Jim Trainer

Dear 116th

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2020 at 10:30 am

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When I struck out at 42 I drove a 16′ stakebed through the wasteland of north Texas.  I left the cushest gig I ever had.  It was a live in position and the longest I ever lived anywhere since leaving home at 20.  I delivered electrical supplies for sometimes 12 hours a day, and had to get to the shop in Round Rock by 4AM.  About a month in to the job, I found out my roommate was overcharging me $250 a month in rent.  It was one of the worst times of my life but I borrowed the work truck and moved all my furniture up 45th street to a garage apartment in Crestwood.  I was seeing this crazy bat who left her husband when she got a gastro bypass.  Said she wanted to get laid and left her “fat husband” to start playing the field.  On our first date we got naked in her car in the parking lot of 777.  She left me in the new place after midnight when I told her I couldn’t fuck her if she had herpes.  Spring was good but only when I got laid off.  I wrote Love&Wages and met Little Brother.  I had a good 4 months with a good woman and sold books and read in Antigua that December.

Being homeless at 20 is a trauma I carry.  It informs my decision-making when it comes to working horrible jobs way past when they’re not good for me.  I always feel a job away from the park and I roll the dice with my dental health.  I put out a book every year and sometimes broadsides.  I closed a couple credit cards traveling to Columbus OH last summer.  I sold out of Love&Wages, a chronicling of jobs I worked–as a courier in a flatbed and all the way back to when I was a laborer in the hometown and slept in the park and graveyard with an abscessed molar.  Of all the barbs and crushed days, subsisting as a working poor, I was lucky.  I’m still lucky.  There are patches, of working jobs between, torturous stretches when the pain just goes on.  It doesn’t feel like it will ever end and then I get a coffee shop gig or ruefully suit up in serving blacks I’ve thrown away or donated so many times.  Sweat my dick off in mansions of the shitty rich and get talked down to in a way that begs my fingers round some twat captain’s throat.  My first gig at the new company, I got a $250 tip, released Love&Wages and drove to Houston the next day.  I got on a flight bought and paid for by Little Brother and got back to being lucky for a while.

I delivered corporate lunch that winter.  Bartended on the weekends.  Wrote.  Had a good run with sweet Shanti.  By then my guts were twisted, damage done on the courier gig and being back in the food service industry meant I wouldn’t shit regular or be able to be far from a working toilet ever again.  I moved out of Crestwood.  Into a large 1BR loft with Little Brother and Sexy Cati’s help.  I’ve a writing desk and recliner.  A bed and an upright bass.  I work for a non-profit, in front of a screen for 6 hours a day.  I got benefits, blood-work and am waiting to see the G.I.  I’m recouping Europe and publishing 2 books last year, getting gouged by the PPA and a change of flight and car rental fees while out on tour.  I’ll never forget poet Amy Turn Sharp picking me up in the rental garage.  An emerald green scarf blew out behind her in an icy plume of conditioned air, where she sat in a 2020 Ranger Rover wearing mirrored aviator shades.  I burned out on the food service industry and hopefully for the last time.  I write.  I’m hoping to stay lucky.

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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  1. […] my arms around depression and send up my own worthlessness in under 1,200 words and another 600 at Going For The Throat. Letters and poems to El Informe and another collection out this December through Yellow Lark […]

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