Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘alcoholism’ Category

Our Art

In Activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, Being An Artist, depression, getting sober, mental health, politics, PROTEST, self-help, sober, sobriety, straight edge, suicide, travel, yoga on June 15, 2017 at 12:35 pm

…when you’re sitting across from a doctor in New York and you know that you’re going to have to live out the rest of your life without drinking, and know that it’s entirely impossible to do, to almost 17 years without a drink-it’s impossible not to have some sense of gratitude.
Richard Lewis

You don’t just fucking fall into the abyss
.
-Vinne Paz, BSBB

without which
bones
are the only trace
of our being
having been
-Christia Madacsi Hoffman

Bury me in the colors that everybody hates, and I can take them with me.
Omar Lahyane

You are God hiding from yourself.
-Hafiz

Aho.  This could be some kind of epilogue to the “suicide blog” I wrote last week, drinking Americanos and Bui at the bar in Paradise.  I’m back from the island and healthier than ever but I’d still kill for a cigarette.  I’m in love with Yoga again and it’s a healthy love.  It’s devotional and daily.  I think I might’ve mistaken it for a panacea, and rightly so-the way it made me comfortable in my own skin, something I hadn’t felt for decades before that shiny Fall day in South Austin when I first went to a Yoga class.  Of this I don’t need to remind.  My time at Bat Manor is well documented.  Scroll back through the letters and screeds, the posts, rants and interviews for a Portrait of the Artist As A Beer Swilling Pussy Hound.  Somehow in the middle of all that anger and madness I found Yoga and it’s blossomed in me, and put me through the ranks from a pouch of Norwegian Schag and 6-pack a day to the odd and dysfunctionally sober writer before you.  I still fantasize about smoking, but my desire for bourbon in the a.m. has ceded.  I left it in the sand, out front the patio of my hut where I talked about alcoholism with my friend Jenni.

It’s back to Babylon and putting the time in, on the job and living out my end days in this commune, waiting for some warm thing to come along.  Politics are fucked, that’s nothing new, but I can’t in good conscience sit here in apathy, typing in my underwear with a cold cup of Italian Roast, and not reach out to my congressmen.  It’s the least I can do, especially considering I don’t do anything else politically, or actively, barring this blog and opening the channels of communication about sometimes feeling like you should end your life.  When Affordable Care first came through I really had to reevaluate my anarchistic beliefs about government and man, but that was back in the heady days of the New Century, when Obama was the man.  It was a gravy train.  I was high on the hog living here, sleeping with my Editor drinking whisky in the jar.  Then the other party moved in.  They fucking swarmed.  They had you behind them, The America, because you’re afraid of black people.  So they’re trying to take it away.  It’s business.  It ain’t a two party system but a system that either fucks you outfront or from the back and it used to be the best show in town before you voted in a pro wrestler to lead the free world.

As far as mental health and suicidal blogs are concerned, y’all really surprised me.  You get it and I’m never alone long, here at my outpost in the wasteland.  You understand being in pain so acutely the only way you can see out is the Great Exit.  Or, you don’t, and frankly, some of youse’s ideas about depression and suicide are as archaic and ineffective as bloodletting.  Shame on you if you’ve ever blamed someone for mental illness and what the fuck is wrong with you?  You know that’s their game, right?  Mike Pence would love to try and fix you if you love anything other than a hetero partner you call Mother by your side at all times to keep you from getting The Gay.  Christ.  Sorry.  Ain’t even been back a week and anger’s rising, the angst and ire, my friends and fuel, flooding the veins like a fix.  Now I’m at a loss and I don’t know what to tell you, Brother.  Except this…

Shit’s fucked.  We know this.  People like Mike Pence and Tucker Carlson are walking around breathing the same air as me and you.  But in the other hemisphere they’re learning that empty patriotism and tired American tropes are deadly, Sister-taking out villages full of mothers and children who, like you, only want to live and see another day on this shrinking black ball.  If you can get away then you must.  Disengage. Get the fuck out of dodge and get the world off a you.  I’ve pulled myself, back from the brink, and I’m here to tell the tale and do what I can.  You’re not alone.  You’re one of us.

