Jim Trainer

Archive for 2018|Yearly archive page


In Uncategorized on November 8, 2018 at 11:38 am
It’s just a kiss away…

Suicide is so close.  Mostly I’m too lazy and just get pulled along which isn’t valiant by any stretch.  Neither my comparisons, or knowing in the third world and even my hometown folks would kill for the life I have. A paltry relativity as pathetic as my lazy will–not to live, just not to die and either way is the existential squeeze in which I don’t thrive or even enjoy my life.  Days pan out mercilessly dull and without courage.  Which isn’t to say I don’t die all the time, just that I’m able to change the channel in my mind when I consider hitting the median or hanging from the high ceiling of my garage apartment and kissing it goodbye.  Couple this with the fact that suicidal thoughts come from my disgust and shame at who I’ve become and how far off the mark I’ve hit with hardly any time left.  Throw in the fact we’ve got 4,000 days before ecological collapse and it’s bleak as a bitch, Jack.  With no reason to go on at all–my existence is a senseless volley between excruciatingly dull and mundane and terribly entitled, lazy and self-mired.

I still don’t know what to do about the end of the world but writing this has shown me that what I think about myself and living is depression.  I’m thankful for the truth and recognize that the ability to see it is ubermenschian, a godsend, something I can thank my black Irish or Italian ancestors for, and why I’ll always write.  Some people live their whole lives in the dark.  Being different than the madding crowd doesn’t mean I’m happy with who I am, however.  The world is going to pot with velocity now but at the end of the day I’m alone or snuggled up with a sweet lady, wide awake and staring at the walls.  I’ve been worse but I’ve hardly been better.  February 25 will be 4 years without alcohol and the hardest year yet–a real doozy when all my resentments came to the surface and I’ve weeded out 90% of the people I used to interact with.

I don’t mind being apart.  The fix is in and so deep in their mind I wonder if I should be considering murder instead of suicide.  Of course, I then realize that violence is my connection to the world and I’m as at odds with living as I am letting them live.  Maybe it’s not such a big deal, just some bosses I’d rather choke than work for; but my own blues and dissatisfaction and angst, coupled with the disgust and fear of who I’m becoming burns like a meteor.  I’ve finally tired of this model of suffering and salvation and my body is worn down.  I’ve no sense of wonder.  Depression seems to win round after round.  I find no forgiveness for others and have even less for myself.  It’s a fucked season and I’m up against it like always.  The 40s are sticking it to me good Reader.  There’s a lot of shit I won’t entertain these days.  I’ve less headaches, zero hangovers and no adrenaline dumps of psychopathic and diabolic dilettantes of love with father issues making my dick hard and throwing my guitars through plate glass into the yard.

I remember a reading I was doing at Dozen Street for Potty Mouth a few years back.  There was a woman there I used to see.  At intermission, when we were smoking outside, she suggested maybe I’m the one with the issue, and not all the narcissistic soul-suckers I’d tirelessly devoted so much of my work to.  I told her I really hit the wall that summer. I’d experienced utter depths of vanity coupled with such complete dearths of self-awareness I was shook.  I’d wasted years of my life working for self-serving shitheeled girlfriends and bosses and I’d no heart or stakes left.  The only thing I could compare the terrible summer of ’14 to was when I had to flee Hostile City for my life and sanity and get sober.  So, here I was, in the same situation—the cloying world on my neck, reading every week on my nights off, drinking a shit ton and mixing it up in a derelict mansion or outback a dark and dirty bar with an ex-Girlfriend offering ill-informed and half-baked psychoanalysis, uninvited and completely unbidden.

Ok, then, it’s got you shook.  So maybe you’re the one who’s crazy.  She balked from within her nest of diet Coke cans and crushed Marlboro Ultra-Lights.

Sister, please–you’ve no fucking idea.

Love&Wages, Jim Trainer’s 5th full-length collection of poetry and prose will be released this December through Yellow Lark Press.  Please visit jimtrainer.net or write Jim at jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com to pre-order a copy and for more information.  Thank you!



