Jim Trainer

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Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#33, The King Is Gone But He’s Not Forgotten

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2019 at 9:00 am


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In Uncategorized on April 25, 2019 at 9:00 am


It was a river of blood. Ash was falling like snow.
N. A. Sumanapalal

Every year the world slips a little further into chaos, it only seems to make more sense.
Miles Bowe

…I hopped
on an Amtrak to New
York in the early
‘70s and I guess
you could say
my hidden years
began. I thought
Well I’ll be a poet.
What could be more
foolish and obscure.
Eileen Myles

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

I write with the door open and edit with it closed. The yellow lark came into my place  this morning while writing this.  He hopped his way up the runner, pecking at it and looking around. He almost made the length of the rug and didn’t even fly away at the sound of my keystrokes. The fact that a little bird can turn such heady torrents of dread in me speaks to his power, or the insignificance of my blues.  He turns, hops a few times more and takes to the air and I’ll be Goddamned if I don’t hear him now–out there and up on the high bough, singing despite it all. Over two-hundred people were murdered in the Other Hemisphere this morning and my pal the Yellow Lark is still sending it out into the void. High piercing notes of a tiny song against the wash of low traffic streaming up and down Airport Boulevard on an Easter Sunday afternoon . The strength of the small, wu-wei or te, in thought and nature, redoubles me. I just like the odds. I’m always on the wrong side of whatever side there was so a precious and fragile, small-boned creature coming into my apartment as I write and lifting what seems like 44 years of trouble is a fine turn and closer to a miracle than any kind of savior rising from the dead to forgive me for being born. The man should’ve stuck around, ask me, although–maybe the Fall of Rome was his way of running things after all and over two-thousand years later he’s doing it again. The Son of God is burning down the house because we got too wiggy and could never find a peaceable solution to racism and class.

We can’t seem to get along but the truth is I’ve never met my enemy. The people I meet in the world, at large and on the good red road, are just trying to survive another end day in the Final Century. Leaders here seem to stoke our difference and point to the Other as the cause of our ills while never addressing healthcare or a living wage–which is vastly different than what Jesus was on about. Nowadays he’d be holed up behind a fence in Tyler, TX but anyway everybody’s gonna have to get onboard before we start cooking under the sun and by we I mean you and me Brothers&Sisters and never the masters or powers that be. I offered a raw oyster to Karl Rove last week, or maybe it was King Ranch chicken salad in a crispy corn tortilla or brie on a crostini with jalapeño glaze. The 4,424 Americans who died in the never-ending war on terror didn’t seem to be weighing on his mind and you know Goddamn well the 109,032 dead Iraqis weren’t either, sipping Petit Chablis with the aristocrats and laughing with his broad-shouldered and hairy-chested wife.

I’m gearing up for a week of it–working in the hospitality business that is, not serving appetizers to war hawks and their transgendered wives, and for all my hemming and hawing it’s not a bad way to make a dollar. Last night I bartended the wedding of Henri and Nick, so, score one for evolution and between their love and that little yellow bird this morning, perhaps the pit of my hard heart can soften. The terror of the end days of the Final Century, and the gripping black of trying to survive in the post-Recession economy, may even start to cede. I’ll settle for a proper bowel movement, Good Reader, or hot sex with a woman I love until dawn. In the meantime there’s always poetry, which is a lot like making love–or taking a shit.  I’ve had some luck at it, the poesy, some real breakthroughs, and I got some books out, heard? All I can say about it is–be like Brother Paul and keep bleeding. The world needs more agitation and more sorcerers of the black Arts, so, if you’re going to be a lapdog, please–don’t write poetry. The world needs frivolous and copacetic poetry like it needs warmer ice caps. Ring your song. Bellow your blues. But please help. We’ll need you, after me and the demo crew rip every joist out this house, clear the site and haul it all away. Let us do the work. Then you can come in, with your degree, and rebuild and be lofty and eloquent with your tame and pretty verse.








Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#32, Dear Thomas Wolfe

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2019 at 9:00 am

March 3, 1971
Woody Creek, CO

Dear Tom…

You worthless scumsucking bastard. I just got your letter of Feb 25 from Le Grande Hotel in Roma, you swine! Here you are running around fucking Italy in that filthy white suit at a thousand bucks a day laying all kinds of stone gibberish & honky bullshit on those poor wops who can’t tell the difference . . . while I’m out here in the middle of these goddamn frozen mountains in a death-battle with the taxman & nursing cheap wine while my dogs go hungry & my cars explode and a legion of nazi layers makes my life a goddamn Wobbly nightmare…

You decadent pig. Where the fuck do you get the nerve to go around telling those wops that I’m crazy? You worthless cocksucker. My Italian tour is already arranged for next spring & I’m going to do the whole goddamn trip wearing a bright red field marshal’s uniform & accompanied by six speed-freak bodyguards bristling with Mace bombs & when I start talking about American writers & the name Tom Wolfe comes up, by god, you’re going to wish you were born a fucking iguana!!

