Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘poem’ Category

HOSTLE CITY BREAKDOWN

In Philadelphia, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized on October 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

to live and die is human
it’s our lot and fate
in Philly both these things
can happen in a day
I want to push up against someone
and have them shove me right back
I want to feel them standing down and parting
and cursing me at my back
I want to yell out on every corner ayo!
be pulled along to the brink
shrouded by street sages smoking on stoops
beneath centuries of trees
I want to remember why, what I’m cut from
what I’d resort to in a pinch
I want to push back walking
bleeding blue into cement
I want to shake hands with Bobby Lemons
the old Mayor of 10th Street
sip at the Last Drop, 12th&Pine
remembering street poetry and sweat
for years I spoke into mop handles
above an Ethiopian bar
for years I tumbled roaring
rolling rye bottles out of cars
there’s a woman for every season there
a reason every time it broke
you take the tender part and tie it
‘round your neck in a shimmy, yoked
Philly’s the perfect place to lose, get lucky
or walk sideways for a decade
it’s my Irish Italian parents
a perfect foil an utter bane
you figure it out or you get fucked there
or you get fucked when you do
Hostile City might help you win a little
but will laugh at you when you lose
someone’s car alarm is always going off
people are rude and mean
the cops won’t help you, someone will rob you
your reflexes are always sharp and lean
some of my favorite people in the world live there
best friends, loves, family
shame it took some and buried ‘em
but, too, it seems
Hostile City has a way
to rid you of all your enemies.

 

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Goodbye, Goodbye

In poem, Poetry, Uncategorized on October 6, 2017 at 1:11 am

It’s been a life, blown and bowled over, marveling at the destructive act.  It’s been nights cornered by lust, like a fly in a tarantula dream, and days that split the long beams down my eyes.  It was a white sun in Lafayette in 1999 and the only time I truly knew would never be again–in youth.  There was a heavy, grey lead blues and a black flapping ‘gainst the pane blues.  The yards, up north–burning down Camel straights through the chain link, and spitting out hot sugared coffee in the snow.  It’s a good thing to remember now as I can’t turn, I won’t turn, I can’t be–any of these but all of it now and roaring.  The cadence of my later years has laden each day with all the days, each day carrying a load of the days before, my past like a bushel of coal and future that cuts prisms of mash.  I love and lose and I am born and I sink.  I am tequila on Ocean Beach and I am warm Lager above the Dawson in her hot 3rd floor.  If I am all loves then I am all love and every sky is winding and every whisper knows a scar.  Ravenous I am without regret, I revel and twist and dwindle in a reverse sailor’s dive.  I stitch my dreams with nightmare silk and I feed fear to courage, my love is in the mouth of a lion, my love is the cutting stink of a locomotive train.  Everything that was true is still.  Everything that’s false will find you out, and crack you from your earthen bed but if you wave from Heaven we’ll see you and we will wave back from Hell…

30 MORNINGS

In National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE on April 30, 2017 at 11:28 am

#30 photo

My 30th poem of 30 celebrating National Poetry Month.

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

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

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

 

Tonight The Monkey Dies

In anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, depression, getting old, mental health, mid life, poem, Poetry, politics, punk rock, self-help, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on December 29, 2016 at 7:42 pm
Yesterday I got a call from the outside world
but I said no in thunder.
-Jim Harrison

The problem with storytelling is you need an ending.  Closure.  For the audience.  But life is messy.  Some (me) might even say chaotic.  Beneficent, malevolent or indifferent (me again).  I like to consider myself an optimistic nihilist.  Like Maureen Ferguson, I believe in everything and nothing.  It’s because I like to keep the slate clean, and I should hope that if there is a God he exists somewhere outside our grasp, certainly not the God here, in these mortals’ minds, telling you what to do and killing each other just to live.  No.  Not a fan of the plebeian mind.  Simple truths are the best kind but the story doesn’t end until the teller takes his last breath.

I’ve had the title in my draft box for a long time.  I don’t know if this post will do the idea justice, but, fuck it-I’ll have a go anyway, sitting here drinking tea in a dead Confederate’s palace in the Pearl of the South.  Other titles in my draft box are Inner Critic, War and Radio Days.  We both know I confront myself on this platform, because I’m a transmission junkie with an accountability problem.  I’ve melded a need for self realization with the desire to perform.  When I tore the fourth wall down and invited you in, I was able to write about wanting to be a writer-which is the biggest boon and most beneficial thing to ever happen to me.  It’s unfortunate that the subject will always be me, but you see yourself in the work and I’ve built a robust readership for the blog writing about what I know.  Maybe D.C. is right that”blogs are passe”-but the only problem I have with it is coming up with an ending.

Another week has blown by.  The sands of time are wearing away the bulwark of me.  I’m steadied in the storm of it but I’m worn away and getting closer to diminishing returns…All we are is dust in the wind and there’s something extremely important about that-there is no other time to come together and do work.  This is it.  We won’t know what it all meant until it’s over and even then we can spin it in any way that helps us go down to rest, gone forever but here to stay.  What the fuck has just happened here?  I’m scared to die but worse-scared I will have never lived.  It’s our work that will save us.  Every time.  Our work that will connect us, free us, build us up and knock us down (ye tyrants take heed).  I feel a grave need to get on top of these years, get my kicks in and make my mark.  I want to be of service.

