Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘Performance’ Category

BEWARE THE FIRST PERSON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

In Being A Writer, depression, mental health, Performance, recovery, self-help, Writing, writing about writing on November 30, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Sometimes I wonder, why do we tear ourselves to pieces?
-Paul Simon, Horace and Pete

Second chances are getting harder to come by these days.
-Michael “Corky” Corcoran

Do you enjoy being on this side of history?
-Someone commenting on Michael Corcoran’s Facebook Page last week

Jim Trainer’s writing is not for the weak. It’s like stepping in dogshit barefoot.
-Ignacio on Pterodáctilo

Writers feel like the best thing they have to offer is the worst thing that ever happened to them.

I am the pressman, acknowledge me…
-Primus, The Pressman

Warmest Greetings from the War Room.  I’m at a loss but what else is new?  Sometimes I wonder:  why do I have to be in trouble to create?  The last couple written blogs on here, well, shit–pretty gnarly ain’t it though.  I’m on deadline so that means I have to mine for kernels of life, exceptional or otherwise. On a slow news day a bird on a wire can be newsworthy, especially if his beady yellow eye speaks to me of my own hunger and unsavory instincts.  Sadly, equally unsavory and unresolved relations with others make it on here, too.  Usually I don’t mind.  Revenge is a great motivation.  By the time I write about someone, I feel they’re long gone anyway.  Nothing to salvage so may as well trash ’em and get on with it.  If that doesn’t sound horrible enough, the truth is GFtT has cut too close to the bone, too many times.  Not to mention I hate when people write about me without at least consulting or attempting to address their grievances with me in person.  It seems passive- aggressive, which I can’t stand.  My horrible point is I only write about folks and situations that are resolutely in the rearview–or I write to put them there.  I can’t live with vague and unresolved.  It feels hopeless and futile.  I need to bury my dead and it’s a huge mistake simply because all of the people I’ve buried in print are still alive!  I don’t think I’ll remedy this dark flaw of mine, at least not in writing anyway, and as abyssmal as all this undoubtedly sounds, I don’t like writing about my life because it makes me feel like a hack.

We knew the dangers of this medium from the get, ain’t it though, but they didn’t feel like dangers at the time.  I achieved a goal of mine to be a columnist, by exploiting my own flaws and offering my own foibles.  And it was incredibly satisfying.  The blog that started me posting every Thursday was written out of sexual frustration.  I was tired of playing ring around the rosey and I said so, in writing.  Don’t you know a woman I’d been courting up until that point called me repeatedly.  She was upset about it, the blog, wanted to talk about it.  We talked.  I told her it wasn’t about her and that our conversation would be the last time I ever explained my writing to her.  We made amends and made plans.  A week later she stood me up.  Now I had over 600 words up on here, I didn’t take that blog down–why should I, especially after she stood me up?  Which is no consolation.  I’d of rather gotten laid, which was the point of the thing to begin with, and I’m a writer so the blog stayed.  I’ve never taken anything down in over 7-years of writing for GFtT–but my point is when people get more upset about the truth being printed than the truth itself then I feel like I’m onto something and they probably deserve it anyway.  All this might justify doing what I do but it doesn’t mean I’m not a hack.  Which was ok, too–I figured at least I was writing.  I didn’t mind (much) until now.

Social media is killing me.  Better, depression is killing me and social media is one of its best weapons.  There are other things I’ve been abusing.  Flagrant misuses of my power and magic are well documented and are all rooted in fear anyway.  I don’t want to be a hack anymore and I don’t want to waste any more time on social media.  My own weaknesses sway any discussion about it.  A democratized media?  Nope, just creepin’.  A way to stay connected to others when I’m at rope’s end on an isolation jag? Nope just looking at selfies.  Staying in the loop?  Maybe.  The list can go on and on but none of these reasons are why I’m on there—scrolling as the sun comes up and scrolling as the sun goes down.  It’s making me perverted—well, it’s feeding my perversions.  So, I’m striking out.  I’ve got some resolutions for the new year.  You Bet.  One of the biggest is to get current on my website and post from there.  The other is to take to the territory.  If this is mid-life I am ashamed.  When I’m done being ashamed I’m almost excited.  After my excitement has been checked by my depression I am resolved.  I’ve miles to go before I sleep.  I’m thinking, long and hard, on how I can offer the road I’m on, this new media and me and my life and Art—as a service to you, Good Reader and the waiting world.  I know from your feedback that I’ve already done this for some of you, so I know all is not lost.