In Being A Writer, creative nonfiction, Uncategorized, Writing, writing about writing on November 1, 2018 at 8:10 am

Though lovers be lost love shall not…
Dylan Thomas

When I say “romantic,” I mean a sensibility that sees everything, and has to express everything, and still doesn’t know what the fuck it is, it hurts that bad. It just madly tries to speak whatever it feels, and that can mean vast things. That sort of mentality can turn a sun-kissed orange into a flaming meteorite, and make it sound like that in a song.
Jeff Buckley

All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.
Andre Breton

Working for a living is the worst.  Not only are you surrendering your lifetime for money, you’re participating in your own oppression, and contributing to the oppression of those beneath you. We all need a foil, bet, and the wealthy aren’t the only people who need someone to look down on to feel better about themselves. That’s capitalism, Comrade, and further proof white guilt is a shallow gesture and ego stroke that has nothing to do with black and brown people. Some of us rise up no matter who we are and conquer our own worlds behind a typewriter after driving a bus all day.  These are the exception, the Artist and the Writer, and, as far as writing is concerned–the only thing worse than working for a living is starting to write. Beginning. I don’t know why starting is so hard or why it stops so many of us from writing at all. It could be a mistrust of the slipshod world, that once we open the inner chamber, the flowing channels of wisdom that are ours for the taking when we write will be interrupted and get rushed by the filth and the fury. There’s a certain amount of safety needed to write–and quiet, if not peace.

I did over 12,000 miles this summer, and visited 6 countries, but I couldn’t write at all.
A good Reader writes from “an attic in Smithville”, adding:
My traveling partner had no boundaries and zero respect for mine. He possessed a horrible combination of aggression and southern hospitality. He was a bully, but not an overt one. And he never shut the fuck up.  On commuter trains, busses, hotel rooms, lobbies, waiting rooms and especially in the tight quarters of a prepper farm on the foothills of the Ural Mountains (between Kazakhstan and the Barents Sea) he insinuated me to death! He gaslighted me constantly. He loved to tell me how he was looking out for me while he hinted and suggested the bullshit out of every waking moment.”

“Couldn’t you find any time to be alone?,” I asked.

No. His presence was so toxic I couldn’t write even when I was on my own. I was too shook and his presence loomed. He assumed I was beholden to him, that I owed him somehow.”

I can relate”, I told him, and the truth is—what kept him from writing on another continent, and all the mindfuckery and empathy-exhaustion of bad travel he described, probably feels no different than the dread of starting writing I’ve experienced on my days off from the temp job.  Once I get rolling no prob, but starting, or thinking about starting?  It takes up more bandwidth than actually committing to the thing.  A lot of times I got so much trouble on my mind and I forget that writing is the way out, Brothers&Sisters.  The solution is locked in the arms of the problem.  You’ve got to unfurl, unkink and let wisdom speak and speak through you.

No more, Butchie, no more of this.
Phil Leotardo

So much for the trouble with writing and bad travel partners.  I could tell you some stories, good Reader–make your asshairs stand up.  I’m due back in New Orleans, to pay a $600 ticket, but maybe I should run some voodoo down.  Either that or never travel without expenses paid.  The world is on fire anyway.  We got inside of twenty-two years sustainable left and I’m quitting Creative Nonfiction.  It’s a bummer–the fact I have to drudge up and shake out my small shames and great fears every week, if I want to keep writing and consider myself a writer.  I’m not speaking to how this blog speaks to you, or that it connects us in catastrophe and dispels the isolation of being a seer in the land of the blind.  It worked and for the last 8 years it’s been a boon, a great way to pass the time and the luckiest goddamn thing.  But too a bane, ain’t it though.  I’m switching formats and I’m driving to New Orleans.  I’ll be working in the Personal Journalism business now and I know a place in Mid City where I can get a bag of gris-gris, solve my buddy’s problem and mine.  Welcome to the darker half.  It’s time to bury the dead.

Please tune in to Into The Void Magazine this Sunday for Part 9 of The Coarse Grind, Jim Trainer’s monthly column on writing and the creative life.  


