Jim Trainer

Archive for 2017|Yearly archive page

HOSTLE CITY BREAKDOWN

In Philadelphia, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized on October 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

to live and die is human
it’s our lot and fate
in Philly both these things
can happen in a day
I want to push up against someone
and have them shove me right back
I want to feel them standing down and parting
and cursing me at my back
I want to yell out on every corner ayo!
be pulled along to the brink
shrouded by street sages smoking on stoops
beneath centuries of trees
I want to remember why, what I’m cut from
what I’d resort to in a pinch
I want to push back walking
bleeding blue into cement
I want to shake hands with Bobby Lemons
the old Mayor of 10th Street
sip at the Last Drop, 12th&Pine
remembering street poetry and sweat
for years I spoke into mop handles
above an Ethiopian bar
for years I tumbled roaring
rolling rye bottles out of cars
there’s a woman for every season there
a reason every time it broke
you take the tender part and tie it
‘round your neck in a shimmy, yoked
Philly’s the perfect place to lose, get lucky
or walk sideways for a decade
it’s my Irish Italian parents
a perfect foil an utter bane
you figure it out or you get fucked there
or you get fucked when you do
Hostile City might help you win a little
but will laugh at you when you lose
someone’s car alarm is always going off
people are rude and mean
the cops won’t help you, someone will rob you
your reflexes are always sharp and lean
some of my favorite people in the world live there
best friends, loves, family
shame it took some and buried ‘em
but, too, it seems
Hostile City has a way
to rid you of all your enemies.

 

Advertisements

DON’T BECOME NOSTALGIC FOR THINGS THAT WERE ACTUALLY AWFUL

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2017 at 7:50 pm

You can’t live without a mother. Without a mother you can’t die.
Narcissus and Goldmund, Herman Hesse

Don’t let your reptile brain override what you knew was right then and is certainly right for you now.  Don’t go on a world tour of pain rehashing things that you’ve passed on or take another stab at things that’ve long since passed you by.  Shitty people are shitty.  The sea changes people say they’ve been through, that’ve brought them back from the dead and into your life are just another charade and they’re never doing it for you, so don’t get enmeshed.  Move on.  Always forward.  Never back.  This paragraph will be one fuck of a non-sequitir if it doesn’t tie in with anything except its cribbed title from an article about Joe Biden.  Truth is I don’t know what to write about this week, I don’t know where I am, except in a state of free fall, and I’m grasping–at love and the past and ideas of things that didn’t bring me comfort before but I insist will now, somehow.  It could be high time for some real deal spirituality.  I’ve skirted it long enough.  It could also be a great time to forego ideas of love and romance and let go the need to be taken care of.  How much more could I need anyway?  I’m on the love seat I bought yesterday, in my bedroom of the new apartment.  I just ate a reheated Mixmix from last night’s dinner at Koriente.  My car is parked in the driveway and it’s peaceful here, a little stuffy but fine in the fading light. No one’s going to blast in here and stick a gun in my face.  These walls won’t fall tonight and I’ll enjoy my first night of sound sleep in over fourteen days on a brand new mattress, delivered this afternoon.  The world is on fire and the end days are winding down–but everything is ok.

I bring up love and romance because I’m a romantic.  And I met a woman who we’ll call Kali, and she smacked me down to size when she told me that what I needed was what I had.  I’ve been unemployed since October 1 and as mentioned I’ve been falling through the days.  Lucky there have been some truly profound moments in the sun down here, too–days the old, street fighting me would hardly believe.  It occurs to me that other than knowing we’re on the brink and it’s all over baby blue, the torrential malaise of my psyche these days might have something to do with survivor’s guilt.  I made it through, it’s true, to be on this harried plateau where I feel the utter depths of a longing for suicide but grin from ear to ear in the sun driving fast in my car.  I know I’ve had to leave a lot behind and I’m not as glad about some of it as I am about the rest.  There’s a lot of junk back there but love too, and innocence, and every time I hurt you I know I hurt me too.  The best thing that Kali did for me was remind me this wasn’t free.  The bad love and the streets–they’re more than just fodder and grist for good poetry.  It was real and it really happened.  I’m suddenly overcome thinking about the folks I left behind–them in their misery because it was their karma and me out the door ’cause it was mine.

