Jim Trainer

Archive for February, 2018|Monthly archive page

What Seven Hundred Dollars Feels Like

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2018 at 4:30 am

Come round the bend, you know it’s the end…
The Grateful Dead

The present paints the past with gold. The past paints the present with lead.
–Henry Rollins

…My best unbeaten brother
this isn’t all I see…
–Bonnie Prince Billy

Truth is a babbling prisoner you’d rather not kill if they confess…

I hauled 2/3 of a ton of copper from Temple to Austin last Friday, at the tail end of a 13&1/2 hour day and I had to go the whole time. Earlier in the day I strapped 7 10’ job boxes to a 16’ stake bed and drove it down the I35 feeder, in the dark before sunrise, holding my cheeks together. There’s a 711 on the way back to the shop. It’s where I get diesel and coffee and the first chance I get to get it out. It’s as disgusting as you can imagine. Not a good smell coming from the place before you even hit the bathroom. What the fuck am I doing, you ask? Why in God’s name am I up at 4 every day, on the road by 4:40 and heading into the dragon’s mouth of post-industrial America? Why am I working 10, 12 and 13&1/2 hour days, when all I’m guaranteed is a day rate? The answer to that last question is I’m the FNG, the fucking new guy, and any learning is done at my expense. The day rate assures I’ll hustle and even though the guys at the shop were drivers themselves at one time, I still might get sent out to Waco before noon. Driving through north central Texas at anytime is like taking a shit in reverse. Why am I working this gig? For money. I got $4,300 in credit card debt and I’m heading out on the road with Psalmships at the end of March.

The Fall was great and it was a hustle. Frankly, it was exhausting, except for the month of December when I made my nut playing music–and I spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s in bed and lived like a vampire. Both my part time hustles were shut down for the holidays and my temp assignment had ended. So I slept and it was glorious. I don’t regret that week, or the one before, but it put me in a hole and I knew I’d have to work full time to recover. So, the search began. I spent about a week fucking around with a company who just paid me last week after a month and half. I was a P.A. on a Dove commercial and didn’t get paid for 2 months. I found another gig and started there. Worked there for 2&1/2 weeks before the anxiety got to me. It’s well documented. I was in the depths of IBS and the Texas wasteland was harrowing but the worst was the terrible anxiety. When the dayjob starts coming home with you it’s time to quit. Point blank. I work for money. The money to live in this capitalist nightmare and time—the time to sip espresso on a too-small love seat and pseudo listen to pseudo news, even get behind the Selectric some, and design and publish, print and sell my own collections of poetry and prose.

I’m working for E.D. now and it’ll be 19 days before I see my first check. Some days, most I’m hoping, are about 8-8&1/2 hours. I think the average is 9 and sometimes 10, but, for Christ, never 13 or 13&1/2 hours like that nightmare last Friday. The truck was shimmying and my check was shrinking. I was hauling copper and hating life.  I had a couple of days like that this week, too, including Thursday when I considered calling off my monthly gig at House Wine.  The show was typically thankless, but I worked out some new material, including a revamp of “The Winner” and a revisit of “Austin Women”–one of the first songs I wrote when I got down here in the Spring of ’09.  That was a different time, Good Reader, one I think of fondly but only skews the present in rue and casts the future with dread.  I had to hit the head at least 5 times writing this but that ain’t the half of my trouble and worry.  I landed a column and I been waiting to spring the good news on you.  Mostly making sure I’ve enough in the chamber to sustain the thing and finding for a way to set it apart from these demented and myopic annals.

$700 is a deep and bone-aching exhaustion that luckily fades after a couple days laying around and having dinner with a true Friend.  The charge of an awakened being is never to reject the world, that would only be rejecting yourself.  You and I are the world, in all its sparkling and wounded glory.  The Grateful Dead were right and that I see a darkness.  I’m not as young as I was when I left Philly.  So much has changed but nothing really.  I’m sober enough to see and old enough to stop fucking around.  I’m out here on the road for now, hauling freight and squinting in the predawn dark, stoking a sublime hatred for radio and their world.  I’m holding my shit back until the next stop and holding my shit in for most of the day like a good American laborer.  This country is fucked.  I love you.

See you on the East Coast motherfucker.



