Jim Trainer

Archive for November, 2021|Monthly archive page

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#64: Blood In My Love In The Terrible Summer

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2021 at 1:05 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
1024 Lamb Road

Lovely U.
48603 Highway One 
BIG SUR CA 93920

9/14/21, 9:25A.M.

…the dead burn alone toward dawn.
—Saint Philip Levine

Dear Miss U.

It is my great pleasure to have you with me, in this liminal place between tomcats and lizards in the court, and the filth of a life on the fringe in my apartment behind me.  It’s quiet, which can be suspect, especially in these last throes of the Final Century.  I write you of sound mind and quiet heart, mostly.  The skies have gone pewter and this city’s endless fucking construction becomes distant and soon fades.  The sun breaks through as I write this sentence and it gives me joy.  Or whatever it is the sun gives, for me, namely a reason to go on.  The number of times I have thought of ending it followed by the sun on my neck telling me something else is profound and I took notice.  It’s what we do.  We feel it.  We write it down.  Contextualize and frame it and nail it to the wall.  The writing life is a courageous life and even now as mountains tumble and the seas burn we can tell it and so be relieved.  It isn’t just my great pleasure having you here, it is the pleasure of you that starts and piques me, and suddenly in a flash of auburn light you are conjured.  A curious rustling, a molecular alignment of kundalini and curiosity-of-other (you).  You know how I feel.  I won’t try to smooth you.  Or seduce you or any other thing Bob Dylan has, like most things, already said better.  I will write you though, and instead of getting heavy with you via text I’ll just get plenty heavy where it’s good, on the page where I till my land and anyway simply visit with you on this warm, numbered morning of the Anthropocene.  Cholo Proud Boy Siamese paid visit earlier and by grabbing him by the scruff of his neck I was able to scrape away eye gunk from what once were scars.  From the corner of his eye on down the length of his nose I could not access as he’d scabbed over there from mites and scratching.  When I let go he stood there.  He paused, really, as did I.  He felt better and so did I and it is in this spirit I offer you some time together for the length of this letter and however long it pleases you, to either carry around with you or pull out in quiet hammocked moments of exquisite and nameless solitude.  

Wherever two of you shall meet…are you familiar with this passage from the Book Of Matthew?  It is my credo as an artist and simply a way to be.  Yearning for the ether and space between us and anything really to escape my own mind.  An impure impulse with wonderful result.  I feel that way ON THE AIR and at the mic and I feel that way writing these letters to friends and would-be lover(s).  I scale the void with my voice and come across the divide with my body.  Why don’t you meet me there?  In caring hands leaving the self can be blissful, and limitless, with our eyes fully-open.  

I wondered if I came on too strong or that I scared you away but ultimately I know these aren’t things to be flippant or casual about.  I don’t wonder how you’ll feel about this letter as we are together in my moment of writing and of yours reading me.  In that regard my work is done.  I forego the heavy and get right to the heavy, but really it’s not that heavy at all.  I took a shine to you pretty early on my friend, but couldn’t do anything about it and was mindful of your space, i.e. that you are living your life.  As we all are.  This letter is to break out of the faux-now of online living and truly be together, and apart, as we all are.  I know I’ve said several things to you that upon reflection are curious if I let my mind go, and it will if I feel our focus shift from each other.  I’d like to put you at ease with all that and gladly do so here and now.  When I told you I’d like to be friends with you it was in the spirit of respect and that perhaps I should tread lightly.  But I also told you I want to be with you in physical time, that you have captured my imagination and that I find you to be incredibly, off-the-charts and smoking, hot.  Bet, but it’s all good my lady friend, as you are living your life and too licking your wounds.  I came through these questioning thoughts feeling the same.  I’m glad I was honest with you, and it’s new, at least in the way I handled it with you.  My cards are truly on the table.  But also I am cycling through grief, if better each time through, and—should we be an anchor for each other I don’t want to sully it, it’s true.  I’m stepping back with open hands as the Buddhists say but there will be no difference in our relations.  I might not wait to hear from you but I’ve got you in my sights and on the fringe of my daily life and living.  You have captured my imagination and are so very much my type indeed.

There is desire, as stated, and the discussions of that desire.  There is a shared pain and respect between two who have and will continue to see the truth and write it down; or at least admit when we’re throwing up our hands and shine our intention through an audience as other.  There is our lives being led and the general fuckarounds and what-abouts we can drive ourselves nuts with.  And then there are the conversations…I want you to know that I dig your voice, Lovely.  So much.  It tells me so much about you and I like what it is telling me.  You’re pert but grounded and are a slow wisdom.  You don’t miss things and you listen and also you’ve such a seductive langor to you.  When I think of you I think of an auburn fire, burning low and steady on the beach in early September.  And the sea and the sea. 