The world stopped ending in Boyd’s town at a very special wedding last month.  It got cold and I feel alright.  I’ve got so much work to do, especially if I don’t want next week’s post to be about bad blood or masturbation.

See you in the territory motherfucker.

A post shared by Mari Andrew (@bymariandrew) on

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M.O.A.C.

In boston, Performance, Philadelphia, poetry reading, PROTEST, punk rock, sobriety, Spoken Word on November 23, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Recorded live at the Middle East Corner in Boston on April 26, 2017.  The Reverend Kevin P. O’Brien, The Droimlins, Duncan Wilder Johnson and Jim Healey were also on the bill.  

DRAG ME AWAY

In Love, Performance, Spoken Word on November 16, 2017 at 2:26 pm

 

Recorded live at Brewerytown Beats in Philadelphia on October 25, 2017.  Bevan McShea and Charlie O’Hay were also featured.

FOR MADMEN ONLY

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, mental health, Performance, publishing poetry, self-publishing, Spoken Word, Writing, writing about writing on November 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm

There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.
-Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf

Up until 30 minutes ago you had no idea what I did for a living and now you know more than me? Great. I should just quit and write poetry.
-theoriginal_jem on Instagram this week

The trouble with these people is that their cities have never been bombed and their mothers have never been told to shut up.
-Charles Bukowski

Sometimes I write just to keep from falling.  It’s been the luckiest goddamn thing, the writing.  The other, well, we all have our row to hoe, don’t we Sister?  Some of us toe the line, we fit in to their scheme nicely, or we want to and our days are orderly, it all makes sense or it will someday.  The rest of us run slipshod, in turns raw with fear and bold with alacrity, pioneers of lost and lonely kingdoms, we answer to none and don’t tell anyone.  As treacherous as it gets it’s still safer than living in their world.  I don’t know what kind of voodoo’s been run down on me but–I burn out now on crazy, faster than ever before.  The IG quote above is from an unfortunate interaction on social media this week.  I spoke on corporate culture, which I gladly know nothing of, and should’ve just kept my mouth shut.  On the other hand I wouldn’t have known this person to be so self-identified with it–square life.  I can’t speak to it.  I can’t recommend the road I took.  I’m not proud of it, it still confuses me–but I’ll never suffer anyone’s shame of it.  Out of necessity, really.  Believe me, I’m plenty enough ashamed on my own, that I couldn’t make it, do the thing and participate.  I just happen to be more ashamed of them and their life–the squares.  Which obviously, and again out of necessity, is a perfect intro for this week’s post.

I’m terrified.  I struck out again, left my gig of 5 years.  Couldn’t hang there anymore.  It was the longest job I ever had–which isn’t to say I’m irresponsible.  I could never stick around long enough to let time get on me, which is what happens.  Familiarity can be a pecking away, unless it’s from people who you love but even then sometimes you’ve got to get away.  I never met a more concentrated group of horrible people than I did at my last gig and living where I did, but I never stayed anywhere longer than a couple years either.  The problem is the Fear.  I’m suffering good Reader.  My karma’s wearing me down.  I can’t do it, out here, without some soulsucking handjive day paying jerkaround.  Know what I’m saying?  It’s fucked and I feel fucked.  Terrible depths of despair until I take to the outdoors and the sun and the trees of Hyde Park take me like a familiar but distant planet.  I can let go a little, on my walkabouts here, and forget for a spell that the future looks as fucked to me as the past and I don’t know how I’ll ever get this rig unwound.

