Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘blues’ Category

Charlie Gordon’s Blues

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Buddhism, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, Poetry, police brutality, punk rock, recovery, self-help, sober, sobriety, straight edge, suicide, Writing, writing about writing on August 10, 2017 at 9:07 am

Oh, the work I could get done if my heart weren’t so full of hate.
David Sedaris

I know this is not Church, but get close to the Lord.  The world is getting close to the end.
Little Richard


If it could happen then — in 1980 — then it can happen now.
Scott Crawford

We love your voice.

Rebecca Loebe

I’ve been clean and sober for over 2 years, but you’d never know it looking at my apartment.  It looks like I been riding with the King, drinking with Papa and partying with Guns ‘N Roses.  My kitchen doubles as a place to type, much like Bukowski and Hunter Thompson’s did-but don’t ask.  Boxes full of Farewell to Armor and Anthology Philly (WragsInk), September and All in the wind (Yellow Lark Press) are underneath the War Room table.  The black nest of power cords, USBs and chargers beside it ain’t pretty either, and it’s a fire hazard besides.  Topo Chico bottles and La Croix empties christen the floor like cities and the bedroom at the back of the mansion is sinking in a cyclone of fitted sheets and pillows.  The bathroom is gross and there are piles of clothes everywhere.  “Dude clean” is apt and I’d do well to get a maid-but then I’d have to pre-clean, like Doc does, and her visits would be another deadline for me to stroke out over.  I have no excuse and no one to blame.   It’s a fucking mess in here.

The last 4 days on shift were an epic and colossal laziness, a laziness I needed to recover from, which is why I’m sitting here at 3 in the afternoon sipping cold coffee in my sleeping cargos, writing.  The world is out there and at large.  But I couldn’t get to sleep until after 2 last night, when I finally pulled earbuds from the phone and left Uncle Hank and Mike Patton mid-show.  We’re not even halfway through the summer and I feel fine.  The new lease starts 8/15 and I’ve got a flurry of shit to get cracking on, none of which I started, or even attempted to, since we last spoke.  As per usual, I sat down to write this with the intention to bag my bad blues, let you know what’s bothering me and get right to it.  Besides being beholden to a deadline, and despite all appearances of transparency at GFtT, there’s a lot of shit I’m loathe and even ashamed to admit.  Mostly it’s how I haven’t done much with my time, that I’m depressed and stuck winding down the end days as an indentured servant.  I’ve squandered precious time, that for the last couple years I only sensed running out, winding down, acutely and terrifyingly-fuck.

My other blunders, faults and peccadilloes-I’ve been writing them down, just haven’t posted them here.  They’re in a file called FVK Daily, a draft of a blog post like this one except it goes on and on, listing and enumerating all my dirties and lust, all the venom and corruption that haunts me daily.  Maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing, or the imperative of Natural Selection to never be satisfied-but I feel like I can do it, get it all out and fix what’s wrong with me simply by writing it down, posting it or etching it in ink on the lined pages of a store bought yellow bound pocket spiral I call LIGHTNING/RENDERING.  It’s a tradition that dates back to 1992.  I’d buy a notebook at CVS, its color informing me and setting the tone for our time together-me and my Friend the Journal, who would be with me, help me to manifest, worship and smash my idols, and self-actualize.  It’s the power of writing, good Reader, and poetry.  It’ll never fail to get you out of a jam-that is, your head, and help you to fetishize your pain and cast your journey with pomp and grandiosity.  It’s how we mythologize, and how we make ourselves heroes, how we hang it on the fucking wall, find and take from a sense of place, which in turn gives us a sense of ourselves-our shape and color, our small graces and thunderous foibles, our smokes and charms, our roaring and our lightning, the drums of the arena calling for your head in the black and endless rain.

I don’t have any answers this week.  I don’t have any answers most weeks, and I’m loathe to wrap this in a cute or poignant way.  It’s the end of the world.  Thank you for reading.