I suppose the most salient point of this unsane and devotional letter is that the sun is on my back now.  It burns through my black sleeveless tee, and on, searing up my neck and arms.  Sure feels good and warm in that Texas sun.  This line from an old song written right around when I got down here has become a way to be.  A devotional in itself which is simply a call to prayer.  I hope my biblical quotes don’t worry you.  I assure you I am a pagan raised Catholic in the township and as far as quotes and lines—Philip Levine’s is more important and always with me.  Speaking on his mother and the every-Detroit morning—the ever-present past if you will.  He masterfully leaves us there and we now have a reason to burn on or get up before dawn.  Smoke cigarettes and drink water, eat watermelon and come to prayer.  I approach you in this spirit, Lovely, and I not-so-subtly hint at an altar of you, standing tall like a statue, a buxom beauty fit to devote and to be devoted to.  I honor you in all these ways.  In lives that are going on, wounded and wondering why but going on.  In casual late night conversations with your sultry voice on the line, luminous and cold as milk in the dark.  In ways of craft, during one of our last summer’s fading—the craft rising from the claw of the past, putting us here in ourselves and reaching out across the divide for connection and something earthly yet other-wordly.  So above so below.  All I have ever said to you was true.  But speaking of craft, it’s so much better this way, where my reverie and mystique rise from filtered Norwegian Shag in the tray, and the sun shines through me though I am at this time ultimately lit up with you.

Live your life, Poet, and have coffee with me in Philly.  It’s not as heavy as this letter would suggest but it is.  The truth is never or but and.  And the truth is I’ll be in Sellersville and Souderton at some point between 10/25-10/27 and should like to make it easy for us to see each other.  When you suggested coffee I didn’t know where I’d be, honestly, but I have a much better idea now.  It would be an absolute charm.

Jim Trainer

4:44P.M. HAT
Aloha.  You’ve the benefit of just reading this letter.  I’m going to spare myself that, because I know my intentions were good at the time.  It’s all these days later and I am riveted by your visage, commenting on Facebook when I said I wouldn’t.  It’s a beautiful thing.  Since I wrote this letter, you’ve offered to have coffee as friends, and I didn’t care for it, though not b/c it could very well be your wish.  To which I say no problem, except that you were on my mind for many days on end and left me thinking about you on my own until you were worried about me.  As friends, you should know that I don’t view social media as anything real.  I draw from my life, of course, and I am branded as me.  Enough about that.  I will leave it to you to settle the contradiction you offer and add that I was as direct with you as I could be.  I don’t know what you think is going on in coffee shops but what else, Lovely?  Also, maybe you’re confused.  I am too and don’t look at the pictures you’ve sent anymore and anyway I won’t be confused for very long.  As soon as I send this letter off, finally, I will know that I have called out and told it and left it to you to respond, or not, which isn’t my favorite but would certainly be clear if protracted.  From paradise I say to you that we’ll do whatever you wish but get around it, or make it frustrating, or all the heavy things you and I just untangled ourselves from.  I would’ve just texted you but, idk, seems kind of flippant.  xojt




Success! You're on the list.


In Uncategorized on November 19, 2021 at 6:27 am

DARKNESS AT 4, Personal Journalist Jim Trainer Ends It, Dejected & Listless At Dusk …ANNOUNCING THE RELEASE OF STRIDE, Support Yellow Lark Press With A Price Break&Package Deal On Jim Trainer’s 8th Full-Length Collection Of Poetry+A Limited-Edition BroadsidePUNK’S NOT DEAD IT JUST SUCKS NOW, Jim Trainer On Nirvana At Music, Movies&HoopsTOURING IN A POST-PUNK WORLD…DATING IN THE LAND OF NOD, Didn’t Get Laid, Got In A Fight

How’s your epoch? If you’re like me and don’t wanna go all in, you just write corollary (read: extra) pieces to the Real Work and anyway put more effort into fucking off than doing the thing. I got mired writing Part 3 of OATMILK&COLD INSTANT last week, not that having too much to write about is ever a problem. One easily solved, in any event, as I’ve trained myself as a war correspondent in the throes of day labor. I got it in when I could make it and made it count. I sat down and bled and then hit Save draft and hoped for the best. In a way I was a shaman writing this way but it’s not hard to come with the full magic when engaged in craft. We unfurl what else and anyway unravel like smoke any kind of self-reflection that takes us from the moment. The moment is slipping away as I drink my nth cup of coffee and head into this November night of my 46th year cautious if unjaded, and primed.