And if you’re one of them, well, I’ll see you on the street motherfucker.

Fuck

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, Boredom, depression, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music journalism, music performance, new journalism, news media, politics, PROTEST, punk rock, self-help, sober, sobriety, solitude, straight edge, TOUR, War, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, youth on May 18, 2017 at 10:53 am

It’s beautiful down here.  Great weather. No stress. People come here, they live to be 100.
Joey Merlino

We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death.
GY!BE

As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face up to what challenges us. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but everyone who has to undergo hardship, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome what troubles us.
-The Dalai Lama

We are living in a news cycle that can be measured in nanoseconds.
-Dan Rather

If this doesn’t take you down,
it doesn’t mean you’re high
-Soundgarden

Yo.  Trainer here, at the bougie coffee shop, where the jazz is smooth and the skin is white.  I can’t complain but I will.  It’s been a long time that I should be far from here, and I’m way past being sick&tired of my own bullshit.  Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to spend some time with others, hang out and fraternize, but-most of them are worse.  What an existential stalemate I’ve reached and for shame, too.  I’m in the prime of my life with money in the bank but all I can do is bellyache about how easy living is down here in the Pearl of the South, crank out another 400 words and go home and jerk off.  Oh well, it could be worse, I could be satisfied with life, like any of these feel goodies here at the coffee shop seem to be, listening to Curtis Mayfield, eating bananas and grinning like imbeciles.

This could be a great opportunity to take to the streets, or hit social media and throw my complaint onto the pile.  I can’t even pretend to care anymore and it could be because the whole thing has been at hysterical pitch too long.  No wisdom can be discerned.  I see outrage and I understand.  I see smug complacency and I didn’t think I could ever understand but-look at me, with my fat stomache and apathy, black clothes and apolitical angst.  Whichever side you’re on, one thing is certain and that is the genie can’t be put back into the bottle.  Racism is the biggest problem in this country, barring imminent ecological disaster, and the American experiment has failed.  We ain’t gonna make the nut.  It’s all over baby blue, big business has trumped all and the thing that really spurred it on was as dumb as the color of our skin.  I can’t pretend I’m not entitled, no matter how much I ignore the national scene.  Does my apathy anger you, Good Reader?  If so, then use it-impeach the fucker, eat the rich people, start a riot in the street and burn it all down.  Let these be the chronicles of a sorry bastard who didn’t care, or whose own emotional load was too close to capacity to affect anything except putting out fires.  It’s that bad.

We came up with a soft date for my departure, and it’s after the summer and the over 3,000 miles we’ll be doing up to the Adirondacks and back.  I looked at a car today.  Lady wanted to sell it to me at almost a grand over the Kelly Blue Book value, and that was after my mechanic found about $500 worth of repairs she claimed unaware of.  It goes on.  Psychologically I suppose I’m at a crossroads.  The worst is done.  I’m sober now.  I’ve survived and I don’t even entertain the bad drama needed to get laid anymore.  Mr. Excitement has retired, the dreamer is fully woke.  I suffer bad anger and terrible boredom though, the former flaring in my abdomen and stiffening my neck and upper back, literally getting my haunches up and cursing to myself in the dark.  I can’t carry that burden anymore, either, Brother.  I feel like there’s an opportunity here, that I could do a lot better than cranking out 600 word complaints to you and generally just getting by.  My first time on the therapist couch I’d been up for over 72 hours on whisky&cocaine.  Safe to say I’m over that.  I’ve survived.  Maybe it’s time I give my man a call and see if we can thrive.

See you next week motherfucker.

