Jim Trainer

PETALS&THORNS

In Uncategorized on September 12, 2019 at 9:40 am

…Well I don’t know,
I might not speak the language any more
too long in the wasteland
will close some doors…
James McMurtry

Your compulsion to tolerate only that laughter which comports to your political and ethical purposes is cosmically ridiculous and doomed.
-David Simon

Hell came to get me again.
Chan Marshall

The poem was born in me en route to a doctor’s visit, for which I had no insurance.
-Xandria Phillips

…the masses, the common people, the populace, the public, the multitude, the rank and file, the lower orders, the crowd, the commonality, the commonalty, the commons, the third estate, the plebeians, the mob, the proletariat, the common herd, the herd, the rabble, the riffraff, the canaille, the great unwashed, the many, the ragtag (and bobtail), the plebs, the proles, the peasants, the people…
-Oxford Thesaurus of English entry for hoi polloi

Recovery is a long road.  Quitting drinking was the easy part.  The hard part is getting a good night’s sleep.  Staying present through the loaded, blood-soaked and mundane, envelope-licking moments.  My compulsion to hit the OFF button is practically involuntary.  Luckily sometimes I just need to rest but the problem is I can’t without turning off and this life I chose has little to no downtime and certainly no breaks.  I work for the money to afford a place I can come home to and get to work.  Not that writing is hard–but who said it had to be?  Catering, now that is a very hard dollar Brother.  Charley horses in the triple-digit heat.  Diarrhea in a parking garage seconds after the sun’s come up with nobody and no bathroom anywhere.  Dickhead-rich cowboys in the freight elevator acting like you’re not even there.  I’ll admit, I lucked out and my Boss is a mensch and better–one of those people you can just look at while you’re in the shit and laugh.  It’s also the most money I’ve made in this town barring a 5-year stint as a slave to a millionaire in a centuries old governor’s mansion off West 6th.  Poetry though?  Personal Journalism?  No problem.  The hardest part of writing is starting and starting is only hard for a couple reasons.

One is you ain’t got the space or time.  Someone somewhere is making a neurotic noise or you don’t like the way they breathe and anyway quarters are too close to unfurl and dig in to the work.  This is a problem easily remedied with a day gig where you make enough bread to afford walls and a door without having to slog the brutal 40-hour American shuck&jive.  Providing your neighbor isn’t a young twat constantly bumping “country” music on the other side of the wall, your people problem is solved.  The other reason starting writing is so hard is you’ve got to give yourself permission.  Anyone who says Hurry up and write understands neither hurrying nor writing.  If they understood hurrying they’d instinctively know that telling a writer to hurry is inefficacious and potentially disastrous.  If they understood writing they’d do well with the sense to get the fuck out my face with that bullshit, especially with the diverse supply of impalements available and less than an arm’s length from me at all times at the writing desk.  An IBM Selectric II could kill a man if the writer swinging it could get enough momentum behind it to lift the thing and bring it down with all its skull-crushing weight.  The reason this writer can’t hurry up and write is that for me writing is accessing the deeper voice, some call it wisdom and anyway it’s a kind of knowing, beyond the temporal and certainly beneath the machinations of the monkey mind.  It’s bypassing the mind to get to spirit and then taking what you’ve found right back up through the mind and relying on it to carry out the functions of typing and synthesizing: image and idea, fact and feel.  Maybe writing isn’t that glamorous for you in which case I can only offer my condolences because for me, writing is better than sex–well, almost better than sex.

I’m still living like I’m in a war.  That’s why these missives seem so urgent Good Reader–because they fucking are.  You kidding me.  I’m shell-shocked and waking up in the recliner, hungover from sugar with my boxers around my left ankle.  I’m taking refuge from my own response to a wild and roiling world.  The fight is over but now I’ve got to learn to live with what’s left.  I’ve got to learn to live with my self.  It’s pretty bad but it’s alright.  I’m able to get these posts off every week ain’t it and the struggle, these days, is real.  I’ve reached the pinnacle adversary and surprise it’s me.  I’m learning how to be a more efficient biological organism because thank the Gods my work grew legs and is getting up and walking across the room.  Writing’s not hard.  Abstaining from sugar and resisting the torrents of lust that pull at me on the shore, getting up before the sun on my day off and calling the healthcare provider–these are my battles now.  These days I’m only rivaling me and it’s the most beautiful and terrifying life I’ve ever lived. The days are sublimely barbed.  When the sun comes into my room I can’t believe I’m given more breath for another day and when night falls I remember them, who have none left and are gone forever.  The big top’s still spinning and echoes of the dead Gods’ laughter still bound through the young hills.  It’s a strange solace knowing things wouldn’t be so horrible or heart-breaking if I wasn’t awake.  Presence is my charge now and the wider my eye the more pain I see.  This is being here, getting down daily-nightly, crushed beneath the gnarly and benevolent wheel, kneeling and looking up and out to those far and unforgiving heavens and saying, thank you.

LISTEN TO JIM TRAINER ON THE HEARSAY POETRY PODCAST
COME SEE JIM TRAINER THIS FRIDAY AT THE HEARSAY POETRY OPEN MIC

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