Jim Trainer

Archive for January, 2020|Monthly archive page

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#52: Open Letter to Bernie Sanders

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2020 at 6:43 pm

January 28, 2020

Dear Senator Sanders:

The top scientific body on climate change, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), tells us we must act immediately to bring the world together to stop the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The Green New Deal you are proposing is not only possible, but it must be done if we want to save the planet for ourselves, our children, grandchildren, and future generations. Not only does your Green New Deal follow the IPCC’s timeline for action, but the solutions you are proposing to solve our climate crisis are realistic, necessary, and backed by science. We must protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the planet we call home.


Dr. Peter Kalmus
Associate Project Scientist at the UCLA Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering

Dr. Sonya Legg
Senior Research Oceanographer and Lecturer in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program at Princeton University

Dr. Daniel M. Kammen
Founding Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) and Professor of Energy, with appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, The Goldman School of Public Policy, and the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Former Science Envoy for the US Secretary of State.

Noel Healy
Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Sustainability, Salem State University.

Dr. Rebecca R. Hernandez
Assistant Professor of Ecology and Earth System Science at the University of California at Davis

Dr. Steven Ghan
Climate Scientist, Contributing author to three assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007

Dr. Nancy Grimm
Regents Professor of Ecology at Arizona State University

Dr. Daniel Zachar
Director of Energy Policy and Climate Program Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Alison Heslin
Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems ResearchDr. Billy Fleming
Director of the Ian L. McHarg Center in the Weitzman School of Design, and a Senior Fellow with Data for ProgressDr. Nathan Phillips
Professor, Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University

Dr. Heather Randell
Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology and Demography, Penn State University

Dr. Daniel Aldana Cohen
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative at the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Elizabeth E. Dahl
Associate Professor of Chemistry at Loyola University Maryland

Dr. Edgar Bering
Professor of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Houston

Dr. Emily Grubert
Ph.D. in Environment and Resources from Stanford University

Dr. Robbie M. Parks
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Dr. Mark Paul
Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at the New College of Florida

Dr. Ann Marie Carlton
Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine
Dr. Sheila Colla, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at York University

Dr. Aaron Kenned
Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of North Dakota

Dr. Justin Bauman
Post- Doctoral Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie
Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program

Dr. Timon McPhearson, Associate Professor of Urban Ecology & Director of the Urban Systems Lab at The New School

Dr. Amy Frappier
Department Chair and Associate Professor of Paleoclimatology at Skidmore College

Dr. Danielle Ulrich
Assistant Professor of Plant Physiological Ecology at Montana State University

Dr. Mark Eakin
Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami

Dr. Geoffrey Supran
Research Associate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University

Dr. Reed Goodwin
Research Scientist of Biology at Stanford University

Dr. Elizabeth Burakowski
Research Assistant Professor at the University of New Hampshire Dr. David Gillikin, Professor of Geology at Union College

Dr. Kritee Kritee
Senior Scientist in Climate Smart Agriculture

Dr. Gabrielle McNally
Director of Women for the Land, American Farmland Trust

Dr. Peter Griffith
Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Georgia
Dr. Matthew Hogan, Visiting Lecturer in Mathematics at Wells College

Dr. Michael MacFerrin
Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Earth Science and Observation Center (ESOC) within the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado in Boulder

Dr. Eric Rehm
Senior Research Associate, UMI Takuvik / Arctic Remote Sensing at the Université Laval

Dr. Brett Favaro
Instructor of Conservation Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Dr. John Hayes
Associate Professor of Geography and Sustainability at Salem State University

Dr. Amanda E. Wooden
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies & Sciences at Bucknell UniversityDr. Stephen Young
Professor of Geography & Sustainability Department at Salem State UniversityDr. Ming Kuo
Associate Professor and Director, Landscape and Human Health Laboratory Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Daniel Revillini
Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Biology at the University of Miami

Dr. Shannon Hateley
Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Dargan Frierson
Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at University of Washington

Dr. Charlie Gardner
Lecturer of Conservation Science, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent

Dr. Aradhna Tripati
Associate Professor, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Center for Diverse Leadership in Science Director, & P.I. at UCLA.

Dr. Ben Franta
Ph.D. in Applied Physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Dr. Liam Phelan
School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle, Australia

Dr. Richard Schuster
Research Scientist at Carleton University, Department of Biology

Dr. Wesley Flannery, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Planning at Queen’s University Belfast Dr. Britta Voss, PhD, Geosciences

Dr. John C. Fleming, Staff Scientist, Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund

Dr. Shaye Wolf, Staff Scientist, Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund

Dr. Christopher Obropta
Ph.D., P.E., Director, New Jersey Water Resources Research Institute and Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala
President, Chief Scientist of Geos Institute Dr. Mary Reagan, Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Stanford University



In Uncategorized on January 30, 2020 at 11:00 am

for Amy

I kind of like it.  This front loading of blog posts at world’s end.  Keeps me on track.  I’m not trying to reconcile but integrate the fact that all effort and endeavor are for naught.  In as soon as 11 years the diminishing returns of our carbon-based culture will be indisputable and the clearing off of 70% of us should be the final nail and at least make it finally clear–it didn’t matter.  All we’ve done or reached for. It doesn’t help that psychologically as humans we rely on a kind of “presentism”.  Our minds insist that what is is what was and more importantly–what is is what will be.  Otherwise it’s chaos and don’t I know it.  I tried smoking the chaos away. To great effect I should say so maybe that’s not the best example.  I tried everything I could to quiet the roaring strife of infinite growth and decay, the turning wheel of dharma and annihilating winds of time but it only brought me pain.  I’ve a better time of it these days. I’m not as mad but suffer a stasis and a tradeoff I’m not sure I’m ok with until I see others traipsing those same beat and nowhere roads of lust and alcoholism.  I’m doing pretty ok, considering. I’ve managed to self-publish a collection of poetry and sometimes prose, every year for the last 5, written countless letters, penned and posted 22 columns at The Coarse Grind and God knows how many blog posts here at Going For The Throat.  I’ve fed myself, kept myself warm and in walls.  I split from the longest gig I ever had, drove a stakebed through the Christian wasteland and been across the world, ending in the Land of Eternal Spring right before Christmas last year.  Everything’s great now that I’m sober and it’s the end of the world. Though sometimes I have strange and benevolent moments.

