Jim Trainer

Archive for 2017|Yearly archive page

It’s Been A Wonderful Year

In Uncategorized on December 28, 2017 at 4:02 pm

While Americans are fascinated by major legislative drama, endless sexual abuse scandals, endless Trump-Russia scandals, and countless inappropriate presidential Twitter outbursts, key regulators — almost uniformly drawn from the ranks of corporate America — are doling out favors at a pace that boggles the mind.
-Matthew Yglesias

Why don’t Americans understand how poor their lives are?
-Umair Haque

Remember, we only shoot black people.
Cobb County Police Officer Lt. Greg Abbott

A great America would be one where everyone had access to basic health care and dentistry, everyone was educated above a basic level, and everyone was treated equally and well. A great America would build policy on all the great science its universities produce. It would be a world leader in translating the latest knowledge into policy that improves people’s lives. It would be a beacon of Enlightenment thinking, as it was when it was founded.
Tobias Stone

Is there any way to read it without you getting any money? You know, so I’ll only waste my time.
Weird Mike’s Meltdown

2018: You are supposed to change your life – for good. With all of the evidence you’ve gathered over the past few years, now is the time to take action. You know where you want to go, the challenge is only whether or not you will be fearless enough to let yourself do it.
Another Load of Dirt For Your Brain

Another load of dirt for your brain!
The Accused

I’m not a professional. I only write when I want to. I’m an amateur and insist on staying that way. A professional has a personal commitment to writing. Or a commitment to someone else to write. As for me, I insist on not being a professional. To keep my freedom.
Clarice Lispector

You’re not a renaissance man you’re a cunt.
-Joe McCabe

Don’t it feel good now that it’s over?
Ain’t it just grand now that it’s done?

You shut the door on that house forever
Test came back that idiot boy ain’t your son
It’s Been A Long Time That I Should Be Far From Here

Fuck you that’s why!
Done Deal

That oughta wrap it.  I couldn’t be happier bidding the Year of the Cock adieu, it was rife with murder and lust, progress and scientific rollback and frought with biblical disaster.  Last year gave new credence to the term Fuckall, because, really—what part of the last three hundred sixty-two days don’t you wanna flush, forget, move on from or at least avoid at the party?  Ah but don’t too wise.  Even an apathetic ex-Pat punkrocker like me will get wet in a shitstorm.  Islands and cities are underwater and the media is no longer free.  It’s enough to make you wanna throw up your hands and tell him go ahead, make my day.  Wage war with N. Korea and kiss it all goodbye.  I’m on temp and delivery shift next week if anything else happens and I don’t play dog and pony when it comes to War.  Fear is the first of a many tiered agenda acheiving manufactured consent and I know how they are.  9/11 was the warning sign on the road ahead but even Brother Neil and Osama Bin Laden couldn’t have predicted how far our Rome with cars would fall.  No one could say we weren’t warned but, either way, it’s good elected officials are protected…otherwise heading to the nation’s capital to put Paul Ryan’s head on a stick might be the best way to spend New Year’s, that or burning down the palatial home of Mich McConell but the truth is…they’re all to blame.  I’d do wise to include the electorate of this country—Red hillbillies and Blue establishment shills who played in to bipartisan democracy but then I’d have to believe in it.  We both know I haven’t voted since ‘00 but I’ll gladly go on the record with Brother Marx about smashing the state.  Short of that I’ll be glad to be rid of this year and even gladder to be done with Outrage Culture.

The quotes above are good at making me look smart.  Looking smart is being smart in the hall of mirrors of the New Century, just ask Umar Johnson.  The fact is I have no backing, no advanced studies under my belt or degrees on my wall that could either deny or correlate those fascinating and dreadful nuggets above.  I’d just as soon retire into middle age, write my poetry and play my music, fuck it—we know I ain’t here in mind, may as well get gone in body, GTFO while I can, go somewhere with healthcare and rational women.  This is the end Beautiful Friend and if I don’t take off and hit the road things could get more than a little buggy around here.  My lease is up in March and I’m due to get some tracks to wax with Psalmships in the spring.  The MAMU should be fully assembled by the first week of ‘18 and just in time to get my performance at Metaphorically Challenged on film.  The website is chugging along.  My biggest inspiration in these end days is getting off social media.  At the very least saying goodbye to Outrage Culture and the Shock Politic.  Who am I kidding, it’d be great to say goodbye to the Oligarchy while I’m at it, and this 200-year old slaveship of Capitalocracy.  I’m straight edge, sober and completely out of my mind.  I’ve got some habits, talents for hire or things I’m going to have to support for the rest of my life.  The Arts are my revolution.  I don’t care about your cause.  I don’t watch the news so why do I still read it on Facebook and Vox and Medium?

