Jim Trainer

Archive for 2018|Yearly archive page


In Uncategorized on December 27, 2018 at 11:58 am

…everything that once seemed slightly fake now has the power and presence of the real.
-Max Read

We’re no longer the suckers, folks, and people aren’t looking at us as suckers and I love you…
-President Donald J. Trump

Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then.
-Hunter S. Thompson

The enemy is a very good teacher.
The Dalai Lama

Look at this place.  Totes overturned with guts of electronics spilled out beneath a cockeyed ironing board and black oxford draped over it sulking.  A pathetic hill of business cards, fliers and receipts piled up on a throw rug and in the shadow of the Tacoma Guild in its Wolfpak case.  My poetry and prose collections have taken over the Yoga trunk and coffee table.  The dresser is covered in clothes and candles with 2 of its drawers dead open and gaping.  The bathroom is a waste and an embarassment to describe—beard clippings and dirty tees and the toilet like a bomb site due to too many months of gastro trouble.  To think at this time last week I was beneath the soft blue sky in the Land of Eternal Spring, where nobody knows my name but out on the street everybody says Buenas!  I’m at a loss for today’s post, which is exactly how I like it. The speed of the news and acceleration of our decline is dizzying, ain’t it though, and our acclimation to death and war is just as alarming. There’s no place I’d rather be than down here at the Office, in the maelstrom of my own mess, recovering from thirty-two hundred miles, two book releases and 4 shows in 11 days.  This blog was invented for this.  Down at the Office we fly by our seat, without time to think because premeditated writing comes off as fake and essay writing is a bore.

I include you because I need you, truth be told, so these posts are meant to be an embrace.  I write poetry to get a hit off reality and spin it out beyond compunction and bleed the bone-dry moments on an IBM Selectric II.  I send my work out to pubs like El Informe, The Adroit and Sybil Journals because that’s what writers do and I need to get the work away from me before I fall in love with it or it’s destroyed and otherwise buried beneath a mountain of time and typewritten pages.  The news isn’t bothering me much this week.  Living in the Land of the Free my problems are few.  I’m generally perturbed by the vestiges of a clinching world though, it seems that every year I’ll need some clearing off and what could be a more fitting end to the Year of the Cock than a hatchet?  We should shake the dust, good Reader, rid ourselves of deadweight, lift each other or pry their grubby fingers off and what better way to do it than in writing?  I know you get the same charge I do reading these posts and I know we couldn’t make it otherwise.  You know this is my life.  You affirm it every time you read.  I love writing, it should be plain, and the way traffic on the highway washes past and my ears get filled with the almost painfull quiet of solitide.  I relish in these couple hours alone each week.  You tune in and read and we’ve got each other and isn’t that nice?

All bluster and filigree aside and beneath the flowerings of that anger, what I’m trying to say is my life is good, it’s taken some fortuitous and enjoyable turns as of late and in 2019 I’ll be carving out some real time for us together.  You bet.  The haters and imitators will draw ever more concentric circles around us but our love will have only grown.  Next year I’ll have even less time for that and if my psychological growth is any indication, my quickenings will double and hate will bounce off me because at my root I’ll be a repulsing pole for:  jealousy, mocking, small-mindedness, insanity, inclusiveness, bad writing and fake poetry.  This is the new stuff.  I go dancing in.  May the Year of the Brown Pig bring us great fortune and happiness.  Hugs will be rationed and I’ll guard my time with my life but you know I’ve always got time for you, good Reader.  I owe it all to you and am marvelled by you—you’ve kept your heart’s beacon ablaze and out on the frontier and wasteland of my own blues I can always see you burning.

Run like a river, glow like a beacon fire…

Vox populi, vox dei.