Moments flooded with enough gratitude to want the best for us all.  To resist devolving into selfishness and wonder of the other, and another universe besides my own sad orbit punching keys, drinking coffee and jerking off.  I’m doing what I always wanted to and when faced with the end and the end of all things I’m still doing it and doing it anyway. It feels good but it doesn’t feel great.  It doesn’t feel as good as first Fall days back home, when you know you’re in and the world will be dying awhile, the days are brisk and short and dark so you make it to her window and see her mulling wine by the stove.  She’s built like a Croatian revolutionary and you just want to come inside. The Fall and the Winter will do it to you. If you were raised with 4 seasons it will be your mythology and with you for the rest of your life. It’s the rush of things, the coarsing of things, dark blood in currents and real altars of bone and sky.  Dead leaves are a wild currency and gingko berries staining the wet pavement will buy for you from incredible and vast memory. This tangent is only to say that it’s always West Philly in my heart and I’m always in love. Everything felt so important then, even though I can’t remember–I was dying too back then, making greater mistakes but that’s precisely what I miss of youth and abandon, bourbon and poetry, furnace nights and streets with rushes of capillarity, streets wide and out that lead in…aw Hell, I’ve done it again.  Ain’t I? Lost in nostalgia and reverie, cheapening this moment because I’m teetotaling, responsible with a bedtime and typing this on a Friday morning, sipping honey-sweet dark coffee in my bathrobe alone.

I’ve nothing to offer better than memory of wild youth but only one without the hangups I don’t have in my normal everyday life now.  Know what I mean Good Reader? I look back to when I knew more, in my 20s, and I wish I could be so free but the truth is I’m freer now because I know that even then I was tortured.  I’m invested in nurturing myself and opt for deep solitude and real connection. I’m not involved in the chase and while it’s not as exciting I’ve heaps less suffering and misery and pain at my own dumb hands.  There are only a few takeaways you’ll get from a post like this–one being that blogging is passe. The other is that a writer writes and so I’m doing exactly what I should. Lastly I find it fascinating that as we’re hurled out of the blue and into the black I keep calling out and going back to those streets and those women whom I loved.  Chock, stout and deciduous love made in draped and perfumed vessels of their beds, locked and twisting and sweating the same sweat.  I know I stared into the great eye and was pushed and pulled through her aperture and that lying there as the trolleys squealed and cantilevered, and the oaks and gingkoes shook and unwound at the window, I know I knew Life, our struggle against each other to give the greatest pleasure from the rankest pain of being only ourselves, opening there, wide, even if death was waiting and would come closer and closer, I made love Good Reader.  It didn’t stop the end of the world or what’s coming now but I made love motherfucker. God damn. I made love.






2031 thumbnail


Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#51: Dear Miss Dean

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2020 at 2:45 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
New Orleans Division
CC’s Mid City
New Orleans LA

Ms. Dean
600 Piedweltzer Road
Charleston SC 

6/28/18, 12:54PM

Miss Dean

Shame the letter I wrote is still back home but grateful for the opportunity to meet with you again.  You must be feeling some relief, closing the door on your own place after so much time on the road. I’m looking forward to it myself.  My partner and I are leaving this country on the 4th of July. The reasons for the trip have yet to be determined. I interviewed Bernard this morning but we’ve only scratched the surface.  He was born in Breaux Bridge, LA to a retired Air Force cadet and librarian mother. We’ve only just got up to his adolescence, hinting at his college town days in Lafayette booking bands—which is how I came to know him.  We met in ‘98, through my first love. We’ve stayed in touch, obviously, but when I hear of her it turns my stomach. Nice knowing you’ve made the right choice—anyway…he’s been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and been miraculously cured.  He’s got a new lease on life and wants to see how far the dollar will go in the Balkans and knows first hand how important universal healthcare can be. I’m only along for the ride. My mirrorless should arrive today or tomorrow. I need to figure out where to leave my car.  If I drive up, I’ll have wheels when we get back but it’ll cost me $300 in gas and take 2 days away from me that I could be sitting here, in CC’s, working on pitches for travel mags. On the other hand, leaving it here for flood season could be risky. It’d be nice to know someone has their eyes on it and a spare set of keys.  I’ll keep working here until Sunday or thereabouts, when I’ll decide to leave it here or hit the road and head up Charleston way. We’ve got something booked at the Blue Moon Sunday, Bernard and Layla Musselwhite and I, but if it don’t feel right then I’ll make the haul.

