Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘ANTI-WAR’ Category

More New Century Blues

In Activism, activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, anxiety, art, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, death, depression, Don Bajema, employment, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, new journalism, Philadelphia, Poetry, publishing, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, revolution, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, submitting poetry, suicide, the muse, therapy, TYPEWRITERS, working class, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga, youth on August 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm

It’s been a while but I am at a loss.  The world may have gotten in more than it usually does but I haven’t been without inspiration since the early days at Going For The Throat.  Those days the crisis was real.  If I didn’t make it as a writer I’d be stuck behind a bar or working hospice for 9 an hour.  Dressed like a Hershey’s Kiss on campus or test driving the Golfquick LE in Sugarland.  My definition of “making it as a writer” is broad and wild.  I can sit down and come up with 600 words out of thin air, and by keeping it simultaneously all too and not personal at all, the thing will find its legs and walk its way into you.  The archetypes are free to roam.  The fact that I’ve become a character in my own story, coupled with a 10-ton outrage and Black Irish honesty has made Going For the Throat a success.  My definition of success, too, is unorthodox-but if anything is true about my 20+ year career trekking down the savage road of New Journalism, it’s that the medium is the message.  That means that I’ve got my transmitter, just like in my Radio Days, and I can feel you out there listening.  I’m a writer so I write.  I still got a day gig, one that’s winding down, and I’m not 100 on what’s in store.  I’m booking overtime-I hope to play every night and write every day.  That’s been my dream and charge for as long as I can remember.  “Writer’s Block” is less than a memory for me, but waking up today, fully clothed, in a dead confederate palace with all the curtains pulled back-is taking me back to when I knew I had to be a writer, and tried to do every day what I now do every week.  Back then it was 1,200 and pure agony.   I volleyed the imminent avalanche of self-hatred that would fall if I didn’t become a writer with the agony of coming up with 1,200 words every day.  There was beer involved.  And cigarettes you bet.  It worked but it drove me out of my mind.

I’m just as fond of those hardbitten scoop days for what happened away from the desk.  Hopping fences, getting shitty.  Falling through the Night Kitchen, driving down dark barrio streets with my tongue in Gwendolyn’s teeth.  My hangovers were grim back then, nothing compared to what was coming.  It was beginning to get old but I saw no other way to assuage both the loneliness of writing and my utter dread of never becoming a writer-as the money ran out.  I caught some breaks.  I got a good job.  I met Rich Okewole and Najla Assaf.  I found my community.  I was taken in by the good folks at the IPRC in Portland (and taken right back out by Trump’s America but that’s another story for another time).  Perhaps my hesitation to pull the trigger this morning is indicative of the end of those Salad Days as a struggling writer.  The gravy train has left the station.  Of all my myriad blues and woe, movement seems to be the answer.  As proud as I am of what I’ve become, I’m terrifed here at the midway.  Possibilities that ain’t been realized won’t be and I could die at any time.

It’s got me shook.  I quit my gig of 5 years, should be out October 1.  I bought a car.  I enrolled in this year’s SWRFA and sent 22 booking emails out into the Live Music Capital of the World, even canvassed West 6th.  Survivors Wisdom tells me it’s time to grind it out, hit the road and stop being such a pussy.  Maybe the truth is that struggle is over.  Not this one, but that one.  The battle with self can conclude.  It’s I and I and a good night’s sleep contending for top place on my list of priorities.  I’ve found myself.  I am who I am.  Cruel time has showed me who I am and branded me with the wisdom that there’s not enough time to change that now.

We both know there would never be enough time but that didn’t stop us before ain’t it though.  We rebelled.  We clanged against the deathhead, came for the Gods and offered them the head of the King.  We bled for it, we had something to prove.  It was useless, futile and fatal and the biggest waste of time.  We squandered our youth.  The youth is gone.  It’s time to get off social media and take to the territory.  Our lives are depending on it.  I got witchy women mixing up the medicine for me and an Ayurvedic scholar laying out a diet plan.  I got Brother Don on the telephone and Sister Sarah at the other end of a computer screen.  I’ve got friends like blood, holding vigil and corroborating and besides all this big love-a fear of death that is all too real.  The prime motivator.  The best time to hit it was a long time ago.  The next best time is now.

I better see you on the streets motherfucker.

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Earth A.D.