Eunuch Blues

In alcoholism, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Bevan McShea, Charlie O'Hay, getting old, getting sober, hometown, Jim Trainer, mental health, mid life, middle age, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, solitude, Spoken Word, straight edge on April 20, 2017 at 11:22 am

Recorded live at Brickbat Books, Philadelphia, September 2016

Catch Jim Trainer speaking in Boston next Wednesday April 26, at the Middle East Corner, with the Reverend Kevin O’Brien, Duncan Wilder Johnson, The Droimlins, and Jim Healy.
8:30PM, $5 advance tickets, $8 day of the show.  Please click here.

Jim Trainer will be speaking and reading from All in the wind, his latest collection of poetry and prose, at Toast Philly on Thursday April 27 with local favorites Charlie O’Hay and Lamont Steptoe.  
7PM, Please click here.  

Jim Trainer returns to the Mill Street Cantina for a special 90 minute set on Friday April 28.  
9PM, Please click here.  

“We are not the dreamers of dreams. We are the word become manifest.”

In alcoholism, Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Charles Bukowski, depression, getting sober, going for the throat, hometown, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, Performance, Philadelphia, poem, Poetry, poetry reading, poetry submission, Portland, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, solitude, Spoken Word, straight edge, submitting poetry, working class, Writing, writing about writing on March 16, 2017 at 2:25 pm

 

Won’t You Celebrate With Me?

In activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, anxiety, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, birthdays, blogging, blues, day job, depression, getting old, getting sober, hometown, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music performance, new journalism, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, therapy, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga, youth on March 2, 2017 at 4:12 pm

…this way or no way, you know I’ll be free…
-David Bowie

In 92 hours I’ll be 42 years old. That sounds heaps better than I could’ve ever imagined in the angry, useless days of my youth. I’d been pushing it hard until 30. I didn’t think I’d make it, which was a perfectly dumb and tragic thing for a young punkrocker like me to say. The reality was I didn’t want to make it, but to say I wasn’t afraid of dying is only half true. I was obsessed with it, caught up in its vicious thrall, and those were the days. With a profound and fortunate bit of sorcery I had somehow sublimated my utter fear of death with growing up to be anything like my old man.  So on my 25th birthday I began celebrating my birthday properly-I celebrated myself. If I wasn’t doing anything to get closer to my artistic ideals for 364 days of the year, then I would deliberately do something to further that end on March 6, every year until I died.
On my 25th birthday I strung up my old bass.  It was a small gesture that eventually brought music back to the fore, as I’d been concentrating all my efforts on spoken word ever since I failed my audition for the University of the Arts in the Fall of ’94. I couldn’t have known the importance of planting that seed but many birthdays to come were celebrated by playing a show. I bought myself a 1969 Gretsch Single Anniversary Archtop, and switched from playing upright bass to being at the front of the stage, singing and belting ’em out for years in Philly, until I pulled stakes and followed that high, lonesome sound to Texas. The pendulum swung back to poetry and spoken word with the publication of Farewell to Armor, but the healthier I get the more I feel the need to get back up under the hot lights and scream my fucking head off in a post-punk or junkrock outfit. Getting healthy took me out the birthday game.  My 40th only found me circling the chimneya outback with a young redhead in knee highs, smoking all my Marlboros ’cause I didn’t want to wake up a smoker.

I’m back in the birthday game, mon ami, and I’m going full throttle into the Arts and doing what I love. I’ve got the resources and, after years of going without, I know what I need to get by. As much as I loathed another day on the planet, let alone aging another year back on the too-small, working class streets of Philadelphia, I couldn’t be more excited about being 50, and that’s because it’s 8 years from now-8 years tightening the screw and devoting more and more of my life to Art. It’s incredibly strange and ironic that I’m swinging upward as the world begins to really roil and spin, darkly and further out from our beautiful potential. Far be it from me to ignore what’s going on out there on the street, I must be steady and find a way to affect and interact with the people that I love. We both know it’s fucked out there. My point is, it’s been fucked in here, for as long as I can remember, but now I can feel something resurrect, and I ain’t stopping but considering my health and sanity and what I can give to those in need. There’s a war raging out there that never had anything to do with me. I know that these days it’s probably acceptable to fault me for that attitude. But concentrating on my community is the only way I know to get higher. The rest, it seems, is just furor and hyperbole, diverting us from the heart of the matter. For my 42nd birthday I’ll be doing me and I is another.

