Jim Trainer

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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.

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.  

Won’t Stop

In austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Charlie O'Hay, hometown, Jim Trainer, Lamont B. Steptoe, music performance, National Poetry Month, new journalism, news media, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, poem, Poetry, poetry reading, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, Spoken Word, TOUR, travel, travel writing, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on April 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm

…to live outside the law, you must be honest…
-Bob Dylan, Absolutely Sweet Marie

It’s a good thing I don’t care about what you think then, isn’t it?
-Your Writer on Facebook this week

Last week on Writing On The Air cohost Martha Louise Hunter asked me where I get the time to do it all.  God bless her.  We were talking about this blog and how 600 words a week is the least I can do if I’m going to call myself a writer.
“Of course there’s Letter Day,” I told her and cohost Joe Brundige, “and I’m posting a poem every day for the month of April celebrating National Poetry Month.”
I told them that All in the wind was book 2 of the 10 that will be published through Yellow Lark Press, beginning with September in 2015 and ending with a collection, as-yet-unnamed, in 2025.
“10 books in 10 years is great, a fine goal,” I went on.  “-but I’m only making up for lost time.”
Brother Joe and I share a symmetry, and experience the joy of communication that can happen between two stringently honest people.  It took appearing on the show twice for me to realize-I am doing the thing.  It’s good when that happens, as opposed to the slave driving I’m usually doing with myself and the crippling feelings of despair anyone reading this blog is, by now, all too familiar with.

I finally booked Boston.  I’ll be speaking at the Middle East Corner with the Reverend Kevin O’Brien and bussing down to Philly the day after, for the Philly release of All in the wind.  Joe and I recorded an episode of Chillin Tha Most at the mansion last week, and it should be on the net next Thursday.  Last week was the kind of week I’d like to have every week, with gigs and radio appearances almost every day.   I kept on pushing till the light of day.  Which is heaps different than the life I’m living in my head, where it’s never enough and I’m only a day working coward.  What’s next is complicated but simple in terms of intent.

I’m quitting this gig.  Moving out to the east side.  Minimizing.  Scaling down.  I’m not sure how it will look or how to even vaguely monetize poetry and the spoken word-but I’m full of ideas and already making half my imminent rent with the gigs I’m already playing.  It’s strange to be striking out now but hardly unlikely.  I’ve long since abandoned anything resembling the common tropes of being an American.  I don’t have any kids, don’t even have a girlfriend.  But I’ve got a passion for media and all forms of communication.  I hope to get further invested in print and broadcast media.  Before I fly out to Beantown the MAMU should be fully assembled and my next purchase will be a touring vehicle.

It took me a while to wrap my head around it.  I had to keep it to myself and it made me resentful.  I couldn’t talk about my plans on here, there was some bad blood about me leaving but there doesn’t have to be.  I’ve started paying my taxes, I got a new dentist and a healthy line of credit.  Everything is moving as it should.  My next venture will be some time researching topics for the blog, so’s to avoid the kind of soul searching pap and whine that she hates and can appear on Going For The Throat when its weekly deadline is on my neck.  Your ideas are welcome, as are paying gigs-do you have a story for me?  Can we find a way to pay my freight so I can come to your town, speak and play?  Please chime in, in the comments below, or drop me a line at: jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com.

This east coast jaunt will be a short one but I’m thrilled to be sharing the stage with the Reverend Kevin O’Brien, Duncan Wilder Johnson, The Droimlins, and Jim Healy in Boston.  The Philly release of All in the wind is stacked, with award winning poets Charlie O’Hay and Lamont Steptoe reading.  By the time I go back to work I’ll have played at least 3 shows on the east coast, sold some books and burned hundreds of miles.  I’ll be exhausted, which is how I like it, and plan to be in the coming months.  Into it, no stops, full bore.

See you on the East Coast motherfucker.