In Activism, alcoholism, American History, anger, ANTI-WAR, anxiety, Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music performance, new journalism, news media, observation, police brutality, politics, PROTEST, punk rock, recovery, self-help, sober, sobriety, straight edge, suicide, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on June 22, 2017 at 8:00 pm

I’ve read your blogs.  I’m not impressed.
Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana

You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism.  
-Jeremy Joseph Christian

…By the time that ad hit TV, AM radio had been taken over by “music” played by fake bands that were putting out fake pitches for “flower power”…completely divorced from the Nam, the military funerals we were serving daily in our parish church—where the caskets didn’t have bodies because the boys had been blown to bits, the heroin being shot by draft dodgers and vets alike over in the park across the street from my childhood home…and the police riots in Oakland against the Black Panthers….
Anthony

Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over.
President Jimmy Carter

I go inside her pants.  I move my fingers.  I do not talk.  She doesn’t talk.  But she makes a sound which I feel was an orgasm.
-Bill Cosby

Christ.  Ain’t even been back from the island 2 weeks and already got them Babylon Blues.  They’re playing Steely Dan at the bougie coffee shop and singing along in biker shorts like useless bearded choads.  The heat’s reaching for triple digits out here on the patio and I’m coming down with flu-like symptoms-a soreness in the bones and spongy raw feeling besides, no doubt depression knocking and the ennui of prescience in these End Days.  I am truly at a loss.  I mean, before I left for retreat I was fucking exhausted.  Now I’m on call in the middle of an 11-day shift.  My sleep is fucked from 5 days in a row of turning a disabled man over in bed at 4 in the morning, and I’ve got 6 to go.  It’s been a long time I should be far from here, and the irony is that when I finally decide I’ve had enough and it’s time to go, I find myself working even more and for longer (October), and gearing up for 21 days on the road.  Christ.

There’s no consolation in the news.  Nothing promising on social media.  Everything is painfully bleak and bland, and enough to drive a man to drink.  Know what I mean Brother?  Lucky I have this time, though, and lucky we have each other.  I’ll be posting a poem for the Black Lives Matter movement, on my pages and feeds.  It perhaps offers very little for the struggle, if staying the question of where my outrage is and where it’s gone-why I lay on my back in the afternoon and can’t even be bothered to pick up the phone and call those hardons on the hill.  They’re taking away our right to live healthy happy lives and they kill you out there on the street, in front of your daughter and your girlfriend, and nobody will be outraged or speak up for you, let alone the NRA, who heretofore couldn’t shut up about the right for people like Philando Castille to bear arms.

Musings on my neutered outrage and declarations at the end of the world aside, there are torch bearers out there-like Saint Shaun King and Jimmy Carter and Henry Rollins and Lamont Steptoe-and anyone telling it from the mountain and making ’em know.  It should be noted.  Whatever these good folks are on they should send some our way, right Sister?  Blow some of the smoke of outrage downwind to weak dysfunctionals like us, who’re struggling in our own way with something on balance with the guilt of keeping our mouth shut while the Police declare war on black people and elected officials declare war on the poor.  I’m looking for a way through, good Reader, because it’s gotten so dark and twisted here, and my only hope is in the dumb strength of my Irish Italian-American blood.  We’re long suffering but hard to kill.  I’m disgusted at this disease and that it has taken to this virulent level.  I mean, it’s black and it’s in me and I can feel it acutely.  Which is heaps better than waking up 3 months from now with a three hundred dollar bar tab, smoker’s cough and all my friends mad at me.

At least this way I can get my arms around it, right?  I can really have a go at taming the beast, maybe look into psych meds and self defense classes, start that post rock band with Doc and start blowing doors in East Austin and giving ’em the what for.  The alchemy of this blog, the power of writing, never ceases to amaze me.  In penning this post, sweating it out out here, drinking Hairbender and Topo and admitting these gnarly thoughts and dark kinks in my psychology to you, I have discovered that I do have hope, however myopic and self-interested.  I have hope that one day I will feel better.  That one day I’ll have taken this thing up a notch and I’ll be in better health, maybe even be in a place to serve.  What the hell?  Even a bougie place like this will play Randy Newman if you show up (and complain) enough.  I hope that one day I’ll feel better.  What’s wrong with that?  Should I hope that I don’t?  What’s tragic and funny is, with the way things are going, and the way the world is slanting darkly down, it’s a toss up.  Do I assume the worst for myself, and only buckle in for more misery?  Or do I get it together somehow, really put up a fight and claw my way up to the plateau for a better view of the end of the fucking world?

It’s lonely at the top.  See you next week motherfucker.