Lastly, I am proud to announce the release of Take to the Territory, my 4th full-length collection of poetry and prose, on Yellow Lark Press.  I  hit a snag in the production schedule and there’s no one to blame except me.  That makes me feel guilty if I haven’t lived up to my artistic goals, which brings me to the finest and most efficient fuel of my 20+ year career thus far:  self hatred (it really works, Good Reader, though I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone without the brutish and stubborn constitution of an Irish Italian-American from Hostile City)  AND you, Good Reader.  It’s always been about you.  My announcement of the book’s release is enough to get us through and back on the horn with the ABAC to get this rig the fuck unwound.

May the Year of the Dog bring you great fortune and happiness. See you next year motherfucker.




Take Your Medicine

In alcoholism, recovery, Uncategorized on December 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm

…to live outside the law, you must be honest…
-Bob Dylan, Absolutely Sweet Marie

I’ve really let myself go. I’m doing my best but my best is paltry and weak. Nights I fall out, days I do what I have to. What I know, in my mind, is fear. It’s fear keeping me in line, not taking any chances. What I don’t know, in my body, is trauma, or the memory of it, the abuse that continues, that’s changed me and keeps me on a dark and narrow track. I tried to disengage from this blog. I shared poetry and performances and I wrote about others. Writing about others came home to roost when they started taking notice. Not so much because they took notice but for the kind of attention they paid to being what I felt was a hack anyway. It’s all fine and well. Writing isn’t a perfect art. Guns need to be cleaned and even then you’ll breach wide and fire into the wide blue—instead of taking down the enemy you only alert them to your location. My explanations only dug me in deeper. To the uninitiated, the newsletter I sent out last week made me sound petty and worse. There’s no excuse. It’s not funny anymore. Asserting masculinity can no longer be at the expense of femininity. True power never seeks without but always comes from within. We know this, and the world going to pot? That’s no excuse either. Ultimately, the truth is a good medicine. It’s often bitter and harsh but that doesn’t make hiding out in the dark any easier or any more sense being afraid. The truth hurts but it’s trauma that keeps us hid and a memory of pain that’ll keep us suckling at a lie.

This is the blog I’ve been trying to write—for weeks, the diamond in the mire and sticky dross of gossip and vituperation. I can’t live down that it worked, for a while, that I felt like I was living Mencken’s life of kings slinging ‘em down week after week. There’s hardly anything more satisfying than taking down the Goliath in 600 words. Nothing feels better than a bourbon in the morning either, but the real problem ain’t the hangover. The truth is the truth. When the light of day finds you it can feel like it’s cutting you down your cold middle, especially if you’ve been hiding out stanchioned in the frozen night. The light ain’t wrong, the light is the light. It feels good on your back and bids you enter the sacred spaces of dusk and dawn. The night is ok for poets and soldiers advancing, and alcoholics and sex addicts—me, I’m peeling back the layers. I quit drinking to get to the Real and oh boy have I. The fireworks, Doc, have started. I’m confronting myself, it’s dank and musty in here and like the song says there’s too many skeletons in my room today.

I been trying to dig myself out. Hang up the gossip column and get to the hard stuff. I fell into a hall of mirrors. I was so busy trying to convince others what an artist I was, when the truth is I was only trying to prove it to myself and either way I haven’t been an artist, haven’t been writing—not in earnest, anyway. I wrote about chronic masturbation at the end of the world, burying horrible xs and practically day drinking cocktails of resentment and woe, leaning grim and perverted beneath the masthead of this column. I was getting by, which, for a co-dependent, alcoholic, anger addict is ok. It’s better than getting fucked up or shacked up or using precious bandwidth on folks who can’t even comprehend the problems you’re railing on. It’s fine and well, survival. It’s what we know but, to thrive? Like our heroes have done, to thrive is far from this day to day I’ve taken on—delivery shifts and YouTube marathons, sugar gorges and late, musty masturbatory mornings. As deplorable as the Gossip was, and as trite that I’d be focusing on someone else are the endings of these posts. They’re always wrapping it concisely, in a bow for bullshit. It’s contrite and positive and 20th Century Essay Writing 101. Don’t leave your readers behind in the mess and quagmire you’ve lead them down—lift them up Good Writer. I can’t anymore, Good Reader. I can’t lift you up. You’re on your own. We’re on our own. This is our world now. At least I’m not having to explain, though–backpedaling into sexist doublespeak that was somehow supposed to defend a heartbroken romantic on the edge of Empire.

