Jim Trainer

Archive for 2020|Yearly archive page


In Uncategorized on September 24, 2020 at 3:16 pm

I’m so glad I got all my shit together just in time for dystopia.
-Pamela Dawson

Early this morning I shit myself standing up. I was ‘roided to the tits for days prior and south Texas was gripped by a “false Fall”–grey and warm and about to rain every day since the summer broke, whenever that was. The two officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor were not charged today and there is no face in this country as beautiful and gone as hers. Her face will come to symbolize a freedom the working poor will never have. These are strange days. No bottom to the abyss, as John Cusack put it last year and without presentism, or any faith that things will be as they are based on how they were, the days grind by and the nights come on with dread. I’ve run out of wisdom posts ago. We’re all so sick of it coming but stuck and held in place waiting for whatever it is to get here. I don’t want to write this post. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to do anything but that’s probably my problem.

I’ve come at depression and low self worth for years with work. Now I’ve got a body of it. So what. My writing’s gotten better. Good thing, too–if I still wrote like I did in ’10 I would’ve hung myself by now, with or without a decade done and almost six-hundred fifty of them in the can. I hit my stride Good Reader. I got better in every sense. Though my guts are wrecked. And my sex drive is stalled. My diet’s alright. I’m able to keep the anger mostly in check. I work in the daytime and come home and do the real work. I’ve everything I ever wanted. I should’ve wanted more. It’s a strange sense regretting things, now that we’re in a state of diminish and free fall. Strange to regret not traveling more now that I can’t travel at all. Strange to come up on 10 years writing here and release a 6th collection–a Going For The Throat Anthology. It’s strange to want anything other than what I have but coming up empty, too, thinking I should want more.

The cops who shot Breonna Taylor, dead, in her home, won’t be charged. 200,000 people have died from a disease the leader of this country won’t acknowledge, let alone treat and try and contain. I’ve fought against depression and abysmal self-worth for my whole life and I’m sitting on a body of work. I can write my way out and through and it’s everything I ever wanted. So what.

Curator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.




In Uncategorized on September 17, 2020 at 2:43 pm

I’ve been sick for years. Trauma is a motherfucker. When I struck out on my own in ’17 I had to confront a post-crash market with the same lack of skills or degree. I’d since thrown out my serving blacks and swore I’d never go back. Alas, while delivering hundreds of cold lunches to elementary schools in W. San Antone, I’d get overcome with uncontrollable bowel movements–well, I could control them if I held the cheeks of my ass together and punched the roof of the cab with my free hand as I drove. When I finally got to where I was going it’d only be wet gas. It got worse the worse my employment situation became. I left the lunch delivery gig and signed on as an electrical supply courier. I had to be in Round Rock every day by 4AM. I was usually done 12 hours later, making about $140 a day. I’d be hauling tons of copper from Waco on an 18′ stake bed and with it shimmying in the wind the whole time behind me. I’d deliver massive comp reels and great long lengths of lead and fixture. I’d pull in to the job site and off the wet road and sink into the endless black mud or stand around in the Samsung lot in the cold pre-dawn dark and have to shit the whole fucking time. No quarter until the drop was made and I could whip around to the Exxon at Grand Park off 35, a heinous and horrible super 7-11, with shit food and never-cleaned bathrooms without toilet paper. I’d squat over the bowl clutching a handful of wet paper towels from the sinks but nothing would come out. My diet was pretty bad then. Could’ve been worse but Turkey burgers and vegan cheese snacks, whole wheat bread and carrots, gas station coffee and convenience store donuts isn’t the food regimen for optimal gut health. Not to mention the stress.

My roommate was a freeloading ponce and toad into me for $1,750 by the time I moved out. He never bought food or toilet paper but was quick to ask for the rent. It was hard then, one of the worst times of my life but I’d done some groudwork. Progress might not have much to do with the externals ain’t it, just that when the shit hits you know better how to flinch and anyway get on and through with it without it taking too much of your pride. Which doesn’t say anything about my guts. My guts were gone and have been ever since. I’m fucked up, Good Reader, though I took some good turns after after my stint as a blue-collar truck driver. It’s getting better though it’s still not great. I mean to say I’m still sick.