Thank you for reading the blog.  Means the world to me.  Sometimes 600 words is the difference between spinning out and getting my arms around the bad blues.  Are you a writer? Something tells me you are. What is this phase of your life about—you’re a nomad? In South Carolina?  If you are and you plan on writing me back (I hope you do), you will have to make sure to get a return address from me. My apartment in Austin isn’t registered with the Post Office yet and anyway right now it’s inhabited by my subletter.  All in all this town’s been good to me. I’m writing, which is the way I measure my self-worth (kidding, not really) but not writing enough. I’m lazy which is good and bad considering how hard life can be. Rest isn’t a waste but wasting time and life is a real shame.  I think I know a little about it. Things I’ve been so passionate about turned out to be worthless endeavors. I suppose I’m talking about love of which I don’t waste time anymore. It’s been a boon, I have plenty of bandwidth for solitary endeavor but the downside is I don’t go crazy over women—which is its own reward.  I don’t chase the drink or drug either which I can’t say enough good about. Just today I read how alcoholism is a chronic disease of diminishing returns—something I felt acutely at the end of my liquid gambol days but couldn’t put my finger on. Put them together—love&booze, and you’ve got a sample of timesucks and petty people who don’t parade my life with their bullshit anymore.  The problem isn’t being alone, Miss Dean, it’s being good to yourself in the meantime. My best self is solitary, or romantic, but without this richness of self I’ve nothing to give. I covet time spent writing, probably have no secret fear of succeeding with it. More than I already am that is—making money at it. The Arts have rivaled the menial and blue collar.  My time is better spent ringing in the dusk with a Steve Earle cover on Frenchmen Street than sanding floors in Mid-City.  Truth.

It’s why we write.  Why we connect. True people will help us shine.  You have. Our time together today has been fruitful.  I’ve staved off some malaise writing you. Cleared the chamber.  I’m bound to get back to it. I’m a travel writer after all and this country is over.

Be well and stay beautiful.

Jim Trainer
Mid City

Out of the Ashtray

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2020 at 10:41 am

This week’s offering is a mixed bag.  It’s a couple posts from The Wire, on my Patreon, and a few words about being back.  Working 2 jobs and self-publishing while honoring my writing commitments by the skin of my teeth–that’s what it’s going to take in this economy.  This is our world now.  Consider however that 13 Patrons, most of whom contributing just $5 a month, have funded my flights for last year’s tour(s).  That’s exactly what I wanted from Patreon, especially after getting slipshod and ran through by the Philadelphia Parking Authority last summer and gouged with a change of flight fee out of Columbus.  Patrons get immediate access to posts like the following travelogue, which is some of my favorite writing and why I got in the game to begin with.  The Wire also features live recordings of shows and songs and readings–a virtual pile of which that PR guru Maureen Ferguson and I will be culling and posting up there soon.  Someone on Bumble asked me what I would do with a year to live.  Without pause I told her tour til death!  Thank you for your patronage and making all this possible.  Consider becoming a Patron and joining me in the struggle for Personal Journalism.  See you somewhere out there motherfucker.  jt



12/20/19, 7:45AM
Austin Resource Center for the Homeless
500 E. 7th Street
Austin TX 78701

The following post has been heavily redacted.

Well.  I ain’t been back a day before the world encroached, closed around my neck and churned its concerns in my guts til I’m angry and sick, feeling trapped and cagey.  This morning at the ARCH someone‘s singing
I can’t be the one you love!
Again and again, down in what passes for a courtyard here.  It’s like a prison yard down there, loud unruly men (mostly) with nothing to do but talk shit and shoot they mouth off.  They’re loud and it’s early and I’m at work.  On the way in it’s a marathon of red lights and guessing which streets will be open and not beleaguered with the endless construction happening at all times in this whore of a town.  Construction and timed reds make a 7-minute drive into a hate-filled 15.  Fixing to leave home this morning, ironing my serving black and whites and not even having time to take out the recycling.  Books and EPs to be mailed in one hand and laptop, iPad and lunch in a burlap Natural Grocers bag.  I bend down to get the card key to the computer lab, placed under my doormat sometime after 10 last night, when I was in bed listening to Malcolm Gladwell on Joe Rogan.  There’s only 2 keys between the three of us.  D. covered for me while on the road and I had the key delivered to him before I left so it was down to him to return it.  I texted him at 4, then after 8.  He finally got back to me, saying his phone was fucked and could we meet after 9:30?  I  told him I was going to bed soon.  He asked if I could stay up until 9:30.  I told him I am going to bed soon and sent him my address.  He dropped it sometime after 10 with a text.  Thanks Pal.
I’ve traveled thousands of miles, spent countless hours wrapping and mailing books, doing readings, having them filmed and all while working full and part time in the last 7 days.  Little Brother picked me up from the ‘port and Spencer too.  Looks like we’re rehearsing Sunday night, just when I thought I‘d get a break.  Guitar player’s going out of town.  So, I’m at the ARCH this morning and St. David’s until noon.  BACK TO THE POST OFFICE after that and then home to stretch and drink coffee, pick up my serving black and whites and captain a party for 75-85 tonight.  Learn these tunes tomorrow morning and try and draft the Poem Of The Week.  Work another party tomorrow night, a lunch on Sunday, rehearse Sunday night, do my shift at the ARCH Monday and finally.  be.  fucking.  done.
I’ve lots of great news about the readings and friends and homies like you who make all this possible.  First I’ve got to get the world off my neck.  Back and I don’t like it,

Austin TX


Brother Will Stenberg reading from No Comebacks at Speck’s Records in Portland in December.

Happy New Year.  I’m writing this on the third floor of the old Bell Telephone building, off Logan Square in Philadelphia.  I’m facing North and the sun and the light on the high rises and old buildings is familiar and strange.  I’m drinking Earl Grey because I’m sick and the truth is it’s bad Good Patron but let’s just keep that between us.  When I get back to Austin I’ll have gone from serving the rich to helping the poor and my body will thank me.  Besides benefits there will be a welcome dip in the stress from my dayjob life.  I could do it but I couldn’t handle it.  Catering is a thankless job but it’s some of the best money I’ve ever made.  It’s a tradeoff I guess because it’s got me sick.

I’m writing you this morning to get a grip and touch base.  It’s been a while and I’m redoubled just thinking about you and your support with a noreastern beam of sunlight ‘cross my grizzled mug this afternoon early in the year.  Patrick the Cat is quiet.  I’m glad of all that’s come and gone, glad I survived even if I‘ve no idea about the future or if I’ll ever be well again.


