Jim Trainer

Archive for February, 2021|Monthly archive page

ALONE IN THE KINGDOM

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2021 at 11:00 am

God—these hands were in a war?
Tim O’Brien on Fresh Air

They’ve been building three houses next door since I moved in last August. When they’re done for all I know the new owners will price us out. I’m up before dawn, my body still responds to the call of war, and so are they, back hoeing and cutting brick. The Office glows in the early spring light. The snow’s melted and the wild cherries fell. Behind the trellis and the wood fence rich kids throw the ball and whine at each other. I’m standing, drinking mint tea and staring into the sky. The worst kind of trouble blankets and blinds me. The best kind puts me to work. I’m about to start my 46th year and I’ve regret but it comes with a wisdom to go at trouble and get to work or let it take me and just lay me out. I was born with a rabbit’s acuity and raised in a climate of forced loyalty and fear. Blame is fun but it’s a distraction and if I could destroy my enemies I’d only end up with corpses. Though they’re here and my love is, my loved ones are not. I lived a life running and got away with it mostly. I’ve come out on top of every turn but rehearse my every bad deed. At it’s best the pain I know reminds me to be present with them especially when I feel a drift when I look in their eyes. The reminder of my pain reminds me of theirs, though some cannot be helped, and this is the wisdom that made losing you a trade. Which isn’t to say it’s easy. It’s never easy. I’m a default working-class Southwest Philadelphian. Out there it’s survival and I’ve lost my center. I gave too much fighting. I tire quickly and easy but when I look in your eyes there’s a lightning that splits me wide open.

I read you that Bukowski story. I think I came home drunk and living in my father’s town. Though I’d head out eventually, from Albuquerque to Toronto, and those rooms are empty of me and the Hermes—that night you listened, through the phone, as I read you to bed. That afternoon coming up from the cocaine morning, I’d been talking to them but my eye went round the room. You left and I don’t blame you and now you’re gone but not all the way. It’s a crowning shame, to suffer and lose, but be left only with the suffering that made me run away. It was some decade falling through the city but falling’s only good for a while. You’re alone in free fall, your laughter gets hollow, but it’s quiet of shame and there aren’t these thoughts you’re always trying to forget. I’m done with drunk living, and the cocaine, I stand in the court as the new city is raised around me. The rich kids go in, and the back hoe’s still scraping. I can’t hold on to your loss. The smell of March rain is hanging in a sky paling to the hue of a healing bruise. I come in and sit, put you down in writing, gold-panning your memory and feeling your femynyn crack out of dumb bars and late night telephones. I appeal to the goddess, lay this time like alms. I remember you to the point of buckling. I don’t want to let go of the pain even though I’ll have to, to get on with living and giving all you gave me back to the world.

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.

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WINTER IN AMERICA

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2021 at 1:09 pm

It’s 12 degrees and I’m in my car, charging my devices and listening to NPR. I thought I’d try and get some work done while I’m out here because there isn’t anything happening in my apartment where I’ve no power or heat. Last night I lay prostrate, wrapped in a thermal sleeping bag and blanket, until I fell asleep to dream my college-dropout dreams. We had power for less than an hour yesterday so I drafted and sent out the Poem Of The Week. It was back off by the time I hit send, so I wrapped myself up and lay down and didn’t get up until after 7 this morning. I’m not 100 on the details but the rolling blackouts needed to protect the grid turned into power outages going on 30 hours now. Without power, we’ve no heat and some of the coldest temperatures ever are expected between now and Saturday in South Central Texas. Going without power at any time is a health risk but the failure to share the wealth, vis-a-vis rolling outages during single-digit temperatures is deadly. I’ve an 1/8 of a tank of gas left and last I checked the whole town is shut down. Yesterday, when I got to the bottom of Castle Hill and through a wet wind, the gas prices at the 7-11 were lit up but the store was dark and locked. Some people were out there, driving, going God-knows-where. Record-breaking temps have shut down the grid. We’re without power the exact moment we need it most. Downtown’s lit up though and some neighborhoods have had zero interruption whatsoever. Little Brother’s gone 30 hours without on the East Side but in Bee Caves folks are only asked to conserve and keep their thermostats at 60. I won’t pretend to know the whole story but I’m drinking tea and writing this in my car in a first-world country. Austin Energy said the rolling blackouts would continue until this afternoon but they haven’t even recognized these are full-blown outages. I tried but I can’t get anything done in my apartment. After wrapping this post I’ll have breakfast and move around the place putting it in order and not stopping long enough for my blood to still and the cold to creep in.