Sometimes the best you can do is call it, a bad hand is a bad hand, as she used to say, and probably still does, in her happy married life far and away from me and my mawkish bullshit. See you next week, motherfucker?


In Uncategorized on December 14, 2017 at 3:46 pm

there was a mashup
off 2222
this morning
I saw the guardrail
twisted up like a fist to God
speeding by, making a delivery
on shift,
at my pickup a slight woman
of indeterminate Asian origin
poured cold water and I sipped
looking up at the Buddha
above the bar,
I read somewhere
we’re only Rome with cars
well the highways of America
are a perfect analogy
we’re all moving
deathly fast
and going nowhere
I had to loop around twice
to get to my bank
and even then
drive IN through the OUT
past the teller windows
because traffic on Burnet
wouldn’t let me in
just to cash a check for 120,
my roommate can’t afford toilet paper
and asks me for the rent,
the letters on the Selectric stick
sometimes, Steve at Duncan
shakes like an alcoholic
when I bring the machine in for repairs
so maybe that’s why,
there’s always been
something so oppressive
in me, it sunk me
through the hometown
and I’m still falling
I’ve made a little peace over the years
a very little but enough
to keep suicide as an option
I know folks who’ve taken it
the suicide option
and I can think of some I wish would
whatever it is, this
oppression in me, and my tiny valiance
against it
is fine and well
makes it feel less impossible
but the world
smacking into the sun
the world imploding in
the graft, the murder, the rape
and the squalor, the most horrible
living up to our beautiful potential
I don’t know what to do about that
I still don’t know
what to do about the end of the world.

The internet is dead.  Of the all the things you’ll hear folks complain about in the coming weeks, the fluidity and control of this new media is the most important sociopolitical issue of our time.  I’ve got no dog in any other fight but even this one I’ma have to sit out and see how the worm turns on a pig named Pai.  Send an email to jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com and I’ll send you the latest post of Going For The Throat.  This way, we can enjoy it alone together, away from prying eyes and without the narcissistic and hateful and unimportant.  They’ve been running slipshod over this site for years and I’m tired of writing about my life.  It’ll all make sense when you read what I wrote–and I can’t wait to hear from you.
VOX POPULI VOX DEI (The Voice of the People is the Voice of God)

Ab irato,

like a moth in the rain

In loss, Love, mourning, poem, Poetry on December 7, 2017 at 5:19 am

guess it’s only fair, in Fall
I’ll take to gumshoeing through
the puter fog
I’ll mark a year in amber
I’ll still beat the streets
of San Francisco, searching
what of her wide, red bed
and the laughter spilling out
Mission windows in the paling
Fall sun?
and of all the things
put away, marked in spite
and striated
in anger and blue woe?

the key will always fit the door
a fun time mirror
will always distend the heart
into a grotesque growth and shape
you’ll always be what I don’t want
but available

20 planes they leave the runway every day

there’s always a wide swinging door to a cage
my poetry’s become jagged
jangling and dislocate
and this one will be 
no exception
September’s always black&bad
too many cigarettes and
sorry old armor
my smile is full of pain
beneath the streetlights
for her Boxter, my fling-
we’ll ride on down below
the poverty line
open the bar and sit in the cool dark
spiking Topo Chico with cheap bourbon
unconvincing laughter in the afternoon
is getting over you.