MIDDLE EAST CORNER 4:26

In Nine Hundred and Three Words

In anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, blogging, depression, getting sober, hometown, Jim Trainer, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, solitude, Spoken Word, straight edge, therapy, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on March 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

…it is in the shelter of each other that the people live…
Pádraig Ó Tuama

Let’s keep hustlin’.
Brian Grosz

…without you my address would be the wind…
-from All in the wind

…you’re going to have to accept that a lesbian chainsaw dominatrix or two might be involved.
broliloquy

My name is Jim Trainer and I wish I was somebody else. I mean, there’s something in the way. I mean, I took the last 2 days off work, for my birthday and to “get some stuff done” and the result was only epic laziness. Lunch and gift swapping with a friend. Driving into dusk to see musicians perform in plays. Eating water ice and falling in love with Austin again. Before I chalk up the last 2 days to “not living my dreams” or being lazy, allow me to invoke the wisdom and language of psychotherapy, and ask-what am I getting out of it? The answer is dumb-I had a peaceful couple days with no torture, no monkey, no blues. Basically I was hiding. This doesn’t bode well. Psychologically speaking, I’ve set it up so I will have to live my dreams. Using the alchemy of inner dialogue I told my Self, “If you live your dreams I won’t come down on you for being a piece of shit.” There are so many ways to deconstruct this deal I have with my Self, and none of them are good! Ah, but don’t too wise, for writing is my rabbit in a hat, and this blog my weapon of choice-and this is how. By the end of this graph I have had some insight, a revelation that there within the dialogue with my Self is the kernel of it-the micro and the blueprint. My life has been always being 2 steps ahead of the whip.  What a fucked up way to live, let alone think and react.  Out of fear, like a slave or Catholic.  For shame.

Not to mention I feel great.  I mean, today I woke up at 7:45AM, like always, but I went back to bed after I put the coffee on.  I dreamt that my boss had wiped his hands on my tux shirt and when I went to confront him about it, his door was closed and his room was dark with a note on the door (and it was my Mother’s bedroom door wtf).  Tangential but relevant.  It’s a circus in my mind.  Fear is the carnival barker and the crowd has lined the tent 2 times round, clutching their dirty children and tickets in hand.  I’m sitting here typing this in the bright light of day with my Hugh Hefner robe over the clothes I wore to bed last night.  I feel rested, which is necessary.  Hell I even refused sex a couple weeks ago because the call came in after I was already in PJs.  Do you have any idea how baffling it is for the male mind to refuse sex?  It can short out the man-wires.  I woke up the next day confused and ashamed, like I had done something wrong-but I was so rested I forgot about it and got on with the day.  My point is I feel rested today, after 2 days of  hiding from the whip, instead of hustling 2 steps ahead of it, and somehow not being a “piece of shit”, according to myself anyway, the Mind.  In body I couldn’t feel better.  I just wish I was somebody else and here’s why.

It’s been a long time that I should be far from here. I know that my desire for the artist’s life is how I got this far. It’s not what I thought it would be and I know I could do so much more. Knowing you could be more is strange. Well, not strange-it’s evolution, it’s growth. It’s savage, amoral and bloody. Birth comes from death. Knowing you could do more is heaps more manageable, if slippery. I can’t say I’m not accountable to myself. I can’t say that there isn’t a chasm between who I am and what I’m doing and who I think I am and what I’m doing. It’s all so very twisted and fucked and I can’t see the bottom. All I can do is live my best today, try harder this time.  (Do you know how exhausting that is?).     It’s just so fucked because I know I’ll find myself here again. Dissatisfied. I need a life coach who’ll tell me that everything’s gonna be ok before she fucks my brains out and kicks my ass out the door.  Sorry.  If I’ve lost you it’s because I lost myself.

What I am trying to describe here is what has gotten me this far.  Dissatisfaction is why I dropped out of college, left the hometown, found work as a DJ, singer songwriter, orator and spoken word poet.  Dissatisfaction is why I spent weeks on the road, sleeping and driving for as many as 7 weeks a stretch, across Canada and the midwest, along the Gulf and up the West and East coast.  Dissatisfaction is why I’ve had 3 books of poetry published in the last 5 years and dissatisfaction is the sole reason that 2 of them were published by my own press.  Dissatisfaction is why I left Philly, and tried my hand hawking wares and doing everything from handing out lunchmeat to donating plasma to walking around campus dressed like a Hershey Kiss.  I’ve lost you.  I’ve lost me.  Is seeking and forging the life I want born of dissatisfaction?  Or is it something else?  Is knowing I could do and be more the same as hating myself?  That’s certainly how it feels.  And as far as how it feels, this, we know, is my remedy.  These 903 words.  This post.  This time at the knives, hacking and working it out.  We do it ’cause we have to.  As far as pace and productivity, goals and the ability to relax and unkink without fear that the whip will come down but yet still pushing on?  You know if I had the answer, good reader, I would give it to you.  Right before I fly out the door and hit the streets after the heart of this dream.  A lonely hunter indeed.