In Uncategorized on December 20, 2018 at 12:39 pm

Our greivances matter more than our vulnerabilities.
Steve Almond

Hello Staff,
This past Friday we all worked an event for Grifted Ponce Catering. The client at the end of the night couldn’t find his pair of black pants and shirt. The pants did have a wallet inside.  If anyone by accident took it, if you could please let me know so we can return it to the client.
Pair O’Hands Staffing

You take whatever takes you back…
Cory Branan


I’m over 1,500 miles from home.  I’m between continents, in another country but I can still hear Christmas music from here.  My legs are asleep from having them up and trying to write from the daybed.  I had to come in from the terrace because it started to rain.  I’ve had allergies since before I got here and of course my digestive system is jacked and has been since November 2016.  On the john earlier today I was reaching for the baby wipes when I felt another sneezing fit come on.  A sneeze lingered and left me hanging between reaching to wipe and blowing my nose—I couldn’t do either so I just stood there, over the toilet waiting with my pants around my ankles like a jerkoff.  And hark the herald angels sing, I hear the carolers getting closer, it feels like vicegrips on the bridge of my nose, I can hardly breathe and I’m writing from a place neither supine nor upright which ain’t the half because between the weak WiFi and Apple’s planned obsolescence of my iPad, and using WordPress through Safari on a mini keyboard straight up blows.  I’m not looking for a break because I’ve had plenty and recently.  My physical woes will cede, at least I hope they will, and I should be in better shape for Saturday’s much anticipated reading at Dyslexia Libros.

My host couldn’t be more gracious and he is in fact the reason and impetus for this trip happening at all.  Brother Julian will be moving to the Velvet Rut come Febuary so the window of time for me visiting was shrinking.  Bartending and catering tapered off, just after I was hired on and made some great money working for a new company.  Which reminds me, all my slagging and shit talking about caterers last week was in no way directed toward my new place of employ.  It was aimed straight at a particular company and temp agency that staffs me with him and anyway the backlog of 3 months being a body in the food service business—shit on and talked down to but still broke.

As you may have surmised, there isn’t any main thrust or theme for this week’s post.  I continue to deliberately obliterate the mores of essay writing, as I have done, ever since a Tuesday morning ENG COMP II class in the hometown over twenty years ago.  I write to clear the chamber, to keep my chops and otherwise blow off steam.  This missive is in no way, shape or form a slag of my host and Friend—just that I’m taking a turn and everything is wrong at the moment but it will pass.  The carolers have passed, maybe they could see the black cloud over 34 A and sensed a 6’2” menace on the other side of the door banging out these words and contorted like a corpse.  Truth is, as ridden and fucked as it’s been it is heaps better than being kept and at another’s bidding which is exactly where I was around this time last year.  I’m a victim of circumstance and, like I said, I’m taking a turn—but I ain’t nobody’s darling nor at anyone’s beck and call.

You bet my days being kept on the caregiving circuit are through.  No more either the tired devotionals I’ve made to narcissistic bitches and colossal timesucks.  There is no silver lining, good Reader.  If there was I’d only suspect it anyway.  It’s my life now, even when it’s hairy and uncomfortable and freezing in the airport and the furniture in my living quarters was made for men and women at least a foot smaller and Christmas carols waft and bound off the volcano like contagion and I can’t stop sneezing or shitting—my worst day out in the territory is a pleasure compared to the trappings of the small minds and paltry passions in whose idiotic thrall I was for most of my adult life.  These annoyances and peccadilloes?  Potholes on the savage road to living my dreams.  I am getting free, good Reader, reaching for the petals and pulling myself up by the thorns.

See you in America motherfucker.

The Work

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2018 at 9:33 am

I waited too long and I got sick of it.  It was the longest I’d ever lived anywhere, and the longest job I ever had, but the place was swarming with people I didn’t care for.  Priscilla, for one–she was always trying to crack smiles over dumb jokes.  She can get fucked.  I don’t suffer fools and I sure as shit don’t fake laugh to get along with phony bitches who pretend to be someone they’re not until it’s time to leave you high and fucking dry.  Living there, and dealing with that collection of mentally unwell n’er do wells, oddballs, screwballs, dopefiends, waterheads and runaways had made me bitter.  It reconditioned my nerves.  The clowns who beat that dopesmoke scene had 2 things in common: how great they were in their own minds and the fact that none of them worked there, like I did.  Most of them didn’t work at all so they were there all the time.  There was no option but to move.  Buy a car.  Split.  Never talk to any of those people again.  But I had to bide my time.  Save my money and plot my next move.  It was contrary to every impulse of survival I had.  I was trapped behind a wall of my own hatred.  Paralyzed by a venom toward people I’d suffered too long.  It was fucked.  The book was a losing proposition.  If I told all I’d be kicked out when it hit the stands.  I had to keep it all in until I was ready to go.  I needed to get a grip and pull it together.  Find a quiet place to write it all down and eviscerate the lot of  them.
When The House Burned Down