I made my way back into the food service industry. That didn’t help with the anxiety or my angry and upset bowels–and there isn’t anything to eat on a catering job when you’ve got IBD. The reason I held on to these jobs at all was due to a bad trauma I suffer from being homeless at 20. Ought to explain why though it says nothing of how little I knew I could do, behind a desk working for a non profit which is what I find myself doing today.

I thank the lucky Gods too, and my Boss, for giving me a chance. I’ve got insurance. My colonoscopy will end up costing me two grand, scripts and all. We think it’s ulcerative colitis. I spent the weekend horizontal, unable to shit but feeling like I had to go the whole time. Monday I must’ve released 50 straight feet of shit. It was solid, there was no blood but it hurt coming out. It always does. I’m sick Good Reader. Damn near incontinent. What do you think about that? There were things I should’ve done by now and don’t you know I really wish I had, before the cashout and Oligarchy came calling and home to roost, before Bin Laden and Putin’s wet dreams came true for this country but, the truth is…even with all the ruin and tyranny that’s here and getting closer irrefutably, I might’ve could’ve done something–at least saved some money or got out of country for awhile. Can’t do that now, I know. Of course what would I do when I got there, if I got there at all without my sigmoid colon blown out on some bad road between here and Guadalajara?

Time comes for us all I guess. The phone stops ringing, you’re stuck with the life you were living when you were too cool for the other. You get old. Even then, with all my diminishing libido and bedtime blues, the fact that I can’t-shit or have to shit-all-the-time, can’t read or drink and otherwise haven’t had any real fun in years–how could I possibly go about changing now? It’s probably too late for that old life which is a sadness that lays on the lungs like a sack of lead. It’s the Final Century Good Reader, though we’ll be lucky to get through the 20s. The bell curve of history look like a tidal wave. The coast is on fire and our elections are rigged. I don’t see a future for the middle class, entertainers have less to say to me and the working poor than they ever did, at the street level the music industry is dead, which means, we’re stuck with the dead generations’ greatest hits, spinning blindly from our prosthetic technologies as methane levels lock us in and border crossings close. Grim shakes it’s true all around. I just hope I don’t shit my pants today.


Curator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.


In Uncategorized on September 10, 2020 at 5:26 pm

I never thought I’d be so glad to have Writer’s Block. I’d been throwing down and slinging 6 and 1,200 word posts and columns like lightning. I was getting lucky too long. I stayed out of the hot seat and got away from the worming of the world by divulging great and grisly psychological weather and personal detail. Then the American Century ended. Well, depending on who you ask–could’ve been any number of dark days in the 80s…or the countless times we went back to the well of hegemony and waged endless war. I’m not sure myself, I avoided politics as long as I could, but I’d put good money that even Saint Mike could get behind, on the day when capitalist labor and modern day slavery, corporatocracy writ large and the monopolization of media, glommed into a giant, 244-year old ball of shit, lost it’s thrust and started to roll back–and you know what they say about shit rolling, it started doubling back and coming downhill and all over us. That’s when the working poor got rubbed out of history and thrown into the breach of an insurmountable wealth divide.

The worst news is often the news nobody hears, or says anyway. Not Obama and not the Bushes, nor the Clintons and certainly not this clown up here having a run for Dictatorship in the Year of the Metal Ox. The market crash of ’09 was it Good Reader, kiss your middle class and healthcare and standard of living goodbye. Mind you, harbingers of ecological scarcity begetting terrorism and constant war, the outsourcing of American labor and rise of the Corporate State all but guarantee this country will never be as good as it is today, and today, Saturday September 5 in the Year of the Rat is worse than it’s ever been. That’ll fuck the mind. Or what’s left of it after surviving The America. I did alright. Made it through alcoholism and day labor, amour fou and communal living. I never got into politics but thanks to Going For the Throat, I never had to.