Part 3’ll be a doozy bet, but in the meantime I am pleased to get ink on Nirvana here and on my own personal plight that we’ve all come to covet and loathe, here. I soft-released STRIDE last week, along with the details for you Good Readers to get your hands on a letterpressed broadside, black ink on lemon drop paper, of RECURRENT. RECURRENT is scheduled for a live reading this week, so join us as it broadcasts live and we can cut it up in real time bet. My troubles are many but my worries are few. When you start your day at 1A.M. you’ve little berth for any come down or talking to. You just move like a bat through the lamplit rooms and creep out just before dawn and down to the bodega for that little light in the night what else, some movement to prove to the streaming traffic you’re here, and then gone, limping like Jack Sparrow and rising up the hill like a post-punk apparition.

Patrons at the $10 level will get a signed and acknowledged copy of STRIDE absolutely free.


Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#34: Dear Gallardo

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2021 at 4:13 am

My first letter to KUTX DJ Laurie Gallardo on the pain of being human and the salve of rock and roll.



In Uncategorized on November 8, 2021 at 9:11 am

LIVING ALL OVER ME, Personal Journalist Jim Trainer Ends Tour With A Bad Case Of The Hometown Blues…SELF PUBLISHING IS PUBLISHING, Support Yellow Lark Press With A Price Break&Package Deal on STRIDE...AMATEUR HOUR EVERY HOUR, Halloween Ain’t The Same & The Age of the Great American City Closes On A Plastic Note…PUNK’S NOT DEAD IT JUST SUCKS NOW, Jim Trainer At Music, Movies&Hoops…BORN TO TROUBLE, BORN TO FATE, Support Jim Trainer’s Personal Journalism On Patreon

The tour was the culmination of yearly jaunts back home going back to ’11.  I’d fly in, do the show, try and hit an ancillary city or make an appearance on-air and then fly back like nothing happened.  The readings were always good but the cost of putting on these shows volleyed between manageable and destitute.  This time I stacked up my losses, though there weren’t many.  I pulled the trigger on flights without a guarantee, and that’s exactly how I’ve always done it.  I lucked out having one leg be a job interview, and my luck continued by word of mouth on the socials. 

New piece of personal journalism up on my Patreon what else. Besides the real chronicling of a time-zone traipsing poet with an anger solution you’ll have access to an archive that includes: songs, performances, readings, hate mail and poetry. Folks at the $10 level have all but funded STRIDE, my eighth full-length collection of poetry due out this December through Yellow Lark Press. We just need you to get there. To sign up and receive an acknowledged edition of STRIDE, go here. I’m also sending Patrons a rare edition of a broadside of RECURRENT, in quicksilver ink on asphalt-black paper just cuz. They’re along for the ride. 6-1,200 words a week on an artist getting by in the end of times, 2 oft, read-live poems and road work—logs and diatribes keeping record of my time in the great outdoors. It’s wild out there, Reader, and I wouldn’t have it any other way than with you by my side.

I’ve wrapped over 12,000 miles and I’m back home in a crouch in the court, drinking cold instant with chocolate milk and burning shag shamelessly. I can’t shake the feeling I’ve got to be somewhere and invariably get blue when I realize I do not. I got a writing gig so youse should look for ink from me in Music, Movies&Hoops on Wednesday and Friday.  A piece on Nirvana and the end of punk rock as we knew it, and a tour journal what else. I’m living the life. Enraptured by gamble. Driving a Japanese car to ultra-chic hotel lobbies and outdoor bluegrass jams trying to scare up work. I’m due for some long hours at a screen—designing broadsides for Patrons and Will Stenberg, and my own and Butch Hamaday’s collections. InDesign should win out that I’ve picked the wrong week to quit smoking. But I’ve got hot dates in libraries and another edition of the Cool Dude Book Club this evening. To say I couldn’t do this without you is obvious to a pitch of the inane. It’s just us here. What else.


Haiku House  

Derby Kenton

Secret Studio

Donkey Coffee

Cavanaugh’s Headhouse

Photo courtesy of Every Love Photography

Patrons at the $10 level will get a signed and acknowledged copy of STRIDE absolutely free.


Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#63: Dear Kate Caldwell

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2021 at 9:12 am

The Office of Jim Trainer
P.O. Box 49921

Kate Caldwell
2906 Fruth Street

1/26/19, 1:05


Well.  This ought to be a delight, for the love as they say and anyway stray far from the invariable routine of writing I have come to painfully understand as head v. wall.  At least that’s how it’s always felt which, let’s face it, feelings are everything.  It’s why the broken prevail and the gifted only go on gliding.  If I wasn’t suffering I might’ve given up and done something else with my time besides stare at a screen and stalk my mortal coil one cigarette at a time.  Wisdom may be recognising how blessed we are, even and especially, within the travesty and dysfunction of our rattled brain and carnival heart.  Country simple—writing hurts but so does living and that pain was worse so writing won out.  I can do 1,200 words now, no problem, but, back in 2010 beer was required and an “inner parent” I hope to God no one close to me ever has to see.  I’ve something like Joan Crawford roaming my psyche and anyway dark motivations inform and inspire me heaps more than anything positive or pollyanna and close to the reasoning of an MFA poet.  The great poet Lamont Steptoe wrote “my dream got broken glass in it” and he ought to know.  My work has blood in it and vengeance is why, if anyone wants to know, though I don’t think anybody does after reading some of my black verse.  There’s a lot of clearing off in my work.  Being a  lifetime sufferer of a major-depressive disorder I’ve come to appreciate stillness more than joy.  I sought refuge in my work and that’s not a bad thing but now, from this peak, I can see the chain.

I don’t sing because I’m blue anymore but that doesn’t rule it out.  The truth is there is nothing wrong in my life right now.  I can write a song about anything in the world.  Whatever strikes my fancy or piques my interest, which, let’s be honest—is terrifying.  Tabula rasa, indeed.  What I am trying to say is Art has taken me to the other side, Kate.  I’m here, I made it and I’m glad I did.  The tricky part about being a 43-year old Artist who’s used his angst as fuel and vengeance as his motivation for the better part of his career is when peace comes—what then?  Every songwriter worth his or her salt knows that writing a happy song is probably the biggest charge that comes with the job.  The blues?  In my sleep honey.  Heartbreak?  Ha.  I don’t think I’ve written a song that isn’t about heartbreak.  But happiness?  Joy?  Even Madonna knows there’s no point in writing when you’re happy. Everything’s connected and everything is shrinking behind it’s own facade but true songs about real happiness are a hard dollar and a harder sell. Just ask Cory Branan or Randy Newman.  This culture can choke on itself but Rock and Roll can never die.

Thanks for this opportunity.  Letter writing is a fount for me, and I’m able to loop around my bad blues and depression or any thorn and thicket of life keeping me from banging keys.  Ask Stephen King.  Taking the focus off the self is never bad especially if your gig is at least thirty six hundred words on the Night Kitchen of your own skull, and the frame of reference for your work is you and you alone and for fuck sake.  Also I am especially inspired to write to such a brilliant and gorgeous dynamo as you.  You’re making this easy, Kate, easier than it usually is writing to others which is anyway heaps better than writing for and/or about myself.  The Lonely Kingdom.  Either way, I’ve come to covet the diffuse light through these apartment blinds.  I’ll crack them, sure, right around cup#4 of espresso roast with honey, like I do.  Coffee is such a workingman’s drug and profoundly writerly.  Cigarettes too, I suppose, and bourbon and these are a few of my favorite things.  I can’t think on what my heroes would’ve done because they would’ve done all 3 plus something a little more, maybe, a pick-me-up for the dark, hungover mornings.  Put it to you this way, Dylan Thomas would not be my go to for inspiration on how to write sober, Buk or Thompson either.  I’m a writer so I need to write and that much I will gladly and continuously from them glean.  That leaves Rollins, Uncle Hank.  

Henry is known to drink black coffee.  He’s an Aquarius, like you, and he’s got the disciplined insanity of one.  He’s probably had the biggest influence on me out of all of them.  He basically said to me, at a young age, that I could do it and in fact would.  I’ve no other way to explain the change that came over me when I first saw a copy of One From None on my friend J.’s stoop in 1992 in thee hated and most-reviled hometown of Upper Darby PA.  Thank god for heroes, eh?  Or else where would we be?  Don’t answer that.  The strangest thing about regret is its motivating power.  Nothing inspires me to blindly strike the monolith and attempt the impossibility of surviving as a writer in the new century more than knowing I done goofed.  I fucked up, Lady.  The decades, the moments, in the thrall of nothing at all when depression would not let me off the hook.  I understand it’s a disease now and I’d never give that back.  I know what it’s like to let it go because I have and I’m older than I ever hoped or feared but—I’ma have a go again.  Because fuck ‘em that’s why.  Roger Daltry ain’t the only one whose love is vengeance and I know losing well enough to know regret doesn’t make a shit in the long game unless it’s fuel.  It took me 43 years to arrive at this moment.  I’m not letting it go.

Stay beautiful.

Ab irato,
Jim Trainer

Friday is #letterday. Send me your address and I’ll write you a #letter
#goingforthepost #goforthepost #jimtrainer #writerslife
Friday is #letterday. Send me your address and I’ll write you a #letter
#goingforthepost #goforthepost #jimtrainer #writerslife