When Everything Is Wrong

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2018 at 12:51 pm

What am I in the eyes of most people–a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person–somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then–even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.
-Vincent Van Gogh

The shapeshifting thing, I honestly think he may have a brain tumor. He’s always been insufferable.
D’arcy Wretzky

While a police dictatorship may damage and even destroy people’s ability to think, a consumerist society can lull them into the same state. These words read as prescient in a time when Russia is run by what used to be its secret police, while the U.S. is headed by a reality-TV star.
Masha Gessen

Why this asshole?
John Oliver

Well.  I’m running back and forth from the War Room to the toilet, in turns sipping cold instant coffee and shitting my brains out.  My bowel problems began last January, not long after I was back on labor and trying to curb my credit card debt delivering school lunches to San Antonio from a shop that increasingly felt like a prison yard.  I thought it was the worst until I quit and started working as a courier for an electrical parts manufacturer.  Then I had to hold it in, in the predawn dark, waiting for contractors to meet me at the yard, and I exploded in every disgusting stall and sack shop on the northern I-35 corridor.  North Texas is a wasteland and that job was nowhere.  It qualified me for Unemployment Compensation but because I worked 1 catering gig as a temp worker the state deemed I’d quit.  Not only did they take future benefits away, they say the $1,640 they already gave me was overpaid.  It’s a travesty, something I haven’t processed or dealt with effectively but hereby put down, like you do, and attempt to parse and get a grip on in writing.  You know I went to Europe not long after that and for those of you who offered me counsel on whether or not to go–you were right, it needed to happen.  It was fraught and exhausting and there was, at times, no hatred wasted but I was equally treated and survived by the grace and hospitality of others.  Now I’m back in the States and trying to make the best of it and see if any sense can be gleaned from the woodchipper of world events while deciding whether it’s worth sticking around.

The news of Kashoggi’s demise couldn’t be worse until you consider that 62 million Americans don’t give a fuck.  The hysteria on Twitter over the 7 pipe bombs found in New York City, the offices of CNN and the slower-lower of Delaware is fugacious and I’ve no further comment at this time.  I watched Kavanaugh‘s rebuttal to Ford’s testimony finally and have a different conclusion about the man than the one I reached only hearing it broadcast live, while on shift.  His outrage almost sounded convincing on the radio but to watch him deliver it is to see the piggish face of American exceptionalism.  I won’t dwell, can’t dwell on it.  I’m behind on current events and deliberately far enough removed to remain detached.  I wake up at noon and sometimes go an entire day without speaking to anyone.  As good as that sounds and as undoubtedly good as it feels, it’s not.  It’s depression knocking and the endless rainfall we’ve been having since the end of the terrible summer is pushing the needle to the suicide side.  I’m working on some stories, spoken word pieces I’ll be performing, and ruminating on a business plan.  It seems like business is the business at hand.  I want to take my artistic career to the next level but the only way I know how is punk rock.  I’ve done 2 pressings of September and sold out the first.  All in the wind‘s ambitious run of 150 has yet to be sold out but I’ve learned from that experience.  Take To The Territory‘s run was small but I have book blocks and covers ready to be assembled as I gear up to make another push for them very soon.  

This blasé and staid post is a reminder that everything is not ok and that’s ok.  I don’t know what else to do but hang on until the weather turns or this state turns blue.  My health concerns are annoying and my employment woes only reinforce that this is the life I chose.  I wish the best for my people and want to see my enemies drawn and quartered.  I’m a victim of love and hate and spin the wheel of dharma round.  I keep in mind how good my bad is and think I might have to try and help somehow.  Otherwise I might lose my mind, go soft while I’m shut in and selfish as the world chokes its last breath and humanity drowns in its own blood.  It’s not lost on me that I’ve won the round and I feel good now, most of the time.  The world’s got me by the balls but it don’t take much to bring my love around.  Now that I feel good I should do good.  As hard as it’s been, I been equally as lucky, dizzy with my own black pain but still a gleam in her starry eye, coveted and held in place here, alive.



Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

In alcoholism, day job, police brutality, politics, working class on October 18, 2018 at 10:00 am

If it keeps on rainin’ levee’s goin’ to break…
-Memphis Minnie

What Deford thought would be fun ‘for a few months’ turned into 37 years.
-Liberal Radio

In America it’s not Republican and Democrat–it’s just those are the only options people have.
Trevor Noah

The fear of not doing what I want to do in life made me do what I want to do.
Dave Chappelle

I think they will be both miserable and emboldened.
Karl Rove

For fuck’s sake.  A silver lining to this shitshow is I’ll take it to the mattresses and bring you back a slick 600, neat and fine and ain’t it though.  It’s been raining since the end of summer and today the weather has turned brutish and cold.  The news of a dismembered journalist is on the wire and 30-35 people are still missing in Mexico City, FLA–ravaged and otherwise destroyed by the 3rd worst Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the U.S.  In other news, somewhere in America someone is perfectly happy with the way things are, follows James Woods on Twitter and sees no contradiction in a GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS, ESPECIALLY OUR SNIPERS bumper sticker emblazoned above a dangling set of TruckNutz on his black Chevy Silverado.  The Grateful Dead were wrong.  The trouble ain’t with you or me but everything and everyone.  The mounting mud and torrential rain falling out the window of this garage apartment are great reason to stay indoors, at least until my shift starts, and it could always be worse.  That sentiment carries a lot of water (sorry) with me and is sure to carry me through the gnarly vice-like moments in which we have found ourselves in the dark New Century.  I know it could be worse because it has been, and holding a sign in the freezing rain for 6 hours is heaps better than sleeping in the park of your hometown with a pack of Marlboro and a copy of The Fountainhead in your sleeping bag.

This is the end Beautiful Friend.  But I’ll still try and make it because I don’t know what else to do.  We’ve got 135 months to right our course ecologically which seems to be the issue of our time.  I suppose if I was black I might think differently though, seeing as how cops kill you if you’re black and you’re marginalized and hemmed in by a capitalist system in a country where it’s a crime to be poor.  Holland has never looked so good.  Early voting opens October 22 and the Chinese Century looms like a sleeping dragon.  I’m still writing poetry, and in turns sleeping as terribly as a zombie and a babe in the arms of a sweet blonde witch out in Bee Caves.  Landlord’s raised the rent here and I know it’s time to move on but not before I get a couple books out and finally amass the MAMU.  I’ve been shitting liquid since January and the contusion on my left heel rages, swollen and unhealed.  I probably need glasses, someone sideswiped my car and I’ve got a cyst on my lower back.  I been working–doing shifts at $14 and $15 an hour, holding a sign and ushering corporates to their shuttle downtown, and like a pig out in the sticks of Texas, sweating and sore in black closed-toe non-slip shoes.  I have yet to pore over the bank statement from my summer abroad, the whole thing was a journalistic failure if not a great opportunity to see how horrible some of my friends are and glean enough inspiration to carry me through another season here in Paradise where it’s overrun with technocrats and Californians but practically better than anywhere else in the U.S.

As fucked as it is, and oh how it is fucked—getting old and staying sober, taking orders from 20-something twats in full black bistro attire, living in a cold-tile flat with limited hot water, suffering IBS and constant headaches, ecological collapse, murdered journalists, news as entertainment, reverb soaked pansy-ass jive perpetrated by sexually ambigious college grads, stolen elections, rhyming poetry and the torture of Ugandan dissidents–it could always be worse and by the looks of it will be very soon.

See you downtown in the rain, motherfucker.



Finally Fall

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2018 at 9:36 pm

This morning I waited. Sometimes you have to. Most times you have to, in this business. I waited for it to come. Or not. That’s the thing. You have to be open to it. Maybe you’ll find you’re not inspired. You’re obviously not inspired so you sit and wait for it to come. I read a story about the great writer. He would sit bolt upright, his machine on and humming before him. Then, in a start, he would dive down into those keys, really start working those keys, in a buzz and a flash. He was a great writer. I’ll never live him down. Always feel like I’m in his shadow somehow. So I sit and wait for his shadow to pass over me. And all the things I was supposed to be. All my yesterdays, and every foolish last night. Sometimes it doesn’t come. This was one of those times. Some thoughts aren’t easy to shake. She is relentless. And thoughts of her are interminable. The way she looks in that photo. So platonic and fake. She looks neither as happy as the day I told her or as sad and mean as the day she broke the news. She’s as phony as they come. Gone but not gone. We split and now the summer is over. I couldn’t be happier. It’s finally fall. But the way she looks in that photo really fucks with me.