In Uncategorized on February 15, 2018 at 10:30 pm

A Working Class Hero Is Something To Be

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Even the end of the republic is theater. This is not base reality.
Charlie O’Hay

Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.
Hunter S. Thompson

…She is trying to reach you
trying to reach you…

Good Reader. That last post was born of anger and frustration. It was some kind of week. The job was brutalizing me. I ran out of gas on 290. I practically shit my pants in San Antonio. The boss asked for 2 weeks but liked to walk around yelling about you “slackin and lackin”, getting fired and an email at the end of the day that says END OF ASSIGNMENT. Most of the time I can festoon something comic or poignant out of the morass, something to laugh at about the wreck or take it in solemnly and do my best to open our hearts to the twisted tragedy of the human race. Not last week, pal. I was beat down and demoralized and too angry to write. The news was overwrought and on loop about you-know-who. The sign for TRUMP electrical supply rose up on me in Nixon, an hour outside of San Antone, right before I hit Dollar General for fresh undies. Even further out on U.S. Highway 87 a cadre of black vultures huddled in the brown grass. They were picking at something, flitting about and bickering with each other over something dead. It seemed apt so I held on to it, like I do, before humping 35 totes full of lunches and chocolate milk into NS Middle and headed back to the shop. It was ugly at the shop but in the afternoon you can keep moving and not look at it for too long or too closely. Vultures feeding and fighting with each other–and management that ruled in a punitive way with a jailhouse style. It wasn’t good there so I quit. But I ran out of gas on my way home and then I realized I still had the truck key so I went back, one more time.

I’m free this weekend, as free as you can be working labor. I saw The Post last night and if anything can be gleaned from these dark and harrowing times, it’s that Art’s got no time to be fatuous or pollyanna. It’s an important film with an urgent message, and even Spielberg abstained from his usual schlock&spiel to get this one out and have it be lean and ontime. This one’s straight and no chaser, which is how we at Going For The Throat like it ain’t it though. I’ve gone from whatever-it-took to a mean 12, down to 8 and even a slick 6 but usually 900 words oughta do the trick. I’m no journalist though I do claim to be. Perhaps the distinction is “reporter” and anyway most journalists working today are purveyors of outrage culture wont to sell us on War every 10 to 20 years. Maybe War is ok with you and it’s all just fake news anyway—you’re a true American and a racist in denial.  Or maybe the state of this union is enough to make you want to wish for Armageddon, or at least be a little less frightened when a despot in the other hemisphere talks about dropping the big one. Myself, I’ve got work to do so, who cares? You’re going to bomb us to back to black–um…ok? Nuclear obliteration isn’t just low on my list of my concerns either, Brother.  They’ve got bigger fish to fry in Puerto Rico but no pan or water to fry it in. Everything is so fucked and it’s too early in the evening to get catty, Sister. I just wanted to get back on routine and reach out, like I do–so we’ll feel the isolation a little less, and feel together a little more, before we head down into a 40+ hour workweek and shitshow the New Century has become. I’m writing this on a rainy Saturday in my city. It’s quiet and warm here and my espresso is honey-sweet. Friends you are an embarrassment of riches and I think I might be living right or trying to, when I look around the table and see hard Brothers on the good red Road and witchy Women in the ethers and sending me mail.

My routine for this column has been to pen it on Sunday and post Thursday, unless something big happens, which–let’s face it, nothing big happens in my world. It’s mostly a slog with a little glide and lots of laughter if I’m lucky. Which brings me to point–I’m writing on Saturday because I’ll be writing something else this Sunday. Stay tuned for that little bit of luck, and also…no matter how haggard and fucked it’s going to be for a while, as heinous as they’ll allow and treacherous and dehumanizing and uphill as it’s going to get for the 98% in this country, it’s always worse somewhere else and it always was. I’d never be as simple or Christian to think that should make you feel better because it doesn’t–unless you’re an idiot. Keep your heart open and your light on for those who have it worse and it will help you and may even reach them, if it does, in their night. Running across 290 with a gallon of gas, arthritic with irritable bowels and a $200 check in my work khakis, I smiled, as up against it as I ever was–I smiled in the cold wind thinking that as tortuous and brutal as it’s become, I am still grossly, abundantly and unbelievably lucky to know you and always nowhere except in service to your love. Stay beautiful, pretty babies. Get off Twitter and off with their heads.

Ab irato,
Your Dayworker

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2018 at 7:45 pm

As soon as you’re born they make you feel small
by giving you no time instead of it all
till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
they hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool
till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years
then they expect you to pick a career
when you can’t really function you’re so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
and you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
There’s room at the top they’re telling you still
but first you must learn how to smile as you kill
if you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
if you want to be a hero well just follow me

lyrics by John Lennon