OK for that, you thieving pile of albino warts. You better settle your goddamn affairs because your deal is about to go down. “Unprofessorial,” indeed! You scurvy wop! I’ll have your goddamn femurs ground into bone splinters if you ever mention my name again in connection with that horrible “new journalism” shuck you’re promoting.

Ah, this greed, this malignancy! Where will it end? What filthy weight in your soul has made you sink so low? Doctor Bloor was wright! Hyenas are taking over the world! Oh Jesus!!! What else can I say? Except to warn you, once again, that the hammer of justice looms, and that your filthy white suit will become a flaming shroud!





In Uncategorized on April 18, 2019 at 9:00 am

Buddhism teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught.
Tiger Woods

At the turn of the century, Philly was vibrating.
Anupa Mistry

Heard the story on the evening news
’bout the Capulets & the Montagues
On a private highway airport bound
the convoy speeds past shanty town
Peter Case

Thirteen years before George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction to justify his invasion and occupation of Iraq, his father made his own set of false claims to justify the aerial bombardment of that same country. The first Gulf War, as an investigation by journalist Joshua Holland concluded, “was sold on a mountain of war propaganda.”
Mehdi Hasan

A big, fat con job.
President Trump

The one thing you did that was great, you didn’t do.
Robert Glasper

for Evan Reibsome

This will be an easy missive.  I’m writing from the hated loveseat.  NPR is blathering about Notre Dame and my coffee’s grown cold.  If I get up to open the door the skies will be grey and full of rain.  The new global climate has made this city tropical.  I should crank off the radio–the French annoy me and Catholics have got a lot of nerve.  I hate NPR but it’s better than any radio anywhere except for maybe KOOP or ‘KDU when the mighty DJ Diane spins.  I’ve very little comfort in these end times.  I can’t shit, I don’t sleep and I wake without a hardon and a headache.  DJ Diane’s voice soothes me, but my comforts are a diminishing return as the global temperature climbs and the world mourns a monument to the biggest pedophile ring in modern history.  Now they’re throwing it down in Britain and I’m glad about it.  I’ll stay tuned, make more coffee, rage and write on.

I lectured at LSUS last Friday and the diversification of my resume is concurrent with my desire to get off the temp circuit and step out from behind the bar.  I think I can do it, Good Reader, and the good news is my Art’s got legs, Hot Damn, and I won’t need the dread of my life being forfeit that’s choked every event and endeavor since I quit working for a quadriplegic millionaire in the Fall of ’17. Little Brother’s moved to town and I’ll be goddamned I might even start playing music full time.  He’s looking for a band and I ain’t saying ‘No’.  I’m happy to be on the road for anything except a 13-hour wedding in the sticks.  Catering off-site has lost it’s charm, if it ever had any.  I’m working for an alright company in town, making almost as much money as I did when I started in the biz 16 years ago, which is gross and bizarre and I’ll take it.  This time last year I was hauling copper for less, and yelling at my friends on the phone, and running out and leaving my typewriter behind when I found out my roommate was into me for almost two grand.  That’s life ain’t it though–reluctantly grinding from catastrophe to stasis and all the while one hospital visit away from total destitution.  Just ask Jussie.
A washed up celeb who lied to cops.
-Kim Fox
I can’t complain.  I live in a country where the internet isn’t controlled by the government and I’ve no felony charges to face.  Besides, I’m always happy to write.  My workshop at LSUS was about the practice.  What I do here is self-publishing and compartmentalization and living room bullfighting.  My biggest problem is running out of coffee and I’ve written myself into the arena ain’t it though you bet motherfucker.  I’m less than thrilled with this life but I can’t go back.  I’m looking forward, truth be told, and whatever slog and grind awaits–bartending the Blanton this weekend or running corporate lunch today, I know there’ll always come a day when I can put my feet up and crank out these words, paint a picture with the oils of rage and somehow come through, diaphanously with love.  600 words is all it takes to rouse the muse and have her sit here with me, on the hated loveseat, and patiently wait to fuck me senseless as soon’s I wrap this missive on the end days of the Final Century for you, Good Reader.

You’re welcome motherfucker.