Loretta’s right. I’m the tragic romantic. Loretta’s got long, long legs. They just go up the fucking wall and to the ceiling. We were at her sister’s bar for the Talk Dirty Podcast. And the roof was coming in. Water, water everywhere. I was sitting next to her, on the lovers’ sofa, and those incredible long legs.
“You’re 4 on the anagram,” she said. “The tragic romantic.”
I smiled. She had her hair pinned up like a Hollywood starlet, dressed in a tight silk kimono and amber Corsican pumps that drove me crazy. I was imagining those pumps and her legs wrapped around my fucking head. That’s when Guy moved in. She’s got a coterie of guys. They swarm and hive around her. Follow her around the bar and buy her drinks. He offered to buy us one.
“Whisky and water.”

Loretta is all class. All legs and ass. A far cry from her sister–Lorraine, my boss for the podcast. Crazy Rainey. Crazy Rainey’s hard scrabble and green-eyed. If Loretta is all class then Lorraine is uncouth. They’re both Geminis. Have the same birthday actually, but years apart. Loretta’s older, closer to fifty and Rainey’s still coming up and trying to prove herself with her latest venture–the bar, and hosting edgy acts and performers like me. When I get up to use the john Guy takes my place beside Loretta on the lovers’ sofa. Wade the poet is onstage and I don’t mind even though I hate poetry. Rainey approaches me on the way back from the john. In the dark.

“We need to talk about the show.”
We go outback. Beneath the eaves. I can see Sybil out there beneath a picnic umbrella. Resplendent and dry reading a copy of Sexual Personae.
“Did you get my email?”
“So what do you think?”
“It depends.”
“How much shit you’ll give me while I’m doing it.”
“Oh, come on!”
“Ok I mean, I’ll do it but if you give me reams of shit for it then I’ll just quit the show and it’ll be all yours just like you wanted.”

She was edging all the literary content out of the show. Guess I can’t blame her. Me and my coterie of tragic romantic poets weren’t exactly wowing ‘em in the stands. But neither were her readings of classic playwrights and Oscar Wilde monologues. She was onto something with the format. I’ll give her that. Dirty talk. Frank and honest. Real. I didn’t really care. I mean I cared about the show but I was willing to give it up just to get between her sister’s incredibly long legs. Loretta really turned me on. She’s older, hotter. Sitting next to her on the lovers’ sofa looking up and down those legs, that was it.  And that was all. We finished the show and left. Without saying goodbye. Out front the bar she offered me her arm.
“Shall we?”
God she was sexy.

We headed out. Into the night. Me and Loretta. Hot damn. It felt good to be out on the street again. Finally fall. I remember reading how the great writer would associate certain albums with the seasons. How this Lou Reed jawn will always be his go-to in the Fall. Walking the streets of Berlin with his invisible woman blues. Leaves turning inside him. I had my start. The story was gaining traction. Me and Loretta finally leaving, finally fall. Last summer. Shit. Last summer was a goddamned albatross. I really thought I was in love. I had found love again after all that time. She turned out to be a phony. As phony as they come. But the summer was over and it was finally fall.

We pull into Loretta’s.
“Go on in.” I tell her and back down the drive.
Priscilla is standing there like a statue in my rearview. She’s porcelain-white, flashing her phoniest smile.
“Can we talk?”
I get out the car put my hands on her waist and pull her close. We kiss ravenously. I pull her hair back on her head. Ease her onto the drive and mount her.
“Wait here.”
I get in to the El Camino and slowly pull forward. Then I put it in reverse and gun it. It feels like I’m backing over luggage. When I pull forward it sounds a little softer and I gag a little. I had my start. The story was getting some traction. I look at the photo on my desk. She’s still smiling but now a tire print is hatched across her face and legs and arms. It’s ruined. I get out of the car. I can see Loretta in the doorway, bathed in light with a drink in hand, standing on those incredible long legs. Smiling.

From All in the wind-Rejected, Neglected&Accepted Work 2009-2016 on Yellow Lark Press.  Visit jimtrainer.net for one of four different collections of Jim Trainer’s poetry and prose.

My Beautiful Day

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

the headline read:
Grim Day For A Small Town
then the cop came over
to the periodicals rack
told me there’s a
in the
but I could put my cap on backwards
if I wanted
so I did.

the clerks at checkout looked on
as I stood
at the info desk
I stood there for minutes
it was obvious I was doing something wrong
I picked up the info desk sign
flipped it around
it read:
so I went up
asked her
“Do you have
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills by Charles Bukowski?”

