Jim Trainer


In Uncategorized on December 19, 2019 at 11:00 am

I suggested that, if they still insist on building a stupa, they have the plaque say, ‘I am not in here.’ But in case people don’t get it, they could add a second plaque, ‘I am not out there either.’  If people still don’t understand, then you can write on the third and last plaque, ‘I may be found in your way of breathing and walking.’
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Peet’s Coffee

I never liked Christmas.  You got to understand, the Jim Trainer we all know and love  (or don’t love) only exists after a certain age.  Too much bad dysfunction and trauma to go back or try and reclaim any joyous or carefree timbre of my character.  Ask any of my hardcore punk friends from High School.  It’s like I was born an old man and anyway, being jaded has afforded me some protection over the years and the truth has keep me lean if not aware.  I could probably thank my Black Irish Father for all these fine qualities, and some really shit ones too but I could never get on the same page as my cheerfully deluded mother who, for all we know, loves Christmas.  She certainly loves the Jesus and seems to be good with America and in the strangest turn has come out for Trump.  That’s a head scratcher best left in the realm of stones better left unturned.  Let’s just lump the old gal in with my youth and innocence—kiss ‘em all goodbye and never speak on it again.  I don’t like the holiday sure but I love this time of year.  Everywhere’s a ghost town and it’s usually pretty ok when they’re not around unless you’re roaming the corporate wasteland like I am in December, and find yourself alone in a coffee shop suffering bluegrass renditions of songs you could never hear again and it would be too soon.  I was homeless one Christmas and xeroxing chapbooks in New Orleans on another.  Last year I lay in a hot bath overlooking the Austin skyline with a fine woman.  Year before that I played the Driskill Hotel Bar for 3 nights in a row.  Nothing’s ever the same anymore but even when it was it was weird.  Christmas at the end of the world doesn’t feel any more or less hollow than the holiday always has for me but this year I’m on the West Coast and charmed by the high, green air out here, even as Ray Charles hits it till the fiddles come in and my cup is empty and the FedEx guy stands by on Broadway with his load in the cold dusk.

I wish you the best Good Reader and I don’t need a time of year to do it either.  I’m writing in an empty Peet’s Coffee in NW Portland because this is exactly where I want to be and what I want to be doing.  I just spent almost 3 hours at the post office addressing and taping orders of No Comebacks on no breakfast and a flagon of instant coffee with honey.  I think I overdid it.  Where I started overdoing it is up for debate but it’s certainly before this morning, probably when I started these projects and maybe even as far back as July.  I captained a party for 100 Thursday night, worked 7AM-12 at the shelter next day and captained a party Saturday night, binded 100 copies of No Comebacks Sunday morning and bartended a party for 60 that night.  I did 7-10AM Monday morning at the ARCH and then flew to the post office to mail some and then home to pack.  Little Brother dropped Spencer and I off at the ‘port at 1 and we flew all day, touching down in the PDX just before 8PM last night.  It’s been days and days of this Good Reader.  But I don’t have to tell you because you’ve been with me the whole way and isn’t that nice?  

All I want is to work in peace.  It’s a life I’ve waited and fought for and sometimes fought by waiting for—a peaceful afternoon at a screen, late or early, bright or grey mornings at a machine.  I never wanted anything to do with their world and traded in currencies of the inner life.  I’m the best there and even at my worst there but at least I can put it in a frame.  As I told Jenny at the 2031 release last Wednesday, a column of words is all that stands between me and the enemy in me.  Writing’s a stanchion between me and the void, a refuge and a weapon.  I’ve called out into the hungry land like radio and you heard and even put me on.  I’ve got 225 copies full of over 40 poems—moments documented, festooned, fetishized and otherwise championed, bits and parts of life that only seem to make sense as a whole, in retrospect and on the page.  

In this work we’re rageful, iconoclastic, turbulent and even while swirling in the maelstrom of all these, at ease.  I’m at ease writing and I’ve a reason for being anywhere as a writer—here at Peet’s with you and the loathsome muzak through the house speakers slowly getting washed out by the traffic outside.  Wet pavements and neon.  Night is falling in the Emerald City and I miss you though I ain’t lonely.  The only thing better than this solitude would be a solitude with you so, be a dear, indulge me—turn down the room and take off your clothes but leave the heels on.  Let’s fuck until it ain’t Christmas baby.  I’m horny and I hate the world.   I’m a romantic after all but for all the things they’ve no use for.  I’ve been thrown away, put down and turned out.  Now I’ve nothing and I’m free.  Fuck the holiday.  It’s cold out there.  Press your body against mine.  Mark Kozelek is singing Christmas carols and I’ve never been happier about the end of the world.

Greetings from Krampus motherfucker.

This is the same America—the America of the raised nightstick, the shuddering convention hall, the booming bike engine, the canceled credit card, and the impossible dream.
James Parker

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