Jim Trainer

“Our grievances matter more than our vulnerabilities.”

In Uncategorized on August 16, 2018 at 8:04 am

We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine,
and the machine is bleeding to death…

Jim Trainer?!  In West Philly?  With tools in his hand?  Isn’t there a poetry reading around here somewhere?!
—Sal Cerceo

Philly’s as jovial and roughshod as I remember but I was getting shook down by the PPA so I pulled stakes and drove down to the slower-lower in a forest green 2000 Toyota Tundra.  I haven’t had a home in 2&1/2 months but I’ve had a roof and walls and even home cooked meals. From Collingswood to Cantrell Street, 18th&Arch to Joy Court and from Mid City to the upper 9th Ward I leapt and the net appeared. I ate catfish on Dumaine and ravioli in Middletown. I drank coffee everywhere from Olde City to Antwerp and I laid my head in Mitte and the Hotel du Congres. I rode the Metro through Sofia into Centraal and from Snyder Ave to the Berlin Wall. I’m unmoored, dislocate, in need of a shave and socks. I need a door to close and a bathtub as deep as a quarry. Travel’s queered me, I speak in invective and bumbling, punch drunk words. I’ve lost the narrative, been everywhere but am nowhere and I’m holing up here, with family—the only people I know as neurotic as me. We’ll get along, talking shit and drinking coffee and doubling over with bitter laughter as the summer shimmers past.

I have nothing and everything to say. The America doesn’t hold up well against how they do overseas. We’re trapped and inured by our comfort and politic. Or we paid in a little but they’re taking a lot. Or our kids are off to college or we’re still paying for our own. Or we just had chemo and need to change our diet but still play music for 3 hours in South Philly on a Saturday night. Here’s some stark observations about the America, other than the fact they have us living to die—garbage music is being played, loud and everywhere from Ruby Tuesday to TonyJo’s, no matter you’re the only one in the place and haven’t listened to pop for your whole fucking life. There isn’t a clean public bathroom anywhere but why should anyone be expected to maintain their sanitary upkeep when a living wage is neither and the cost of college can take most of your lifetime to pay?

Did you know that in Amsterdam they take over half your paycheck in taxes but everything is clean and in the summer people jump into canals smiling because they’re on a paid 10-week vacation from working 32 hours a week? Can you imagine a government that provides for its people and works on their behalf? Beyond these shores it’s not a crime to be poor and elsewhere in the world successful capitalists don’t need a loser’s teeth to put their boot on. I’m overwhelemed writing it. I drank too much coffee again. I’m roadworn and weary and this country is too hard on people. I wouldn’t argue culture, wouldn’t talk down Rock&Roll and a free press if I could. But why does working for a living in the America only mash us to pulp on the way to progress? There’s too much for me to sort out from too many locales trying.  In the meantime I won’t complain the luck and could never overstate my gratitude. Y’all kept me alive. The road was hard and good and I love you.  Now it’s time to come home.

See you in Bro Country, motherfucker.



  1. greetings from the pearl, my friend.

  2. […] Our greivances matter more than our vulnerabilities. –Steve Almond […]

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