I got the book
went back downstairs
and the clerk at checkout
told me
I’d have to pay
in overdue fees,
but if I still had the overdue book
I could bring it back
they wouldn’t have to fill out
“all that paper work”
(I would have paid the $60 but I didn’t want to be a bother.)
I went back up to the
to the copiers
but I had no cash
I went back down
past the clerks at
past the smiling cop
and out onto the street.
I passed the hulking courthouse,
and crossed.
the ATM took $2
of my money
and my bank took 3.
I walked back into the
turned my cap around
passed the clerks
at checkout
back up to the SECOND FL
and grabbed the book.
The copy card dispenser
took my $1
gave me .40 cents
I made two copies
went back down
and I was back out
on the street.

then I bought two roses
from Billy
on the corner.
he’s half blind
terribly overweight
and an amputee.
“Thanks Billy.”

no one’s got a right to any
King pain
we do our own suffering
or we
find a way
to make someone else pay
“Be careful,” Billy said
behind me
as I walked into the sun.


Winter 2014

Winter 2014 Austin TX

This poem originally appeared in Natalie Wilson’s wonderful A Series of Moments.


In Uncategorized on September 27, 2018 at 11:46 am

That is not gonna make Oprah Winfrey happy.
Chuck Palahniuk

Dont touch my Willie.  You dont know him that well.  Help yourself to some Luke Bryan or Ted Nugent or any of those clowns.  I know what you heard but I dont walk party lines.  So keep your mouth off my Willie.  We’ll get along just fine.
Troy Stone

We are all absolutely delirious with joy.
Victoria Valentino


Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 11.23.17 AM

Time has taught me that it goes by. The quality and timbre of our moments aren’t as important as the fact that they’re going and gone. Life can be astounding, if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen…it’s true, but–at the end of the day it’s the end of the day and you’ll never get it back. There isn’t much reckoning I can come up with when I think back on the decades of abuse and waste of at least three-thousand nights getting blotto or anger-fucking and so strapped with depression and dread I was glad to end it and commit suicide if only incrementally. Those things’ll kill ya, they used to say. I’m counting on it, I would respond. It might’ve looked cool, hell it might’ve been cool but the truth is I was so scared of death that the only control I had was to rush toward it. Plus I was young and a poet so I had enough of that post-adolescent cocktail of ignorance, melodrama and Father-issues to be lethal, or at least justify smoking a pack of black Gauloises and drinking bourbon and stout every night, stopping by her house for uninvited rough sex and waking up hating life and ready to do it all over again. I think I thought I’d write on those days. Invariably I probably only stared at a screen as blank as my future, the dread and malaise would return and I’d head out to the bar or get takeout somewhere and nurse a 6 of Black&Tan big boys with a copy of Generation Of Swine. Or I’d smoke a bowl and take Ibuprofen and play a Gretsch archtop through a Fender ProJunior. I was suffering then and I am suffering now. The difference is back then I thought my suffering wasn’t enough. I’d have to go extra if I wanted to write like my heroes. More importantly, and far less disparaging and horrible, the difference is I start writing now. I still stare, putter, jerkoff, eat and, worst of all stalk social media. I still do everything else first, before I start writing, but I start.

That’s what this blog is all about, Yellow Lark Press and a book every year until 2025. My raison d’être post 40. Why I’m back in the states slinging bolognaise and humping crates full of silver into the back of a box truck after midnight. Ok, I do that for money and for the opportunity to generate an email list, start a Patreon campaign, apply for the Community Initiatives grant and attempt to cultivate a daily Yoga practice. I’m making up for lost time. It’s the only way I can pay any attrition for all those lost years. They taught me nothing but it wasn’t all for naught. Those lost years are my biggest inspiration today. Those lost years as a jerkoff alcoholic are really starting to pay off.




In Uncategorized on September 20, 2018 at 10:14 am


Love&Wages, Jim Trainer’s 5th full-length collection of poetry, will be out this December through Yellow Lark Press.  Please visit jimtrainer.net for a signed copy of Take To The Territory, his latest collection–and for filmed performances, journalism and song.  Also out this December–ALLOW by local poet IgnacioBrown Thought” Carvajal.