Well.  I’ve moved the laptop to the window side of the desk.  I’m looking out and all I see is gray.  Cold out there.  It’s warm in here though, on cup 3 of Espresso Roast–coarsely ground and honey sweet.  I’ve been working for this afternoon, and others like it, for my whole life.  I had to be available–for night and dawn shifts at hotels and airports and conventions, and I had to put in long weekends in the sticks of Texas, decked out in all black and dripping sweat and doing everything in my power not to choke the pissbrained&shitmouthed excuses for human beings working in the food service industry.  Put it to you this way, when you’re making $15/hr serving a $20 million dollar dinner, the LAST thing you want is a graying ponce with a nanny belly in designer glasses raising his voice at you and otherwise talking to you in a way that in some circles could get you got or stabbed.  If it sounds like I’m bitter it’s because I am but the boons of flying your jolly roger are glorious and unfettered afternoons like this one, when the traffic rushes by on the highway outside but in here it’s quiet as a tomb.  I get to write, good Reader.  It’s all I’ve ever wanted and I’ve already touched on one of the reasons why.  Not only do I get to divine my own Gods in here, and talisman my pain, I can eviscerate shitheeled and hairy-tongued bosses who don’t know they’re walking around an inch from their life and that their death stalks them obsequiously in supermarkets and coffee shops and anywhere anyone has to put on an apron to take shit and smile.  Come the revolution, these bosses will be the first to go, then temp services and all other agencies of this capitalism and wreck of empire.  The boot will be on the other neck, good Reader–but until then we’ve got this column and isn’t that nice?

Yesterday, at the Austin Book Arts Center, me and my crew glued the spines of 127 book blocks and attached the covers to Love&Wages.  I’ll be picking them up in a couple hours, and mailing out pre-orders tomorrow.  This work we do–it’s got to mean something to the folks down home.  It’s got to be born of the street and come up and live there.  The horrible hours as a dayworker and factotum have made me lean.  I know what work is and letter pressing 320 sides, Warm Red then Black, doesn’t feel like work at all–but if it does I’d like to sign on for overtime.  There’s a line that runs from a high-ceilinged 1-bedroom above 45th&Locust streets in West Philly, all the way to the ABAC on MLK and just around the corner from Real&Alexander.  There was an urgency to those radio nights, in my first apartment, back then.  I felt plugged in to something and my anger was holy.  If I’d held on to those magic machines they’d still have their power–my Remington manual, that fucking Brother word processor, the President XII Tower and lastly the Selectric II just to the left of me where I write this, stanchioned like a red tank, cocked and ready to roll.  This is just to testify, good Reader.  You can live your dreams.  There will be monsters though, challenging and attempting to stifle you in a mythological way.  They dreamed but never gambled and they lost.  I can’t speak to why anyone is the way they are but if you don’t listen to your Gods they will stop talking.  When that happens you’ll probably find work as a caterer but mostly, to me, on the way of my hero’s quest you’ll be reduced to a pile of salt and a washed up, middle-class sack of shit besides.

You can smoke them all, good Reader.  There is no cure all and no guarantee of break or luck but if you don’t put the time in then you’ll be at the mercy of a dreamless and love-rationed world.  Work your job.  Get that paper.  And when you get home crank the heat on, sit down and get to work.  You will not be disappointed.  The real work will take you places man.  Wild and glass-bright places, hoary and hairy corners begging you always to evolve and rise to the occasion.  Writing has always been like performing to me and the stage lights are always hot and bright.  I’m sitting on 5 collections of my work–published, letter pressed and perfectly bound.  I’m flying out on Monday to sell 25 copies of Love&Wages, read there and perform.  I almost can’t believe it sitting here and I certainly never would have back in my West Philly days, living with a mattress and a manual and listening to WPPR.  Back then I only knew life had to be triumphant and that for this beautiful machine to roll, all the parts have to move.  Mostly though, I had to get it out and, in the most wonderful turn and kind of magic, the drive to overcome my blues is what put me in the chair to begin with–ultimately what will fly me across the border and over continents is The Work.