Personal Journalism. It was a way of life. I wrote my way through. It wasn’t so much about what was happening as what had to be endured. And as sex-crazed and wet-brained as I was, I’m still not too far gone. At least I know the difference between getting fucked and making love but now I ain’t doing either. Hit the testosterone dip, can take sex or leave it, going bald on top, have a bedtime, eat meals, the whole nine and anyway live well-adjusted and healthier than I’ve ever been. I probably sold out and without too much to show for it but at least I prioritized. I’ve foregone love and fame and savings, holding on to my solitude the whole time and above all. I’m sitting here writing ain’t I which only goes to show. The world’s offbeat too ain’t it, ego and greed have run the clock down. It’s Shadowtime in the Anthropocene which, for me, is plenty fine to write about from the desk on a quiet Saturday in one of America’s cities where they’re not lining up with semi-automatics like they are in Louisville right now. Put it to you plain and country simple, right now there’s a Trump parade on Lake Travis, boats full of dickheads flying red flags in the wide open and folks gathered and spiking Corona levels watching from the shore. As I write and close in on 600 words here, I come to peace in my own way. A whole other set of folks will be taking to the streets later, on foot, and cops in riot gear will hang back in alleys as they pass, like they did when Garrett Foster was murdered and then let his killer Daniel Perry drive away, scot-free and without a charge.

I came here to tell you I mean to write more responsibly. Thoughtful, less personal and more journalist, but then I was rolling and having the kind of fun that hasn’t failed me in 10 years and over seventy-five thousand words yet. Old boy’s still got it, fat and old as I am, and I suppose I’ll always relish in shooting my mouth off this way. I was at a loss though, writing Part 30 of The Grind last week, and I can’t make sense or come to any wisdom about Dictatorship in the Year of the Metal Ox. There really isn’t anything to do or say. No point in looking into border crossings and naturalization laws. At a loss. A big one. Fuck me and fuck us all. From rope’s end this is Jim Trainer signing off.


Curator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.

The End of Summer In America Part II

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2020 at 7:06 pm

If you board the plane and you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist you don’t fly Delta.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian

Chaos puts me to sleep…
Swift Ships

for BadBad PJ Brown

A former Navy Seal famous for killing Osama Bin Laden, and shooting him “thrice,” getting banned from Delta Airlines for posting a photo, maskless onboard with the caption “I’m not a pussy.” has to be the crowning story of the final century. Whoa and hey now Jimmy boy, you must be thinking, the parade of outrage that are the years of this administration ought to temper that statement ye are making. When a protestor is gunned down blocks from here and his killer walks free to disrupt his vigil days later, the shock ceiling in the year of the Rat does predictably rise. Higher still when a chubby and unfunny dickless Christian sets up a table nearby with a banner that says his killing was justified. We can stop being shocked we’re so shocked by now it’s true. The Navy Seal O’Neill story, though–it’s so loaded and rife with violence and fear it can’t be anything but the typically dumb, brute ballast and bullying regalia of Pig Nation. One forgets one’s humanity. It makes it easier to kill and anyway read the headline and get behind a killer. Then again, I’m a pacifist and I was born lucky. I don’t think war should be fought anywhere and I’ve lived my life in relative obscurity rather than have to join any fray with the likes a of a hardon Navy Seal or jock-sniffing failed comedian with a YouTube show. The worst thing about it is I gave myself the hardest time for not being able to write about love and war in the time of Corona but truth is my writing game is strong. I just didn’t want to have to think about sharing air with these peccaries, small-hearted Jingoists with feculent eyes, gun fetishists, mouth-breathing Proud Boy and Joe Rogan listeners.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to draw lines. I listen to JRE from time to time. Ok, nevermind, I want to draw lines, draw them and build them out with rebar and a metric ton of of crushed stone into a wall behind which I’d like the peccaries to be cordoned, on their side electric netting under a PIGS ONLY sign and over here let the ladies rule. Believe me. It would be my pleasure to bring you lemonade m’Lady. Humor me a little and wear some heels in that bikini and I will be your Giancarlo Granda, your officer, your soldier and your dignitary–sorry, Good Reader. I’ve been in too long. This ‘tine’s been a cruel summer, and a sexless time, and I can’t believe I’m writing you about them these jackboots, these fetish-fascists in Dad jeans with eyes too close together in their shit faces begging to be rung with a ball-peen hammer. What are peccary like Robert O’Neill and Steven Crowder except a mistake or stall of evolution, guys who never got laid and never will, looking for power over instead of power from within–used to be you could get away. The 90s were a Hell of a time, Jack. When we could get lost in the underground. But that was before we kissed our middle class goodbye, ain’t it, and sunk our national surplus at the millennial turn into the first 8 years of a Forever War, the face of these “Operations” a man with the same unmistakable fratboy gaze and bewildered mule intellect, who gets chummy on book and painting tours but now these raging GHO-shake swigging and closeted-homosexuals are blocking the road out of Babylon. Tiny men ringing in a tiny fate. My great spites and appetite for their end is the only high note, here at the edge of the Antropocene. I know they’re going to get it too. The same sun, falling down, will burn and peel off their lily-white flesh. Smiles melting, sliding right of the skulls of the alt-right. Should be a proud, fine time the death of Man if it means the Earth will be ridding herself of these Jordan Peterson acolytes. There is still some beauty in the Age of Man but it’s all being saved for the end, when it crumbles and tears and the Age of Women comes. It’ll be a sight so sexy and strange once all the peccaries are burned off and rid forever from the terra, bye-bye Kavinaugh and McInnes, hello Casandra and Andromeda, all hail the Eternal Feminyn!