It’s never been more important to be punk rock then now, Brothers and Sisters. We are all we have. Let us do work.

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

by Lucille Clifton

MOVE

In Activism, activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, depression, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, politics, PROTEST, punk rock, recovery, revolution, sober, sobriety, War, working class, Writing, writing about writing on January 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm

There’s colors on the street
red, white and blue
-Neil Young

…I have no worries.
-The Dalai Lama

Time is runnin’ out I’m comin’ right down to the wire
gotta go do something to get myself higher
-The Velvet Underground

I’m sitting on a backlog of posts that chronicle my road to recovery from my homeless hometown beginnings to my modern day battles with depression in Paradise. These posts offer a more definitive and specific timeline than my unusually hyperbolic tellings of devastation, sexual conquest and ego mania.  They’re a good answer to questions like “Did that really happen?”.  I’m at the end of my rope here but not for creative reasons.  The blog is cutting too close to the bone.  I’m sober now, and there’s a whole world of drama and conquest I’ve sworn off.  I’m reduced to surgery on myself, without anesthesia, and live on the world wide web.  There was no better grist for the wheel than my decades long fall through the Night Kitchen.  Boredom could be a root cause of alcoholism, which is to say, existential dread.  Down here at the Office we got nothing but, good Reader-malaise and anger, agitation and the rest.  These are the colors of my palette and of course the canvas is you.

Those posts and essays were drafted for what I thought would be my weekly column.  My work was refused though, and I never tried that again.  I figured I had you and we had this blog and I’ve always done better aloof, on my own and conquering my own world.  The truth is I’ve only drifted further and further out-dangerously into my own orbit.  I suffer 100% less of their bullshit, but the full 100% of my own.  I’m depressed.  The beast in me is winning the round.  Stories on the radio have profound psychic effect.  I’m paralyzed in the prime of my life with almost any option I choose open to me.  Weeks gone by, Thursdays, 3 and 4 day weekends sleeping late and staying in.  I’ve held to my obligations, I work, but I haven’t been writing, and this blog’s been the only thing that’s kept me in line.  It’s not as bad as it used to be and to the depressed mind this is somehow supposed to be good.

There are certainly more important matters on the dais.  Tomorrow this country could roll back to the 20th Century, we could find ourselves working around the clock to pay exorbitant medical bills or just fuck off and die.  People are enraged and roiling and the New Dumb would rather wage war than show compassion for their fellow human beings.  I’ve never been here before, where the storm within is only matched by the storm without.  I feel fucked and the world is getting there.  It’s not news to me, or you or anyone that somewhere someone is always getting fucked and it’s usually by this country.  It’s gone unchecked for too long, our selfishness and exceptionalism have gone too far.   The beast is eating itself.  Then again, if you ask the poor, the black, the disenfranchised, it’s been going on from the beginning.  I have no solace for you, good reader, let alone a point of light for us to focus on.  All I know is, I’m getting depressed again, I can’t stay here and the New Century is about to take a dark turn.  I’m hoping my backlog of posts written at the request of Brother Bean and Raw Paw Magazine will get us through.  The shit is here, it’s landed and I’ve got to move or I’ll be crushed.

Hope to see you on the streets motherfucker.