Tour was a raging success Good Patron and when I think about your gifts I get a real warm feeling.  You helped me pay for these flights so I’m out here speaking and reading and telling stories and getting the whole thing on wax.  PA Spencer Mirabal sent me the audio from the Austin reading at Batch and they’re all keepers.  3 stories told on the mic, a bunch of work from 2031, a letter from ‘07 and even a blog post.  PR Guru Maureen Ferguson and I will be powwowing about how to get all this great material your way soon and then there’s the film.  Plenty of live footage coming your way in 2020 Good Patron.  I’m hoping we can see our way through another year even if it’s one of only so many.  I hope to get out into the territory and look you in the face and see you out there from under the hot lights.  I’ve given myself a rough deadline of 4 towns to hit before we wrap the Year of the Rat.  I’m thinking East Coast ‘cause it’s easy but of course Columbus and some others beyond the gateway to the West and North.

I‘ll start lecturing this year in earnest.  My first stop is the Austin Book Arts Center for a discussion called HEAVY PROSE.  Then it’s on to San Marcos in February, on Uncle Hank’s birthday actually, followed by a reading with the Reverend and Sybil Journal head Stephen R. Spencer III.  I’ll be Professor Joe Brundige’s guest for his storytelling night in February and returning to the wonderful campus of LSU Shreveport.  I’m hoping to get it all documented too Good Patron and put together a reel so I can continue lecturing and anyway paying my freight to towns out in the territory and no doubt double booking whatever cafe or performance space will have me.

What I said about being sick is true enough but I’ve been laying low since Christmas and doing a bit more of it when I get back to the ATX.  I’ve been anxious—who isn’t these days?  But, as soon’s I got started writing you a shaft of warm sun fell on my face like the best blessing and now, especially after punching out these words to you I’m feeling my weight again, engaged in the work and excited about what’s to come.

Can’t thank you enough for your Patronage.  It has literally helped to fund the cost of flights for this tour.  Also you’ve given me reason to rise this morning, this early afternoon on the East Coast when the Birds have lost and the world is on precipice and anyway burning diaphanously down.

We were able to spend this time together Good Patron and isn’t that nice?

Your Warrior,
Jim Trainer
Hostile City U.S.A.


The skies are dark as midnight.  But it’s only 6:25. I drank a cup of coffee too late.  Instead of fighting for parking I came home without the last of my book orders made.  My toilet is clogged. For lunch I had a pickle and wheat thins, dates and a candy bar. I’m trying to get it together for rehearsal tonight but it’s hard.  Hard traveling and I’m not well.

Went by the kitchen to talk to my boss.  Had it all mapped out but lost it when he asked
What’s going on?
I told him I’m taking a full time position with Austin FreeNet.  I’m taking a white collar gig for a nonprofit where the only backbiting they do is about the fucking man.

This morning at the ARCH I had to tell a client 5 times that a password is a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.  It just felt like he wasn’t getting it on purpose. I yelled a lady down at Trinity.  She asked me what I want. I told her I didn’t want anything. She said then why you standing over me. I said I’m not she said you is. I said if you say so she said if I reach out with my arms I could hit you and I said well then we’re going to have a problem then aren’t we?  Then she ignored me and wouldn’t let us through. Volunteers Diane and Sydney watched me go out with a client, arm in arm and with her bag and my cup of coffee in the other hand. 

I’m back home now and cringing that I couldn’t be more real with a celebrity in town and taking some time for photo opportunities with me and my work yesterday.  I couldn’t be real, had to be all business and get my photo op.  I gave him every single one of my books and a couple to his assistant. Though I cringe. I can be 100% real unless I’m expected to be. Then it’s all over, Bubba. Lamp on at the writing desk with fucked bowels and an encroaching storm.  Dreaming of the road.








Tour til death.





In Uncategorized on January 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

It’s wintertime right now, you know what I mean?
-John Cash

No, no, no, no, no.
Bret Easton Ellis

Why not? I know it’s a shame to be white in Philly right now.
Mike Tomaszwski

We thought our white skins would save us, then we got burned…
Yusuf Islam

It damages all of us.
President Jimmy Carter

Yelling in a band is one of the best therapies outside of actual therapy that there is.
Jes Skolnik, Senior Editor

If I can’t dance I don’t want to be in your revolution. 
-Emma Goldman

Good Morning.  Or what’s left of it.  Sitting here cranking this out, 11:48AM, Tuesday before post.  I been back a week tomorrow.  Flew in and played one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve played in some time, at Haymaker’s.  Been working at the ARCH and Trinity, rehearsing for gigs at Whisler’s and drafting this Thursday’s lecture.  I’m feeling passé with every detail of my life mentioned here.  The drab and minutiae, the devil in the details I’ve been able to whip in writing is winning the round.  I’m bored and boring and anyway due for the bad blues that comes when I’m not out there and on the road.  I’m sick too though 4 baby aspirin and a cup of tea gave me the best night of sleep I’ve had in a very long time. I’m sick and I’m sick of it but I’ll spare you for now which is its own brand of torture, I suppose–sitting here writing you but unable to divulge the whole pretty.  It’s counter intuitive and goes against every tenet and sole raison d’être of this blog to begin with.  But let’s press on, shall we?

