Jim Trainer

Slipshod Life

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2018 at 11:56 am

Sharpen your machetes.  It’s time to kill your neighbors.
Rwandan Public Radio

Hullo. ‘Tis I, your undying and bristly artist, typing with the timer on as the traffic blows past on 35 out my window, and death crouches close to whisper in the rolling earth’s ear, Come home.  Indeed.  I been put out for a year or thirty, but what’s it matter when you’re trying to molt it all and become who you are anyway? I remember all my belongings, around me and on my back, on a bristling cold day in January at the Landsdowne train station. I had no money and no home. I don’t know how I found out about those rooms in Darby, but they were $70 a week and I was on my way there. I had a hot dog and a pack of Marlboros and too much pride for anyone in this world. I had to make my way through the long cold winter any way I could until I found the Tao or enrolled in night school.  They were some hard days and if I know me, they were way harder than they had to be.  I paid the price and it wasn’t just my struggle with the cold.  The trauma of homelessness informs more of my life decisions than I’d ever thought or wanted.    Capitalism reels me in every time I spin out on a dream.  Incidentally, the columns of text I wrote about it already are gone.  I maxed out my storage on WordPress so it’ll do things like ask me to buy more continuously, or fail to save 700 hard-earned words about roaming the parks and cemeteries of Delaware County in the late 90s with a sleeping bag and a copy of The Fountainhead.  I bring up the fact that what I wrote about it is gone because it could inform the reading of this piece–maybe I seem more angry or jaded or resigned, as if I could ain’t it though.

As mentioned, I found the Tao while homeless.  Fighting the elements is useless when you’re out-of-doors, your defenses are down so you got surrender working for you.  I can remember it clear as day–some muddy flowing creek, from a bridge above in Sharon Hill, on a Saturday off from pulling carpet and whatever else I was doing to get by, I understood moving while standing still.  I felt like the moving water below, in the same place but everywhere, flowing on but here forever, the Way.  I haven’t felt much of that since, to be honest, though I’ve come close while practicing Yoga.  I haven’t felt much of what I’d call peace since I gave up the smoke and drink either, but my best thinking is that it’s different now.  It’s just not the same.  I feel like a lunatic most of the time which is fine when you consider that most of the world thinks it’s moving on a straight line–people do some insane things because they were taught to or because the System’s got them crazy, providing for loved ones and family.  It’s true I’ve the luxury of being a hermit.  I can wake up on a Wednesday and type my lunatic screed on a MacBook Pro while the world rushes by on the highway outside.  You made your choices and I made mine.  I’d never raise a kid in this country and I’m not a hundred on the world at large.  Point is I’m out of my mind and glad to be, most of the time.

The trouble comes when I strike out and attempt to do something other than daywork, shuck-and-jive work, blue collar and food service, daylabor work.  I get buggy.  Don’t seem to get anything done.  Masturbate.  Sleep.  If the fear was talking it would tell me to wait until the money’s gone–in a holding pattern that keeps anxiety and desperation neck and neck, in race to give me hypertension and agita.  Oh and the fear is talking.  Loudly, good Reader.  It’s almost drowning the whole thing out.  I could forget how lucky I am and that this is an opportunity.  Lucky I’ve got Greta Jee’s puja every morning and that I’ve taken Brother Jacob’s advice to get down on my knees every night before life puts me there.  As far as being homeless and addiction, well…every time I try and bring it back it recedes.  It slips through my fingers and it ain’t all WordPress’ fault either.  I’ve written a lot about my recovery, as per Brother Bean’s request, but I can’t ever seem to bring it home.  It’s some hard history good Reader, jagged information that’s hard to bring back without disassociating, spinning out and away from the keys and into some useless activity to make the mind numb, social media.

What can I say?  My 20s were a rough time and it’s made me crazy.  I go in for 55-hour work weeks because of it.  Get up at 4AM and punch a clock in the dirty, hated world because of it–I’m scared of being out there again.  What’s worse is when I have the opportunity to do something else my time and energy are usurped by it.  The Fear.  Motherfucker in my head woos me to sleep in the middle of the day, fucks me off at night watching internet TV and leaves me wasted in the thrall of lust–sexually annihilated, bowled and rolled over as the days and weeks go by until I’ve a tank of gas left, my savings are gone, and I have to crawl into a painfully lit office and say Yes, sir.  Jim Trainer, reporting for duty.  Sorry for dreaming.  What was I ever thinking, trying to be an Artist and do the work I was born to, that I love?


  1. Our traumas certainly guide our choices and our future. Having teetered on the btinknof homelessness, hand out on the government dole, on my knees saying “please, sir, may I have some more” certainly makes you look at every dime you make and very choice you take as dire. In my 20s I certainly wouldn’t have thought I’d take a crap job and jump through government hoops just so my kids (kids I spare I’d never have) could have food on the table and health insurance, but sure enough 20 years down the road I found myself exactly in that position. I now stay in a job that makes me want to pull my hair out so I don’t ever land there again. You do what you have to to feel like all you’ve done in life has served some greater good, dear Jim. There’s no shame in that. Keep reflecting, keep up the good fight, keep being you, my friend.

  2. I clearly typed that on a phone with no bifocals.

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