I got some side hustles.  Little time sucks for gas and food money.  I’m not starving to death.  I’m booking ’em, too.  December’s shaping up and 15 $100 gigs still seems doable, on paper anyway.  I’m interviewing for another caregiving position tomorrow, I got irons in the fire for everything from moving furniture to hauling trash.  Everything’s fine and I’m terrified.  I regret my decision and pretty much every other one I’ve had to make since I first stepped foot to this savage road over twenty years ago.  I don’t think I’ll make it most days.  The wisdom, I guess, is I never thought I would but yet here I am.  It’s been heavy, man, and harrowing.  Second to second sometimes.  It does add up, though, I’ve got a body of work.  Three books in and my stuff is getting better and better.  Storytelling is second nature to me now.  It only takes a draft or 2 before I can take it to the boards and tell it under the hot lights.  Writing is still one of the only failsafe things that will save me.  Refuge.  Most days feel like falling until I’m beat by night’s billyclub, and then pulled off to dream silly dreams in some thick veldt between lust and madness.   I think I’ll make it, after all, even if it never feels like it.  She wouldn’t last a day.

See you in the territory motherfucker.

 

 

Just Like October

In austin music scene, death, death, mourning, Jim Trainer, Music, music performance, Performance, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, song, songwriting, true love on October 26, 2017 at 5:21 pm

I can’t even begin to tell how much I love you
I was born to hold you, to look down in your eyes
I was come upon this earth to be right by your side
you’re the one who come out of dream to me, woman
when you sleep you’re curled in some distant heather
it’s windy and wet there, just like October
something deep inside of you that I remember
there are many lives that we have lived together

no don’t get up and try and speak love
God’s pourin’ light down on you from above
if  all I ever really do is love you
then God came down and did this for me
You’re for me

I’ve walked a million burning miles to look at your smiling face
suffered my whole life long just to be healed by your grace
if you ever go away I’m with you
in every breath and word, every motion, every moment
I am yours
no don’t get up and try and speak
it’s late now and this train’s gettin’ up to speed
winding through the heartland into the deep
fertile and green land of a woman and a man
this is real

so don’t get up and try and speak love
God’s pourin’ light down on you from above
if all I ever really do is love you
then God came down and did this for me
You’re for me

Ashen and boot black, I come up the hill
brushing the fresh dirt from my knees
it’s windy and wet here, just like October
this is the end of our lives together
tomorrow there’ll be another sun
come up mighty even though you’re gone
trains whistle cold out into the vacant fronteir of night
without a word from you, without a whisper
I am yours

I am yours

Recorded live on Flaming Arrow Radio with DJ Diane on WKDU, 91.7FM Philadelphia on October 24, 2017.  Jim Trainer performs tomorrow night, in Manayunk, with Psalmships and Cardinal Arms.  For more information please visit here and here

Betting On The Muse

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, art, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, day job, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, mental health, mid life, middle age, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on September 21, 2017 at 4:40 pm

I quit my job of 5 years and worked my last shift Tuesday night.  When I got this gig I was scared straight.  My Unemployment Compensation had run out and I’d been overpaid.  I owed (owe) $1,645 to the state.  I was doing promotions work and hospice care.  Shit went from blue to black.  On the other hand, the months of extended leave from shift work and days of liquid gambol gave my writing some swagger.  It was out front and walking around.  My poetry, always bold, gained confidence.  My prose, too-from weeks of forcing myself to sit here and post, and sending out long and angry letters to the world.  What I found, driving drunk and falling through the Night Kitchen, was the vast and rolling fields of my psyche.  By devoting to the muse above all she gave me continuous inspiration.  She still does and will.  All’s I’ve got to give her is time.

There’s been talk of going straight, parlaying the longest work history I’ve ever had into a note, or loan, and get a condo while I can.  Luckily I have a friend who told me that ain’t me, and she was right.  Riding around town today, down South Congress and Nathan Hamilton came on shuffle…sooner or later, we all hit the wall.  I haven’t been in a good mood in way too fucking long.  Driving down South Congress Avenue in the warm sun, with the rockabilly skyline giving rise is often what my good mood looks like.  I won’t say I fell in love with Austin again, because the Austin I fell in love with is gone (Bro), but I let it all go and just took her for what she is–a cool town in the middle of nowhere.  Some of the best roots music is still being written and performed down here.  There are still sawdust joints like the Continental Club and the White Horse that remind me why I came.  I pulled in on a heartbroke blue morning in May of 2009.  That night I played Evangeline Cafe and I been runnin’ and gunnin’ ever since.  I got tripped up here, though, at the mansion–I needed a home and gainful employment never existed in my world.  It was always cash and carry, flying my jolly roger to the next hitch, room and situation.  Not much has changed but everything’s different now.