Ab irato,
Austin TX

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#31, Dear Bukowski

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2019 at 9:00 am


Bartending At The Track PART II

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2019 at 9:00 am

In their eyes, along the neon sky
All speeding past, collide and crashing
I’m in paradise…
Archers of Loaf

Those servers were making less than me.  $15 seems to be the standard but they weren’t getting tips and the Mexicans were paid whatever the company wanted to pay, no recourse or accountability and they were happy to.  Henry drove up with 2 other kids. He’ll drive back down tomorrow, after they break down today and I’ll tell you he had a smile on his face.  He was happy to be there, asking me for my phone number and an autograph.  Which is my point, if there was one other than getting this down, like I do. I can’t complain but I will. It was hard, grueling, disrespectful to the senses and insulting on a base level of dignity and better than almost anywhere else in the world.  My lot in life can be a wretched slog but it’s pretty alright compared to living in a place you’ve got to drive 16 hours to get out of country to work for shit money and turn right back around when the gig’s over. I got it pretty good, as a 44-year old college dropout with no kids or debt and a Japanese car with under 100k miles living in a garage apartment in one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. for $750 all bills.  The folks we waited on this week, and served drinks to–Bloody Marys and Moscow Mules, Victory Laps and F1’d Ups, light beer after light beer and Tito’s and soda because Grey Goose has gluten, flashing thick metal AmEx cards and tipping $1.34 every round or not at all, some of those people had tabs of over 2 and $300, after spending $200 to be there to begin with and eating fatty, salt-soaked meat under a heat lamp we only threw in the trash as soon as the race was over, will never worry about:  healthcare or racism, the police and the army, addiction, labor, the elements, questions to their dignity, going hungry or being outdoors and any and every peccadillo and pitfall of living poor in the greatest country in the world.

They’ll suffer, we all do, and maybe that’s what the Buddhists have been on about.  You can have it great, you do have it great, so, look around, take stock and recognize– appreciate. You could always have it so much worse and I wonder if that helps them. The soft, pink (and let’s face it, white) rich folks, with their eyes too close together, wispy souls and blithe complaints and bluster–their worries could be taken by the next strong wind and does their God take away their suffering like he said he’d do with ours?  What do they glean from perspective?  Can they gain any appreciation looking down on me and my life as I wait on them hand and foot and meet their every need, and–shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t I be happy to make as much money as I just did, riding a tour bus through Hill Country in the dark with 6 hours of sleep a night, bruised, battered and battle born with folks poorer than me? Shouldn’t I be happy with what I’ve got, a whole lot of nothing  and a slew of oak pollen in my throat?  Shouldn’t I be happy to move through security in the obscene morning and have my bag searched at the end of the gig?  Yes, yes I should, so–am I? I guess.







Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#30, Dear Jim

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2019 at 10:00 am

Hello Jim,

Thank you for your letter.  Things are relatively well in New York.  I have lived here for almost 10 years and I like it, but because New York is an amorphous and ever-evolving/devolving place, my reasons for being here have to be reevaluated every six months or so.

It feels as if the changes occur when one looks the other way:  every couple of months I am riding my bike down a once familiar block and I find that every square foot of it has been replaced with high-rises and fusion restaurants.  I don’t get angry (I am the white gentrifier, I created the path for these changes and I am not proud of that) but it can be very disorienting.  It feels as if I am an actor who blacked out in a scene and once I am reorientated to the ways of my character I find that the set had been switched behind me.

I don’t have much nostalgia for the old New York.  If you live here long enough I think that goes away.  I have been lucky to have met many of the great artists of the old guard such as Henry Grimes, Eileen Myles, Daniel Carter and John Giorno.  I have seen others walking on the street:  Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Pharaoh Sanders, Sam Shepherd.

The good of New York is that it feels like the great equalizer.  You can spot these legends on the street but they are all poorer and less famous than any person that may be deemed a celebrity.  Regardless of what I know of their work they still appear as people trying to uphold their niche hustle who in the meantime are trying not to walk into traffic.  I am not sure if this city has ever truly served these people in the ways that they deserve. I think outsiders created that myth.  It is still feast or famine here.  On any given day someone might write you a check and change your life so the daily gamble is still worth it.  For some artists, that gamble has sustained a lifetime but that doesn’t make the hustle any less real.

I have had an interesting week.  I have spent the winter working as a substitute teacher and I have been surprised to find that I like it quite a bit.  It keeps my schedule flexible and I can always say no to a day of work.  I usually write in the corner while the kids work on whatever they are working on so I am able to be productive while on the clock.

Because of the flexibility of this schedule, I have been happy with the amount of work I have been able to produce this winter.  I am currently mastering  a record that I made with a friend, I have written 2/3rds of a book that I am very excited about and I have a couple of film projects that I am involved with.

This was all disrupted the week before last when a staff member quit the school and I was asked to cover their job until the schools find a replacement.  I accepted because it pays well, I need the money and I have thus far enjoyed working at the school.  I am an administrative assistant aka a secretary.  The agreement is that I am covering the job  while they look for a replacement but I have been encouraged to apply for the job which I am currently working.  This all sounded good to me.