In Being A Writer, depression, mental health, Performance, recovery, self-help, Writing, writing about writing on November 30, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Sometimes I wonder, why do we tear ourselves to pieces?
-Paul Simon, Horace and Pete

Second chances are getting harder to come by these days.
-Michael “Corky” Corcoran

Do you enjoy being on this side of history?
-Someone commenting on Michael Corcoran’s Facebook Page last week

Jim Trainer’s writing is not for the weak. It’s like stepping in dogshit barefoot.
-Ignacio on Pterodáctilo

Writers feel like the best thing they have to offer is the worst thing that ever happened to them.

I am the pressman, acknowledge me…
-Primus, The Pressman

Warmest Greetings from the War Room.  I’m at a loss but what else is new?  Sometimes I wonder:  why do I have to be in trouble to create?  The last couple written blogs on here, well, shit–pretty gnarly ain’t it though.  I’m on deadline so that means I have to mine for kernels of life, exceptional or otherwise. On a slow news day a bird on a wire can be newsworthy, especially if his beady yellow eye speaks to me of my own hunger and unsavory instincts.  Sadly, equally unsavory and unresolved relations with others make it on here, too.  Usually I don’t mind.  Revenge is a great motivation.  By the time I write about someone, I feel they’re long gone anyway.  Nothing to salvage so may as well trash ’em and get on with it.  If that doesn’t sound horrible enough, the truth is GFtT has cut too close to the bone, too many times.  Not to mention I hate when people write about me without at least consulting or attempting to address their grievances with me in person.  It seems passive- aggressive, which I can’t stand.  My horrible point is I only write about folks and situations that are resolutely in the rearview–or I write to put them there.  I can’t live with vague and unresolved.  It feels hopeless and futile.  I need to bury my dead and it’s a huge mistake simply because all of the people I’ve buried in print are still alive!  I don’t think I’ll remedy this dark flaw of mine, at least not in writing anyway, and as abyssmal as all this undoubtedly sounds, I don’t like writing about my life because it makes me feel like a hack.

We knew the dangers of this medium from the get, ain’t it though, but they didn’t feel like dangers at the time.  I achieved a goal of mine to be a columnist, by exploiting my own flaws and offering my own foibles.  And it was incredibly satisfying.  The blog that started me posting every Thursday was written out of sexual frustration.  I was tired of playing ring around the rosey and I said so, in writing.  Don’t you know a woman I’d been courting up until that point called me repeatedly.  She was upset about it, the blog, wanted to talk about it.  We talked.  I told her it wasn’t about her and that our conversation would be the last time I ever explained my writing to her.  We made amends and made plans.  A week later she stood me up.  Now I had over 600 words up on here, I didn’t take that blog down–why should I, especially after she stood me up?  Which is no consolation.  I’d of rather gotten laid, which was the point of the thing to begin with, and I’m a writer so the blog stayed.  I’ve never taken anything down in over 7-years of writing for GFtT–but my point is when people get more upset about the truth being printed than the truth itself then I feel like I’m onto something and they probably deserve it anyway.  All this might justify doing what I do but it doesn’t mean I’m not a hack.  Which was ok, too–I figured at least I was writing.  I didn’t mind (much) until now.

Social media is killing me.  Better, depression is killing me and social media is one of its best weapons.  There are other things I’ve been abusing.  Flagrant misuses of my power and magic are well documented and are all rooted in fear anyway.  I don’t want to be a hack anymore and I don’t want to waste any more time on social media.  My own weaknesses sway any discussion about it.  A democratized media?  Nope, just creepin’.  A way to stay connected to others when I’m at rope’s end on an isolation jag? Nope just looking at selfies.  Staying in the loop?  Maybe.  The list can go on and on but none of these reasons are why I’m on there—scrolling as the sun comes up and scrolling as the sun goes down.  It’s making me perverted—well, it’s feeding my perversions.  So, I’m striking out.  I’ve got some resolutions for the new year.  You Bet.  One of the biggest is to get current on my website and post from there.  The other is to take to the territory.  If this is mid-life I am ashamed.  When I’m done being ashamed I’m almost excited.  After my excitement has been checked by my depression I am resolved.  I’ve miles to go before I sleep.  I’m thinking, long and hard, on how I can offer the road I’m on, this new media and me and my life and Art—as a service to you, Good Reader and the waiting world.  I know from your feedback that I’ve already done this for some of you, so I know all is not lost.

The world stopped ending in Boyd’s town at a very special wedding last month.  It got cold and I feel alright.  I’ve got so much work to do, especially if I don’t want next week’s post to be about bad blood or masturbation.