 

 

More News From Nowhere

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, art, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Buddhism, buddhist, day job, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music journalism, music performance, new journalism, news media, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, suicide, TOUR, travel, travel writing, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 3, 2017 at 2:14 pm

…it all just seems so sensationalized.
Aziz Ansari

I know ppl like u think it’s “cool” to theorize about quantum fluctuations, but the heat death of the early universe isn’t something to romanticize.
Frances Bean Cobain

…I say hey Janet
you are the one, you are the sun
and I’m your dutiful planet…
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

This Guns N’ Roses weekend is over.
-Your Writer on Tour with Ironwhore, July 2005

Waking up with a hardon is the best thing to happen to me in years.  Never mind I quit smoking, drinking and the Life, that I’ve published three collections of poetry and prose and survived as a working singer songwriter for the last 5 years, or that we just wrapped 4,484 miles pulling in to Hippie Town at 9pm last night.  Waking up erect is good news from the Gods, like we’re gonna win this thing.  Know what I mean, good Reader?  As we were leaving Austin 19 days ago, it dawned on me that I probably have arthritis, if not in my left middle finger, then certiainly on my right thumb.  Anyone reading this blog on the regular knows I haven’t caught my breath in over a year-and there are other, less savory conditions and maladies that’ve fell on me in these paling years, not the least of which being a lack of libido.  I let it all slide, rather than jump through the bureaucratic hoops of health insurance that only led nowhere-but decreased interest in sex was, at the time, viewed as an improvement.  Sex seemed to always land me in trouble somehow, and, by and large the partners I had were colossal wastes and the biggest drains of my time, on my health and my career as a day worker, writer and performer.

The truth is I’ve let a lot of things go.  I’ve insulated myself from the world with this gig.  I’ve maintained at minimum, and pushed harder when I needed to, but when I look back at the last 5 years and think about the fact that I’m 42, I’m terrified and disgusted-the former boring through nights pocked and shot through with anxiety, and the latter beating the opposite sex to the punch.  I couldn’t fuck and I didn’t want to.  It’s called depression, and low self esteem, which can intermingle in a vicious cycle that the worst people will blame you for, but actual compassion for, even if welcomed, can veer too close to commiseration and in any event is a shit substitute for understanding.  The silver lining is the coffee’s done, it’s time to wake up, this gig is over in less than 2 months and, like the Buddhists say-the best time to start was last year, the next best time is right now.  Lest we forget, I taught myself how to write these last 5 years, and the dream of being a columnist has been realized, thanks in no small part to you and your wonderful Readership.  I’ve got a 2009 Monk’s Robe Orange Honda Element and a Tacoma Guild.  I live in a post-gentrified Paradise and every dumb ailment and malady I’ve mentioned can be treated by swallowing a pill-ok, I still need to look into why I can’t catch my breath, it’s true, and wish me luck as I enter their world and try to get the help I need.

This blog has always been the balloon to my wet cement blues.  I talk myself down from the noose here, and you read me and it’s perfect.  Healing myself with my own medicine bag, sitting down to type and hang it on the fucking wall, feeling supported and, most of all, seen by you is terribly important to me-a rudder in the shitswells of a dark and calmitous world, the biggest boon and best thing to happen to me in years besides waking up with a hardon this morning.  Oh yeah, that.  It seems like the weeks get away from me.  I mean, sure, I work full time, and I just spent 18 days on the road with my Boss, but time gets away from me-that is, the time to address the many peccadilloes and tragic breakdown I’ve been skirting since I turned 40.  I feel like I should address it, tacitly, get up on it like Ahab, and chronicle the savage journey I’ve undergone since deciding to stop being depressed (I am NOT saying that this decision cured my depression AT ALL).  Brother Bean has asked for it, in the past, and I feel like I’d do well to bring it back for you-hip you to the saga of a working class ex-Pat punkrocking rockabilly New journalist with a a whole lot of time on his hands, a new car and a rekindled libido.  I’ll still try, good Reader.  You bet.  But I’ve got to wrap this.  I still believe in my dreams and I feel like I’ve got something to live up to, until the next time we meet, so I should get cracking.

May your crown be a halo.  See you next Thursday motherfucker.

 

 

 

 

 

The Unrequited Sologamist

In Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, magic, mental health, mid life, middle age, Poetry, poetry submission, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, self-help, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, solitude, submitting poetry, suicide, therapy, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on June 1, 2017 at 2:43 pm

It’s actually kind of brilliant and dumb at the same time.
Sologamy

That is that other snake’s super ultra lottery lucky day.
Christopher Reynolds

I’m just not going to do it.
Matthew Malespina

We couldn’t… we had no control over anything, and it’s just taken us a while to—it sounds weird to say—organize our emotions. Otherwise you just can’t live, really.
Nick Cave

Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.
James Baldwin

So I didn’t get in my 600 last week and I’m feeling it.  How fortunate I can pen 600 words, neat and fine, like I’m regurgitating a live snake, and get back to the grind and on with my life.  I didn’t realize what a service we do for each other down here at Going For The Throat.  I was up to my neck writing my resume and buying a car, and I thought it pertinent to soliloquize and do something in remembrance-offer something eternal up to the fading and ephemeral parade.  God knows Chris Cornell hadn’t been dead for 48 hours before some of my friends were judging me for suffering from depression.  Which is also a great way to segue into the grim admission-it happened again, I got depressed.