I can’t see an end to the insanity.  Certainly not in the New Century and maybe not in me, either.  I’ve a brave man in my life talking to me about God, and I’ve the same reaction to it I’ve always had.  The only thing changed is not that I’m losing control but that I never had it.  Fate, the World, cold plasmas of space–it’s the nature of things to break down, our bodies included, and I feel the more that gets in the better and the less you leave behind.  I didn’t think it’d get darker but I guess that’s why you get stronger.  Not to see the light but so you can rival the darkness.  Things are really winding down.  My spirituality has always been the seasons but now we’ve no Winter and no Fall and the smiles on all the faces are a prison.  The only other benevolent change has to do with music.  It’s affecting me the way it used to.  It’s splitting me down the middle again, making me feel alive and thousands of volts.  It’s giving me my edge over the sleepers and I burn down the streets of this town like a Black Irish shadow with earbuds.  Rock and Roll never forgets.  Neither love, you should know.  There are some of you reading these words right now and I can feel you in my heart and it makes me strong.  We are all we have.  I’ll keep falling as long’s you keep holding my hand.

See you next week motherfucker.

 

Goodbye, Goodbye

In poem, Poetry, Uncategorized on October 6, 2017 at 1:11 am

It’s been a life, blown and bowled over, marveling at the destructive act.  It’s been nights cornered by lust, like a fly in a tarantula dream, and days that split the long beams down my eyes.  It was a white sun in Lafayette in 1999 and the only time I truly knew would never be again–in youth.  There was a heavy, grey lead blues and a black flapping ‘gainst the pane blues.  The yards, up north–burning down Camel straights through the chain link, and spitting out hot sugared coffee in the snow.  It’s a good thing to remember now as I can’t turn, I won’t turn, I can’t be–any of these but all of it now and roaring.  The cadence of my later years has laden each day with all the days, each day carrying a load of the days before, my past like a bushel of coal and future that cuts prisms of mash.  I love and lose and I am born and I sink.  I am tequila on Ocean Beach and I am warm Lager above the Dawson in her hot 3rd floor.  If I am all loves then I am all love and every sky is winding and every whisper knows a scar.  Ravenous I am without regret, I revel and twist and dwindle in a reverse sailor’s dive.  I stitch my dreams with nightmare silk and I feed fear to courage, my love is in the mouth of a lion, my love is the cutting stink of a locomotive train.  Everything that was true is still.  Everything that’s false will find you out, and crack you from your earthen bed but if you wave from Heaven we’ll see you and we will wave back from Hell…

All The Rooms I’ve Lived In Are Empty

In TYPEWRITERS, working class on September 28, 2017 at 4:24 pm

IMG_0998

Betting On The Muse

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, art, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, day job, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, mental health, mid life, middle age, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on September 21, 2017 at 4:40 pm

I quit my job of 5 years and worked my last shift Tuesday night.  When I got this gig I was scared straight.  My Unemployment Compensation had run out and I’d been overpaid.  I owed (owe) $1,645 to the state.  I was doing promotions work and hospice care.  Shit went from blue to black.  On the other hand, the months of extended leave from shift work and days of liquid gambol gave my writing some swagger.  It was out front and walking around.  My poetry, always bold, gained confidence.  My prose, too-from weeks of forcing myself to sit here and post, and sending out long and angry letters to the world.  What I found, driving drunk and falling through the Night Kitchen, was the vast and rolling fields of my psyche.  By devoting to the muse above all she gave me continuous inspiration.  She still does and will.  All’s I’ve got to give her is time.

There’s been talk of going straight, parlaying the longest work history I’ve ever had into a note, or loan, and get a condo while I can.  Luckily I have a friend who told me that ain’t me, and she was right.  Riding around town today, down South Congress and Nathan Hamilton came on shuffle…sooner or later, we all hit the wall.  I haven’t been in a good mood in way too fucking long.  Driving down South Congress Avenue in the warm sun, with the rockabilly skyline giving rise is often what my good mood looks like.  I won’t say I fell in love with Austin again, because the Austin I fell in love with is gone (Bro), but I let it all go and just took her for what she is–a cool town in the middle of nowhere.  Some of the best roots music is still being written and performed down here.  There are still sawdust joints like the Continental Club and the White Horse that remind me why I came.  I pulled in on a heartbroke blue morning in May of 2009.  That night I played Evangeline Cafe and I been runnin’ and gunnin’ ever since.  I got tripped up here, though, at the mansion–I needed a home and gainful employment never existed in my world.  It was always cash and carry, flying my jolly roger to the next hitch, room and situation.  Not much has changed but everything’s different now.