See you in the territory motherfucker.

A post shared by Mari Andrew (@bymariandrew) on


In boston, Performance, Philadelphia, poetry reading, PROTEST, punk rock, sobriety, Spoken Word on November 23, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Recorded live at the Middle East Corner in Boston on April 26, 2017.  The Reverend Kevin P. O’Brien, The Droimlins, Duncan Wilder Johnson and Jim Healey were also on the bill.  


In Love, Performance, Spoken Word on November 16, 2017 at 2:26 pm


Recorded live at Brewerytown Beats in Philadelphia on October 25, 2017.  Bevan McShea and Charlie O’Hay were also featured.

More Confessions of a Jerkoff

In Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Buddhism, depression, employment, Jim Trainer, mental health, self-help, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on November 9, 2017 at 7:51 am

Crude admissions ahead. I could say the same every week ain’t it though. Every week I’m under the gun and deadlines advance the killing hand. I’m also trying to wrangle some gnarly bad blues on here, and put down a rapacious anxiety–you know, I’m going for its throat, and so, I  don’t have the luxury of apology or explanation. Nor should there be any, in Art. FOR MADMEN ONLY, like the sign says, and if there’s ever a place to dispense with pretension, get to the point and lay it on the fucking line, it is in the Arts. You should never waste anyone’s time. It’s on par with murder when you consider that all that our lives are is time. You take my time, you take my life and if you attempt either I’ll weed you out motherfucker. Go ahead and try me but I’ve got readers around the world and we’ll find you and X you out! Forgive me, got a little carried away there. Happy Tuesday and all such happy horseshit. I’m a working man and I’ve got to get these words down today and not on my usual Thursday because this Thursday I’m heading back into the building and working a 15-hour day filling orders. It ought to pad things out a little–make it less do or die while I’m delivering corporate lunches and running into the night with whatever fits into my blue hotbag.

Delivery ain’t a bad gig, the money’s horrible but I’ve no coworkers. Trust me, no matter what kind of shitshuck or haul you’re pulling–it’s the crew you’re running with that’ll make or break you. I was the foreman of black and Puerto Rican men from North Philly almost twice my age, filling dumpsters with pitch at the end of the American Century, and as ball busting as that was, it’s heaps better than standing around the kitchen of the Chase Center and missing every single pop culture reference my university going coworker choads futilely threw at me. I was just digging out an old house a couple weeks ago in North Philly, and painting for Christ, which I abhor, but it was with my Brother Tau, someone I share a deep connection with. We did what we had to and then we went home. We laughed a lot but our chemistry was instantly thrown off every time a homeowner or boss chimed in. You’re only as good as the company you keep ain’t it though. Well, I am my People.  My people are the blood that flows through me.  My people are diamonds in the dark.  Point is–wait a second here, what happened to my point?

Ah…my point was that without a deadline, without having to write this and nail it to the fucking wall by day’s end, I’m free to roam and ramble, as it were, get lost in Hostile City reverie and take shots at the squares and all too conveniently forget my warning, forget I was about to admit to crude and unsavory things. Far be it from me to back down in writing, although I will settle and euphemize. Ha. Not a chance. What I began this post warning you about was admitting that my upper arms are sore from jerking off. I’m only embarrassed for the women in my family reading this–if you are, I apologize, but, I’m shooting pool fat man.  Maybe I’m lonely. Definitely horny.  Certainly a misanthrope.  It’s probably painfully obvious that a horny misanthrope masturbates. Ain’t it though. Perhaps finding another misanthrope to spend time with could figure the problem out. I know plenty of women of like mind. A startingly high percentage of misanthropes are only exhausted empaths. People who feel too much tend to shy themselves of the parade. Anyone who’s ever felt the world this way should do wise and spend some time in the great Alone. Solitude is the ally, just ask Uncle Hank, but isolation is the killer.  Feeling isolated around them, ain’t it though, it can be twice-fucked when you realize it kills your time (and your life!) and your needs aren’t getting met so it’s also burning your emotional bandwidth. This can lead to exhaustion and depression and is why I can, with a straight face, look you in the eye and tell you–I strive to have compassion for all things living and otherwise, but most people are horrible.