I got my certification to teach Yoga.  I put out 3 collections of poetry and prose (and wrapping work on my 4th).  I’m taking to the territory, with only vague leads on employment.  I’m not worried, maybe I should be, but what I know beyond a doubt is 2 years ago I realized it was too late for me.  Too late to become who I always wanted to be.  That I never rose to the occasion and fear got the best of me.  I was being kept–by my Boss, this house and my situation.  I was 40 and next thing I knew I was 42.  I had to get out.  There’s a whole lot of other shit I could say, to slag and distance myself from where I worked and where I was at for the last 5 fucking years of my life.  I’ve somehow confused my life with the last 5 years, and hanging on by a thread when I  look back, thinking–how could I have blown it so bad?

I still get excited about the creation of Art.  I’m still writing songs that I must live up to, and can still prophesy and actualize with rock and roll on a Martin DR-S1.  Poetry’s as necessary to me as self esteem.  If I don’t squeeze one out every week or so, the bolts tighten in my mind and the world starts slanting down and there’s too much confusion and I can’t tell love from the blower man on the landscaping crew, and everybody’s high and no one cares, and everyone thinks we should go to War, and punk rockers die young at the age of 56, which is, I mean–it gets bad and poetry is necessary then.  Which is far from ideal.  Necessary.

Necessary sounds like those old scrapping days, playing it safe with no love or gamble.  Necessary sounds like 50-hour weeks moving safes and pianos for $7.50/hr.  Necessary is every job I’ve ever had, all the way back to 1987 when I was a 12-year old dishwasher at Martinichio’s Restaurant and delivered the Philadelphia Inquirer.  A lot of things are necessary.  I’ve removed most of them from my life.  The creation of Art was thee necessary salve and in a lot of ways it still is–but there’s a bottom I won’t go to anymore.  It’s very safe and sad.  I’m not sure if I’ll need those blues or that abyss.  I’m 42.  I write poetry and I play music.  Performing is one of the only places I feel completely me.  Those hot lights are a prism.  They burn doubt out of you and send out the good word of love.  They let the people know.  Survival isn’t celebrated enough.  Then again, at almost 3 years sober, I don’t know how to celebrate anything anymore.  I’m sure I’ll be floating a broom and glowering over some this is fucked wisdom again before too long, but–maybe not.  Good reader maybe not.  With no prospects and no real direction I know I’ve got to go this way.  Take to the territory.  It just feels right, and I’m gonna go with that.  Time to GTFO.

See you in the territory motherfucker.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Have Heart on the Hard Road

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, art, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, Buddhism, buddhist, day job, death, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, going for the throat, Henry Rollins, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, Performance, punk rock, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, song, songwriting, straight edge, suicide, travel, travel writing, truth, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on July 27, 2017 at 1:53 pm

You should learn how to feel sad without actually being sad.
-Laurie Anderson’s Buddhist Teacher

Self-editing is humiliating. I didn’t start a blog called Going For The Throat to censor myself. There have been times over the years and I’m sure I’ll be called to do it again, for whatever dumb reason life may deal me at that moment. Admittedly, I’ve steered away from skewering certain individuals because it would’ve only esteemed them. Those come out in the wash, though. It took me a couple years but I was able to call out certain cunts on here who’s name I never would’ve mentioned before. Of course there are professional considerations, but if you’re a dayworker like I am you have very little control or catharsis-I’ve found that biting your tongue on a shitjob only rears in the end. You can abstain from speaking your mind but if some boss deserves it, it’s only a matter of time before your hands are on him in the alley behind the break room. Things have their way of working themselves out. Living in fear is worse than dying which might soudnd idealistic to you but any jerkoff who posts at least 600 words about himself on the world wide web every week isn’t playing with a full deck of practicality to begin with. What that means is if I’m crazy enough to dream it, you know I’m just plain crazy too. Self-editing, or censoring, is bullshit and I only do it if I’m at an impasse. If I’ve stared at the same post, and re-read it enough times to know it by heart, then it’s time to flush it and start anew. This isn’t poetry. At best, Going For the Throat is a gun-I’d only point it at you if I’m shooting to kill.