Curator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.

The End of Summer In America

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2020 at 6:19 pm

Behind every cynic is a disappointed idealist.

180,174 Americans dead at day 158 of this thing. 200k shy of a million world wide.  How does one integrate? How does one even comprehend?  It didn’t have to be this way.  We could’ve had our lives back, in six to eight weeks, but the man in charge of the once greatest country in the word did nothing–which is exactly what he’s always done.  His brand’s been updated but nothing’s changed.  We can’t really be shocked anymore, but the most astounding thing is how his base buys this administration’s snake oil even at expense to themselves. 

We really hate here. In Trump’s America any person, creed, belief or stance that can get punched down on will be.  Cursory psychology posits they bully because they’ve been bullied, but, looking at these people–what have they had to suffer that any and all of us haven’t–and worse?  Working for a living in The America is neither it’s true.  The diminishing returns of the American Century seem to have started at the New Deal and only crumbled ever since.  No doubt these nutters have seen the same shrinking standard of living we all have.  But that’s where the common ground ends. There is no talking or reasoning and no base reality. From a Vaterland fetish to pedophilic, satan-worshipping cabal fears to good old end times fantasy, it’s perverse and tragic that to hide from an admittedly bleak reality human beings have conjured something worse.

I haven’t run into any of them on the street, though Garrett Foster was murdered only blocks from here and where that asshole Steven Crowder had his table shut down and run off in the days following.  Most of what I’ve seen has been on the socials but all that means to me Good Reader is I’ll need to use the internet as a tool of the new media and nothing else.  It’s no arena for politic or affecting change.  I’ll talk it and bring it here, and from my platform, and despite my previous columns at The Coarse Grind I’ll strive to affect change from the desk.  You reading is the torch passed.  I can’t thank Editor Phil enough for the monthly space at Into The Void, and you, for always being there.  It’s a weird fortune to have been reporting on the end of the world so long that when the curtain tumbles down I’m here anyway, at the desk with coffee hot, black and honey-sweet. 

I’ve had to grind the beans finer due to a bad break of the pot last month.  But I’m still here, much as they’re still out there and if this summer’s proved anything it’s this–I should know my lane and battlefield, and stanchion myself there.  Let them rally and rage on the street while in here writing it down.  The guilt’s got me nowhere, though the futility I’ve elucidated has been in service.  It helps knowing you’re not alone. Giving up is better than fighting for a lost cause.  I’m not saying protesting is a lost cause, it’s everything–I’m saying that rueing the fact I’m not out there only takes up precious column space and I might as well get right to it and do what I’ve always done.  Live from a room and with you at the other end.  Aho.

In fact I sat down here this evening, to attempt to peel the veneer off a Biden ad.  Make you know that without presentism our lives are reduced to a shitty and liminal present, locked down and viewing the world from behind a screen, and that no Bruce Springsteen song will ever be able to deliver the future it promises.  So I watched the ad.  And Goddamn if I didn’t get choked up and knew somehow, strangely, obscenely–hope is still lodged somewhere within me.  I believe.  They can’t have it either, this belief.  The fucking nutters.