Tour was a raging success.  I start full time with AFN on Thursday and lecture at the ABAC that night.  All’s well except me but I won’t be weeping long.  I’m getting my mental health together this year and I expect that getting in physical shape will take no small part in that.  I’ll have a travelogue up on my Patreon before too long and most if not all of it will find its way back here and onto the pages of GFtT.  We’ve got film of the readings–ATX, PDX and PHL, and audio too.  I’m coming round on 52 letters posted up at GFtT, taking to letter writing in earnest and anyway writing letters at a reasonable and weekly pace.  (2 a week was a wild expectation and it only kept me from writing.  1 every Friday shouldn’t be too hard to parse, especially as I got Friday afternoons off.)  Wish I could offer you more than this droll housekeeping post.  I’m caught between not being able to divulge and just plain useless, tired and full of the hate and dread that comes with being off the road.  That’s life, Good Reader.  It ain’t all filled seats and hot lights, poetry and airport terminals.  And straight time sheesh–I don’t know how I’ll ever function as a square and after all these years struggling I suppose I’ll give it a shot.  I know the road’s out there and I’m bound to go.  Just got to get some things in order.  Learn how to sleep and eat like a normie and otherwise not be such a fucking maniac about everything except writing.  Getting better.  I’ll still be rabid after those.  It just seems paradoxical or ironic that I’ll be applying my well known and documented intensity to calming the fuck down.

As far as the world, well, I wish I could’ve just went straight for the wisdom because it’s been brewing in me awhile now.  There isn’t anything to do about the end of the world, Good Reader.  Nothing we can do about the arctic floor or the hundred or so species who’ve gone to mystery and left us here to burn their bones.  We can fight, I guess, but even the thought of protest is a slap in the face.  You get to feeling like an ant in amber, viscous and stuck and twirling towards a hot disintegration in the heart of the sun.  This is our world now.  Living without healthcare in a rogue state.  All we can do is be together, have a cold pretzel at Easy Tiger maybe, as we’re flung and thrown into the smoke and stink of karma, flailing to hold on to one more day as we drown in our own blood.





SEND ME YOUR ADDRESS AND I’LL WRITE YOU A LETTER!  jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com


Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#50: Dear Skye

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2020 at 9:55 am

The Office of Jim Trainer
709 Rio Grande
Austin, TX 78701

Skye N. Downing
305 E 5th St,
Austin, TX 78701

2/21/15, 5:12 PM

Hello Dear-

Windy and warm here on Judge’s Hill.  Kind of weather a man can feel his luck.  Trouble these days ain’t the batshit kind.  Not even little fires need putting out.  Life becomes maintenance of the highest order–a tending to the Self.  No more waiting for God.  We’ll bring him down with our ablutions, our mercy, our work and love.  What’s fallen has fell and the days and nights have no more dire consequence.  We lay down with ourselves. We feel it all acutely now.  The Sacred Path of the Warrior is no panacea.  In fact, the more we open our hearts, the more they will be broke.  The broke part isn’t the point of this journey and  even the point of the journey can change.  That’s what the end of my 30s should bring–an end to my resistance.  A realistic look up&down the row.  Not a “how much” but further.  Not an escape from pain but a way to bring water.

The nights now like jangling phosphorescent jewels.  And the days steely and bright, glimmering at the edge of a knife.  We step up now. This is where the struggle begins. Beyond the self and not at war with the world.  We make our way across the wide canyon.  A single tear is prize when flowing from this overabundance inside.  Seeing no opposition, no end.  Free of lust and greed.  Without burden and without our brother but moving towards him.  Moving towards our brother, our sister.  Hear them call from out in the wild.  We’ll hear them clearest in our dreams.

Our engagement with desire snaps, we’re sent out into the wide arms of the world.  The barriers come down.  Lies so long and hard they calcified tendons on the tree of life they choked the sun and made a scythe of the moon.  Our suffering was everywhere but apathy has not kept us protected.  Seeing clear-eyed finally, rising up and out, bearing witness and pulled into and through our one true love.  We celebrate presence now by being present.  We don’t have to heal the world. Evil has been through us and it’s fine.  It wracked us and made a yolk of survival.  But here and now we know.  Here is prayer.  The moment, sweet moment, keeps arriving and departing.  Just as we breathe, in and then out.  And all else falls and will fall and rise again but we are prostrate we are still.   Praise we can delight in the storms.  As witness. Breathing, tending these wild poems of the wind.

Jim Trainer
Austin, TX


Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#49: Dear Demi

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2020 at 9:22 am

125 Hewitt Road
Minverva, NY

Demi Jurada
1726 E. Passyunk Ave
Hostile City, U.S.A.

7/23/17, 10:40AM


What ever will I write you about?  When has not knowing ever stopped us?  On a whim, or because I never do it besides, I dug through the files on my iPad and found my first letter to you.  I was impressed. I was probably smoking back then but was proud at how much I could still wild out, in writing that letter to you back in July 2015–practically stone cold sober. 2015 was a different time.  Everything still had an edge to it then, but there wasn’t any danger except the usual kind—that is, self inflicted.  Now we trundle ourselves wrapped in psychic gauze like Invisible Men.  We don’t want to hear the news.  Now we’re old and we know it, so we sit down—but the for-piss sake kids won’t do it, or anything, won’t make us know, don’t care about albums or the fact that the biggest change agent for racial equality was Rock and fucking Roll.  July 27 marks the anniversary of Chuck Berry’s “Maybelliene” taking to the airwaves like a race riot.  Of course, there’d be Elvis, proto-Nick Cave rockabilly faggot from Mississippi, and the die would be cast. Over in England they sang Leadbelly and made even John Peel nervous.  The Beatles could be viewed as the beginning of the end for this country, if not for the fan they found in Guy Piccioto, 1/4 of the greatest Rock and Roll band of all time.  America ended many times since then, once if you’re Neitchze but enough to make a career out of if you’re Hunter Thompson.