I got my certification to teach Yoga.  I put out 3 collections of poetry and prose (and wrapping work on my 4th).  I’m taking to the territory, with only vague leads on employment.  I’m not worried, maybe I should be, but what I know beyond a doubt is 2 years ago I realized it was too late for me.  Too late to become who I always wanted to be.  That I never rose to the occasion and fear got the best of me.  I was being kept–by my Boss, this house and my situation.  I was 40 and next thing I knew I was 42.  I had to get out.  There’s a whole lot of other shit I could say, to slag and distance myself from where I worked and where I was at for the last 5 fucking years of my life.  I’ve somehow confused my life with the last 5 years, and hanging on by a thread when I  look back, thinking–how could I have blown it so bad?

I still get excited about the creation of Art.  I’m still writing songs that I must live up to, and can still prophesy and actualize with rock and roll on a Martin DR-S1.  Poetry’s as necessary to me as self esteem.  If I don’t squeeze one out every week or so, the bolts tighten in my mind and the world starts slanting down and there’s too much confusion and I can’t tell love from the blower man on the landscaping crew, and everybody’s high and no one cares, and everyone thinks we should go to War, and punk rockers die young at the age of 56, which is, I mean–it gets bad and poetry is necessary then.  Which is far from ideal.  Necessary.

Necessary sounds like those old scrapping days, playing it safe with no love or gamble.  Necessary sounds like 50-hour weeks moving safes and pianos for $7.50/hr.  Necessary is every job I’ve ever had, all the way back to 1987 when I was a 12-year old dishwasher at Martinichio’s Restaurant and delivered the Philadelphia Inquirer.  A lot of things are necessary.  I’ve removed most of them from my life.  The creation of Art was thee necessary salve and in a lot of ways it still is–but there’s a bottom I won’t go to anymore.  It’s very safe and sad.  I’m not sure if I’ll need those blues or that abyss.  I’m 42.  I write poetry and I play music.  Performing is one of the only places I feel completely me.  Those hot lights are a prism.  They burn doubt out of you and send out the good word of love.  They let the people know.  Survival isn’t celebrated enough.  Then again, at almost 3 years sober, I don’t know how to celebrate anything anymore.  I’m sure I’ll be floating a broom and glowering over some this is fucked wisdom again before too long, but–maybe not.  Good reader maybe not.  With no prospects and no real direction I know I’ve got to go this way.  Take to the territory.  It just feels right, and I’m gonna go with that.  Time to GTFO.

See you out in the territory motherfucker.

 

 

Take to the Territory

In alcoholism, anxiety, art, austin music scene, beat writer, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Charles Bukowski, day job, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, mental health, mid life, middle age, Poetry, poetry submission, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, Spoken Word, straight edge, Submitting, submitting poetry, suicide, the muse, TYPEWRITERS, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on September 14, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Since I started so late, I owe it to myself to continue.
Charles Bukowski’s letter to John Martin

After fourteen years delivering and sorting the U.S. Mail, and at the age of 50 Henry Charles Bukowski began his first novel. John Martin (Black Sparrow Press) saw something in “Hank”, and offered him $100 a month to quit the Post Office and write full time.  Hank started writing at the same exact time every day.  It wasn’t an arbitrary time, but when he would’ve had to clock in to the Post Office–every day for over a decade working a job that was killing him. He finished the aptly titled Post Office in a month.

For many tragic and dull reasons, I don’t have any clear signposts in my life.  No one took me under their wing and no one showed me the way. My Father wasn’t exactly a company man, which I admired, but he worked all the time, which I didn’t.  My relationship with my elders was often toxic–I loathed what they’d become, or they were Christian, and I abhorred my hometown.  I’ve no real world examples of how to live. I got some heroes, though, 3 to be exact.  Of course Hank is one of them, the holy ghost of the trinity.  Bukowski showed me the way.

Life happens to you.  It’ll rattle you senseless.  I don’t consider myself a great writer, but I’m happy with my work.  I’m happy to work, above all, and that simplifies things.  All people like me need is rent and a desk.  We don’t seek more from life.  We whittle our needs down.  We need less and less and therefore have to work less and less hours at the job–until we don’t need anything.  With a lack of social climb and without the flash of material wealth, the world will leave you be.  We work the bare minimum at shit jobs that take the least from us.  We’re not paid to think or feel or consider someone else’s dollar anywhere in the simple hierarchy of walls, food and art.  It’s that simple, and beautiful, if impossible to explain to virtually anybody else.