It goes on.

 

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

Confessions of a Race Traitor

In anger, Being An Artist, blogging, depression, getting sober, Jim Trainer, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, politics, punk rock, recovery, self-help, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, straight edge on February 16, 2017 at 4:06 pm

I feel like I’m at a wedding in the suburbs.
-Yours Truly, on the Juan Pelota page as I write this post

I think you work harder if you’re haunted by some small darkness.
John Darnielle

Faith in humanity is ignorance of humanity.
-John Staples

The bourgeoise had better watch out for me!
Bad Brains

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Am I right? Also, it pleased me to write the word fuck clear across the screen as a black leather choad laughed a plastic laugh and talked about “projections” and “growth” while sitting next to me in this boutique of a coffee shop. Now they’re playing My Girl. It’s too fucking cozy in here. WAY too many smiles. What the fuck is my problem?  Am I angry? Depressed&Isolated? You bet. But tell me, what’s so good about the world that I should want to be a part of it? The Buddhists will tell you that hiding from the source of your suffering will only make it worse. All I know is, walking around out here on the street I feel like I want to rip peoples faces off, just to see what’s underneath. Know what I mean? In Philly they ask what the fuck are you looking at? In Austin they say How’s your day going? in a perky tone that communicates the very essence of non-comittal interaction. Christ these choads prattle on.

Psychologically, the windows of my well being are clearer than ever. I can see forever on a good day. The bad days still come around and cling, backwaters of anger and paralysis, no cure for but good rock and roll, a bourbon-or hot sex, fully clothed in the afternoon, zipping up and kissing her goodbye. If I hadn’t of broke my edge I might not know that nicotine doesn’t really help, with the anger or anything else. It just feels good, which is hard to argue with, especially as the days darken and the beast slouches toward Bethlehem. I should warn you, this post may be erratic. They’re playing all the hits here and I’m on my third cup of Hairbender. To paraphrase Uncle Hank, what you need never comes fast enough and when it finally arrives you realize you didn’t want it anyway. That’s how it feels, which is everything to a sensitive Pisces like me. I started this graph reporting on recent and sustained periods of clearness-but I couldn’t help myself and land in the black, hemtophagous days, killing and cruel time with the white people and their music in this cafe.

It’s good to be white. There aren’t any heavy ramifications to dumping Universal Healthcare because you don’t like the Muslim Socialist (read:  nigger) who had the balls to change how we treat the poor and mentally ill in this country. What happens in public schools doesn’t matter, and the black vans and helicopters swarming sanctuary cities aren’t coming for your people. I swear I have enough hatred for boonie-dwelling, closeted racist crackers to burn the coast from D.C. to Jacksonville City. The climate change denying is baffling, but I guess if you don’t even notice a 70 degree week in the middle of February than there really is no way me or anyone besides Alex Jones will reach you in your bubble. If you’re wondering about my bubble, I don’t have one. I’ve been apolitical for most of my life and certainly for the life of this blog. I’d like to live my life in peace, and that includes not murdering others to do so. I’m sure this graph has painted me a target for the Nationalists out there, and the New Dumb. Might as well be honest, eh Comrade? I’m sick of the parade, I left the party a long time ago. The Left is fucked and waking up somewhere comfortable and quiet when they finally realize they have more in common with Blacks than they’ve ever shared with the ruling class. There is no doubt that men like Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell will be relegated to the wrong side of History, but where does that leave apathetic and apolitical jerkoffs like me, who’ve done little to none in the 17 years since W. stole the general election and wiretapped every phone, computer and home in The America?

I can’t say I’m much better, except I’ve been too battle weary, worn out by my own abuse, not reaching for a solution or the common good but holding out until the pain passes. I play rock and roll. I write poetry. I left Philly because I was fed up catching attitude everywhere from the public library to the 711-and Austin, the Velvet Rut, as good as its been to me, is looking more and more like an ad for L.L. Bean and the Americana and country music I came here for must compete with programmed beats and neon trash they pump in places like Plush and Pop.