Greetings from the Hewitt Lake Club, Population 7. It looks like rain on Lily Bay, but it’s looked that way since 9. The sky is turning silver, there’s a low thunder rumbling and a high wind swaying the gingkoes and lone evergreen to the left of the screen porch where I write this self-censored post. Whether it rains or not means little. I’ll be wet by the time I get to the greasy barn and it’d be great to build a fire in the pod. Two days ago I would’ve had a completely different answer, with Ben in Brooklyn and the rain coming down it was just me and Blair sitting around the fire-in our pod, all day long. I was worried my resentments had ruined this trip, but woke up charged, on my day off yesterday, bounding out of bed at 6:30AM and writing over a thousand words about the horrid grind my life has become. Thank Christ that’s over with.

Out on the drive behind the cabin, by the garage where I sing, working on a tune called It’s Been A Long Time That I Should Be Far From Here-I realized something. Music, songs and songwriting, lyrics-these could be the last haven for wonder in these paling years. Fantasy. Myth. What I’ve rued since giving up the life-otherness, lust, change. Of course the fear is that perhaps I only use songs to help me through rough and large transitions. SWAMP EP, for example. I must’ve buried 3 exs alone by the end of The Winner, SWAMP‘s opening track. I resolved some issues I had with my dead Father in So Many Roads, acknowledged that I loved her in Back (I Want You) and laid out LA Telegram and Back In The Game like a dream map of the South, the Rockabilly Night and my new Spring in Austin ever dawning. I’ve penned some tunes since then and unearthed even more. I wrote down the titles to anywhere from 12-15 solid songs, songs that I’ve written that I like…which ain’t bad for someone who thinks he doesn’t write enough songs. So the fear is that, at the end of this ordeal, I’ll have 3 or 4 tunes that have helped me through, but I won’t be closer to my songwriting heroes. I’m sensing a theme here, and just wrote to Compatriot Cole this morning about never realizing what I call the Rollins ideal. Oh well. At least with songwriting it’s easy to keep in mind that it’s good work if you can find it. Songwriting is a different kind of spell-it’s writing and self actualizing but it involves the Gods on an intimate level. As a songwriter you can become anything (or anyone) you want to be. It’s instantaneous and only a fool could ask for more.

When peace comes it’s profound. The blood in my head sinks at the same rate as the sun, and I’ve expereienced dusks here both utterly sublime and completely ordinary. That’s all I ever wanted. I don’t need fireworks. I never wanted Heaven though I guess I settled for Hell. Didn’t I Brother. I never wanted a panacea or a cure all, but that could be depression talking (why bother trying to feel good when it’s such a short ride from the good life to the blues?). Know what I mean Sister? Life is…life. I got a good feeling about leaving this gig even if I only heard back from 3 of the 20 booking emails sent out from the greasy barn last Friday. I wrote another verse for an old tune and revisited one that’s been brimming from the heartlid before 10AM yesterday morning. This tenuous balance, periods of synchronous bliss coupled with torrid maelstroms of anger and irritation, sounds like life to me and of course there’s so much more I could do.

Sorry for the hodge-podge, good Reader. I tried to salvage the high points of my charge and kept the low points of the original missive to myself. No good deed goes unpunished ain’t it though, ’cause now I’m out here in the garage writing this. I flew the screen porch and came out here to wrap this fucking thing. Our pod got too full of good vibes and company, no room for me and my bitterness, which, truth be told is only killing me. Jill just walked by and said I could turn on the light if I wanted to. I told her I’d just suffer in silence and we laughed, this 86 year old Artist and me, hard, because she’s right. I could turn on the light if I wanted to.

