Jim Trainer

Archive for March, 2018|Monthly archive page

No Mud, No Lotus

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Well.  What a difference a week makes. Eh, good Reader?  Or a couple, or however long it’s been.  The column and this blog have been back ordered and front loaded.  Having more than one column or post written is just how it’s done.  We all know life can fuck you around, from out of nowhere and around your neck like a fight in the alley with your deaf neighbor or having to flee and move, fast, strapping all your belongings to a 16′ stake bed and inching down 45th Street in the spritzing rain.  I’m in the new place now, thank Christ. I’ve flown the Grifter and sitting here with the wash of 35 out my northern facing windows.  I’ve no oven and no refrigerator but that’s alright for now.  What matters most are these walls and this door and this time of ours we have together, sipping hot coffee with honey on a Sunday before we get back to the Grind tomorrow.  What a grind it’s been, too.  Days and days of exhaustion and dread.  I reckon I’ve been working since 5am the Friday before last, on the job and moving with the help of Brown Thought and reassembling the loft bed with my photographer Adam Glick.  Yesterday was the first break I got.  I got up early but not too and waited in vain for the electrician before I headed out to my gig in Wimberly, for some dollars and lunch.  The gig, and the people there–good old Jay Sims and daughter Abby, Clarisse and her mother Michelle, Ms. Joy and Graciela and Josh at the catfish stand–they did wonders for my mood and countenance.  When I got back from Wimberly the electrician had left his key in the door and the door separating my unit from the house was wide open.  I’m gonna have to let that go, for now, and utilize what skills things going wrong has taught me.

You’ve got to appreciate what you have.  You’ve got to find some space in the day or the grind will beat you, chew you and spit you out.  First it was my People.  They came to me from out of all this like a salve, or anchor, or cable padlocked to the fork of a SkyTrak when I was stuck in the mud.  Brother Julian and I played “Salty Dog” and “Wrecking Ball” on South Congress on Thursday.  We made some dollars and hooted and hollered and I smiled at some pretty girls and even made some Philly fans.  I’m sure that posting about things being ok and even joyous might be of a completely different order than what we usually do here.  Oh well, I know that, as a writer, I’ve got to write it down and as a performer I need you to read it.  See how that works, Good Reader?  We’ve got each other and isn’t that nice?  I’ve got 4 more days on the job before I fly to Philly.  If all goes well I’ll lay some tracks with Josh Britton in his home studio in Pottstown.  We may get a reading together.  I may be on the air.  What’s for sure is we’ll be playing Burlap&Bean next Saturday and Wayside Cider in Andes, NY after that.  I’m hoping to see some folks, eat some food and rest.  Spring is no quarter for me, I’ve still got to get 2017’s Yellow Lark release out, work out the plans for Brown Thought’s book and plan for my summer abroad.  It’s been a motherfucker, my People.  No doubt about that.  Not only that but the constant barrage of bullshit had me questioning this path and I still don’t have an answer.  Am I only Peter Panning it, and avoiding something by going after this dream?  Am I just a tireless escapist who refuses to grow up and will never be comfortable?  Or am I just getting my sea legs?  The anxiety and dread I been going through were only virgin pains.  It won’t always be so uncomfortable not knowing where I’ll live and how I’ll make money.  What’s key now is to keep at art’s creation, no matter the consequence or living situation.  I’ve got work to do and it’s the same old same old.  I’m beginning to see the light and it’s finally stopped raining thank Christ.  I’ve had enough mud for a lifetime.

Stay tuned for some good news.  And the other kind.

Ab irato,

Jim Trainer will perform at Wayside Cider in Andes, NY on Friday March 30 and Saturday March 31 at Ox Coffee in Philadelphia, PA with Psalmships, Andrew Victor and Swimming Bell.
As a contributor to Into The Void Magazine, Jim Trainer offers The Coarse Grind once a month there. Tune in this Sunday for Part 2.

Stay tuned for news about Take To The Territory, Trainer’s 4th collection of poetry and prose and his 3rd release through Yellow Lark Press.  

The Religion of Art

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2018 at 8:03 pm

Recorded live at Metaphorically Challenged 5, outside at the Vortex Theatre in Austin, Texas on January 10, 2018.  Catch Jim Trainer on the East Coast here and here.  Tune in to Jim, along with Psalmships’ performance at Burlap&Bean on Saturday night, streaming live at Concert Window on the world wide web, here.


Even The Bad Ones

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2018 at 9:14 pm

When I was working at that bougie place on the row, they offered health insurance but I got fired before I could get it. Maybe it was too many Saturday nights in the summer calling in sick while I was selling ounces of mushrooms and burning my feet on the beach down the Jersey shore. I think it was because besides the manager I was the only one in that place lucky enough to fuck this singer who worked there. He got his feelings hurt and took it out on me.  It was hard luck in Philly then. Bitter cold, February. We shared a cab. When she got out I followed her in. Her hair glowed red in the cab’s brake lights. We could see our breath when we laughed.

It wasn’t until summer that he got his revenge. He fired me. On the payphone at 83rd&3rd, in Stone Harbor. I leaned right, taking the weight off my foot. It was bandaged and burned. The sun was setting on the strip. It lit up the water-glass of Wild Turkey tilting in my hand like a jewel. The beach was deserted no families no one. I hung up and dug for your number in a pocketful of cigarettes and sand.  Your boyfriend answered so I hung up, limped across the street and back to my sad throne. I drank in dusk with gulls crying in the salty air. I had no apprehension of anything. My dead car, my sudden unemployment, the black September cleaving in.  Nothing. I sunk low in my chair and drank. It was the end of the summer and I blew it again. I felt old and foolish like only the young can.