Is An American Gun

In Uncategorized on September 13, 2018 at 10:11 pm

I either live in a dignified country or I be remembered as a Ugandan who died trying to make a better Uganda.
–Bobi Wine 

For many are called, but few are chosen.
Matthew 22:14

I think everybody in those places is going crazy inside.
Joe Rogan

Whoever gets the vision gets the task.

I’m lucky.  I got the call early and been around long enough to answer.  It’s not easy, nor has it ever been, but I’m not interested in that.  It would’ve been easy to stay in the hometown, stay in school, get a full time gig, get married and step into a pre-fab life, tailor-made for suckers on the vine.  There’s plenty of people who are perfectly happy doing it.  I’m not putting them down.  Just saying that it always felt like death to me.  In between cops who had nothing better to do than hassle me and my friends about our tattoos and noserings, and grown men prowling the suburbs offering us blowjobs.  There was something especially seedy and unsavory about my hometown, and I can only look back derisively and with the most scorn.  As far as college and a full time job, well—look at me now, Good Reader.  Before I clock in to the temp shift, I’ll give the fifteen or so poems I’m submitting tomorrow a once over.  I might even grind one out on the Selectric before I shower and press my serving blacks.  I got one out before work yesterday and it felt like victory.  It always does.  I write poetry out of vengeance and that’s all I can say about my inspiration and romantic inclinations.  Y’all know I’m a romantic—I write on a typewriter for Christ, and the sorry circus of the world needs a tent and a cyclone fence.  That’s what it is, too—my way of getting my arms around it, framing the agony as Papa wrote and earning my roach wings like Uncle Hank.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not celebrating filth or think I’m some kind of anti-hero outlaw poet.  My drinking days are done, as are the ramshackle nights of smoke&ruin and man-made blues that were my answer to the chemical imbalance in my brain.  A diagnosis was the turning point, and one of the biggest motivators for me to change.  When I got diagonosed with Major Depressive Disorder, it took all the shame out of it; and when I found out I could treat it and all I had to do was quit drinking—well, it wasn’t exactly like a light coming on but, after some time insisting on getting drunk instead of getting better, I decided that no matter where sobriety took me I’d rather not be dumb.  Point is, the opportuntiy to rid myself, or even deal with a monkey that’d been on my back for decades presented itself and I instead decided to keep getting drunk until I realized how dumb that was.  It’s not a cureall.  My aversion to being stupid was stronger than my alcoholism.  Again, not easy, nor is it black and white.  Sometimes my alcoholism is stronger than everything else in my life and it still manifests, and I’m still a jerkoff temp sugar junkie trying to get free.  Point of all that, believe it or not, is I am still writing.  I’m still a writer and I am still writing it down.  It’s a world I know.  One I curated on a manual in an apartment on the corner of 45th&Locust, on a Brother electric at 47th&Chester, on those pocket-sized CVS jawns—with covers black, grey and red, on the heralded President XII Tower–the beautiful machine, on a fire engine red IBM Selectric II, on a MacBook Pro that’s overheating and finally on an iPad typing like a praying mantis on this Logitech mini-keyboard.

I write from the hip and we know this. I go for the throat, theirs and mine, and we know that too. I throw these words down, tight little nuggets of filigree and rage and make sense of it later if at all. I write letters, 2 times a week when I’m on my A Game, which I hardly am. I’m working as a temp—for 13, 14 and $15 an hour, loading tables and humping luggage, slinging drinks and serving dinner. While typing a letter the other night, there was this fucker on his back, on the tiles by the machine—a tree roach, judging by his size. They’re coming in out of the rain and one of them even ran the fuck up my back. This place is all bills though and month to month, and I’ll stay because mostly, during the day, it’s as quiet as a tomb. My writing desk takes up about 30% of the space in here, just underneath a Full XL loft bed that I never sleep in. I slept in it the other night but that’s when the visitor ran up my neck and if I think about it too long I’ll draw a bleak conclusion. I know I chose this. I know that anything can happen. I know we’re terribly inured here, enslaved and entitled by our comforts and our politik, and we voice our paltry protest online but come Monday morning fall right back in line. I got just over 60k on a Japanese car and I’m as free as I can manage but I’ma have to get freer. You know the deal. We rant. We rave. We suffer sorrow and celebrate joy. The world’s still turning and the end is coming soon. Shit’s about as fucked as it can get but I guess it’s gonna have to get worse. It can always get worse and it can always be better. I’ll be at my desk if you need me or on campus plating dinner for 80 and thankful for another day I’m not living in my hometown.