I didn’t go to to college so a well-paid job that doesn’t involve physical labor felt like a godsend but it sucks more than any other sucky job I have ever worked before.  I am making copies and sending emails and scheduling everyone’s meetings and I hate it.  I am taking part in a game I don’t believe in and I miss my projects dearly.  I also miss the kids.  They are cool, doing paperwork for adults is the pits and I can’t stand it.  So, it’s been a lot to feel out and I am pretty exhausted.  At 35, do I take the desk job or do I keep on hustling the art etc.?  The answer is pretty clear.  I have avoided school and offices most of my life, I don’t think you wake up one day and suddenly they seem more appealing just because your hair is grey.  Anyway, I know that you know this struggle well.

I am currently signed up for a residency in Antigua in April.  I thought I was not going to be able to afford to go and would have to cancel but now I am thinking I might work this job through March and then sublet my place and spend the money I made as a secretary finishing my book in Guatemala.  I might even give up my place and set up a series of readings and maybe tour this new album and see what happens.  That all seems like the organic thing to do but money keeps getting in the way.

Someday I hope to pick your brain about these commonalities we share.

Specifically, I’m on the fence about self-publishing and I am wondering if it is worth it to try to get my books published elsewhere.  I like self-publsuihg and I might try to start publishing other people’s work too.

Hit me up if you are ever in the big apple. I am overdue for a trip to Austin.

More soon.  Be well.

Danger Ausche

Bartending At The Track

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2019 at 6:30 am


Frozen out of focus, the Sunday crowd
started dreaming of television turned up too loud
And coded conversation, half baked and tired,
left us sleepy on blacktops burning the motor mile…
Archers of Loaf

They put us on buses.  They don’t tell you that.  There’s no parking at the track so you’ve got to show up a half hour before start time and get to the pickup.  Not that I’m complaining but there’s a gulf of difference between 3:45 and 4:30AM. We show up to the mall and park within the cones and they herd us in.  We wait in the dark for the bus. The bus isn’t bad except it smells of petroleum products–a rank, synthetic citrus smell, hair spray or deodorant on top of soap used to wash away the grease and sweat of bodies pushed to untenable degree.  Some cooks were working 19-hour days out there, from 5AM-10PM and then back in, 2:30AM next day. My point about the busses is that it’s a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes added to your day each way.   A 12-hour day on your feet catering to the public with an hour and half tacked on commuting and trying not to internalize the conversations around you, maybe in one yourself, packed in like hens, trapped and moving through dark walls of rock in the Hill Country and under a mute black sky that tells you nothing, the sleeping world bleating waves of silent pain into your muscles and bones through your eyes and ears and sense of smell–the whole thing can break you and it probably will.  You just want the break to be clean.  

You don’t want to be “cancer” on site, at the job, and you sure as shit don’t want to take it home.  Taking it home is the last thing I’d ever want to do with 60 hours over 5 days bartending at the track, outdoors in a tent in sometimes 40 degree weather and doing $4k in sales and breaking when you can, on your own or partnered up, hopefully with someone even slightly empathetic although even a great partner will drive you up the fucking wall.  I don’t want to address mine, except to say she was great, I don’t know what I would’ve done without her, except maybe take charge of the thing myself but anyway I stepped aside and let her do it, let her try and speak Spanish to the barbacks, in long and longer conversations I was on the outside of and eventually she’d be finishing my sentences, interrupting me as I was talking to customers and reprimanding me as they walked away.

On our last day I gave Henry all my cash.  It wasn’t the right thing to do, maybe it was, but I did it because fuck this country, fuck Trump and the miserable bartender I overheard telling a customer how “They all come up from San Diego…” and, mostly because it was only $22.  My partner was a controlling wench and better than most of the people I could’ve been partnered up with.  But even the best possible scenario can become tenuous behind the bar, working over 60 hours in 5 days serving hundreds of people beer and liquor while they watch a man drive a fast car in a circle and make millions for it.  By the way, I caught the race on the screen behind me and I had to look twice–he’s balding now the racetrack star. And he doesn’t look good. He had this experimental spine-fusion and now he’s back out on the tar but heavy lies the crown. He was better off fucking everything that moved in the sanguine early days of the New Century but who wasn’t?  I can only imagine what I’d look like to my younger self and I feel it–every second of every minute of every day passing. I feel it on my pinky-toe, bloody and nail less, and my right thumb–burned into a blood blister from a scalding hot pan the kid handing it to me didn’t warn me about. Charley horses up my calf but hopefully gone with a couple more hot salt-baths.  A tightness, clamping down the bridge of my nose and a jacked up back I could potentially throw out but live this life a few times over and never be able to afford the surgery a European race car driver can. Not that I’m complaining.