Some weird malfeasance, no doubt, or else graft and negligence that amount to the same thing. You’re poor it’s too bad in this country, which was ok for those of us who thought we weren’t. But the ground has shifted beneath us. It takes a lot more to do what we’ve always done while the pay has stayed the same. It’s an incremental bleeding and all the cut corners and underfunding really show when we need help the most. We’re a calamity away from the poor house, always. This outage is an utter failure of city and state government. You wouldn’t know it listening to Governor Abbott or from the Mayor’s tone in a town hall yesterday. Austin Energy isn’t offering anything either except a flat-out denial and placing the blame squarely on the privately-owned ERCOT. Mayor Adler was urging us to check on our neighbors, completely missing that many of us wouldn’t even be able to watch the town hall without power and further implying that 43% of this City without heat in its coldest temperatures ever is business as usual. More calls for togetherness and unity. Sound familiar? Saturday’s verdict on the Impeachment was crucial, because the way things are going we’re probably going to need a governmental overthrow, just not one led by a grifting ponce and con-artist. Now we’re locked in to the Left. Raising the minimum wage is a start, but it’s time to ease the standard of living, too. $15 an hour will pay your bills, maybe, but that’s all. What about healthcare and the general assumption that being poor is your own damn fault in this country? Clever trick the masters pulled, always having a foil and someone we can look down on instead of realizing we’re not making it here. I told you last month I shared those Crackers on the Capitol’s rage and I can’t see anything but red and class warfare as I’ve been without heat for the last 30 hours. The bloody turns of 2020, the graft and brutality, and the fact we only got $1,600 since this plague began ought to show anybody—the means of production have been used to control our lives. I was always told you needed a job to buy food and clothes but I always knew that work is how they control you. It should be apparent now. Those who don’t see it, well…I don’t know. No getting through there, I suppose. Certainly not making any points with someone from the township about voter fraud when his documentation is a computer printout “from the Whitehouse” or an email with FRAUD in the subject line. Long is this Winter in America. Brr.


Thank you for joining us at KEEP READING, A Virtual Release. To watch the program (and recieve a promo code to get KEEP BLEEDING IN THE Anno Finem at 25% off, go here. Stay tuned for Night 2 TBA and

KEEP BLEEDING IN THE ANNO FINEM:  
10 Years At Going For The Throat

NOW AVAILABLE AT JIMTRAINER.NET

KEEP READING, A Virtual Release

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2021 at 12:12 am

A winter storm warning remains in effect until midnight in Central Texas. It’s cold at the Office and I’m rip-torn from being up all night. 5 readers from across the world will be with us at the Virtual Release tomorrow. And I hope you’ll join us. Posts chronicling real love at world’s end, wrecked cars and heroes will be featured, and I’ll be saying some words of thanks. I’m not a silver-lining kind of guy. Things didn’t have to get so dark out there for me to realize my love for you. Truth is the worst and best are neck and neck which is why tomorrow’s always precious. Hang in for a turn and things’ll come around. Ride high too long and you’re bound to fall. Tomorrow changes everything. I’m surrounded by the best, and your kindness and enthusiasm are never in short supply. Readers and thinkers, mothers and lovers. Homies and witches and compatriot writers. I know you all and I know you’re at the ready and when I say Go we’re on our way ain’t we. I don’t need an ice storm to appreciate the gas heat. I don’t need a corporate state run by bureaucratic death-fetishists to know that you’re the real thing. You’ve kept me alive this long and now let’s live awhile. Even as the Earth shakes loose her children and terrorism and ignorance are celebrated. We can laugh. We can fight the bastards and still enjoy each other. The ruin and the calamitous sway won’t take you from me and anyway I’m gonna hold you tight. If that’s alright. Look in your eyes and sit in lamplit rooms with you, sipping hot tea as the cold wind blows.