In Uncategorized on September 6, 2018 at 7:44 pm

The hearings don’t matter.
Emily Bazelon 

Another garbage story in a tabloid full of garbage.
Alice Stewart

The false, even, belief that you have agency is what keeps us alive and keeps us actually surviving and going beyond trauma.
Jennifer Fox

Maybe you’re a baby who can write.
Maroline Martin

My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.
President Gerald Ford

I still got one of his hickeys. It won’t go away. It’s a scar.
Kids In The Dark

Quantitative scientific measures are almost always more accurate than personal perceptions and experiences but our inclination is to believe that which is tangible to us, and/or the word of someone we trust, over a more “abstract” statistical reality.
Gabriel Weinberg

I got an hour here before I have to take a call.  It’s been a rough day writing-wise and that’s because I’m not prepared.  I’m never prepared and that’s because I loathe doing this–well, I hate drudging it up and “coming to a conclusion” and talking myself into continuing the charade.  It’s as hopeless as it sounds but, maybe it’s not.  The price I pay for sensitivity, I could tell myself.  What I mean is I woke up knowing I’m not Hunter Thompson and that, it being Thursday, I’d solve the crisis of either writing or hating myself by coming through with 600 words neat and fine or otherwise.  But I gave up on that before noon and started looking around for something to post that wasn’t personal or current and wouldn’t remind me that I’m a fraud.

I came across my filmed performance, at Metaphorically Challenged last January, and started singing a different tune.  Sometimes I need my friends to tell me I’m a writer but sometimes I can figure it out all by myself on a day off as a luggage handler in a small garage apartment in the Pearl of the South.  I couldn’t download the video to my desktop though.  My Mac tells me I’m out of space on the cloud.  I don’t know why that should matter but it seems like a brilliant business move to have some of the machine’s functionality out of sight and as invisible as a cloud so that you only notice it when it’s gone and that’s when you’ll need it the most.  These are the shakes and breaks, the little pin pricks that can pop your balloons, not to mention the device and ease that’ve trained us to be consumers and send us out into the hordes on a perfect day of solitude to get what we need–Christ.  Tangential fits of filigree and rage like that are exactly why we tune in here ain’t it though.  Why you’re here reading and why I sit here writing it down.  It’s also exactly the kind of thing I’d much rather avoid but the video is still loading and my MacBook’s only heating up tallying my bill for storage for its master.

You gotta serve somebody and life here is inuring and mad.  It don’t feel right to complain but it don’t feel right besides.  Over there they’d kill for what we have and over here we kill ourselves.  I spent too much money this summer but I’m changed now and I can’t go back.  There are over a thousand shots in my Dropbox and I’m playing in town some, getting back into the groove.  It feels good but none of it is a cure for the malaise that comes from building your own cage.  I know I’ve got to get free.  I can see the way out and it’s what I’ll be working towards for the rest of my days.  There’s a tally I know I’ll need to settle.  There are universes of misunderstanding between me and Them but it’s nice to know I won’t have to fight against a dull idea of living anymore.  Being alone has made me strange and being independent’s made me queerer still.  I wasn’t understood in the hometown so I left.  I’m not understood in Austin but I live behind a tall wooden fence off the highway and people leave me alone.  I’m still trapped by my own comfort and the Machine has got me coming and going too.  I wake up most days a failure but sometimes I can convince myself otherwise.  I can still hump luggage for $14/hr even if I have to shit my brains out the whole time.  I suffer tension headaches, hardons, fear and lusts great and small.  The sun is always setting and the moon is always giving rise.

I’ll take it, too–another breath, diminishing returns, this uncanny strength in ease.  I’ll always be glad for another day, one I’d rather have than not, no matter it’s outcome, despite its reward or travail and whether or not it’s Thursday and I have to write another fucking blog.