The problem isn’t sex, or lack thereof, or too much arm crippling masturbation.  The problem isn’t being alone, or, at times, being painfully isolated. The problem with me is the problem with you, Brothers&Sisters–and the problem with us all is this blog. I’ve too much time, as crazy as that sounds. Sitting here writing for no reason, with no deadline is a particular kind of madness. I can’t move my arms and neck at the same time while typing this. I hear sirens out in the city and my neighbor is hosing down the side of his aluminum shed. The feeds of outrage are growing on the social networks…WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING NOW…until  things are back to normal and the world can go back to ending without so much as a peep of complaint. It’s totally asinine, fundamentally futile and completely insane to sit here, 883 words in, in my underwear writing about masturbation and day labor. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Don Bajema’s Hero

In American History, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Don Bajema, Football, War, Writing, writing about writing, youth on November 7, 2017 at 8:39 am

The following interview first appeared in Philadelphia Stories in 2013.

Great writing has heart.  It really is that simple, although it’s not easy.   Former world class athlete Don Bajema presents a baby boom generation that is wide-eyed and innocent.  His self-styled anti-hero Eddie Burnett is taken to the horrible edge of things-but Bajema stops there, allowing the reader to bear witness and Burnett to make up his own mind.  Winged Shoes and a Shield (released last fall through City Lights Booksellers) follows the track and field star-cum-dropout’s trajectory through diaphanous rites of adulthood, dysfunctional family life, drug and spousal abuse and the terrible reality of American racism-all under the specter of the draft for the Vietnam war. Bajema’s take on the dire nature of our National character during sunrise in America is crushing, but there is always a choice offered in his work.  His hero strives to remain beautifully awake. Don Bajema’s hero has heart.

I’m struck by the innocence of some of your character (s) and point(s) of view.  Their attitudes and perceptions seem to be from a more innocent time, almost like the adolescent idealism that was somehow forgotten in the generations following baby boomers, after what I would call “Sunrise in America”.  
I think I’ve done all I can to deliberately retain innocence and an adolescent idealism in my life and work. Trauma fixes personalities in time and place and from ages thirteen to twenty I saw that generation I write about, a perspective I will forever view the world from…as the Kennedys were murdered, King, X, I saw riots, burned cities, dogs set on kids, National Guardsmen open up on peaceful protesters, I watched our military annihilate hundreds of thousands in a country of farming peasants, commit massacres of villages and napalm children running naked in dirt roads. Then I was told Vietnam was our tragedy, and I watched my generation buy that lie, while I refused to believe it and became ‘unpatriotic’-an epithet I cherish since I am not a patriot. We saw cops billy clubbing hundreds of kids, watched the FBI pull Civil Rights workers out of swampy dams, saw churches bombed. We had grown up in duck and cover drills but saw nothing to alleviate this stupidity and arrogance, wastefulness and corruption in our society. My perspectives are at once innocent and outraged.
I’ve felt sorry for the existence and fate of every generation that followed mine knowing full well that I, and my generation, have failed miserably to realize the glimpse of what it could have been.

What do you think is a fundamental difference between the once-hopeful flower power movement of the 60s and subsequent generations?  Are things more or less dire now? 
I think these are the best of times and the worst of times. I think the 60’s are perceived in error as the ‘flower power’ era. Nobody bought that flower in your hair shit. That’s Wall Street advertising and appropriation. The Beatles were laughing behind ‘all you need is love’. We fought in the streets. Our rebellion was an affront to the police and dangerous as hell in most of the country. These times are worse in that we are at the beginning of ecological collapse, deprivation and constant foreign and domestic war in battlefields from Sandy Hook to the Middle East and back again.