A Constipation of Wisdom

In Activism, alcoholism, American History, anger, anxiety, mental health, mid life, middle age, politics, PROTEST, recovery, revolution, self-help, sober, sobriety on November 10, 2016 at 7:59 pm

…living systems need shocks to stir up stagnant equilibria and stimulate development.
Jonathan Zap

The idea is not to confront bad ideas but to come up with good ideas.  Otherwise, your enemies define the game and you are the loyal opposition.
-Terence McKenna

Turns out it was just a giant, toddler arm-sized turd. A Moby Dick of a thing that I felt like I was having a stroke while pushing out. I tried last night but I thought maybe I was just tired. And this morning I thought I was just blue. Then I went out, into the America, and caught every red light in Austin’s antiquated downtown district. Got to the CVS, parked. Waited in line and wondered, is this it for me, just when things were starting to get good?  Would I only succumb to failing health-shortness of breath, enlarged prostate, constipation and failing eyesight? I’m 41 and the thought of it horrifies me.

In allot of ways I’m just getting started. Certainly past and over allot of stupid shit that was weighing me down.  When you’re done putting out fires you can get some real work done.  If you take away the cycles of vulnerability and isolation I’d been riding for the last twenty-six years, I’ll be wide open.

I know I’ll have to face the America because it’s everywhere.  I’m starting to grasp what my heart always knew.  The path to sobriety is only the beginning.  Next are the emotional intoxicants.  Anger (my favorite) and apathy, anger’s comedown. There is a world that needs me, and, truth be told, that I need.  I need to make it mine, really bleed and put my heart into it.  Not caring just isn’t cool anymore.

Back on the can and feeling even closer to death, I thought about the dramatic and self-serving people in my life. I saw that I should start thinking about serving the world but that I would need to start with me.  The pendulum swung right back but I wasn’t just being a prick.   Whatever pearls of mine the swine were holding onto would have to be the price.  I wasn’t wrong to try with them, but I’d be wrong to keep trying.  I would have to clean house.  I was needed elsewhere.  Then I flushed it down.

Today, after the 2016 elections in the U.S., we are living out the example of what happens when what goes unacknowledged surfaces and it feels like a new reality but you know in your heart it is not. To suffer based on expectations is to live haunted and hunted. But we are fortunate. There could be no other answer to our meditation and prayers in dissolving hatred than to be placed front and center with it and be exposed. When a shift in a system has occurred, especially one that causes fear and discomfort, it allows for something strikingly different to appear, furthering our evolution as people. We can only know where we are going when we get there. Many of us have been practicing Buddha’s teachings or walking a spiritual journey forever and preparing for every moment of our existence. We are ready and have been waiting for this time. Our rage, pain, and anger are to be exposed if only for us to transform and mature with it. In Buddhist practice we say congratulations because now is the time we have been practicing for. No more just practicing the dance. We must now dance. And this is not a dress rehearsal.
-Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Low Drama

In alcoholism, anger, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, depression, getting sober, going for the throat, hometown, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music journalism, music performance, new journalism, news media, Philadelphia, publishing, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, travel writing, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on October 27, 2016 at 11:55 am

“So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here―not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, Hunter S. Thompson

…In the city there’s a thousand men in uniforms
and I’ve heard they now have the right to kill a man…
In The City, The Jam

When I first got into the blogging business, I was up to my knees in a day gig.  It didn’t pay much, $7.50/hr, and not much was expected of me-just 40 or so hours a week putting tags on orange merchandise for the University of Texas COOP, in a cold building on the corner of Real&Alexander.  I could’ve played it right so many ways back then but I didn’t play it at all.  I was young, 34, and new to town.  The woman I was living with back home had forced my hand.  While living with her had all the trappings-4 walls and a hot blonde milf with blue eyes and big tits-it was crazy, ’cause we were crazy-so rattled from our dysfunctional upbringings we couldn’t dislodge from the deathgrip of each other, and the sex was incredible.  I didn’t play it any way back then, working in the warehouses.  I didn’t have the luck or what some call confidence to go for what I had come for.  The Rockabilly Dream.  I had my first piece of journalism published by the end of my 5th month here so maybe I was leading in with the writing.  The truth is I didn’t start blogging in earnest until a year later.