What’s the sin in being poor?  Chinaski asks in Post Office, when it’s clear all the county can do for his alcoholic girlfriend is let her die.  Being poor can be devastating.  For years I lived one gas bill or dental procedure from total poverty, but it wasn’t that bad.  I probably could’ve called home if it really hit the fan, but–young and dumb and for years, the bar of sustainable catastrophe was constantly raised.  I’ve had months in rooms 5×10 wide.  I’ve lived without a phone or bathroom.  I’ve lived in places that would make family and friends from back home blanch–for $150 a month in an unbeknownst health hazard.  I lowered my rent every year for 5 years living in Philly, only ponying up to $500/month for a huge 1br on Buckingham Place because I came in to some money when my Father died–Life Insurance he had promptly paid all those years working.  God bless him.  After that place I got back to lowering my rent, and did so every year until I finally left Philly (and paying $135 a month for a room at 10th&McKean) for good on New Year’s  Eve 07.

My next move is counter to the artist’s imperative to live way below my means.  Moving across town, taking a roommate and paying $850ABP/month isn’t the same as being an artist full time.  But what the fuck is?  The rent’s steep, if Austin affordable, but it’s a sublet and I’m not locked in to the criminal contract you have to sign to get an apartment in Texas.  I’m quitting my job of the last 5 years with no parlay, as of today I’ve nothing imminent, other than almost through applying for Uber and Instacart.  I’ve some gigs booked, starting tomorrow, which isn’t nothing.  My roster might not be robust but a couple to three hundred dollars is nothing to sneeze at while unemployed, even if all that can be sapped with one phone bill and a car insurance payment.  It could be worse.  It could always be worse.  I could be banging 50 signs into the hard ground on the median of William Cannon for $50.

That was one of my first jobs in Austin, before I resigned to be a writer.  The search for a day gig became a full time enterprise.  I would sometimes work around the clock, get off graveyard and sleep until the afternoon when I’d head out for a promotions or catering gig.  Nothing was guaranteed.  I had to take everything that came my way because of course the money was shit and none of it was steady.  Which was ridiculous, and not what I’d come over 1,600 miles for.  It drove me to drink and write.

The shit hit the fan for this country in the financial crisis of 08, and by the time I came down in May of 09, competition was steeper than it should’ve been for the shit jobs I was applying for. It felt like a whole other level, especially considering I hadn’t worked in almost a year living with Laura.  Looking back, 2-3 months really isn’t that long to be looking for a job and shit eventually turned.  My 7.50/hr job filling book orders at the University COOP parlayed into a full time position at their warehouse on Real&Alexander.  From there I got hired on at the Whip In, and when they laid me off I lived off unemployment compensation for a year after that–until I landed this gig.  Five fucking years later and I’m heading back out into the America.    This morning I started writing this at 8, which is when I’d have to get the old man out of bed.  Something in me knows that as much as I hate the grind, I’ve got to love the real work that much more.  Sleeping in is bullshit.  Perks and the good life.  I’m up against it now, the anxiety is dizzying and I’m immobilized with dread.  I got up anyway, sat down here and got started like I’ve done thousands of times before, 497 times at Going For The Throat alone.  I sat down and got to work.  Like Hank.  What else?

untitled

In Uncategorized on September 11, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Written on the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Center Attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001.  Source: untitled

Blog From A Room

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2017 at 10:33 am

“…as long’s we identify with desire, we will continue to suffer needlessly and be further unavailable to those brothers and sisters of the human race who have some real motherfucking problems, Jack. Like war and clean water and a government that comes for your children in the night and puts them in a cell where their fingernails are ripped off.”
#fbf from September 2015. Please visit Medium for the latest post from Going for the Throat.

Going for the Throat

The following post was written last Friday.

I like writing. There is nothing more gratifying than framing a fucker of a day and nailing it to the fucking wall. We mix up the medicine here. Make tapestries of trouble and familiars of the blues. We raise it up and, like those old bluesmen of yore, we shake ’em on down. I can’t do anything for the fuck-yous and jackarounds of life. But a slick 6, a fast 8 or a mean 12? Hell yeah. Word count motherfucker. I like tropes. I like metaphors. I like the way I can phantom her, in a loose gown of skin, and bring her back from the dead to curse her name and bury her all over again. What a life, eh Brother? Sister? What an absolute treasure, a fine fortune to be able to both shut out the madding world and kick…

View original post 415 more words

Kiss It Goodbye

In PROTEST on September 7, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Proud to have Going for the Throat featured on Medium again this week.  My urge to stay current is taking me to some dark places, man, and I’d be so glad if you could join us.  Going for the Throat on Medium.  You either hang yourself or you hang it on the wall.

Ab irato,

IMG_0907

Boil Water Order

In Activism, Uncategorized on August 31, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Good Reader.

Congratulations.  With your help last week’s post on Medium exceeded the average number of views Going For The Throat receives here.  Your readership is keeping me alive.  I am especially proud of this week’s post, Boil Water Order, and I think you’re going to like it.

See you on Medium motherfucker.

View story at Medium.com