You show up, you sit down and you get to work.  And guess what?  You get to enjoy yourself.  Your heart can sing it’s song.  At the very least you can saw your enemies off at the knee, like I have, and reign over them, on the page and canvas and in the frame and hung on the fucking wall.  This work is for us, good Reader.  They’ll only be cast aside.



Love&Wages, Jim Trainer’s 5th full-length collection of poetry and prose, will be released through Yellow Lark Press at Malvern Books on December 16. Hosted by The Poetic Butcher and featuring poet Christia Madsci Hoffman (INTENT, Hedgehog & Fox 2017), singer-songwriter Nathan Hamilton and poet Nicole Brissette (Sybil Journal).  Pre-order your copy at jimtrainer.net and receive a coupon for 15% off September and All in the wind.  Thank you!




In Uncategorized on December 6, 2018 at 9:27 am

My first job was washing dishes at Martinichio’s Italian Restaurant, at the Bazaar of All Nations in Clifton Heights, PA.  I had a paper route too, so, my first job was 2 jobs.  I was 12. I remember distinctly, one of those rageful, slate-grey Fall days on the east coast when the smell of snow hangs in the air like wet stone, looking at my hands–at all the new creases and crinkles to my pink, young skin, dents and callouses and wrinkles put there from wrapping and throwing 8o Philadelphia Inquirers.  I knew acutely it was a loss of innocence and it was with that loss that my life began.  My first full-time job was for Hercules Movers, at the end of the American Century, in the city of Philadelphia—well, outside Philly in Devon and King of Prussia when the boss moved the yard.  It took us the same amount of time to get there even though King of Prussia was 6 miles and another exit out.  I guess it’s the way you can warp physics when you’re burning up the shoulder of 76W in a late model Honda Accord like an angry, silver bullet.  I took the sub in from my first apartment at 45th&Locust. It was the biggest 1-bedroom I could find for $400, and 5 big blocks from the el.  At the end of the line Mike Isajiw would whip around and scoop me at 69th.  We’d bomb up the highway to make it to the yard by 7:30.

It was hard then and it should’ve been.  Felt like me versus the universe which is wildly inaccurate.  Not only was I given this life and handed a destiny, I could choose not to fulfill it, walk sideways, slum it and fuck off.  Which is exactly what I did.  I lowered my rent with each successive move for the next 10 years til I was paying $125 a month to share a 2-bedroom house with 3 other people.  I wrote on a Brother word processor, and I hated that machine.  But I got a lot of work done.  I worked demo, converting a candy factory at 10th&Master to what they called “loft living”.  The smell of butterscotch was steeped into the beams and rafters.  A confectionary sweetness hung in the air and got mixed in with the welding gas and sawdust, metal shavings and pitch.  It was sickeningly caustic and sweet–death that paid and I took a check.

I was the crew chief of the demo crew.  Me, my blood brother Nick, and a crew of men from North Philly, almost twice my age and making half as much.  Pitch is the dust kicked up when you shovel asphalt, so named for its deathly-black color.  Pitch is why you shouldn’t shovel asphalt.  We shoveled asphalt off the roof and down to the top floor, wheelbarrowed it over and dumped it down the elevator shaft.  From the ground floor we’d wheelbarrow it to the dumpster in the alley behind Master.  When the shit hit the ground floor it would fill the place with pitch.  I mean it covered the windows and blocked out the sun so you couldn’t even see.  Now, I’m white.  My Brother Nick is Samoan.  The Crew was either black or Puerto Rican but–black, white, Puerto Rican or Samoan, we were all covered in the stuff and pitch-black from head to toe, except for where the straps fell on your face from your respirator if you chose to wear one. A lot of those men didn’t.