Laid off as a bartender and emboldened by articles appearing in Verbicide magazine, along with the news that I’d be receiving $444 biweekly from the state of Texas in unemployment compensation, I figured the time to be a writer was now, or, then.  The Fall of ’10 saw me suffering one of many well documented crises of faith I have suffered throughout my lifelong career in the arts.  A crisis of faith can best be described as do or die.  If I didn’t make it as a writer, while on unemployment in Texas and during my 35th year, I’d be doomed to factory warehouse work, promotions work, bartending or hospice care.  That’s what life offered me then, what it looked like.  But what a wild, reckless time I had trying to be a writer.

The image of me standing up bourbon drunk in a black convertible speeding through the barrio with a sexy redheaded nurse at the wheel is a good one, a fine image to have.  But also, many black mornings, much anger and frustration, much banging of the head against the wall.  My writing regimen of an hour a day had been upped, naturally, to 1,200 words a day and it was nothing but pain.  Looking back I was learning the hard lesson that whatever you do in the Arts, and more importantly, despite what you think about whatever you’re doing in the Arts, doing something is not doing nothing.  It all counts.  If you’re diehard and Irish like me, something will have to give and if you’re up against the wall, does it really matter what gives?  Your head or the wall, Pilgrim-but let me tell you something-there are many ways through a wall and if you’re lucky, like me, you can make your Art about that and many will join you and celebrate through you, get behind you and push-until you’re through.

This blog is what it looks like on the other side.  I know that with the littlest amount of discipline, I can come up with a 644 word missive and whale-killer of a blog that’ll sink any amount of blues and malaise and anger and sexual frustration.  I know how to do it because I put so much time in doing it.  My blogging medicine is strong.  Now when I say the littlest amount of discipline, I mean that what you’ve read so far took me 20 minutes.  Most blogs do.  It’s the excruciating tweaking and editing that takes up the nut of time needed to get these up and posted for you good reader.  20 minutes to wrap it-my blues, my anger, the jagged edges of sobriety and Kelvin depths of loneliness.  What a blessing.  What a goddamned miracle.  You know how I can do all this in 20 minutes, Brother?  Because I’ve spent days doing it.  Yep.  1,200 words used to take me 8 hours, a 6-pack of Black Lager and a late night drive through the barrio.  Now I do 600, for your benefit, and at the speed of the Age of Information we are living in, and I do it in 20 minutes.  Is it good?  I’m happy with it, extremely proud at times, but ultimately comfortable in the knowledge that if you want to write good, write bad.  At the helm, in the War Room, at your desk or easel, even on the road at the MAMU-there is no wasted time creating Art.  This, right here, is the best 20 minutes I’ve spent in the last 3 weeks, Sister.  Now if I could only find something to do with the other 1,420 minutes of the day.

See you next Thursday motherfucker.
Vote with a bullet.
Trainer, Going For The Throat
Austin, TX-Nationwide

Slow Day At The Office

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, new journalism, PDX, Performance, politics, Portland, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga on October 21, 2016 at 1:40 pm

It had nothing to do with drugs, the F word or being cool, and everything to do with the fact that Thompson never lost his sense of appropriate outrage, never fell into the trap of accepting that moral compromise was somehow a sign of growth and adulthood.
-Matt Taibbi’s Introduction to the 40th Anniversary Edition of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 by Hunter S. Thompson

Nothing on climate change, nothing on poverty, nothing on ending the war in Afghanistan, nothing on banks, on housing, on education, on campaign finance, health care, racial injustice….

Jeffrey St Clair on the Presidential Debates on Wednesday 

Welcome back motherfucker.  ‘Tis I, the bitter and grizzled one.  I’m siting here sipping iced coffee with a bum leg-amidst piles of poetry, calendars, lists, and Hunter Thompson books.  I just finished Generation of Swine this week and I’m a quarter into Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail ’72.  I have a lot to say about the good Doctor and his eviscerating view of politics in this country but not a damn thing to say about what was going down on just about every TV set in the country last night.  To the disappointment and chagrin of every hard working and earnest participant in this thing we call democracy I am not voting on November 8.   That’s about all I have to say about it.  One less voice oughtn’t tip the scales, right Brother?  The way some of you are carrying on, my silence can only improve the landscape, or at least afford me the peace of mind to get these 600 words written and posted up for you, good reader.