Now normally this would mean whisky and cigarettes, maybe a lost weekend with a loud and crass Betty who only cares enough to kiss me on the cheek before leaving me in a sad and soggy torpor.  In the new age, depression can look like too many days indoors, Brother, and nights of shoddy and sore sleep.  You heard me, not only am I depressed, it’s manifested.  I threw out my left shoulder and my head is raw and pulsating.  It’s all enough to make a fella fall off the wagon because-what’s the difference, right Sister?  I don’t know what this is, this phase, but I’m burning new pathways down the middle of my brain the hardway.  I’m thirsty and miserable but a dry drunk at least.  Allow me the bold alacrity to say, other than the fact that depression is a medical condition and a disease, the thing that brought it on this time was the Lie.  Or, the many lies that came tumbling down covering my ass living here and working this job and this situation I am in.

Fact is, no one’s to blame.  Folks love me in their own way.  It’s never enough but besides the fact that I ain’t ever satisfied, people are who they are.  My situation has stagnated but it’s all so strange.  What I am trying to say is while walking through old Austin this morning I could’ve cried thinking about the last 5 years of my life.  But see, I was also out there, in the territory, walking under the tall oaks and staring out into expanses that don’t exist on Judge’s Hill.  I was way out on Burnet, walking from my mechanic’s to a car2go on Allendale, smelling the fresh morning air and getting philosophical texts from a sexy blonde in Dallas.  My sadness was there, it was palpable, but so was the magic.  Something I can’t and would never explain.  The best way to describe it would be the strangeness of mortality, the impossibility of you, the uncanny and profound nature of survival.

This is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere, worked anywhere-you name it.  The fact that I was 37 once, way back when, when I first interviewed for this gig in a pompadour and black pencil tie, makes me incredibly sad.  The fact that I got my shit together, published three collections of poetry and prose and wrote at least 600 words and a letter to the post every week can’t and should not ever be taken lightly.  If I were to pull away from the writer’s desk and step into my living room, I can pick up a copy of each of my books and hold them in my fucking hand.  That’s not nothing, as my lovely Sister Sarah says.  It’s something.  And the fact that we’re here, you’re reading me, we’re not hanging ourselves but hanging it on the fucking wall week after fucking week, is not nothing and more than something.

It’s everything.

See you in Paradise 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 Shit

In anger, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, depression, getting sober, mental health, recovery, sober, sobriety, solitude, straight edge, truth, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on February 23, 2017 at 1:24 pm

If you want something different to happen, do something different.

-My Zen Master of an ex-girlfriend
They’re out there grinding it out, beeping and drilling and building their towers of greed into the sky.  I had to get up just before starting this to shut the window and put on Rebels, Rogues&Sworn Brothers, at top volume, just to drown the sounds of new Austin out.  I’m on my second large mug of Extra Dark and this post is shaping up to be the kind I loathe.  Who the fuck am I and why should you care about what I’m listening to and what kind of coffee I’m drinking?  I got caught up in a rom com on TV the other night, because I’m a romantic jerkoff, and I realized that nothing will ever be the same.  Know what I mean, Brothers and Sisters?  Never again will an all-white cast living in New York City be acceptable, even for harmless distractions.  It used to just be evil and vapid-you know, pop culture-but now it feels criminal.  The middle class is part of our mythology now.  It only exists up on the screen and in the cellulite.  It ain’t me, Brother, and it certainly ain’t them-the working poor-who I’m one disaster and dental appointment away from at all times and we’re not white or black or Hispanic or Middle Eastern or Sioux but in fact all of them and more.  From now on, there is only us and them.  It’s always been that way but some of you are just waking up now, you didn’t listen to punk rock before it became a fad, or grew up somewhere so incredibly isolated it could’ve been life threatening for you to make a stand.  Make no mistake, we are in The Shit now, and this will be our fight for the rest of our lives.  Or, we could just slide nice and sleazy into the new world order, draw the blinds and turn up the TV.  Apathy has never looked so good and this is where things get sticky for me.
Apathy is a reaction.  It’s a feeling (or lack of), and there are prescribed actions that come in response to it.  Once you’re apathetic, you gotta feed the monkey.  The world only spins darker, you’ll need better drugs, cheaper booze, an extensive supply of British cigarettes.  The problem, good reader, the rub-I ain’t got no monkey.  If I were to be as apathetic as I dream about for these harrowing last gasps of The America, I’d need something to keep it all at bay.  Well, I ain’t got it. Nothing.  I’m straight edge and asexual (most of the time).  There ain’t a lot I go in for.  My point is, as much as I’d love to hide somewhere-I ain’t got nothing to take away the pain, nothing to quell the anger.  I’d be stowed away with it and it would destroy me.  Just like opiates or alcohol or a codependent relationship would, my anger would consume me, chew me, trash me-you bet.  This brings us to point.  I’m sick of here.  It’s fucked here.  I’m hating everyone and everything.  I’m nonplussed and unimpressed.  In the interest of wanting to change my life I offer this overly personal, petty and cringe-worthy post.  Why should you care?  I don’t know.  Why should any of us?