Me and Nick were making $11 an hour.  Not a bad come up from 3 years earlier, making $7.50/hr for Hercules (and $20 a man for pianos, $50 for a safe and cash on Saturdays).  The men on the Crew were making $20 and $30 a day.  They didn’t have to show up but if they did they had to play the role.  This was painfully apparent when Woody the Foreman left.  His replacement Gabe was an archetype of patriarchy and a gross little caricature of the Man.  Gabe was a walking testament to ineptitude, powerful despite his stature and old white authority incarnate.  He was grandfatherly, like a slave owner, with Coke bottle glasses and a big fat belly that hung over blue jeans he folded up at the cuff over his blocky black steel-toed, and held up by big red suspenders.  We called him Big Fat Gabe.  To his face.  He was pompous with power, odious and obnoxious.  He had those men kiss the ring.  Sometimes Daryl would float a broom all day long behind Big Fat Gabe’s desk.  They worked as hard as any of us and they fucked around and sometimes walked floor to floor fucking off the clock but who could blame them at $20 a day?  I didn’t expect this to sound so patronizing.  But why shouldn’t it?  I fought for those guys, for the Crew–especially at the bank when we couldn’t cash our checks without ID.  I broke us off for 15s, lunch and squares–a Kool mentholated pulled from the bottom of a soft pack.  At best we would fill a dumpster and go home (the dump closed at 4 so you could push it or lag, and time it so you’re only working 6 hours shoveling pitch and doing demo on a brutally humid summer day in the city).

I left that job and went on an 8-city spoken word tour by train.  Nick stayed on until he got a bike messenger job and left all my tools behind to be pilfered and stolen and sold.  No one knows what happened to the crew.  Rico, Charlie and Daryl, Playa Hata, Hata Playa and Virgil.  Of course it’d be tragic for any of them to die on the street–violently or otherwise, like–if one of Rico’s long weekends turned into a debilitating addiction or disease.  Truth is the tragedy would be if they went on living in North Philly, a notoriously tough neighborhood in a decidedly hostile city, without healthcare or any skillset how to raise a family or cope, on a high school and not even a high school education.  The tragedy of these mens’ lives is familiar, summed up in Post Office when Henry Chinaski admonishes the county hospital for letting his drunk girlfriend die, asking–“What’s the sin in being poor?

When I got back from tour I got a job at Sam’s Place, a West Philly bodega that sold coffee and American Spirits and Nat Shermans to entitled pricks like me, living in the hood and spending rent on gourmet cigarettes at $7.50 a pack.  Philly was under 2 feet of snow.  The tour was in support of August, my third chapbook and second collection with my first love and girlfriend at the time.  We had a rough go of it, me and Cecira.  She dyed her hair platinum while I was on tour and on a payphone in San Francisco she told me she fucking some Doctor.  Of course that only estranged me.  We went walking in the snow, and headed to Sam’s, and all I could smell was the bleach in her hair, a chemical smell that made me ill that I just shrugged off pretending I cared and didn’t care by blowing long plumes of brown smoke into the cold and drawn from a thin cigarillo.  I wouldn’t work labor again for another 8 years.  This was before the crash and Bush II, before 9/11 and the fucked dance we’ve been doing in death’s maw ever since.  It was a time of surplus, a time of falling in and out of love, when you could make it slinging coffee, so you played in 2 bands and DJ’d for 2 stations.  I was back in the food service business and they ran you a tab.  Coffee, bagels and cigarettes–what else?   3-9:30 on the weekdays.  It was the last time you could make it here or anywhere.  It was the end of the century.

Love&Wages, Jim Trainer’s 5th full-length collection of poetry and prose, will be released through Yellow Lark Press at Malvern Books on December 16. Hosted by The Poetic Butcher and featuring poet Christia Madsci Hoffman (INTENT, Hedgehog & Fox 2017), singer-songwriter Nathan Hamilton and poet Nicole Brissette (Sybil Journal).  Pre-order your copy at jimtrainer.net and receive a coupon for a discount other titles.  Thank you!


