Jim Trainer

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#42: Dear Editor Phil

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2019 at 12:44 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
P.O. Box 49921
Austin TX 78765

Philip Elliot,Editor
Into The Void Magazine
The Great White North
Toronto ON, CDN

9/8/18, 3:09PM

True Mate

Greetings from the Pearl of the South, the Land of Little To No Consequence, where the girls are pretty and the beer is cold but you’d kill for some paint peeling walk-in where they let you smoke.  Austin’s great for chilling and quietly living out your days as an entitled choad. There’s the river and the lake and a million Americana acts who sing songs about nothing they play everywhere from the airport to the bowling alley.  The cops shoot to kill down here but mostly leave you alone. These people wouldn’t know punk rock if it stepped on their flip-flop but they sport all the accoutrements, don’t they—hallmarks of the road we paved. I remember when dressing like these tech bros could get you jumped and beat up, although we never were.  The early 90s were some proud days, mate–the most fearless I’ve ever been or since. I remember one night converging like some underground Lord of the Rings…skaters and skins in the Pizza Hut parking lot waiting, as over the hill the metalheads came.  I can’t live down those days and I remember succinctly when bravery said goodbye. When depression said hello it was, in the words of Uncle Hank, death’s first handshake.  The downside was I self-medicated for decades, destroyed my enemies in full retaliation but tortured friends and loved ones as an insufferable drunk-poet.  An American Nietzsche who didn’t write as good but had better hair. It seemed like the end, Beautiful Friend, and, ironically it was—the end of innocence and joy, but to my chagrin, as I pull myself out of the wreckage and get a clear view, the world takes an even darker turn, undeterred by improvements in my mental health and music of choice.  If Van Halen wants to know, the good times were gone by ’89, though ’91 is my earliest memory of a disassociating anger that made me mighty but wasn’t the best fuel. Ask Diamond Dave, too many have gone down in anger ain’t they, and temperance seems to be the way—function is the key and all that.  Point is it’s good to be angry, it means you’re paying attention, but it’s also good to get out of bed in the morning, have breakfast and do normal things that we in this hemisphere are blessed to.  Plus, the hangover from anger is as bad as any other and if you can harness your displeasure with this cocksucking system you’d fire on for a long time while your enemies only twist in the wind.

There really wasn’t any way I could get out of that last graph so I just ended it.  I write from the gut, throw these words down and make sense of them later, if at all.  It’s because wisdom doesn’t exist in the brain does it and Essay Writing is formulaic and dull.  I’m a big fan of magic and I love the way beginning and ending a column of words gives it meaning.  Creative Nonfiction or Personal Journalism—taking the banal and ordinary and putting boredom on an altar in a column of words.  Making the time sacred, casting ourselves the victor, poetry and writing are the Arena for it Brother Phil! It doesn’t make it any easier to discover a roach on his back when you’re working but you’ll know the reason why.  I’ve been too long in the wasteland but I can’t go back either.  The 2 weeks I spent in Hostile City proved it, and I’ve no romance or good feeling about ever going back to Philly.  Back in the Winter and Spring, when I was striking out from my day gig as a “full time artist”, a Bulgarian ex-girlfriend of mine still lived there.  She was the hottest woman I’ve ever seen. She left for Sofia though, without a word and there’s a part of me that will always wonder—but she left and Philly’s as cold and ignorant as it was 10 years ago when I drove away in a 2001 Sante Fe with 2 guitars, a laptop and $120 to my name.  Philly’s a working class town. It could be worse but it’s not easy. I got shook down by the Parking Authority and got rattled walking around. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great place to waste the rest of your life. No high adventure there but we can’t all be seekers ain’t it though.  Some should be burning the home fires for us and pounding those same steelhead streets, meeting up at the same bars and pubs and nightspots whose doors are closed to us now. Maybe not. It’s getting as gentrified there as any other American city even if it can’t shake it’s roots and on the street they can’t leave you alone.  That’s why I cut it short and keep Bulgaria somewhere in the back of my mind even though I enjoy it here in Bro Country with my new Lady Friend. She seems stable and I couldn’t be moving in a better direction than from the pages of the DSM-II—or I’ll end up alone and either way I don’t mind. I started this graph with the expressed purpose of discussing craft, the Arena, what we’re devoted and a slave to on MacBooks and Selectrics and even college ruled and writing to the edge of ourselves.  

I started this letter last night, least I thought about starting it and cracked into a poem about how close I am to total shutdown most of the time.  Then I saw him, on his back on the tile in the lamplight. It broke my heart, Phil. I’m 43. I’d spent the day loading luggage. My supervisor talked to me in a kind of way at the beginning of the shift, so I didn’t speak to him for the rest of the day, didn’t move when he walked by, and clocked out and grabbed my things without one word to him.  Fuck him. It was that kind of day. Then the dead or dying roach, some weird badge, earning your roach wings as Uncle Hank wrote in Black Coffee Blues.  It’s an affirmation and a devotion to this choice I made.  I’m not saying I celebrate living in filth. I’m saying that I live in this super private and uber quiet garage apartment for $700 all bills.  It’s month to month and I got some gig working at a hotel under some cocksucker for $14/hr. It is what it is but what’s more—nights I’ll devote to getting back to fiscal sponsors, and mornings (the final frontier) will be for correspondence and peering into the abyss for real work—that is, poetry money.  Literature. Prizes. Grants and speaking gigs. I’m still after it which either means I’m devoted or a fool. My feelings won’t be hurt if it turns out I’m a fool, considering how the certain behave—staid and craven normies who think what we do is culture or to enrich their boring lives. Country simple, I know I’m a fool.  If I were to discover I’m devoted that’d put some ease into this leg of the journey. It could give me the why I need so desperately while I wake up in darkness and type queries to the how.  I’ve got a good feeling about it.  It feels like it might break soon or the weight of this body of work could tip the scales finally and I’ll wake up a writer fully-realized.  To make it as a poet is the wildest dream. Going after it can sear through raw mornings ironing my serving blacks. A life devoted to sessions of writing can immortalize that cocksucker, put him up there on the screen and devolve his image—we’ll know he lost and that in art he’s only a dufus in effigy.  So many blown out, ass-early shifts like this morning—5AM circling the block looking for parking in the dark and showing up late and skidding in just under the nose hairs of the fat bossman. Nights, too, Phil, rageful in the lamplight, on fire and burning with everything so bad you can’t get a single line or even one word down.  I suppose it’s good to know the cooks are still in the kitchen and in some regard I guess it’s just as well the world has gone to pot. I know we’ll rise to the occasion and I know we’re cooking up something in our own way. We’re not writing for them but are sounding out into the wild and listening for an echo.  

I’ll have to caulk the seams in here and put some due diligence in to making this apartment my chrysalis.  I prefer being off the grid, behind a tall wooden fence by the highway on a month to month lease. This won’t be forever.  I’ll just need a little more time to get this thing together. My might and my love, they are moving in tandem. The red machine is here and totes full of typewritten pages.  This isn’t exactly victory but I’ll go on. Victory is tangible, it’s something we’ll have to cash in on up the road a piece—but in the meantime let’s go on. Let’s scoop and cull the dull roar of it, with handfuls of black earth and a mouthful of stars, let’s pull back on the mighty bow and go…


Your Writer,
Jim Trainer
Austin TX



  1. Loved this.  Nicole

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


  3. […] Philip Elliott, Editor Into The Void Magazine The Great White North Toronto ON, CDN […]



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