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.

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

The Coarse Grind, Becoming The Media

In activism, ANTI-WAR, Being A Writer, blogging, journalism, music performance, news media, observation, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, Performance, punk rock, War, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on February 9, 2017 at 10:25 am

Whoa.  Part 3&the final installment of The Coarse Grind, written in better and far less ominous days.  The message is the same.  VOX POPULI VOX DEI (the voice of the people is the voice of God).  See you next week motherfucker.

Aho, good reader.  Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with The Coarse Grind because today I’m going for it.  Last we spoke, I confessed that after 19 years I finally knew I was a writer and it was all ’cause I started a blog.  It’s true.  I won’t get into the vast saga of a backstory  behind it but I tapped into a medium that was immediate and honest.  I had, or felt like I had, an instant audience.  I’ve always looked at writing like performing so blogging really gave me a charge.  The way you feel right before you go on stage.  Super, all too, human.From that saga of a backstory I will offer this- my heroes have taught me well.  My heroes were on the outside and they broke in.  The rules didn’t apply to Hunter Thompson which was hardly always glamorous.

This will not be a recipe for how to be a successful writer, at least not the accepted definition of success.  Do consider however, if you want to be a successful writer, one who gets paid, then you must write.  Have a system or M.O. that you know will keep you writing.  Willing.  Enthusiastic, even.  The thing that keeps me writing is my interest in it.  Sadly what is of most interest to me is myself.  Nothing else.  In fact, current events really bum me the fuck out and opinion pieces are odious.  It all feels like programming to me and all of it just swirls into a hulking barrage of sights and sounds, horrors and “truths” that I must isolate myself from.  Thank god for writing because it has become my refuge from the dark spinning world.
My point is why would campaign manager Frank Mankiewicz attribute Hunter Thompson as “the least factual, most accurate” reporter on the Campaign Trail in 1976?  And, why are we finding out now that this country was dragged into war under false pretenses, that the freedom we were fighting for was only being taken away from us by those same warlords, when we have a free press in America, and reporting is held to a high standard of objectivity and truth?  Without the internet or a distant relative living in the middle east-without Twitter, for Christ-we would have no idea what the Arab Spring was all about.  Well, some idea, and probably a spun one, provoking a reaction that could then be reported on until it was true.  I started Going for the Throat just as Arab Spring started rumbling, just as the stanchions under memorials to dictators were giving way in the parks and out on the street.  I’m not a journalist.  But I am a reporter.  And that, good reader, is the magic of writing.
None of these are reasons why after 19 years on the daylabor circuit I knew I was a writer.  I know that I’m a writer because I write.  I don’t ever not write.  And it’s all because I have found a medium that is as inexhaustible as it is exhilarating.  I have instant material simply by getting out of bed in the morning and with the click of a mouse it’s out there with all the “real” journalism.  I have stepped into the Arena.  I’m up there in the hot lights with all the shit-savvy  polished faces and grim intellectual voices of news media.

Is what I write true?  Better believe it.  Or, don’t.  And start your own blog now.

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.

Run, Rabbit, Run

In Activism, activism, anger, ANTI-WAR, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting old, getting sober, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, PACISFISM, poetry reading, politics, recovery, self-help, sober, sobriety, solitude, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on January 12, 2017 at 5:10 pm

And the harder it gets now, the softer I sing
cause the fight to be human don’t mean anything
-Justin Currie

The budget blueprint is for the guidance of Congress; it is not presented to the president for a signature or veto and does not become law.
New York Times, 4 hours ago, on January 12, 2017

…the vote-a-rama is a wholly symbolic exercise, political theater.
-John McCain, R-Ariz.

Once a picaro, always a picaro.
-Thrall and Hibbard’s thesis on the nature of a Picaresque novel

Fuuuuuuuuuck.
-Brother Ignacio on Facebook last week

I feel the absence of Dr.Thompson acutely.  More and more and every year, the man and his work is the only rudder I can grab a hold of to steer me through the polluted black waters of the New Century.  I suppose there’s Ian MacKaye.  And Brother Don.  Which is to say the only faith I have in these dark times is in the hearts and minds of great men and women who’ve managed to keep their eyes and hearts open.  For me it’s been a journey back, I’m often lost in the blast, not as confused as angry, but it’s an anger that can shut the whole thing down.  It’s unfortunate, but not permanent, and my facilities may come back just in time.  Nobody knows what will happen.  The only thing we can agree on is an uneasiness in the gut as we brace ourselves for the terror of a country rolling backwards into the type of oligarchy I’ve been dreading my entire adult life.