Whoa.  Old boy’s still got it ain’t he.  It’s good to know.  Without imagination I would only hate myself.  I wouldn’t be able to get away with the kind of rockabilly I’ve been dreaming of since punk rock let me down.  Hardcore, really—and the last time I felt genuine togetherness or that we could make a change.  Heading back to my cabin last night after dinner, I recognized the particular trait of a Trainer to judge certain intimacies as inauthentic and thus exclude ourselves while blaming them.  That’s probably the most clever trick of depression, all the more clever because it was never us—never my Dad or his sisters or his crazy mother.  Never mind the fact we were alcoholics and smoked upwards of 3 packs of Marlboro Reds a day.  My father gave me everything but even what he never gave inspired the hunger for it.  I’m miles gone, down a road he either feared or just couldn’t take.  I’ll cut out everyone, though, a luxury he might not have had, what with his father gone out drinking for days—one if he had taken I might not even be here to write you this long and shambolic letter on top of this goddamn mountain with these people.

They toasted me last night.  It felt nice.  I looked into my boss’ eyes and felt alright for awhile, until I considered that it could all just be a lie.  And as for my reflection-
-what if it is and in fact the whole world is a liar?  What if their intiimacy is contrived, shallow and for show?  Should I shut myself off to it, as I have, steel myself and hold myself apart, because they are phony?  Why should we suffer for what they lack?  Know what I mean, man?  Perhaps I could benefit from it.  It was only last year I DECIDED to be open, in dowtown Louisville no less.  Otherwise, I’m just so tightly wound, Demi, I walk to the top of the hill of the drive behind the cabin with my guitar and try and belt it out, like I used to and when I was living the life.  Health concerns and physical limitations stop me but the bottom line, sadly is I won’t let myself go.

The getting was good getting sober.  I did more weeding out than ChemFree on career day.  Ain’t that right Friend.  Spite and anger felt good, especially after all those years sloshing it around with them.  It felt good burning witches at they pyre and watching them squirm.  Their smiles curdling and burnt back.  It’s a shame how shut down I am but secretly I wonder—did I ever open to them at all, or was it just the booze and the lust?  I lost myself then, and that’s what’s needed now, but to what did I lose myself?  This letter is veering dangerously close to making a point.  I never wanted that for this letter.  The Foxes are waiting for me to go into North Creek.

7/24/17, 9:50AM
Wow was that dumb.  I was really getting somewhere and it wasn’t the point I was making so much as the feeling that someone was watching and waiting—which they fucking were.  My boss came rolling up from the other pod as I wrote it…fast forward through dumb hours in town and not even being able to get what I needed to begin with.  That sums up this gig nicely: I have an acid reflux flare up, while on shift. I tell Blair I have to go into town for some Nexium.  The whole family now has a list for me. I usually have a 3 hour break, which is when I thought I’d wrap up my letter to you.  I could sense him waiting, even from the other pod.  I give up on you, go into town, get everybody’s everything and the drug store is closed.  The only thing dumber than the story I just told you would be getting angry about it.  Mad.  Probably where the acid reflux began anyway.  With anger.  As curious and gentle was my mental prodding to you yesterday, today we’ll have to sum it up as anger.  And getting old.

I can’t do it anymore.  My body is giving out.  Which angers and terrifies me both.  I can’t help feeling like I fucked up somehow, to get here without being there.  The fact is we are where we are and someday I’d do wise to not just acknowledge but appreciate the fact that I’m not Rollins.  I told myself that this is it, though.  I’m striking out, taking to the territory.  I’ve told myself that many times, though, which makes it terrifying.  Will I only give in, and settle, and next you know I’ll be doing 30 hours a week in a paint factory and coming home every night to jerk off and type?  The scariest it’s been was one night feeding Blair.  Questions like: “Where’ve you been?” and “What the fuck have you done?” are never good questions to ask yourself, and dreadful and repugnant if you’re over 40.  Suicide makes a lot of sense in situations like these but so does sharing a 2-bedroom apartment and booking 15 gigs a month while working a side hustle writing Creative Nonfiction.
Steady as she goes.  I may have to put some faith in destiny, though never the lazy kind.  There is the possibility I will die thinking “This ain’t it.” and death will be me striking out yet again, death will be the new town and last exile.  How’s that for perspective?

I hate to wrap this up but I will.  Blair and I are alone in the cabin.  I’ve built a fire because it’s rainy and cold up on this mountain.  I send this out in that spirit, Compatriot, Counselor, Pisces, Artist and Gerafalo.  I send this out in the spirit of burning because burning is all we ever had—it lit the way and turned what blocked us to spirit, what held us back to fuel. I’ll admit that it’s love, too, which is probably at the heart of it all, and, after life has fully rubbed me down and rendered me, I’ll see clearly that I ‘ve done just fine.

With Love,

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#48: Brother Baker

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2020 at 12:25 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
4610 Avenue D, #A
Austin TX 78751

Brother Baker
601 N. Lansdowne Ave
The Township

1/13/18, 11:54AM

Warmest Greetings from the War Room-

The office is a tight split between a loft bed and a love seat.  The long curtains are slightly drawn, it’s letting in a diffuse and brown Texan light.  Life is good, it could be better but even my worst day is heaps better than toughing, it out on those flathead streets of our hometown.  The city was better than the suburbs—because there were consequences. The police were slightly better, too, believe it or not, if only because they had bigger fish to fry than a punk rocking poet loony with whisky and chooch.  The City of Philadelphia Police let me get away with more shit than the Upper Darby cops ever would—they even tried to bust me for things I didn’t do. One night, on acid, the UDTP tried to bust me, J and Dan Judge for smashing the windshield of a pickup truck.  Turns out it was Steve Bacchus who, for all we know, is dead now while the three of us left the Township and the city of Philadelphia a long time ago.