Beautiful Friend

In alcoholism, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, journalism, Kevin P.O'Brien, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music journalism, music performance, new journalism, news media, observation, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, police brutality, politics, PROTEST, publishing, punk rock, recovery, self-help, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, straight edge, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga on July 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Let’s focus on the steak, not the peas.

-Minchia

Liberals want our country to be more like Canada. Conservatives want it to be more like Mexico.

-Realist

Raising a kid with medical needs is a very, very steep climb in the best of circumstances, and so when we say Medicaid is like the handholds that you’re using to scale up and get your kids to help-without those, there’s nothing below, there’s no safety net once those supports get pulled out, you just fall off the cliff.
-Robert Howell 

If they were to collaborate they could strangle data access to parts of the internet, it’s not an understatement to say they could influence history.
-Elliot Brown

One need only look closely at such drag queens as Michelle Visage or Violet Chachi on the RuPaul show to suss out the cruel, cold-blooded lizard that lurks behind the eyes of the Illuminati elite.
-Stephenson Billings

What the hell.
-Jared Yates Sexton

I wish I had let go long ago.  Not long after I quit smoking I began to experience a shortness of breath.  I’ve had to teach myself to sing again.  Psalmships’ “Little Bird“, again and again.  Up high in the mountains of Minerva and out here on the blistering plains.  What felt like the broken middle finger on my left hand has moved to the thumb on my right.  If it’s arthritis, then, what the hell?  I should’ve never quit, shoulda kept drinkin’ and womanizin’ and waking up dead in a dead confederate palace, with my pants at Kim’s pool and the aching yellow sun splitting my skull like a shiv, until I could down 400mg and tell her to get…OUT. It’s painfully apparent, these are the end days.  I should’ve never left the life but I wish I’d let go a long time ago.

The stupid truth is the life never helped me let go either.  I was as hung up then as I am now and drugs never worked.  You’re not going to believe me but I could never enjoy myself on drugs because I knew it was only a drug.  How terribly unfun and what a fucking drag, eh Brother?  The closest I came was on mushrooms down at Stone Harbor, on the shore in the dark, with the Reverend and Butch as a storm rolled in. I lost myself that summer but never before and never again.  I’ve kept myself locked tight, fought against it in my 20s but embraced it until now.  I perfected my isolation and my Father’s poker face.  Like him, the world only hurt my feelings and to be obvious was to be played. What the hell? How did this thing rear and turn into a psychoanalytical journey and examination of why I’m no fun but still wishing for the days?

Oh well, if it brings us to the truth then I can live with that.  However we got here, we’re here, and these days I prefer to drink dark coffee with honey, read the news and pretend I’m smoking cigarettes in my mind, like a mid-life Cassavetes and type here in the center of a crumbling palace amidst:  piles of poetry collections, poster-pressed covers, a copy of Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, CDs and receipts and guitar strings, stacks of typed and handwritten poetry-edited in red ink, the trusty NAS plugged in and humming beside and a cold cup of Italian Roast, in the blasting AC in what I thought at one time was the center of the Rock and Roll universe, in one of the most expensive zip codes in the country-the Pearl of the South and the Velvet Rut, Austin Texas Hippie Town U.S.A.

Incidentally, that moniker and euphemism for the good vibes and pretty white girls that grow on trees down here has become outdated.  All the hippies live in Smithville now and I’m outta here, too.  Call it The City of Izods&Boots, or, the Town of Technocrats or simply, Bro Country.  Call ’em the New Rich or Fancy Dog Walkers, call ’em whatever you want because I am outta here.  It’s been a long time that I should be far from here and 5 years since I wrote that elegiac paen to my departure from the barrio.  Facebook says I been on there 8 years today, which makes for an interesting capsule of my time down here-beginning with my very first post, a video of Cory Branan singing “Survivor Blues” and ending with, well, “The End” by The Doors.