I’m getting depressed again. I been through certain avenues of the mental health system and through these cycles enough times to know. It ain’t me, Brother, Sister. What’s wrong with Jimbo is what’s wrong with the world. I’ve lived my life in the service of Art, and created Art in service to my blues. A couple years ago, while working on The Coarse Grind, fellow thinker, writer and Brother Bean Maguire asked me for some words on addiction. The thing grew into a monster in which I attempted to chronicle the savage road through depression and alcoholism to recovery. I’m thinking it’s time to dust it off and send it up the pole. I need a little distance from the blog, and what the Buddhists call detachment could be good for me-before I trash my job and my house, this town and everyone I know. The blog’s been cutting too close to the bone, and I could use some professionalism as I look for work in the Arts and plug into as many outlets as it’ll take to exhaust my anger and spare my fellow man. Thank you for joining me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m needed at a Black Lives Matter meeting.

See you on the streets motherfucker.

The Coarse Grind, New Journalism

In Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, day job, getting old, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, music journalism, new journalism, news media, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, RADIO, Submitting, submitting poetry, TYPEWRITERS, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on January 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm

What follows is the first installment of The Coarse Grind, my column that was never published.  A local zine and arts collective had asked me to write 3 drafts under 600 words.  I ended up writing 5 of them and sent the first 3 to the editor.  We had a correspondence then, that included the phrase “curating for millennials”, but ended with me accusing her of being “disingenuous” and “silly”.  I can see her point now, almost 3 years later, while reading these over.  I don’t know who could be expected to read anything as long as 600 words as even major news outlets race to publish first, and edit and redact later.  Besides the horror in realizing how long ago this was, I’m emboldened reading these, in full faith that you, good reader, will read 600 words every week, even if it’s the same old story.  That’s the boon and bane of the blogging business-you’ll never run out of material as long as you keep writing about yourself.  Christ.
Stay tuned for the next 2 installments of The Coarse Grind.  

New Journalism

Christmas Eve ’95 I slept in Cromwell Park. I’d been thrown out of my mom’s house for not having health insurance. It needed to happen. And the rest…I suppose. What happened was I fell through about 5 years of daylabor and shitjobs, another 5 as a mad Boehme, 3 on the getting-sober circuit and shit about 3 years working down here, in the Pearl of the South.  What also happened is I decided to be a writer.  I had to be, as clichéd as that might sound.  I was working a string of jobs that were boring the life out of me.  I dealt with it the only way I knew how-with a typewriter and booze.

One of the first things I did when I got here was get a library card. Checked out Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life, a biography of Charles Bukowski by Howard Sounes. It was profound for me to discover the great poet had started writing poetry at the age of 35. I was 34.  Another thing I did when I got down here was pitch to Verbicide Magazine and write blues legend Steve James a letter, to say hello and ask for an interview. Those first months in Austin were a fertile time, days and months planting seeds and business cards. It was like I landed, dropped my bags and said,
“In 3 years I will be a writer.”

Then I got a job.  Then I got laid off.   I stayed on unemployment way past any reasonable amount of time, and fell sadly short of my goal of becoming a writer in 3 years. I had to go back to work.   It was one of many crises of doubt I had experienced, going all the way back to being homeless in my hometown in 1995.  I wanted to be a writer.
I landed a live in gig, in a big yellow mansion inconveniently located off west 6th.  A perfectly annoying backdrop and foil for this phase of my life which I can proudly announce to you is “being a writer”. This is the being a writer period, the being a writer time. Now it always was, I guess, but I didn’t know it then. Neither do you. But I appreciate you reading. It completes me. I feel received. Like radio-a magic jolt to it, an urgent zing to these words coming at you-can’t you feel it?  Right? Wow.
What do I do now that I am a writer? That I’ve cleaned my guns enough to crank out 8-1,200 words, neat and fine, on a whim or otherwise?  That of anything and everything that ever happens I not only have a ticket out of but a ticket into? That’s right, good reader.  I got an inroad to the best game in town and the players? Well shit the players are me&you darling and isn’t that nice?
Now that I’m a writer think I’ll bring it back for you. Tell you how I got here and that I’d like you to join me. In the late night or in the bright morning, I’d like you to join me on the savage road-this is the new stuff-join me in this new media, this new age-this moment. Let’s do some shit. Send out our signal into the hungry land. Let’s send out a song of love or better let’s send ‘em some anger. Let us burn.