You played yourself to death in me.

Failure

Ab irato,
Jim Trainer
Going For The Throat
Yellow Lark Press

Come celebrate the release of All in the wind this Sunday at Malvern Books, with readings by local favorites G.F. Harper and Jenna Martin Opperman, also releasing beautiful collections of their own.  As per usual, I’ll be telling a story-about Philly, sobriety and you, My People.  Light refreshments provided.  

Yellow Lark Press

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.

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

The Friend Catcher

In alcoholism, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Correspondence, getting sober, going for the throat, Letter Writing, mental health, Music, music performance, Performance, punk rock, recovery, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, song, songwriting, Spoken Word, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 25, 2015 at 3:21 pm
The number one thing that makes us grow as human beings is pain.
-Damien Echols on spending eighteen years on death row for a crime he did not commit.

Jimbo 🙂  Thanks so much for the letter and poem.  The thought and intention put into it is palpable and exactly what I needed.  I forgot how powerful words can be in this form.  Thanks for reminding me.  I’ll say it made me feel inspired and pheonix-like, ha ha.  I’m going to keep it with me on the road.  I’ll keep you posted too
.
-Brother Chris

Y’all sure know how to make a guy feel loved.  And it’s just like you said you’ve got to be the love you seek.  Which is lofty and idealistic and perfect for an old romantic like me.  And there needs to be a saying for when good shit keeps happening.  Am I right?  I mean, we know the hits keep coming is a good one when the shitstorm is raining down and the mud is rising up.  There’s Kismet, that wink from out in the unknown saying ‘Yass‘ ‘Go Forward’,  or ‘Word’ … I’m not examining this journalistically, but do we not have some colloquialism or turn of phrase for when good fortune continues to arrive?  It just gets better and better?  You kidding me?  That’s a go-to, for me, when the shit’s so bad you gotta attack it with marrow scraping sarcasm.  Ultimately, when you’ve spent the last 25 years battling depression you have the luxury of not feeling bad.  Not ever feeling good, mind you, and when I say not feeling bad I mean not feeling like there are two tons of hot metal slowly pouring down from a white sky of pain and just when you’re numb as a statue, the sun sinks, the heat gives and you’re left like some life-sized figurine, the night air sticky and humid and giving the copper of your flesh a patina of green.  I don’t know the parlance of victory or strength, let alone the unassuming joy in eternity’s sunrise. All I know is I haven’t smiled so much in a very long time, last night, beginning to read all your wonderful comments.  As a recovering depressaholic I’m loathe to hang my hat on any kind of cure-all but it sure is nice when I rediscover and Y’ALL REMIND ME THANK YOU VERY MUCH, what this work is for and exactly what we’re doing here.  With the blog and the everything, what is it, we’re sending out, to other souls like radio, to connect.  Could it be that you, my followers, are all part of my generation?  Does that even fucking matter?  I’ve made connections with folks I never would’ve even met, and I continue to connect with them in profound, life affirming ways.  My letter to Brother Chris, quoted above for example.  Maybe I’ll reprint my initial letter to him some Letter Day down the road when I can’t come up with  even a pastiche of a blog like the last one (let alone a slick 6 or mean 8).  All I wrote to him-all I did-was shine back what he had only been shining out.  I wished him well, in print and earnestly ( I can’t even begin to describe my joy about the power of the written/typed word, so I won’t ).  I wrote him a letter.  Remember those?  Before all of this, ever went down?  Before the Terrible Century, back when rock and roll meant so fucking much and the attention and the girls were only caveats?   We played it like we meant it because we fucking did.  Now that that storm of anger/August has passed like a warhead, and I can walk down west 6th with a little Philly in my step, I’ve caught up on sleep and I can dig my heels in a faceoff with my anger, do work and get back to the grind.  As far as your boundless love and strength, sent to me vis-a-vis Facebook and etc.,  y’all sure know how to make a guy feel loved.  Oh, and I never had a problem with anger as an emotion.  Aho.  It’s just that I’m too old to be missing sleep over it.  My needs in service to the body are many.  In some kind of cosmic joke, my hatred and anger have raged on and only grown ha ha ha but the body is tired and soft.  But also wisdom has been accrued, even all those fuckaround years when I thought it was a curse, I have done nothing if not gotten wise, and I can’t unsee it which of course was the problem…oh christ I’m a riot eh?  From the depths of loathing to the christ like idealism of a poet.  Believe me, I know all about being me.  Which could be a perfect beginning to wisdom, Know Thyself.  And as a superstitious X-depressaholic I’ll play it safe, hedge my bets and say that on my good days I have found a way to put rock and roll into writing.  Songwriting, well, let’s open that can of snakes some other time, eh good reader?  When I say y’all are keeping me alive you have no idea how true it is.  We keepers of the flame, old punkrockers and yogis and wives and laborers.  Oh yeah and the last part, the alive part…with my phasers set to choke the last 2 weeks I had forgotten to be that wisdom.  Alive.