I can’t grasp how they can still smile like idiots.  Perhaps they’d be happy anywhere their ignorance isn’t interrupted by cold hards of science and diversity.  But let’s be done with them.  Let them be dumb and angry and you and I, we can believe.  I’m struck suddenly, realizing how little we have to lose by hoping for the best.  Crushing disappointment is imminent, sure. It was always a risk. But maybe when the bad news comes like it always does we can hope for the best then, too.  It seems to me I’ve been a doubting Thomas, playing it safe wrapped within my own cynicism.  Don’t get me wrong I’m far from being a Democrat.  Considering the left is the other wing on the same bird I’d be hard pressed to give up being an Anarchist, let alone by an establishment candidate as far right of moderate as Joe Biden.  Of course the right is odious and those people are on a seriously low vibration.  It’s a given.  The Left aren’t much better but they’re looking like an oasis in the desert.  Let’s hope it’s not a mirage.

Curator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#62: Going For The Post

In Uncategorized on August 23, 2020 at 8:23 am

I am a 70-year old U.S. citizen and a proud American.  I have voted in every election since I was 21 years old.  COVID has made voting in person too dangerous, especially for those of us who are older or who have medical conditions.
The State of Pennsylvania passed a law recently that allowed its citizens to use vote-by-mail, without submitting a reason.  I was so relieved to be able to use it in the June primary.  Now we are coming up on the general election, and many of us are counting on the USPS to enable us to safely exercise our right to vote.
We are at a critical moment in the life of American democracy.  The election of a president is in crisis, largely because the sitting president is using federal departments to work on behalf of his re-election. The United States Postal Service has found itself in the center of that effort.
As members of the USPS Board of Governors, you must act to save the process. Louis DeJoy has proved to be nothing more than an operative of the president, working for political purposes and not those that would best serve the USPS and the American public.  The postal service is the most beloved and revered government service in our country, and is guaranteed in our Constitution.  American citizens pay for it with our taxes and the stamps we buy.
Because of the courage of a USPS employee, who recently spoke with the media, the public has discovered that sorting machines and street mailboxes are being removed, simply because the current president believes that allowing Americans to vote by mail during a deadly pandemic will not be in HIS best interests.  Louis DeJoy is trying very hard to enable him, by slowing down the delivery of mail, which also endangers medications, Social Security checks, and other items routinely sent through the mail.
YOU HAVE THE POWER TO STOP HIM.  In the interest of the country and our sacred democracy, you have no choice but to act.
Remove Louis DeJoy as Postmaster General of the United States. Reverse the policies being enacted.  Ensure that the postal service, which is an absolute necessity in the 80 days leading up to Election Day, will be unimpeachable and beyond reproach.

I don’t have the power to do this.  You do.  You must use it. Thank you.

Donna Greenberg

Friday is #letterday. Send me your address and I’ll write you a #letter#goingforthepost #goforthepost #jimtrainer #writerslife
Curator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.


In Uncategorized on August 20, 2020 at 3:25 pm

Standing on a manhole,
wishing that I’d never grow old
Thinking ’bout a TV show,
how I wanna sit and watch some more

R. Scully

Good morning Good Reader. I am up when I usually am but posting here first thing to meet deadline. The week got away, they all do but now it’s Thursday and I’ve no column in the draft folder. No wrap or recap. No treatise or missive and anyway per-usual pastiche of 600 words on the life of a creative in a crumbling world. As strange as it may sound I’ve too much to say, too many words and ideas at the gate, all the sensory record, quote and news byte on the short tape of the last 7 days of my mind’s life spilling over, waking me with the pounding trash of club beats from next door before 7 this morn. Had a riot in my mind before I had coffee so I cranked on the radio just to get out of bed. Obama’s words pinged off my hollow head as the dark brew came spilling out, over the filter and all over the counter. I got my travel mug, poured the overfull cup in and snapped off NPR’s cute pander. So I’ll shake out my shoddy sleep and this post’ll be off the cuff then. Too close for comfort maybe but without the luxury to preen or edit on deadline. Word count and that’s all. It’s beautiful, it’s raw and it’s making the moment, this day the day, the way I do in this role as a memoir-of-the-future writer, preservator, essayist and free agent of personal journalism for boon or bane.