The psoas is cranked tight.  11 days on shift with an anger problem has fucked me, Pilgrim.  I take hot baths and do what Yoga I can.  That, and sessions with the lovely Cecily, coupled with long bouts on my back has been the sum total of my time off so far.  I stepped out to see Turning Tricks With The Darlings chop a man’s dick off onstage last night at Bedpost Confessions; and with these scant hours before my Third Thursday at House Wine tonight, I’ll try and get to the kernel of it.  The Wisdom, as Dr. Thompson has eloquently referred to it.  The reason, the meaning, the gist and the thrust-the why if not the how.
Truth is I can’t tell you nothin, man.  I mean I just spent 296 words telling you how I’m gonna come through with 300 more, and that they will have weight and discern some meaning from the spinning circus of birth and death we are all caught up in.  And just as I set that up and build enough tension and thrust around the thing, I tell you I’ve got nothing.  That I’m laid up in between gigs and the day job with a bum leg and an anger problem.  That I couldn’t give less of a fuck about the dog and pony of Presidential politics, I’m behind deadline on the next book-I should’ve been in Portland by now, and without drugs or alcohol, without the cigarette I need so fucking bad right now, the only thing I can do is write to you.

Oh but what a blessing, eh Sister?  That what’s wrong with me is what’s right with me.  That anger and anxiety, lust and greed and spiritual poverty-this is what spins the wheel of dharma round.  That I’m totally gone and halfway to nowhere.  I don’t mind standing at the back of the theater, dressed in black and sipping seltzer, laughing at Nikki DeVaughn.  That I’m the King of Irish Goodbyes and I don’t mind being alone for long periods of time.  I’m a freak and you’re a freak and we’re all freaks in this Circus-except for the squares, who ain’t right, at all.  In a geeked out way I feel I’m really coming into my own.  I feel like I’m gonna wanna be sober for what comes next.  Life is the strangest trip and I don’t want to miss a thing.  The dark can take its turns, the job can take its pound of flesh.  And the TVs can blare blue light into every house and home as the Autumn rages on-and our days dwindle and we find what little love there is in these waning hours and dare to give of it and make it last.

And that’s all it is.  This blog.  You, me.  This thing we got.  A torch.  Thank you for burning yours back at me.  See you next Thursday motherfucker.

Trainer, Going For The Throat
Austin TX-Nationwide

Dharma…it has to do with one’s life calling. It seems that many people either get way off-track or come close but no cigar. Few actually hit it right on. I’m not necessarily talking about the ‘dream job’. It’s nice to be able to monetize a passion, but there’s often a compromise that happens there.
It’s bigger than that. It’s the burning desire that drives you… its the process of it, the feeling you get from it, it’s all that good stuff you’d do if money, situation, practicality and laziness were not an obstacle.  All of it.
I feel like you have to persistently and tirelessly head in the direction of your Dharma, always. You might feel depressed and unfulfilled if you don’t. Sometimes that can be suppressed and sometimes you have what I call a “self-correction moment”-a midlife crisis, a Saturn Return, a meltdown, or just a big, bold-as-fuck life changing decision. The decision has to be to move toward your Dharma.   It has to be. 
-Brother Chris, from out on the road somewhere in the Pacific Northwest

 

Buddhas On The Road

In alcoholism, anxiety, Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, depression, getting old, getting sober, going for the throat, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, new journalism, new orleans, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, poetry submission, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, Spoken Word, Submitting, submitting poetry, TOUR, travel, travel writing, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga on September 10, 2016 at 6:53 pm

“Fuck Yoga,” my partner was saying, “you should take up boxing.”
We were on the long slink into Texas from Louisiana.  Crossing the gulf coast underneath godheads of clouds that rained on us as we passed.
“Something where you can hit someone, and get hit.”
I was wound tight but it wasn’t the traffic.  It wasn’t from my third cup of gas station coffee either.
“Just sit back,” I told him and eased the stereo up to 10.
Suddenly the rain broke and the road wound long to the horizon.  A good sign.  I rolled the windows down.  My partner fell asleep without another word.