Your perspectives, “at once innocent and outraged”, are very similar to Eddie Burnett’s.
I’m better at busting a lie than telling the truth. I don’t think we can know the truth. The world and our existence is chaos. We do all we can to delude ourselves, personally and through agreed upon delusions like government and the economy, to go forward in an overcrowded and unmanageable zoo. A zoo that is our over populated planet and a circus in which we observe it. Is there hope? Yes, if we just face the fact we are highly complex primates conscious of our own mortality and freaked out by it. We do not have a god, we are not created in superman’s image, science cannot save us and most of our beliefs are ridiculous, especially any ones even remotely religious. But we are a very, very young species and we grow exponentially in intelligence if not in emotional compassion.
Eddie and I in respect to these qualities? Yes, I think they are inseparable. So, the short answer is yes.
The choice to remain “innocent” despite the horror and atrocities of the world, to choose good or to champion the inherent good within our human nature is quite insane, considering what is going on in the world around us.  
It does run contrary to the ‘fight or flight’ concept to champion…that which generates, protects, or provides for love and life…to be kind, to be generous, to be willing to extend these qualities first, in any given situation, is to be regarded or open to suspicion that one is weak, or a sucker.
I used to tell athletes enjoying their newly discovered power, and this is also true ethically and spiritually, that ‘strength gives the option to be kind’ but nobody ever knew wha I was talking about.
It’s our values-as much as one neurosis or another. People want it simplified, and it’s the singular ego that holds sway over their thoughts and actions, especially in a competitive context. Yes, nature appears to be competitive but it’s really a kind of dance. Self interest is important but it shouldn’t be paramount in our psyche. Nice guys finish last and “the meek shall inherit the earth” but to be meek is to be despised. For me, its war or not war, and my choice is not war. Which doesn’t mean if you invade my home with bad intentions I won’t go for it, but-and I have been in various potentially disastrous circumstances, given the chance I’ll opt for kindness every time.
The whole question of any individual and the world is a tale of heroic struggle, and I think a lot about Faulkner’s comment “the only story worth telling is the story of the human heart in conflict with itself”.

The inside look into Eddie Burnett in Winged Shoes and a Shield reveals the troubles of a seemingly well-adjusted athlete, at least you would think he’s well adjusted, a star on the track and field, an operator like his dad, but then you find out his back story, and all is not as rosy as it appears.
Jim you are 100 percent right…Eddie Burnett’s and my own challenges are derived and contorted by being at once too sensitive and too afraid to admit it. Burnett is a winner, celebrated for his athleticism. He is victorious and stoic on the outside but, within, he is both too sensitive and too scared to admit it.

In Too Skinny, Too Small, your latest work, we find an adult, if not grown up, Eddie Burnett as a mega football star in a bloated and self-important NFL.

Too Skinny Too Small was a disappointment as an experiment. I found myself too nauseated by the values of the corporate game and industry of the sport, and the ignorance and appalling lack of compassion and voyeuristic jack-off of the fans, commentators and just about every disgusting value the game has to offer that I bummed out hard on the topic. But I’ll keep writing it to a conclusion. I overwrite when I am unclear of what I want to convey. Basically, I’m predicting the inevitable–on field, nationally televised death that will occur fairly soon.
Too Skinny Too Small is going to make reappearance during the play-offs.
I enjoy writing on Going For The Throat and I like the idea of people being able to read it off of a blog.  I’m not sure where it’s going to go but I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens.

What can you tell us about your writing process? What does a day of writing look like for you? You once said to me, “Never try to please your audience”.

Carmen and I both work and we have two young kids, so I write when I can. Frequently late at night or early in the morning. I used to write listening to music, but lately I haven’t been and find that I write better without it.  
Music, for me, even if I’m only barely aware of it, takes some of what would be in the writing away.
Almost everything in Winged Shoes And a Shield …was written to be read on stage and most of the stories in it were written the day of a show. I found that it gave the work an immediacy. Almost everything in the collection is a ‘one take’ kind of thing, with very little or no re-writing. Rewriting, for me, is a bad thing. I tend to over write, not so much in terms of flowery, self indulgent stuff, but when I re-write I frequently find myself adding a lot of material so that the work is ‘new’ to me. But then it may not necessarily have the impact of the original words first set down on the page. So, for the time being I’ve been convinced, and most of my friends and collaborators almost insist, that I should never rewrite my work. I think my best material comes from writing that is done on the day of a show.
The idea of ‘pleasing your audience’ means that you are writing to an effect rather than just sort of channeling whatever it is that is coming out of you. That does not mean do not be aware of your audience. A writer should be considerate as all hell of the audience-but not necessarily doing anything to please them. What that means is don’t make them work too hard, don’t make them wade through a lot of stuff. So, my best writing addresses the audience as though they were in a club or wherever it is I’m reading. But I never try to please them. I don’t even try to please myself. I just write it and then read it and let the chips fall where they may.
I also read what I’ve written out loud, this reveals the clunkers in the work and I can change them on the spot. So it might be a page and then read it out loud, then go on.