Some weeks these posts come searing out. Others I trawl and more still I cobble. It seems to me the worst kinds of columns aren’t the ones with nothing to say. Being at a loss has been my biggest inspiration here, bet ’cause when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose. I swing high and wide without a plan and get there by being here. When it gets caught though in mind, too much coal and no clinker then what can a writer on assignment do but hack it out and hope for the best? I was dreaming when the bitch’s music came clubbing through the wall. I was dreaming on Monday too but I got up, even earlier then, left Roggie at the ball and burned off whatever we do together in dream and turned to this screen. My dreams will have to trail and dissolve in my wake behind this week that I am living and walking around. She’s been a fine lover but there’s too much else crowding the psyche than to have to carry the dead, too. So who then should I carry and what idea should carry me? There was a man talking to me through a device about democracy, while I lie in bed in boxer briefs and swirling, cool dark air. When I woke up it was morning and the light hurt and was diffuse but I took the pain and stared through until I could see straight. What should it matter to him if things don’t change, this November or ever, to me or to her and you, Good Reader of this weekly where we meet and roundly condemn and cajole and anyway are together?

I come here from out of dream, pulling the dead and parsing the living. I make another cup this one Italian, black with honey and Vietnam cinnamon. Morning has made bright. I can’t stand dawn’s ambiguity, that diffuse light when you’re not sure if the dream is real or is this life. Should you go on, should you leave the ball, where she’s dripping wet and pouting lustily–I make enter, take the day, give purchase the wisdom of my rabbit-luck, be bold and alactritous, out of dream pulling the dead and parsing the living, take breaths as admission of stolen time, be born of murder and again die. Today toward the dusk, another up the flue, surrender and give over life for love and cash this time, spend these fortunes to live and love and lose and be born to another dream.

Curator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.

The Coarse Grind: Part 29

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2020 at 9:37 am

Source: The Coarse Grind: Part 29


In Uncategorized on August 13, 2020 at 11:00 am


The only Beach Boy that could actually surf drowned.
David Sherman

I had huge plans when lockdown started. I was going to finish my book, remake our outdoor furniture, grow fruits and vegetables in my container garden, learn to cook Stacy’s favorite pie (strawberry-rhubarb), run a delivery service for my neighbors for prescriptions and groceries, and connect (and re-connect) with my dearest family and friends.  I didn’t get a chance to do any of those things.
Heather Hogan

If you’re like, ‘People are messaging me about this document that needs to be fixed,’ you’re not stressing about life on Earth.
Jamie Margolin

In a single season, civilization has been brought low by a microscopic parasite 10,000 times smaller than a grain of salt.
Wade Davis

Summer’s freezing here…
Vern Rumsey

House of the filthy, house not a home
house of destruction where the lurkers roamed
House that belonged to all the homeless kids
kids of the black hole..

Lots of good friends visited us on the yacht.  I promise that’s just black water in my glass.
-Jerry Falwell Jr.

How could everything go according to plan and so completely wrong at the same time?  Don’t ask me.  I was born lucky in the American Century but it’s all over now.  From a seismic event of magnitude 3.3 in Beirut, killing 158 and making homeless 300,000 more, to the shit-eating face of Steve Mnuchin talking about paying back the payroll tax that any working person in America has already paid, the degradation is picking up acceleration.  But yet I sit here, as awful as it is, and make word count, send the letters out and get these columns to tape.  This is exactly the life I wanted, I’m on top of it and at the wire even if the news coming down is grim and dire and enough to make me want to quit writing and start making pipe bombs.  This should come as no surprise.  Their shock doctrine made you numb too ain’t it, you’re as disgusted and horrified as I am but you got no business reporting on it. I’m at the desk where else, trying to come through with something other than unpublished blurbs on my Patreon and orphans of passages on perversion and personal journalism.