The Shits

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2018 at 5:19 pm

The first thing we do in the morning, we should crap in a bowl and eat our own shit.
Tim Heidecker

The path is not monolithic.
Brown Thought

Welcome to the terrordome.  Trainer here, squeezed out from the grief and strife the world’s been giving me.  I see a ray of light and I’ve a specific blues that probably looks like paradise to most of the Other Hemisphere.  A working class hero is not something to be unless you don’t need healthcare.  Or you’re not black.  Or you’re willfully blind and so rank with racism you believe this administration has your best interest in mind.  You want to know the savage truth?  This country doesn’t give a fuck about you.  They’d rather you die but not before you’re shook down for your net worth and manufactured consent.  They want your children to fight their imperialist war and they’ll rally you with cheap jingoism and beer commercial logic.  Fuck outta here.  I wouldn’t turn a dark corner with most Americans but if I ever slipped the cops would be the last people I’d call.  My roommate’s got me for $1,750 and been overcharging me $250 a month for rent since I moved in last August–but he has trouble coughing up the $28 he owes me for Internet.  My monthly gig of 6 years tried to fire me after I quit last week.  They lowered my fee without telling me, until after I’d performed my end, but even then they only slipped me some folded bills I didn’t bother to count until I was in line for groceries at the yuppie market.  I’m working 50+ hours a week with irritable bowels, driving a 16′ stake bed in the freezing rain.  It’s supposed to even out to 45 but I’ll be working there for 5 weeks before I see a full check.  My guess is the check will be so harrowing as to almost not be worth it, but with 5 weeks in and debts to pay and travel plans made, I’ll suck it up and hold my shit in like a good American laborer.  AT&T just got me for $300 and that can only mean I’m caught up in the age of information game, paying for data to access sites that only keep me distracted and inured.  Point is I’m taking some hits good reader and it feels like the world was only winding up.  I caught a ray of light last week, though, and it’s a good thing.  The frequency and velocity of blows I been taking had me shook and thinking I was on the wrong path, that everything I was doing was wrong and I should give up and move back home or hang myself from the cross beam of my loft bed.

It is what it is and if it weren’t for this extended period of duress I might not know who my friends are.  I certainly know who they aren’t.  People are horrible but my people keep me alive.  With phone calls and dinner, gifts and letters, they remind me of who I am when I forget.  That’s luck and love and magic no matter how you find it ain’t it though.  I wanted to give you the straight dope.  Tell you it ain’t been easy and practically impossible to keep my cool.  Blowing my stack wouldn’t accomplish anything but when you’re up against it and the room is filling with weasels, any fighter’s inclination is to torch the place and walk away.  I’m taking names you bet.  But I ain’t holding on and it’s for a very selfish reason and ultimately an act of preservation.  If I lost it on all the rotten people in my life since I took up with a live in gig and subsequently struck out on my own, there would be wounds and bodies, there would be blood and jail.  That’s how bad it’s been and how up against it I felt.  The colors of the world aren’t wild and there isn’t anything compelling or brave out on the street.  Since I got sober it’s been uphill and revealing.  Point is if I gave in to my hatred of them it would consume me and you can assume that of all the damage I’ve described I’d have bore the brunt of all of it.  I’m just trying to get free and I’ll remember them.  You bet.  And I’ll never forget you, Good Reader. This is the path with heart, the good red road and the work of true liberation.  I know I’m righteous and I know I’ve a visionary anger.  I know I’ve so much left to do and I’m as primed and piqued as ever.  This subterfuge, and these mortals and their trifling bullshit are only a stepping stone.  Their bodies are for casting off.  If it doesn’t get you higher then cut the line.  If winning was everything we would’ve said quit a long time ago and I haven’t been performing for almost thirty years to give up now.

We are going to make the nut, pretty babies.  We are going to survive and not only survive but thrive.  Coming through with what we were born to will never feel as good as punching them in their smiling cunt mouths but keep climbing with me because the next time we look back we’ll know we’re free.

From the peak we’ll only see the range.

Ab irato,



In Uncategorized on March 1, 2018 at 6:42 pm

Tonto pulled me out of the mud this morning
by a cable James padlocked
to a fork of the SkyTrak
3 pulls in neutral and I was out
it was an 11 hour day
crowned by James loading me
with some other company’s comp reels
and an accident on Old Settler’s
that reduced everything to a one lane
all the way to Mays
back at the shop I laughed
hard enough to save my life
with shop captain Clayton, the Texan.
out on the job I see some of the
pinched and bitter faces but mostly, I’m took
with the goodness of men, grinning under
hard hats in the rain, hoisting reels
over chain link fences
in the endless black mud
I don’t think it’s a good life
but who am I to judge—I know, for me
being an American laborer is not but
I’m glad these men are in it, and women
all hardbitten, anyone with half a heart
knows the world is taking a dark turn
but we’re holding on and
laughing if we’re lucky, like I did
this afternoon, up to my knees in mud&grease
dreadfully older than I ever thought or
pulling in behind the gate and
walking away from the shop
into the warm wet wind.