And here for you.
Trainer
Austin, TX

Tracer Round

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Jim Trainer, media, news media, poem, Poetry, recovery, sober, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on July 9, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Welly well well. What the fuck is up meng. Rather than recount the many twists and turns that have kept me from posting on here, and instead of having a go at the big news I’ve wanted to share with you for so long, I’ll just take a little stab at it, here, on the roof (where else?) on a warm July afternoon with a pack of triple nickels and a cup of drugstore coffee. Still feeding the beast of nictoine. But I’m giving myself a little slack, if not only because I haven’t had a drink in over 4 months but because my therapist posed the question-what if I don’t quit smoking for the next 2 months? S’alright with me, counselor. Nevermind that cigarettes are the filthiest of habits barring heroin and writing creative non-fiction. But quitting drinking is what I’m concentrating on now, which means lots of seltzer, lots of Topo Chico (see “bullet for the mourning dove” ) and lots of cigarettes. The other thing I’d like to mention, in passing, and in this tracer round of a post, is I hit a snag in the order of things ie. my Art. If you’ve been keeping up with this blog you know that I thought I had it made. The medium of blogging had helped me “become a writer” (albeit perverse and grand that most of my writing was about writing). As a reader of Going For The Throat you understood that the story had been cast, the protagonist was me, caught up in the thrust and sway of the plot, which was me becoming a writer. And all the crazy shit that happened along the way. It was all there and it was simply me, in a chair, posting missives to you (or trying to, and writing about that).  I won’t get too bogged down with it just now but I will say that a few letters from an editor gave me considerable pause. Her comments on length or how overly personalized my writing is dashed my hopes of being a professional writer and had even gone as far as queering me to the beast of creative non-fiction I had been feeding for the last 4 years writing for Going For The Throat. I felt outdated and old. The world had moved on without me. Which shouldn’t have come as any surprise considering I dropped out of the world at the age of 20, sleeping in the cemetery across the street from my old high school with a Fakebook and an abcessed molar. But I thought I had found a way in, after all these years on the outside. She liked my voice, she liked the anger and the irreverance. But in the end it came down to a generational divide and a rediscovering of what my art means to me.

Understandably, I turned to poetry. But even there the arena had changed. I turned 40. I quit drinking. I redevoted myself to the practice of Yoga. And the blues-I buried that bitch and didn’t look back. I came back from the Big Easy with nothing on my mind and no great tragedy with which to pull the good and strong verse. “Fuck the world” was my answer to my thwarted hopes of being a columnist. And I started writing poetry again. That is, until now.

NEW BLOG UP AT GOING FOR THE THROAT. LINK ON PROFILE. "SHOULDA KILLED ME LAST YEAR."- #icet &ME.

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mon vieil ami

In Being A Writer, blues, new orleans, travel, Writing on January 27, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Take two…

Going for the Throat

I broke down and bought a pack.  Smoked one on the roof in the cold.  I thought of her and her California.  Missed her like I often do.  It was the end of a blue day.  At the end of a blue year.  Nothing out of the ordinary for me.

I’d found a way to own my blues.  They publish it, this publishing house.  Back in my hometown.  I could write about bullfighters tonight, or do my “fiction” about heartbreak.  But there’s no magic left in it and nothing miraculous about the arena anymore.

There was a time.  When as matador I could take it on.  Sit behind the President XII and the bottle and work it out.  But you get up.  And you get over.  Maybe look back longingly over the black canyons of Major Depressive Disorder.

I spent allot of time down there.  With some true companions.  They…

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