Greener pastures are just that, Brother Baker.  Life should get better, and soften us, too, much to the chagrin of the hooligans and psychopaths we grew up with.  It’s spiritually sound, once the hierarchy of needs are met however. We’re sheltered and fed, we can count on the future, then we can look inside and figure how to be there for our loved ones and even our Brothers and Sisters.  Which is lofty and ideal. It sounds good in writing, but, that’s what I do. The reality is I’m in recovery, winnowing and narrowing down to root causes. It’s a lazy way to be and duck and cover mostly. Take last night, for example.  I came home after work and fed myself. All good things considering how slipshod I used to live and how bad it could be practically anywhere else in the world. All within 10 hours, too. In 10 hours I’d gotten out of bed, washed and clothed myself, worked 8 hours, drove home and had a light dinner.  By 7 I was camped out on the loveseat in the office/bedroom, giving the Electric Sun 20 Trial another go. I stayed there until about 9:30 or so and then I went to bed. I’m up late today but fully awake as can be expected after 10 hours of sleep. At no point have I thought of another human being. Nor did I attempt to thrive or push my evolution a notch or so further by exercising or meditating.  This is not coincidence. There was no prayer, no writing ( yesterday was Letter Day ) and nary a thought to the suffering of the world. When I mentioned I’m in recovery, I meant it in every sense. The small fires have been put out—I’m not drinking or smoking, but I’m recovering from a decades long depression and sinking IN as opposed to going out and whooping it up to prove something to myself that I’m not depressed.

I wrote that it wasn’t a coincidence.  I didn’t give a thought to my own evolution nor did I think of the suffering of the world.  They are the same and we know this. Plus it’s not totally true to say I didn’t think of anyone—I knew you’d be one of this week’s letter recipients for Letter Day.  As mentioned, I fell out, but when I woke up I saw you’d liked 2 of my Instagram posts, so I knew it would be you. Interesting times we are living in, eh Brother? We could be well within our rights to give up the fight forever, because the time bomb of our Mother is winding down.  I think if at least the weather wasn’t as fucked as everything else I could deal, I could climb and I could answer the call that is begged of me the better my life gets. Which is the strangest of all, I guess—now that I’ve found the littlest bit of light and it seems to be growing, I’m feeling stronger (or at least wiser) than ever, that I can actually find a reason to smile and mean it, the world decided to end on me, just when I discovered that negativity is the new positivity, too.  Oh well. Looks like I picked the wrong millenium to be happy. I’m sure our Buddhist Brothers should have a lot to say about this and I hope they’d knock some sense into my entitled, ice cream-eating ass—peacefully, of course. Because if they can’t, Steve, if even the Buddhists are at a loss then it truly is our time. All those years fantasizing about the end of the world weren’t just fantasy. It should’ve made us pay attention to what matters but it didn’t. There’s a Bukowski quote somewhere saying all this heaps better than I am at the moment.  I just mean to say I’m shell shocked but getting over, sober but still in hiding. I don’t know what it will take to awaken me but I’m 100 it won’t be the world’s dramas or charms. I’m not even fooled by women anymore, Steve. It’s that bad.

My tack these days is fascination.  And curiosity. And interest. Music still gets me, probably even more now that I’m sober, just like old times.  All Songs Considered blows my mind.  As does the NYT with their 52 Places to Visit in 2018 photo essay this week.  I’m getting off the grid as far as social media is concerned, reading as much as I can off paper and trying to stay present.  Let’s face it, that’s always been the problem, but, and here’s the great thing about writing—in writing this to you I’ve discovered something—some way out of this.  Instead of really being positive as the world crumbles, I think I’ll see how present I can get even as we sink into the Shit. I love a challenge and I hate being told to be happy, so, this is perfect.  Thanks for that, Brother.

Be well.  See you in the Spring.

Ab irato,
Jim Trainer
Austin TX


In Uncategorized on January 8, 2020 at 7:06 pm


But passing laws to make it illegal to sleep outside, or in your car, doesn’t resolve the problems of people who have no place to live. 
Scott Simon

He is rallying rural sections of the state to despise everything that Philadelphia is — a city of immigrants, a city that is very diverse, and a city that rejected him by 85% of the vote last time he ran. 
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner

…get out before you drown…

Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability.
-Ram Dass



I’m sick.  I overdid it.  It’s not a problem.  It’s my recovery that probably did it to me anyway.  48 hours in the chair, binging YouTube and junk food.  That’s no way to recover.  Looking for the OFF button.  Can’t find it, it’s not the usual channels.  Getting texts from friends and loved ones.  I don’t want to hear it.  I could’ve used their love in the day-to-day and they probably could’ve used mine.  So it’s the birth of Christ and we celebrate in greed and sloth and reach out to each other when we’ve been working and trapped in the belly of the beast of capitalism the other 364.  I’m retaining my right to be in hate–prickly, cold and isolated this day above all others.  It’s finally quiet.  No dog or whining kids, no contractor working on that fucking mansion next door.  No subsonic alarms at the fire station on the other side.  Just me and the memories of all the war I fought to be in walls and with a locked door.  God knows it could’ve went the other way so don’t get me wrong.  There’s plenty to celebrate and I will.  Just got to get this out of my system–a foul humor and bad blood and live down the pain body.


I think this may be a precursor to depression.  I certainly hope not but I can’t otherwise figure what purpose this disassociation serves.  Then again it could just be a reaction–the ghost of Christmas past, here to haunt me ’til I shake it and I’m in the clear.  Whatever this blog post is, let it be a record then.  That today I don’t want to hear Merry anything.  I’m glad you love me but I could’ve used you before now.  Sure you could’ve done the same and I’m sorry.  There’s nothing we can do about that now though, is there?  I guess I could’ve wrote this yesterday when I still had the momentum of the last 6 furious fucking months coursing and anyway before I shut down and woke up with gooseflesh and a perma-scowl even though I’m all alone and there’s no one and nothing else but me and you here.  I’m gonna have to work this out and it’s bad, Good Reader, bad as I can remember.  Probably because I overdid it and definitely the pain body rearing.  I’m past blaming anyone anymore though I still want to and have great and swarming anger for them.  It’s this anger I’m trapped behind or the spite and resentment that keeps me from expressing it and trying to work it out.  I’m a shell and I can’t refute that and anyway it’s painfully apparent how empty I am when the rest of the world comes together to rejoice.  Unless of course you’re out there on the row which, come to think of it, maybe a part of me is, too.