The truth is these columns of words satisfy me in a way nothing else does.  Which should explain why even as it all falls away I’m still here and cobbling some kind of narrative to the sick swagger and black torpor of the Final Century.  2020’s been a year of death and graft.  The Year of the Rat took 165k of us so far and yet, some still doubt the disease even exists or that losing less than a tenth of a percent of the population is a bad thing.  It’s been said before and better but the bright side to all this dim is it doesn’t matter what the experts and scientists are saying.  No one’s listening and a personal journalist like me can get his shots in or at least hack away until I can get to the wisdom and get on with my week.  So you see what the news and media mean to me are a necessary distillation.  When I say the wisdom what I mean is anything that will help us get by.  Survival is this new paradigm.  It used to be art or writing and Rock&Roll but now living in The America is its own end.  There’s nothing past this.  You make it to the end of the month congratulations you’re broke.  You catch this disease or anything under your deductible you’re dead or insolvent.  I can’t crack or get a grip on this year.  I remember being sad we’d only have 11 more but by the end of the decade the landscape ought to be leveled.  The Chinese Century should slide us, nice and sleazy, right off the block and anyway completely render The America to a population of dumb crackers in a corporate wasteland.

I’ve never been so scared and mad or given up so many times in succession.  I was born into some bad business and I’ve been running, from the dysfunction I endured, ever since.  It’s made me hard to kill and bound to be better no matter the shake or odds.  But the order is getting hurled and oblivion’s wrapping it’s black wings on the failed experiment of the Anthropocene.  I can’t remember things ever being worse.  I don’t know if I’ll ever live down the 90s, back when you could be poor and still play, culture was viable and the seasons did what they should.  Everything sucks now but I’ve more to write about than ever before.

Screen Shot 2020-07-26 at 5.42.51 PMCurator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#61:Bad Vibes From Portage County

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2020 at 5:56 pm

Hey handsome…

I understand that, by asking for a letter, I indicated that I was interested in receiving some kind of random missive from you. So it’s absolutely fair that you would assume that I continue to be interested in that, but I’m not. It took you three months to send me any kind of thing, and the thing you sent me was very difficult for me to parse, and when I called it a “letter” you said it was not a “letter” despite it being sent through the mail with a stamp on it. It’s not offensive, but it’s destabilizing — which is a mild form of gaslighting. And I am not someone with a ton of stability to spare. I’m not inclined to spend it trying to find my footing with you, who offers me little besides half-cocked missives fired off at random. Is this friendship to you? It does not feel like friendship to me, but friendship is an undertaking that I take more seriously, perhaps. Tonally, you assume a kind of familiarity with me that is jarring, and that’s part of the destabilization effort, I think.  If you want to be friends, please take the time to actually know me. This requires care and focus, I am complicated. I don’t expect it of you, or anyone.  If you want my attention, affection, regard, or support — respectfully, you need to do more than fire off 1-3 lines with no context to earn it.

I cannot track your logic.  I would think more time on one’s hands is an ideal time to start writing letters to random people (for example: what I’m doing right now) — but okay.  There’s a bigger idea here, something about being expected to endlessly hold space for people. It’s not really super germane to you and me, but it is, inasmuch as I was basically saying, “Cool, you sent me a letter, you’re off the hook!” And you were like, “No, I’m still on the hook, please continue to hold.” But I don’t want to continue to hold, dude. Three months is way long enough for someone I’ve only known for four months. Enough holding. Do it or don’t do it, but don’t ask me to continue to hold space for it. Just because that space means nothing to you doesn’t make it mean nothing to me.

Having skill as a writer, a working emotional vocabulary, and a desire for attention, when combined with being basically decent to look at, plus the internet — that’s basically all a dude needs to cultivate a following of admirers. I think you have this, I think it helps support your endeavors, and I think you have developed a pretty good script for leveraging it — like, the literal script you ran when I requested a letter, and you just copy-pasted your whole spiel and THEN were like, “Okay, phew that’s done, now let’s be friends!” Haha, Jim, that is still part of the spiel.

I have mixed feelings about spending even this much time and emotional labor in laying this out, but I hope it stands as a good-faith effort to communicate honestly. You know what they say in certain rooms about those people who are fundamentally incapable of being honest with themselves. Their chances are less than average. I wish you bon chance, Jim!

Rubina “Shelly” Shard
Portage County, WI

#goingforthepost #letterday

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Curator at Going For the Throat, columnist for Into The Void, progenitor of stand-up tragedy™. Jim Trainer publishes a collection of poetry every year through Yellow Lark Press. To find out more and to sign up for Jim Trainer’s Poem Of The Week, visit jimtrainer.net.

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