What’s next for you and Eddie Burnett?

Eddie will stare me down as less than the man I was born to be and I’ll try to provide him the words…since he is the universal observer he’ll be around or in anything I ever write.
I’m looking forward to my reading with you on December 11th.

Too Skinny, Too Small by Don Bajema appears serially on Going For The Throat throughout the 2014 NFL Season. To read more visit jimtrainer.wordpress.org.


In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, mental health, Performance, publishing poetry, self-publishing, Spoken Word, Writing, writing about writing on November 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm

There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.
-Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf

Up until 30 minutes ago you had no idea what I did for a living and now you know more than me? Great. I should just quit and write poetry.
-theoriginal_jem on Instagram this week

The trouble with these people is that their cities have never been bombed and their mothers have never been told to shut up.
-Charles Bukowski

Sometimes I write just to keep from falling.  It’s been the luckiest goddamn thing, the writing.  The other, well, we all have our row to hoe, don’t we Sister?  Some of us toe the line, we fit in to their scheme nicely, or we want to and our days are orderly, it all makes sense or it will someday.  The rest of us run slipshod, in turns raw with fear and bold with alacrity, pioneers of lost and lonely kingdoms, we answer to none and don’t tell anyone.  As treacherous as it gets it’s still safer than living in their world.  I don’t know what kind of voodoo’s been run down on me but–I burn out now on crazy, faster than ever before.  The IG quote above is from an unfortunate interaction on social media this week.  I spoke on corporate culture, which I gladly know nothing of, and should’ve just kept my mouth shut.  On the other hand I wouldn’t have known this person to be so self-identified with it–square life.  I can’t speak to it.  I can’t recommend the road I took.  I’m not proud of it, it still confuses me–but I’ll never suffer anyone’s shame of it.  Out of necessity, really.  Believe me, I’m plenty enough ashamed on my own, that I couldn’t make it, do the thing and participate.  I just happen to be more ashamed of them and their life–the squares.  Which obviously, and again out of necessity, is a perfect intro for this week’s post.

I’m terrified.  I struck out again, left my gig of 5 years.  Couldn’t hang there anymore.  It was the longest job I ever had–which isn’t to say I’m irresponsible.  I could never stick around long enough to let time get on me, which is what happens.  Familiarity can be a pecking away, unless it’s from people who you love but even then sometimes you’ve got to get away.  I never met a more concentrated group of horrible people than I did at my last gig and living where I did, but I never stayed anywhere longer than a couple years either.  The problem is the Fear.  I’m suffering good Reader.  My karma’s wearing me down.  I can’t do it, out here, without some soulsucking handjive day paying jerkaround.  Know what I’m saying?  It’s fucked and I feel fucked.  Terrible depths of despair until I take to the outdoors and the sun and the trees of Hyde Park take me like a familiar but distant planet.  I can let go a little, on my walkabouts here, and forget for a spell that the future looks as fucked to me as the past and I don’t know how I’ll ever get this rig unwound.

I got some side hustles.  Little time sucks for gas and food money.  I’m not starving to death.  I’m booking ’em, too.  December’s shaping up and 15 $100 gigs still seems doable, on paper anyway.  I’m interviewing for another caregiving position tomorrow, I got irons in the fire for everything from moving furniture to hauling trash.  Everything’s fine and I’m terrified.  I regret my decision and pretty much every other one I’ve had to make since I first stepped foot to this savage road over twenty years ago.  I don’t think I’ll make it most days.  The wisdom, I guess, is I never thought I would but yet here I am.  It’s been heavy, man, and harrowing.  Second to second sometimes.  It does add up, though, I’ve got a body of work.  Three books in and my stuff is getting better and better.  Storytelling is second nature to me now.  It only takes a draft or 2 before I can take it to the boards and tell it under the hot lights.  Writing is still one of the only failsafe things that will save me.  Refuge.  Most days feel like falling until I’m beat by night’s billyclub, and then pulled off to dream silly dreams in some thick veldt between lust and madness.   I think I’ll make it, after all, even if it never feels like it.  She wouldn’t last a day.

See you in the territory motherfucker.