to grasp what my heart always knew.  The path to sobriety is only the beginning.  Next are the emotional intoxicants.  Anger (my favorite) and apathy, anger’s comedown. There is a world that needs me, and, truth be told, that I need.  I need to make it mine, really bleed and put my heart into it.  Not caring just isn’t cool anymore.

Back on the can and feeling even closer to death, I thought about the dramatic and self-serving people in my life. I saw that I should start thinking about serving the world but that I would need to start with me.  The pendulum swung right back but I wasn’t just being a prick.   Whatever pearls of mine the swine were holding onto would have to be the price.  I wasn’t wrong to try with them, but I’d be wrong to keep trying.  I would have to clean house.  I was needed elsewhere.  Then I flushed it down.

Today, after the 2016 elections in the U.S., we are living out the example of what happens when what goes unacknowledged surfaces and it feels like a new reality but you know in your heart it is not. To suffer based on expectations is to live haunted and hunted. But we are fortunate. There could be no other answer to our meditation and prayers in dissolving hatred than to be placed front and center with it and be exposed. When a shift in a system has occurred, especially one that causes fear and discomfort, it allows for something strikingly different to appear, furthering our evolution as people. We can only know where we are going when we get there. Many of us have been practicing Buddha’s teachings or walking a spiritual journey forever and preparing for every moment of our existence. We are ready and have been waiting for this time. Our rage, pain, and anger are to be exposed if only for us to transform and mature with it. In Buddhist practice we say congratulations because now is the time we have been practicing for. No more just practicing the dance. We must now dance. And this is not a dress rehearsal.
-Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Warmest Greetings from the War Room

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, media, mid life, middle age, new journalism, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, recovery, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, submitting poetry, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on November 3, 2016 at 12:28 pm

The main problem in any democracy is that crowdpleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzythen go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, Hunter S. Thompson

Each network is a corporation unto itself, with nearly infinite money to spend and the unbelievable power to shape your opinion and mine.
-Henry Harvey

We’re not coming. You’re not paying attention.
Sex Pistols Letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma.
Bhagavad Gita

This post has nothing to do with National Politics.  If you came here to prove a point I’m sorry.  Maybe you can  hang it up and listen to me bitch for a little while?  I’m aware of the ineffectiveness of apathy.  Not caring might’ve worked for the last twenty-six years but it didn’t help-and things have only gotten worse while I was banging down blue streets strung out on a poet’s dream and railing against unrequited love.  So, I was foolish in my youth, with my time and my everything.  I’m here to make amends.  What else’s a kid suppose to do, in this country or anywhere else?  It seems to me like they die for it over there, in the other hemisphere.  They lay it on the line for the kind of freedom you and I only piss and moan away every day.  This ain’t in defense of apathy but neither your crusade.  The only change I can affect is within and I can barely handle that.  If shaking my lower middle class karma was as simple as quitting cigarettes and alcohol, I’d be home free.  I’m watching you get played by an Oligarchy on tv, a system where the house always wins, but I’m mad at myself for laying down this long and being too cool for school while the world only spun on, deeper into its oblivion.

It’s only getting worse.
-Lamb of God

The real dilemma is that I’m stuck in a glorious grind.  I’m called to the real work but the money and the perks of this gig are alright.  I don’t know what it looks like, to be on the road for long stretches of time; just that I can’t seem to do more than send a few letters out on shift, or post a blog and other incremental types of checklist tasks that forced me to fire my therapist and quit therapy.  I’m sure I’m doing just fine.  Plugging along.  Seems like every week I get the good news that my work will appear in another mag, journal or anthology.  I’ve been hitting the road, too, taking long weekends to the East and Gulf Coasts.  I’m bound to Portland in December, for a workation that’ll yield the next collection and sharpen my printing press skills.  I’m happy about that.  If I step back, I can see that Art is needed on a heart and blood level.  The colors we splash onto the canvas are alive and the characters we write are drawn to collide.  The world we create is full of lovers running into and from each other’s arms.

But I’m short a grand from travel, and the War Room&MAMU aren’t completely set up.  Besides all the ways I’m coming up short in my efforts toward being an Artist full-time, I’m wasting away.  As glorious as this grind is, it’s still a grind.  It stabilized me and picked me up, put me on a regimen with meals and a bedtime.  It was exactly what I needed after I totaled my car and was out of unemployment compensation and the only thing on the horizon was donating plasma and a temp job with the University COOP.  This job’s been a godsend.  I’ll have 3 collections of poetry published by the time I quit here but I’m feeling tethered, tied down and dragged.  It’s time for something else and I’m gonna have to get creative, good Reader, find a way to diversify my talents so that the cheddar can keep rolling in while I plot the next jaunt and get the next collection together, book the next show and find some print for my work.  This post has only put me where I am.  Which is fine.  The pale hot afternoons on shift make me jiggy and it’s not unlike me to feel like I’m spinning my wheels.  So I reach out to you.  Write this screed, edit it and post.  You either hang yourself or you hang it on the wall. I’m about to get back to it now.  Working full-time and then over time to ensure the market for an independent singer-songwriter, published poet and hack journalist.  Please send love and if you’re at the show offer to put me up.  As far as the election is concerned take C.O.C.’s suggestion and vote with a bullet.

See you next Thursday motherfucker.
Trainer
Going For The Throat
Austin TX-Nationwide