Jim Trainer

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#39: Happy Birthday Little Brother

In Uncategorized on October 31, 2019 at 12:26 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
German Division
Berlin Plaza Hotel
Knesebeckstr. 63
BE 10719 Germany

Brother Julian Root
Guadalajara, GUAM
The Other Hemisphere

7/21/18, 10:43AM

Happy Birthday Little Brother

Just the sound of the words bon chance, spoken to friends and loved ones over the years, has risen through the ethers and charged the air.  I mean it’s phonetically pleasing, it’s rhythmic, and it jives with atheists and patrons of Gods who don’t cull favor.  It’s in the air and it connects us—when I’m out on the road, traveling in Europe, I am closer to you than when I’m slaving to the grind just across the Gulf in Texas.  It’s the good red road and it’s magic that connects us.  Magic the way iconic Saint Nedelya in his cathedral ponders his stony gaze upon a crow, and the candle I light there for my Grandmother burns on even after I’ve flown, a time zone and 3 countries over, arriving just before 1am, my bearing witness to exhaustion paying off in the best Shish Taouk I ever had and waking up in one of the greatest cities in the world.  New York’s another, and would be thee greatest, were it not in a republic in the thrall of rat ideals and pig intellect—the America.  All of this is to say I’ve been thinking of you and thought I’d write you, this morning in Berlin before I head into the city and wear down my blues with an exhaustion that pulls up through my leather loafers and sometimes unluckily to my furrowed, Italian-American brow.

It started with Erik, as a lot of things have.  We were listening to him, post rain and after midnight on a porch in the 9th ward.  Of course there was a cute punk rock girl there and of course I was crushing her.  John Wood smoked his GPCs and the girls drank wine and tequila.  It was a night of reverie and prophesy—looking back to look ahead like you do.  The next day, heading out to Lafayette I put him on, too.  Old Time Memry, pulling on to I10, that hillbilly highway.  My passenger didn’t care.  Neither Layla Musselwhite, riding in the back with a reso and crockpot and box of my poetry. The day wasn’t a total bust—I developed some skills making the best of it and I met some nice people.  Travel is like eating a shit sandwich but asking for salt.  Know what I mean, Little Brother?  Anyway, more than five thousand miles away it was Erik again, discussing him and Mischief Brew and Philly.  Aaron, filling in on bass for Blato Zlato, doubted I was OG until he found out my first ever apartment was across from your old place and right next to the Abyssinia II at 45t&Locust.  It was the biggest 1br I could find for $400 and everyone from the hometown thought I was crazy.  3 years later I’d be getting paid in whisky to read poetry before picking up a Gretsch archtop and ushering in a whole new era of roots music.  Erik was leading the charge.  And the City Wide Specials, I guess.  And the Broken Prayers.  And Robert Blake.  And me.  Yes, me.  I did what I did and what I had to, playing in Philly 3 nights a week for years until I headbutted the PBR clock and played a game of grabass at Fiume resulting in the first of many bans Hostile City hoisted on me during the Never Ending Summer of Evel Knievel.  Point is New Orleans is a city of the dead.  So is Sofia and Maslarevo, and Varzulitsa where Aaron and I discussed Philly in the early 90s.  In Bulgaria they post these memorial fliers of people who have passed on.  They look like Want Ads and they list how long they’ve been gone, not when they were born or when they died.  That makes a lot of sense to me.  Bulgaria is an interesting mix of East and West which in this case is to say—the dead are gone but they are here, in our hearts, forever.

I’m getting choked up writing it, Little Brother, so I want you to know I have a lot of love for you.  How could I not love a fast talking, tee-totaling, Jewish ex-Pat who plays the banjo and loves his mother?  Love for you is love for me.  I is another and may you always travel with a mate and not a bane or bully.  I left mine in Sofia yesterday, drank 3 Americanos and took a nightflight to Berlin.  I feel better alone especially if I’m not with him.  I told him I can’t talk to him and he told me I was in the minority.  Does anything else need to be said?  I confess to my mate, who I’ve just traveled over five thousand fucking miles with, by plane and bus and train, rental car and taxi cab, that communicating with him is impossible for me and his response is that I’m wrong.  Brother Julian, say it with me now, in true Philly style…Fuuuuuuuuuuk you.  Am I right?  I can’t wait to never see him again.  Oh, dread.  My anger’s got the best of me and the best of what was supposed to be a respectful paean to that bon chance energy, out there in the ether, blowing round a green bowl of the Balkans and warping the black air of New Orleans, high and white up here on the terrace of my room at the Plaza Hotel and down to you, my best unbeaten brother, in your exile with your guitar and your women and the words that keep coming and falling out like black ink soldiers on to the white page…the white page.  The white page is what’s so sad about all this so we fill it.  Let us.  My left arm is asleep.  This room stinks of chicken and rice.  I need to shower and hop on the Ubahn, head to Kreuzberg and post up somewhere else and drink coffee.  It’s what I do.  I’ll try and wrap some of these travel articles and get some dollars out here, recoup, get my arms around it and send it off.  I’ll wait to hear from Raffe, another Brother and Friend.  If I can get a guitar we’ll do one for Erik, maybe even one of his, send it out to the living.  Send it out to the dead.

Feliz cumpleaños.  Always write.  Always love&hate.  Always say what you have to say.  Unless they won’t listen in which case fuck them we’ll see them in Hell, if there is one.  If we make it to Heaven it’s all gravy—you and me and tall German women.

Jim Trainer
Berlin, DE


  2. Love, love, love this letter to Julian! Your descriptions are so…voluptuous and down’n’dirty that I can smell and taste the rooms you inhabited and the coffee you drank. Your feelings for Julian make me kvell! Ah, I wish you could have met my dad — Julian’s grandpop– who was, aside from you, the most devoted letter writer (and man of letters) in this god-forsaken country. You could feel South Philly oozing all over the pages, which were always hand-written. Write on, Jim, and keep that old-fashioned style of communicating alive and full of piss and vinegar!



  5. […] but it happened. Because of people like you and Heath and my Sister and Aunts and because of a good Brother down near the equator, working in a cobblestone out front a mezcal bar and lit like a cave.  […]


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