Ever since November 8 you’ve heard me say I want to be political.  But I can’t even do my taxes without my eyes rolling back in my head.  There isn’t a positive spin to the calamitous and grasping mind.  Ain’t any closure here, really.  Just some signpost between rage and sloth, a plumb line for us to gauge how far we’ve come, and how much monumentally more we must do.  A slick 600 words like this keeps me from bloodying myself on the bars, helps me paint with all the beautiful colors of pain. It ain’t the end and it’s never over until it is.  But see, if we do our work and put everything into it but the blood on the boards, then we’ll march on.  From the blackest night we’ll yell down through the centuries.  Love is stronger than death.  

See you next year motherfucker.

 

Emerald City Blues

In Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting old, getting sober, mid life, middle age, PDX, poem, Poetry, Portland, publishing, publishing poetry, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on December 8, 2016 at 11:03 pm

What a week.  Feels like I lifetime since I last sat down with you at Ford Food+Drink, to wax on the political nature of everything.  I’ve spent days and days at the Independent Publishing Resource Center, a cold building just west of the Willamette River in Portland.  Saturday I took a 6-hour Letterpress workshop with IPRC Studio Manager&Letterpress Artist Caitlin Harris, and came away with some smart looking cards with a line from a poem on them.  Sunday, Caitlin and I got cracking on my cover.  Pre-production took about 3 hours, so, when I was inked and ready to go, I kept going until I had 300 covers and the center closed.

The book blocks I had travelled with, all the way from Austin, were useless and I really wish I’d been assured of the correct dimensions for the design because, other than the $679 I won’t get back, I spent the rest of my time in Portland designing file after file of the book in InDesign.  I was dispirited and out money, so I designed the book again, from scratch.  Once done, I was told the dimensions were off, the final paper size way too large for a 5×7 book.  I designed the book yet again, but was unable to open the file when it came time to print a mockup.  The final design was done last night.  I came back to Butch’s and was up at 8 this morning looking the copy over.

I got into the center today right before snow started falling, tweaked the file and printed my mockup.  Someone from the center would have to help me bind it.  If it looked good, I’d have to find a printer who could turnaround 150 book blocks by end of day, so I could bind them with Binding Steward Derrick, but have to fly back to Austin with the books uncut to size.  The IPRC shut down though, due to weather.  So, with the snow falling I loaded up my Uber with the covers, a ream of Eclipse Black paper and the polymer plate from September‘s pressing.  We stopped at New Seasons’ grocery and I got back to Butch’s, ate a frozen pizza and fell out in front of the vent on the third floor.

Sometimes I’m able to make sense of the torturous minutiae of everyday life. Sometimes I’ll take us fancifully away, to a place far from Heaven, and more honest.  I won’t lie, blogs where I can get some vengeance, go for the throat and bring down the beast satisfy me greatly.  The robust readership of this blog has silenced that impulse some, but I’ll never explain those kinds of blogs to anyone.  I like those kinds of blogs.  You do too, I gather-they weild us a little power and connect us, and cockroaches hate the light.

This post is the other kind-a factual reporting back, a checklist, a recounting of disappointing news.  I’m disappointed and I’m sorry.  But I laughed allot with Butch this week, and I was touched by a poem and a letter that came to me all the way from across the continent.  True friends only confirm the horror of having a heart in a heartless world, and laugh at it with you.  We should die laughing.  As far as vengeance is concerened, there is no more total revenge than laughter.  The fact that 2 former street fighting men can stand in a kitchen in pajamas on a cold night in the suburbs of Portland and laugh is uncanny-just twisted enough to be real, wracked and bent and salty with outrage as we are.

One of the best gifts of sobriety is vision.  Seeing clearly without delusion.  My eyes keep getting opened.  I don’t like what I see, but it’s better than being blind.  This is just a setback, a reouting.  Some of you are keeping me alive.  I hope to have copies of All in the wind available for you before Christmas, so we can celebrate that way, with each other and reveling in the heart’s work.

See you in Hippie Town motherfucker.

SENESCENCE

In getting old, mid life, middle age, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized on June 21, 2016 at 10:34 am

EXIGENT

In mid life, middle age, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized on June 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm

even at ease, here, at this cafe,
where, after years I still expect
her to blow through
black curls tight and purposefully prim, her,
because, even in these lee seasons,
she’d be too pressing for now, too important
to begin with, but coy enough to invite for a ride along
but, no, thank you, this ain’t about her, but how,
in this post ferocity
I’ll continue working beside society’s mechanations
how I’ll stand without protest
and that the irony of it that grips me more
and rivets me deeper than any of my
former battle days and jungle nights
is the imperative of work, as to even supplant purpose,
work, like it always was but now there is
nothing left.

 

41

In mid life, middle age, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized on May 31, 2016 at 11:13 pm

shook out’s about the best
I can do for myself now
there’s no harking back
or reclaiming,
when the sun sets it’s gone
and rises with less momentum
these creaking mornings
but my disappointment
stops shy of my pride
I never asked for solace
never paid in, made no deal
and shook out I’ll face it
but who is this stranger giving rise
and rent through in blue twilight?
what are these dreams, this love
that seem to flow like a banner
down the night skies
and distill these jangling
numbered daybreaks
into a keen and raring loneliness?