I have a tendency to duck out, hide away-not so much in apathy but utter disgust-a muted outrage.  I’m good in the clutch, I’m steady, but the day to day bores me to tears.  My point is I’ve had to read the same article on NPR at least 5 times now, and I’m still not sure I understand it.  Politics are made deliberately obtuse, which doesn’t make it any easier for a zen outlaw and escape artist born in the Year of the Rabbit like me.  After my second go through of the article, I searched online for a great quote from Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, which led me to William Brinkley and spidered out into unrelated research and ended in a flame war on Facebook with a stupid twat and eventually plugging in my strat and doing some Stinson, Waits and Psalmships covers.  It’s almost 3:30 in the afternoon.  I’m exasperated from waking up at noon to hear the news, and vague and obtuse writeups on NPR and the New York Times.  Can this qualify as activism?  Am I done now?  Can I have some time to myself, take the day maybe, lay in the tub with a copy of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail?

I am disgusted with myself.  Outraged at the world and about at the end of my rope here, at Going For The Throat.  It’s been happening for a while, probably concurrent with the tidal wave of dread that came over me right after I turned 40.  There was gratitude-and a real sense of power, standing in my kitchen, the last night of my 39th year.  I started to run myself through the ringer, you know, how I do, but then came something else.  You feel an ease in parts of your body you didn’t know you could feel anything.  Know what I mean?  There are parts of us that are so wrapped up in responding to stressors created by the mind that we don’t even know are there, let alone utilize, strengthen and nurture.  Aho I did not expect something positive to come of this post.  It was practically a resignation letter.  That is the power of writing, my Brother, my Sister.  You’ve got to clear the chamber. There is a diamond of you, buried ‘neath the toxic retelling of tired stories and lies.  You are not this detritus of the mind.  You are not your mind.  You are.  Unless you’ve made your exit-downing a bottle of barbiturates, running a garden hose from the exhaust pipe in through the window of your car, or turning the business end of a shotgun on yourself and pulling the trigger-like those 3 writers have.

As sad as it may sound, if not killing yourself is the one great thing you’ve managed to do today, this week, this year-than you can be glad.  I sure am.  But don’t worry about me.  This is not a cry for help.  I may be tired of my own bullshit and have to call myself out in public like this for getting frustrated at the news and dumb girls on Facebook but I won’t be checking out any time soon.  I’ve got work to do.

See you at the readings motherfucker.

Please join Jim Trainer this Sunday January 15th, at Malvern Books, as he and 100 other poets read as part of the National Poets Protest Against Trump and on January 22nd at Kickbutt Coffee, for his featured reading at SpokenandHeard, with wonderful poet G.F. Harper.  

Refuge

In Activism, American History, anger, ANTI-WAR, journalism, mourning, new journalism, news media, on tour, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, police brutality, politics, PROTEST, punk rock, RADIO, revolution, TOUR, travel, travel writing, truth, War, working class, writing about writing on July 21, 2016 at 11:29 am

…I found in him an expression of the American spirit at its worst. Progress was their obsession. More machines, more efficiency, more capital, more comforts-that was their whole talk. I asked them if they had heard of the millions who were unemployed in America. They ignored the question. I asked them if they realized how empty, restless and miserable the American people were with all their machine-made luxuries and comforts. They were impervious to my sarcasm. What they wanted was success-money, power, a place in the sun. None of them wanted to return to their own country; for some reason they had all of them been obliged to return against their will. They said there was no life for them in their own country. When would life begin? I wanted to know. When they had all the things which Americans had, or Germany, or France. Life was made up of things, of machines mainly, from what I could gather. Life without money was an impossibility: one had to have clothes, a good home, a radio, a car, a tennis racquet, and so on. I told them I had none of those things and that I was happy without them, that I had turned my back on America precisely because these things meant nothing to me. They said I was the strangest American they had ever met. But they liked me. They stuck to me throughout the voyage, plying me with all sorts of questions which I answered in vain. Evenings I would get together with the Greek. We understood one another better, much better, despite his adoration for Germany and the German regime. He too, of course, wanted to go to America some day. Every Greek dreams of going to America and making a nest egg. I didn’t try to dissuade him; I gave him a picture of America as I knew it, as I had seen it and experienced it. That seemed to frighten him a little…
-Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi

Well. Hullo there good reader. I’m about as cracked from the earth as can be, despite Confederate flags draped in storefront windows and puerile mugs on the faces of North Creek citizens when I must go into town. I been into town quite a bit this trip, to shop and to drop off Ben in Ticonderoga to catch his train to Canada, but the heft of my days has been spent on my feather down double at 125 in the Hewitt Lake Club. I heard the news of 3 more cops shot dead in Baton Rouge by another unhinged vet this morning, and I can only think that in these dark times paranoia verges strangely close to prescience. It might take the actions of murderous soldiers to wake us up to the fact that we are at war. It’s easy to get wrapped up in hysteria no matter which side you’re on, but you don’t want to find yourself talking politics, or much of anything else, in Trump Country with an Appalachian redneck, 1,800 miles from home. It may be best to go back to bed after coffee and NPR and watch the wind through the trees in your cabin while on working holiday in The America.

Not that the city fares any better. We spent 3 days in Louisville-an antebellum phantom of the urbane and what the bitter end of Big City America looks like. There isn’t anything doing there or anywhere, with death and mayhem and senseless violence on the the TV above the deserted hotel bar. Downtown’s shut down. Starbucks closes at 7. There isn’t even a wind blowing in Hunter Thompson’s hometown, but had we pushed any further beyond the city limits, we might have had to deal with a Duck Dynasty situation not unlike North Creek. At Hewitt tonight they’re listening to the Republican National Convention, but what do Big Politics have to do with it? They mean less to me than they ever did. I’m alone in my cabin, with Henry Miller to read and a feather down bed to lie on and dream my silly, poetic dreams.

It would seem that it’s all a wash, we’ve spiraled down too low and there’s hate and fear entrenched in us. Of course the rut is within, but it’s without, too-the cities are deserted, corporate run neon wastelands and the country’s full of ignorant and vile yahoos, who’re overweight and codependent but think that the enemy is you if you won’t get behind the white man’s imperialist wars abroad and don’t have the backs of a murderous and militant police force here at home. Welcome to The America. Unless you’re a nigger-loving muslim faggot and we never liked you anyway.

Which isn’t to say that it’s all bad, or that the trip this year has only amounted to 3 weeks away from the real work in the War Room back home. I’ve had some reflections this time through the savage land. I’ve been thinking about the only kind of change I can muster and I’m proud to report it back for you good reader, because in fact, all we have is each other.  As the dark takes its deeper turns and we lose another source of light.  I’m sick of heroes…and television and politics and the rich and the poor, sick of Garrison Keillor abridging Hunter Thompson’s “suicide note” (on what would’ve have been his 79th birthday, on Writer’s Almanac this morning) sick of a world that pushes our visionaries to suicide but spends 146 million on The Secret Life of Pets.
What’s new to me is a gratitude, that comes from seeing myself clearly, away from home, away from Hippie Town, out of Eden and out in the backwoods underbelly and urban desolation of America, clearing my lungs of stinking Texas oak and cedar, and finally being able to breathe and hold a note-and I can see myself through the mire. What am I, but a pilgrim seeking refuge? Maybe even Bodhisattva?  Sure, now, you know I can get behind that. I have much to report, much to share-and all of it could somehow conclude nicely with the problem I’ve been having with storytelling and even this blog.

We know how bad it can get. I’ve come to you from the bowels of twisted and dire situations, reported live from the belly of the beast and always sought to come through what Dr. Thompson has called the Wisdom. The Wisdom is like a diamond in the dark.  Wisdom, to paraphrase Richard Hell, makes any situation bearable, any screw or fuckaround worth it. If not the prize or zenith, then a regrouping and a breath, a trust…and that’s where I’m gonna have to leave it, and you, good reader, for now.  There doesn’t seem to be any kind of wisdom or resolution or end to this grim parade of murder and persecution and maudlin effrontery.  It would seem to be fucked which could be Wisdom but won’t really help me now, as I gear up and head back into town to pick up Ben in Ticonderoga.  Out on the highway in The America with an open heart and a 50 pack of Nicorette gum.  Wish me luck.

I was told by a friend
that this great quest would only begin
if I’d stop circling in circles behind my own bars
and spiral on out to the fiery stars
-Mischief Brew, Seeking The Brave

In ANTI-WAR, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, poem, Poetry, PROTEST, Uncategorized, War on May 30, 2016 at 1:50 pm

#memorialdayweekend #memorialday #memorial #memorialweekend #memorialweekend2016

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