In Uncategorized on November 29, 2018 at 10:40 am


All 5 of the neighbor’s dogs won’t stop barking.  This is not a metaphor.  I called the cops and am waiting for them to come.  This is not a metaphor.  My espresso’s cold and honey-sweet.  The door is open and a cold wind blows.  This is not a metaphor.  I posted about armageddon last week and a reader’s complained.  He didn’t like the upside down American flag, it should only be used when the nation’s in distress.  I wrote about the end of the fucking world and he complained about a flag and this is not a metaphor.  I’m not big on repetition.  Playing a song more than once is practice and the fuck are you anyway, I should have to repeat myself?  You’re either too dumb or self-righteous but really what’s the difference?  You keep gays out and Bibles in and soon the sun will be here.  The air or water will go first, a Bradbury story or dinosaur extinction in reverse.  Oh, and also, I guess Congress will reflect the ability and ways in which we receive and impart harm are not equitable.  Every color and creed, orientation and sect will have a seat at the table, while outside the skies burn cerise then blood red, blood black then back to phosphorescent eelskin-blue.  The sun will go out but it will win first and the first thing to go will be your politic.  This is just to say your politics won’t matter when skyscrapers queer in and your lover’s skin gets grafted and burn-fitted to her jaunty bones within.

The end of the world shouldn’t be so horrible considering how things’ve been.  Still, there are folks who will say things have never been better.  The more I operate from the phony nexus of social media, the more I feel trapped and inured and distracted and vain.  Nothing good has come of it, save our connection and the fact that most of you come here straight from Facebook.  I’m a year behind on my goal of being offline, so to speak, and doing it all from jimtrainer.net.  I haven’t worked in weeks, I’m blowing through my savings and the world won’t stop being on fire.  It’s not lost on me my complaint on the bane of selfishness and fly in the ointment curating our doom in real time has morphed into my own personal and petty triumphs and worry.  The dogs are still barking and this is not a metaphor.

A cop came and I don’t mind her.  Officer Rast is a nice lady.  I woke up in anger last night and couldn’t take my rest.  I turned on to hear the last minutes of the BBC before the creeping, obsequious voices of Morning Edition came pandering.  I don’t want to be trapped in anger or a prisoner of hate.  I work as always to lower my defenses and be vulnerable, open and even sometimes raw.  I’m far from a saint–I wake in anger today, and will go down tonight in waste.  The case was never for outcome.  It never was their world we were talking about conquering.  I thought we could go on gliding, middle-class or lower, holler our blues and make Art beyond the poverty line.  I thought the media was free now, a world-wide Arab Spring, but business and clannishness have ruled the day.  I believe I’ll become the media in my own way and I know you’ll be there supporting me.  I’ll work on me and we’ll work on we even if the end of times is only 12 summers away.

As self-invested as I’ve been, prone to rage and resentment and stoked mad by egomania or self-loathing, as much as I put my Art on the line above everything, kept writing and kept moving on to the next street, block, town and venture, for every idol smashed and every good and precious thing I’ve ruined and as much as I rose to be on top of it all, hating you, despising your world, hating everything and assailing all you stood on or for–my heart breaks for you and what you had to do to survive, all the dark strokes you’ve swung against and for your loves to be standing in the falling sun and breathing as the light of day goes from amber to rust, you’re breathing and you’ve made it and we’re here, alive but not for long. I love you and as much as my black heart clinches admitting it I am you and your struggles are mine and this is not a metaphor.

See you soon motherfuckers.

Please join Jim Trainer tonight at Testify, Austin’s premier story telling event.  Love&Wages, Trainer’s 5th full-length collection of poetry and prose will be released through Yellow Lark Press at Malvern Books on December 16.  Hosted by The Poetic Butcher and featuring poet Christia Madsci Hoffman (INTENT, Hedgehog & Fox 2017).  

“Ringleaders, followers and dipshits.”

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2018 at 9:46 am

I’m neither left or right‬
‪I’m just staying home tonight‬…
Leonard Cohen

By 2030, the cumulative rise in global temperatures will cause ecological collapse.  A profound degradation of modern society will follow for the 10 to 20 years after, but my gut take is the 2% won’t be terribly affected.  They’ll go on living comfortably, perhaps in bio-domes and sheltered from these dystopian turns.  The Kardashians of 2050 will have more than a private fire department at their disposal to meet the steep demands of hostile and unlivable conditions.  Staying alive may be a full-time gig in the future but the aristocracy won’t have to lift a finger.  That’s where you and I come in.  We’ll be serving then, too–at the poverty line or taken by the poisoned wind outside. Crazy talk, you would’ve said only 6 years ago.  Pessimist you’ll call me even now in an attempt to reduce scientific research to a paranoiac world view.  I don’t really care what you say or to what party you belong.  The news is entertainment now and I don’t feel like being entertained.  The leaders of the free world have more in common with the filthy rich despots they defend than you or me or the children of a dismembered American resident.  Point is say goodnight, Children.  Show’s over, kiss it goodbye.  You’re playing identity politics but I’m talking about the end of the world.