The Real Work

In Activism, Being A Poet, Being An Artist, Don Bajema, Jim Trainer, journalism, Maureen Ferguson, mental health, new journalism, PDX, Poetry, politics, Portland, PROTEST, publishing poetry, self-help, self-publishing on November 24, 2016 at 3:17 pm

 

I got bored of Bob then, so squinted,
to make him look more like the other poet, Cohen…
…would have looked up Iggy on my phone,
but we didn’t have mobiles in nineteen-eighty-two.
Me and Bob in Barmouth, Caroline Stockford

…it’s every bastard for himself
the last Century hasn’t ended yet
bring us the head of the King
the last Century hasn’t ended yet
–Unwound

Warmest Greetings from the War Room. The Wisdom is hard to come by these days. I’m sure we’re all at loss. I’ve been tits deep in the work and I’m thankful. It always gets my juices flowing and it kept me off Facebook for a couple weeks. Y’all have been busy! I’m proud of you. Really, I am. There’s a photo going around now, on social media, with a list of phone numbers to call and officially register a complaint, from the White House Situation Room to your local legislators to a pigfucker Sheriff from North Dakota who, when the credits roll will be on the wrong side of history. Aho. That wasn’t nice. I don’t know how that pigfucker can sit around a table with his family today, after blowing Sophia Wilansky’s arm off during a peaceful protest this week-which isn’t nice either. Wilansky’s conviction is what we’ll need now. If I’ve learned anything from my experience with neo Nazis, violence will be part of the conversation.

These are interesting times. Brother Don is emboldened and, as usual, carrying a torch of inspiration that’s astounding. Sister Maureen Ferguson writes that she’s “uncomfortable”, which sounds to me like she’s resolved.  You better watch out Brother. The lady does work. I get to watch these tremendously bright and strong people rise and shine. All I’ve done is footnoted a blog post, meant to get back to later-basically I felt like I should back up my dark intuitions. That’s the change in me. On my way to Starbucks this morning (and I really should just stop right there), I had my guard up, like I do, but was hipped to the reality of a rogue shooter, a Vet or failure of a failed mental health system that doesn’t care for the mentally ill at all. What I am trying to say is it’s always been dark for me. I won’t say I told you so because then I would be a dick but also, I’ve got some issues-I’ve been fighting depression for over twenty years. I’m a poet for Christ, sitting in a mansion writing you about my insights on the way to Starbucks. The world has risen (or sunk) to my expectations but I won’t say I told you so. There have been some real dark turns in the New Century.  It shouldn’t surprise me but it does. The change in me is that it’s not enough for me to write a post that says “We’re fucked.” three times and call it a day. I need to back my dire statements and grim predictions with fact.

These things take time. Time I haven’t had. The new book is practically in the bag. Text and pages laid out in InDesign.  I’ll do a final pore today and tomorrow, and finish a draft of the cover before I send the file to Minuteman for 150 insides to my third full-length collection of poetry. I fly out to Portland on Wednesday, to Letterpress the covers and bind and cut them at the IPRC. I’m 17 copies away from breaking even on September‘s second pressing, and I can’t thank y’all enough. Christmas is coming. Holler at yr homeboy. If your relatives piss you off, buy them copies of my dark and romantic poetry. That oughta fix their wagon. Support local artists. I do and I’m really happy about it. I might even make it easy and generate a list of artists who I respect, which is the real currency. I see you my Brother, my Sister. Let’s do our work and take some time out of our very privileged lives to give back. It’s always been dark but in the strangest turn of events, it’s gotten brighter for me, the littlest bit. You showed me how.

Vox populi vox dei.

See you in Portland motherfucker.
Trainer
Austin TX-Portland OR

 

Out of the Bag

In Activism, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, news media, observation, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, politics, PROTEST, RADIO, recovery, revolution, self-help, sober, sobriety, War, working class, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on November 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm

For years they had me locked in a cage
then they threw me onto the stage
-Bob Dylan

Ho hum.  Howdy motherfucker.  Trainer here, with the wisdom.  In the days following the election I didn’t know what to feel, let alone how to put it into words.  That’s because the focus of this blog has always been myself.  I didn’t have it in me to be selfish, and would never expect you to be into it either, after Tuesday night’s rude awakening.  I didn’t want to say I told you so, as if that ever helps anything except the pride of the fool saying it.  I know why I didn’t vote, and I’ve seen the readership of this blog decline for making that known, but I was still horrified at the result, and suffered bad constipation (among other things) as the reality sank in.