TOMORROW

Join Jim Trainer, and a stellar cast of luminaries, writers and musicians from around the world, in celebrating the release of 

KEEP BLEEDING IN THE ANNO FINEM:  
10 Years At Going For The Throat

at
KEEP READING, A Virtual Release 
on
The Lunar New Year 
February 12 2021
at 7P.M.

NOTHING IS WRONG TODAY

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2021 at 3:26 pm

I’ve never had less to say, that hasn’t been said already, better and even in a worse way. 

I’m writing you at deadline and it’s a fine mess I’ve got myself in. The work needs to breathe and anyway rash quips and bitter judgment could benefit from time. Truth is I’ve been backing off the anger because it’s fucking killing me but without it I only stare at this screen and walk back and forth from the glass doors. All is well in the court and nature’s arena continues under the morning sky. The squirrel stops to stare back at me. His every instinct that a 6’2, 200lb-man can be dangerous is stilled, while I’m just standing there dejected and staring aimless like a rockabilly caveman. Back at the desk, the feeds roll on. I can check Facebook and check in with your battles or go on Twitter if I want to get angry. We’re rounding a year of being shut down and your writer hasn’t written a letter to Ted Cruz or the House Majority leader. When I think about what I wanted as a writer, my perceived failures cement into what, in this business, is called Writer’s Block. That’s what they call it anyway though it’s hardly been an issue. Lack of desire or inspiration to write inspired me, accountability to a deadline lit the flame and anger always kept the fires burning. I’m tired of posts about my psychology, tired of the politic, and the usual slagging that always kept the presses rolling has wreaked havoc on my insides. I’m slowing down as I grow older, praise be, but I can’t know what that means for a weekly column of cynicism and outrage.

It doesn’t mean I’m not writing. Good Reader even yesterday I got over 1,200 down for this week’s Grind at dawn, and cranked off a piece of flash fiction that afternoon. Again, writer’s block isn’t really the issue here but a lack of outrage has put me in a nice place, frankly, a nice place I’m a stranger to and at a loss reporting on. I’ll tell you what it means for this column—no more hyperbole. No more coming for their necks or wet conquest of drunk love. No more rails or vision and no more congress with the enemy. It could be worse and it probably will be. I’ve no more arms against calamity, though, and the reams of tragedy and despair of the Final Century haven’t just sickened and weakened me. The horror of it all rendered me stationary and usually that’s when the hope drains out, when I’m not doing anything but sipping hot-ginger water and staring at a squirrel. Turning away would never work but neither the feckless hem and haw as a participant in a business that’s made only a theatre of our lives. I could tell you I’m lonely for the real thing but it’s rare. Tell you I’ve tasted it and it’s worth waiting for but I’m not waiting at all. I could tell you great and many tales of torpor and thorny days that come with sad odds close to 7:1. I’ve suffered. We all have. The enemy feeds on confusion and would love nothing more than for us to get stuck, powerless, and render a sick devotion from the depths of our despair. I’ve done enough dealings with them. I’ve turned over fantasies of their destitution and rose on a tempest of anger but now I come back down and find I’m sitting here, typing these words, together with you and isn’t that nice?

Join Jim Trainer, and a stellar cast of luminaries, writers and musicians from around the world, in celebrating the release of 

KEEP BLEEDING IN THE ANNO FINEM:  
10 Years At Going For The Throat

at
KEEP READING, A Virtual Release 
on
The Lunar New Year 
February 12 2021
at 7P.M.