Sorry to over personalize but it’s been the end of the world since I was born.   Mine is the gas-mask generation.  We knew it was over and we said so.  We sang it and we wrote about it and anyway it comes as no surprise.  Whether or not there’s a window, I’m not sure–ask Noam Chomsky or Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  Whether or not the human race can turn it around in time is worthless conjecture that only tries the jaded belief system of anyone born after 1964.  I’ve complained plenty as a GenXer, but it was never a petition for inclusion.  I didn’t bemoan not getting invited to the party–I showed up anyway.  I was there–in 1991 and 2000 and 2003, but I left early.  The America always was a shitshow so I made my money and went home, choosing instead to spend my late nights typing on a machine that didn’t even plug into the wall.  Y’all rallied while I drank alone and you went off to war, and you sang vapid pap while I picked on a Tacoma Guild and strummed lonesome and low, somewhere way below, decidedly under and off the pop charts.  It’s your world and now it’s over.  I could’ve done so much more for you Brothers&Sisters, but I never threw in to the great debate, and I ain’t about to start.  Quibbling, bickering–news as entertainment.  Gnashing, backbiting and heading into town for murder.  It’s all a wash and it’s all the same–senselessly tragic and ending very soon.

Then what do you propose, we all just slit our wrists?
I don’t care what you do, Citizen, especially and as long as you don’t include me in ‘we‘.  This is your world, Jack.  You rah-rah-rah’d and you cried your clown tears.  You went in for comfort and now it’s got you here.  You’re trapped and inured and so am I.  You used to just say you’re depressed again and you were probably right.  I’ve been on the wrong side of whatever side there was since 1975 and I was probably a cynic in the womb.  My issues are legion and we know this.  Archiving this site will take me 3 months at least, it’s on average of 250,000 words and THEY’RE ALL ABOUT THE TROUBLE WITH JIMBO.  Grim Jim.  8 years I been on here, searching for inspiration and instigating drama, so you KNOW it can get pretty dark in my cubby but–not this time.  When I say it’s the end it’s the end and it’s way worse than anything the Lizard King could’ve imagined in the sanguine, post-Camelot days at the edge of Western Civilization in the American Century.

My cause is Life.  It it ain’t been or ain’t been apparent, it is now.  If you engage me in debate about Life the conversation is over.  If you pull me into an argument about whether people should live or die then laters.  The cause of Life INCLUDES police brutality and INCLUDES military intervention and INCLUDES health care and the victimization or disenfranchising of any color, stripe or variance.  Y’all talking about a blue wave can drown in it because that’s what will happen when these caps finally melt.  You swarthy fundamentalist Christian jihadists can keep tweeting, and choke on the bone your God’ll be shoving down your throat as the skies crack wide and part for fire and black rain.  I don’t care.  What you do.  Unless you’re trying to stop the end of the world you can fuck right off.  Get back to the rally and stump, aggrandize and ego stroke, fetishize and be right until most of the air is gone and everything is on fire.  I’ll die at my desk, where’s the coffee, punching out screeds and misanthropic-love poems on the machine, what else?  My world ended a long time ago but there’s still hope for yours.  Come on now, People.  Shut the fuck up and let’s go back to work.







In Uncategorized on November 15, 2018 at 10:00 am

is this the moment?  has it
finally arrived, after
squatting on my bowels
for months
and releasing only liquid?
is it the anger, finally
coming in to this room
like red wings of fury
clamping down into a dark crown?
is it the black street in
the black night come to
reclaim its son and champion
me, slithering “You
only been been playing at loneliness
now it’s time to get lost again”?
those first depressed years
like tendrils to choke out
the dream, give me back the night now
tell me only desert as I say, only
“Thirst.”  Back to perigee
back to thin air, back to bullets
chambered with the blanks
another ending and it’s total
back to dust and lean past bone.


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 as 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 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.