We’re fucked.  I’ve lived long enough to feel that way 3 other times in my life, and all of them have to do with the highest office in the land.  This feels different though, and I’m different, and as twisted and dark as it is right now, I’ve nowhere to hide.  The last time a candidate who won the popular vote was denied the Presidency, I was 25 years old.  I had, or thought I had, plenty of time to fuck around.  I got lost in West Philly.  I devoted myself to the Arts, even got involved in the battle for free radio.  I fought as much as I wanted to and even though between me and myself it’s never enough, I can look back proudly on that time, my Radio Days.  The truth is it wasn’t enough and it’s never enough but it was the end of the Century and I sure had a good time.

The next time I knew we were fucked was in the next race, 4 years later, and the country had gone stark raving mad for War, and persecuted you for saying otherwise.  The news media in the Land of the Free was onboard.  It was fucked.  It still is.  If we can’t agree on the intricacies of hegemony and U.S. interventionism, then surely we agree that the luring of our young men and women to fight for a lie and come home to a country that doesn’t care about its mentally ill is treacherous, inhumane and wrong.

The collapse of the market and federal bail out that ensued is the watershed moment, good Reader.  It’s when the capriciousness of the Bush dynasty came home to roost.  As progressive and even glorious were the advances made by President Obama, the mess he inherited and how he handled it, has fucked us, the People of the United States for the remainder of this country’s existence.  Something exceptional would have to happen.  Vigilance was needed and a tireless commitment to righting the vessel.  None of those will be forthcoming.

I think it’s worth mentioning that little would be done under Hillary, either, and business is as business does could be the slogan of either party in this cracked oligarchy we will be living in for the rest of our lives.  The little that Hillary would’ve done might’ve been enough to keep spirits up, and her election might not have emboldened the homogeneous bigotry of this country like Trump’s has, but they would still be out there and deals would still be cut in there, hand over hand in her Oval office or his-certainly our inhumane actions abroad aren’t going to change no matter who is President.

The DNC is broken, or, it’s only fulfilling what it always had in mind.  The Republican Party should be over and done with, except that they rule the House and the Senate.  The fact that a reality TV star ran on a non-policy of hate and fear, lost the popular vote and will be President is fucked.  His attitude and bias is piggish and without compassion but even the 47% of people who voted for him will tell you that.  Great writers have already concluded that this is the American character.*

You don’t need to hear it from me that we’re fucked.  If you’ve tuned in and read me-I thank you.  The fact that I started this blog aiming for an outsider’s voice either more critical or accurate than mainstream media, but only came up with a self-help journal and reason to go on, spend a couple hours writing instead of going out to the bougie store for a pack of triple 5s or hanging myself from the chandelier in a dead confederate palace on a slow Tuesday night in Hippie Town is what it is.

I want you to know, though-despite your kind words and appreciation and readership that’s kept me from swinging-I have really let myself go.  I’ve let my writing go because on the eve of ruin in the Land of the Free, I was without words and the only thing I could come up with was a parable about getting old.  Don’t get me wrong, getting old is a thing and a very sad thing when you consider how far I am from my goals and how slow going it’s been.  Every shock of the world and hysteria brought on by charlatans of the news media was dealt with by putting my head back in the bag.  Now I’m sober and the story is the same.

I’ve been here almost 5 years, been posting on here for 6.  I don’t have the spring of youth in my step and I’ve retreated so far inside myself that it took the election of a diabolical asshole to wake me up to the reality-I’m not living to my potential.  It’s a popular refrain down here at the Office.  I’ll never know if the Inner Critic is just on overdrive or if I should just be doing more.  I’ve still got a monkey on my back though, and Art has been re-purposed again as vital, life saving and something to live up to.  This is just the beginning.

See you on the streets motherfucker.

Ab irato,
Jim Trainer
Going For The Throat
Austin TX-Portland OR