The close quarters of a black 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe were enough to make us buggy, rolling down the windows or reaching for the stereo, a set of earphones or a piece of gum.  Any way to create some space.  My partner slept for a lot of the drive.  Most in fact, which was ok, and much better than unsolicited advice about my “short fuse” or spartan road diet of sliced apples and bread and cheese from Starbucks.  It wasn’t all bad and in fact was mostly good.  We had a good run and he offered encouragement with his criticisms, especially after my set at Siberia on Saturday.

The gist of it is that in twenty years of booking bands, Bernard can spot talent and according to him I’ve got it.  As much as I’ve heard that over twenty years of performing, his words sank in, really got in there.  It was undeniable and I heard him.  He also offered that maybe the dayjob shouldn’t be anything but.  When I told him my plans of riding my caregiving gig as long as I could he said it was a mistake.  I heard him, too.  This blog ain’t about him though.  At least not specifically.

This post is about a life devoted to the creation of Art.  An attempt to disabuse myself of fearful notions that have only kept me doleful and caged.  I took the safe route.  Perhaps.  I still made Art.  In Yoga this morning I realized that everything I think is just that-what I think.  This is some powerful medicine, Brothers&Sisters, and between the kind words of my tour partner and the self-realization afforded one on the Yogic path, I can see out.  I ain’t so scared anymore.  So, then- what am I waiting for?

I don’t know.  But my laziness knows no bounds.  There’s been a lot of fucking about since we pulled off LaTex Road last Monday.  I started back working full-time, which ain’t easy.  I’ve submitted some work and attempted to book some.  But much like when I was smoking and boozing and knew I was not living authentically-I know now that I’m not at 100%.  The details of it are shameful.  I don’t know why you’d want to read about it, but you do, and for this I am forever thankful.

Philly is the last to be booked on my east coast mini-tour.  Perhaps that’s how it should be but I’ve known about these dates since May- when I pushed back my usual June shows to September, and added Boston and NYC.  Some shit fell through.  Mostly unforeseen but now I know.  Also, I don’t need to be reminded that throughout my endeavors I will find a way to blame myself, to prove that I’m not good enough or worry about screwing it up long enough to actually screw it up.  Fly into Boston at twice the cost of a ticket quoted in May, without radio, without a local third act and without a place to stay.  Not to mention without New York City booked at all.  Some shit fell through.  Other shit I worried myself into a fit over, while doing nothing but laying on my back and masturbating.

Shameful, I know.  It’s fucking crazy being me.  I don’t know what I’d do without you, good reader.  I’m still kicking against it, the blues, insisting on this life and burning down the savage road I first stepped foot on over twenty years ago.  I’m still fucking it up colossally too, making twenty year old mistakes.  It’s as if I’m doing this for the first time, which, in a way, I am.  Sober.  Completely me.  Raw.  Nervous.  Wanting a cigarette so bad I could cry, at times, but knowing that my pain would only stop there.  It’s quite the ride Brothers&Sisters.  I’m quaking in my boots.  I’m nervous and raw and completely me.  Still after it.  Still alive.  Still going for the throat.

Namaste

There is no Buddha but the Buddha that you are.  If you meet the Buddha on the road you haven’t understood what the Buddha is. It is none other than your original mind. The idea of seeing the Buddha as outside of your self is conceptual-as is “becoming enlightened.” One can not become enlightened because that would assume that you are gaining something that you don’t have. Your basic nature is enlightened, awake, free, non-dual. This is completely experiential and not conceptual.  You have to kill the concept of Buddha both inside and out.
JJ Simon