I’m still out there, in the cold and terrified.  I’m not understood when I’m with them and today I’m too tired to try.  Pretty soon it’ll be next year.  I’ll have cleared out another run of corpses by then, confusing them for anything other than me.  I’ll light their effigies and send them down river and turn my back on the sun.  I’ve done enough to keep from outdoors but I never came in all the way.  It’s cold and I’m cold but I ain’t lonely, rather–I’m lonely for what never was and separating, cleaving now, even from myself and have no greater enemy than the one in here.  I’m still running Good Reader.  Still outdoors.  I’ve no recourse but to dissociate myself through this chair, go out flaming cosmonaut and spinning in this room.  I’ve rivaled these moments and we all know that depression has only ever been the reason why.  It’s why I write and fight and certainly why I fight in writing.  I’ll live to see another day.  Just got to get through the night, camp out under the black-silver and shiver my way through, until I can get back inside and get back together with you.

Увидимся позже!

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In Uncategorized on January 2, 2020 at 10:22 am

I see, you just aren’t able to stick up for a comrade.

And my attitude about my legacy is ‘Fuck it’.
Rudy Giuliani

Trump didn’t just lose the popular vote — he lost it by a greater margin than any successful presidential candidate in American history.
Michelle Goldberg

I live in a lonely world,  
just trying to survive.  
Alice Carter

I wanted the books to sell at the same price as a packet of 10 cigarettes so that no-one could possibly say they couldn’t afford them.
Allen Lane

I am from Russia, where everyone can be arrested for anything.  But I am not afraid to be arrested.  I am afraid not to do enough.  And I think and I believe that we can change everything, because behind us there are millions of people, behind us there is the science, and activism is the solution.
Arshak Makichyan

I sweat on the clock but save my bleeding for the page.
Rob Kaniuk

From my extensive bible reading, I believe that it will be when God steps in and destroys all of the wicked people.  Rev 11:18 says he will bring to ruin those ruining the Earth.  So excited for this!

for Andrew Rihn, writing the stellar The Pugilist at Into The Void

Welp.  Guess that’s it Buddy.  Another one in the chipper.  One more lap closer to the heart of the burning sun.  Our demise may be the long kiss goodbye and we’ll have to suffer it by degree.  Nothing catastrophic about a sheet of ice sliding off coffers of methane except for a chain reaction that includes the redistribution and exodus of a people that would in effect affect the politic.  If you think ISIS has nothing to do with climate change then you’re as wrong as when you thought the bodiless death of Osama Bin Laden would be the end of war or terror.  At the end of the day I don’t have much but I didn’t have much at the beginning.  I know that in my sister’s garage in Delaware there’s a shoebox full of cassettes in a tote full of fliers, poems and typewritten pages yanked from a Brother Word Processor in the Year of the Snake while living above a carbon leaking furnace in the wilds of West Philly.  Other than those pages and journals and countless letters, I’ve nothing but a faith in the work.  I believe in the work more than I believe in any job I’ve ever had and though there’s little nutritional value in ink and paper, it’s sustained me more than anything else.  I bring up the work because all I’ve ever invested in was a dream, it’s in the ether, so–when the walls come tumbling down I won’t have much to save.  Not like I’m gonna drag totes full of poetry and creative non-fiction with me into the shelter and away from armageddon and the melting atmosphere–or that the digital trail of me and the wanderings of my mind, yay the over 72k words here at Going For The Throat, and approximately 25k words at The Coarse Grind could survive anything worse than a power outage either.  When I say the work I mean the inner work Bubba and anyway what ol’ Uncle Tom Waits called that feel.

I’ve rebuilt myself from the inside out as a writer and cast myself in turns as heroic and horrid.  Either extreme is borne of pure egoism and anyway, as a Pisces love and hate is all there is.  I can get there but I can’t arrive until I’ve put some time in at the desk.  Know what I mean?  I set the scene in writing and better, I sink into the deeper meaning of things.  Wisdom is available to me here–things I could never see while on hustle and running for the money and the flesh.  This is a deeper work and the only work that really matters to me, though, I still can’t answer why.  Why should I go on with this endeavor and continue betting on the muse when we’re only getting closer ain’t it and tumbling diaphanously down?  The end of the Antropocene can really put a kink in things psychologically if not catastrophically and otherwise make living on Earth physically impossible.  The continuation of the race is a faith that even atheists must retain.  Otherwise why get out of bed?  Why reach for anything except or beyond filling our holes with foodstuffs and pricks?  Why Art and why writing and why the discourse or culture?  I got nothing for you man but I’ma do what I’ve always done and that’s craft 6-1,200 words here and another 1,200 at The Coarse Grind, get those letters out especially considering they’ll probably be the only proof I was ever here, and books, because, well–because it’s what I always wanted and all I’ve done for the last 5 years.  I bang it out on a machine older than I am, transcribe it on a MacBook that’s getting there and print and bind them thangs and take ’em from town to town.

What else?

Please join Jim Trainer for a very special night of poetry and the spoken word, next Tuesday at A Novel Idea, in celebration of the release of 2031, his sixth full-length collection of poetry.  Featuring Rob Kaniuk and Maleka Fruean.

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