I’ve learned a lot.  I’m a different man.  I’m making the seismic changes that come from staying in place.  It was real and it was fun but it wasn’t real fun.  I’m staying on this side of the river but I am getting the fuck out of dodge.  I’ve got 4 gigs booked in the next 2 months and 2 pages of contacts on legal yellow, letter-sized paper.  Work in media suits me.  I don’t mind the world, from a good safe distance, and writing about it transforms it somehow, makes even the horrid and unconscionable worth going through.  I’m a fire walker on here, a hard bitten scoop in the hard lands.  And, lovely and overwrought I bring it on home to you, good Reader, my Friend.

See you in Hyde Park motherfucker.

The Area of Pause

In alcoholism, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Boredom, day job, depression, getting old, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, Performance, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, Spoken Word, suicide, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on July 6, 2017 at 3:01 pm

There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life.
President Trump

In general, “The president has tweeted X.” is an overblown story.
Rachel Maddow

They think we’re stupid. And maybe they’re right.
Jonny Coleman

Attacks on established knowledge have a long pedigree, and the Internet is only the most recent tool in a recurring problem that in the past misused television, radio, the printing press, and other innovations the same way.
Thomas M. Nichols

People don’t choose the President anyway.  America is not a democracy. America is a Republic. 

Dr. Umar Johnson


Learning to kill
is a matter of habit

The more you have done it,
the better you’re at it.

Izhar Ashdot

July 6, 2017, 1:01PM
Hippie Town, USA

Quiet as a tomb up here in the high rooms.  Not even a blower on Judge’s Hill.  I’ve just consumed a week’s worth of media over a cold cup of Italian Roast.  Last night, Doc&I went out to Cold Town for the return of Austin’s No Shame Theatre.  We both told stories about The America, as Uncle Hank calls it, this young frontier of bounty and bloodlust.  Nothing has changed since last week, although some of you might’ve lost your shit a little.  The President said or tweeted some things, I’m sure, and North Korea had its own fireworks display as the world turned darkly on.

This War Room has everything I ever wanted.  A MacBook, replete with its NAS, plugged in and humming beside, an extra monitor, a pair of Nearfields on the floor and a Lexmark copier/scanner/printer on standby.   I feel better than I’ve felt in weeks.  I should be out this shitshow by late September and I’ll need to start compiling the poetry and prose for this year’s collection, due out through Yellow Lark Press December 1.  We’re heading out in a couple weeks, and doing roughly 3,000 miles up to New York and back.  It should be a thankless slog, rivaled only by the grisly heat of Texas summer if we stayed.

I’m apartment, or room, or house hunting-looking for something equally comfortable and private in which to plot and amass and roll out the grand machinations of this dream.  To play every night and write every day has been my goal and charge for as long as I can remember.  I’ve been maintaining both at dayjob levels and even sacrificing a little of my artistic life for this gig.  That was a mistake but nothing compared to the last 5 years of my life, which is a dangerous way to think-a dark focus that could shame every thought and endeavor I’ve had since dropping out of music school and going homeless in the hometown at the dawning of the New Century.  Brother K.O. has offered me a place on tour with the Dropkick Murphys, tenting every show and working for the Claddagh Fund.  The road is always calling, like it did then and it does any time the present moment catches up with me and hangs itself around my neck.

This terribly blasé post could be summed up in a few different ways.  We could frame it as duty and say that even without anything to report, I’m reporting-the medium is the message.  It could be psychological-a check in and my way of keeping us connected.  It could be even more personal than that.  You either hang yourself or hang it on the wall, right Brother, and week after week we’ve been thankfully and sometimes begrudgingly doing the latter.  To the chagrin of a cold world we’ve been holding on to each other, and isn’t that nice?  The truth is that this is a pause, and, I’ll even offer, a moment of gratitude.  I’m going to need my strength and you, too, very soon.  You can bet I’ll be coming for you in these coming months.  We all need someone to bleed on, and in these grim, outrageous and diabolically narcissistic times, in this cultural freefall and with the death of our Mother, a little bit of peace and quiet can feel like Heaven.  It’s a good chance for us to remember the others out there, ease back into it, this lull in the terrible summer and suffer some contentment for a change.  The worst kind of trouble is no trouble at all, right Sister?

Is fear rith maith ná drochsheasamh.  

Peace and love to you, motherfucker.