Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ 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…

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 out in the territory motherfucker.

 

 

Take to the Territory

In alcoholism, anxiety, art, austin music scene, beat writer, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Charles Bukowski, day job, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, mental health, mid life, middle age, Poetry, poetry submission, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, Spoken Word, straight edge, Submitting, submitting poetry, suicide, the muse, TYPEWRITERS, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on September 14, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Since I started so late, I owe it to myself to continue.
Charles Bukowski’s letter to John Martin

After fourteen years delivering and sorting the U.S. Mail, and at the age of 50 Henry Charles Bukowski began his first novel. John Martin (Black Sparrow Press) saw something in “Hank”, and offered him $100 a month to quit the Post Office and write full time.  Hank started writing at the same exact time every day.  It wasn’t an arbitrary time, but when he would’ve had to clock in to the Post Office–every day for over a decade working a job that was killing him. He finished the aptly titled Post Office in a month.

For many tragic and dull reasons, I don’t have any clear signposts in my life.  No one took me under their wing and no one showed me the way. My Father wasn’t exactly a company man, which I admired, but he worked all the time, which I didn’t.  My relationship with my elders was often toxic–I loathed what they’d become, or they were Christian, and I abhorred my hometown.  I’ve no real world examples of how to live. I got some heroes, though, 3 to be exact.  Of course Hank is one of them, the holy ghost of the trinity.  Bukowski showed me the way.

Life happens to you.  It’ll rattle you senseless.  I don’t consider myself a great writer, but I’m happy with my work.  I’m happy to work, above all, and that simplifies things.  All people like me need is rent and a desk.  We don’t seek more from life.  We whittle our needs down.  We need less and less and therefore have to work less and less hours at the job–until we don’t need anything.  With a lack of social climb and without the flash of material wealth, the world will leave you be.  We work the bare minimum at shit jobs that take the least from us.  We’re not paid to think or feel or consider someone else’s dollar anywhere in the simple hierarchy of walls, food and art.  It’s that simple, and beautiful, if impossible to explain to virtually anybody else.

What’s the sin in being poor?  Chinaski asks in Post Office, when it’s clear all the county can do for his alcoholic girlfriend is let her die.  Being poor can be devastating.  For years I lived one gas bill or dental procedure from total poverty, but it wasn’t that bad.  I probably could’ve called home if it really hit the fan, but–young and dumb and for years, the bar of sustainable catastrophe was constantly raised.  I’ve had months in rooms 5×10 wide.  I’ve lived without a phone or bathroom.  I’ve lived in places that would make family and friends from back home blanch–for $150 a month in an unbeknownst health hazard.  I lowered my rent every year for 5 years living in Philly, only ponying up to $500/month for a huge 1br on Buckingham Place because I came in to some money when my Father died–Life Insurance he had promptly paid all those years working.  God bless him.  After that place I got back to lowering my rent, and did so every year until I finally left Philly (and paying $135 a month for a room at 10th&McKean) for good on New Year’s  Eve 07.

My next move is counter to the artist’s imperative to live way below my means.  Moving across town, taking a roommate and paying $850ABP/month isn’t the same as being an artist full time.  But what the fuck is?  The rent’s steep, if Austin affordable, but it’s a sublet and I’m not locked in to the criminal contract you have to sign to get an apartment in Texas.  I’m quitting my job of the last 5 years with no parlay, as of today I’ve nothing imminent, other than almost through applying for Uber and Instacart.  I’ve some gigs booked, starting tomorrow, which isn’t nothing.  My roster might not be robust but a couple to three hundred dollars is nothing to sneeze at while unemployed, even if all that can be sapped with one phone bill and a car insurance payment.  It could be worse.  It could always be worse.  I could be banging 50 signs into the hard ground on the median of William Cannon for $50.

That was one of my first jobs in Austin, before I resigned to be a writer.  The search for a day gig became a full time enterprise.  I would sometimes work around the clock, get off graveyard and sleep until the afternoon when I’d head out for a promotions or catering gig.  Nothing was guaranteed.  I had to take everything that came my way because of course the money was shit and none of it was steady.  Which was ridiculous, and not what I’d come over 1,600 miles for.  It drove me to drink and write.

The shit hit the fan for this country in the financial crisis of 08, and by the time I came down in May of 09, competition was steeper than it should’ve been for the shit jobs I was applying for. It felt like a whole other level, especially considering I hadn’t worked in almost a year living with Laura.  Looking back, 2-3 months really isn’t that long to be looking for a job and shit eventually turned.  My 7.50/hr job filling book orders at the University COOP parlayed into a full time position at their warehouse on Real&Alexander.  From there I got hired on at the Whip In, and when they laid me off I lived off unemployment compensation for a year after that–until I landed this gig.  Five fucking years later and I’m heading back out into the America.    This morning I started writing this at 8, which is when I’d have to get the old man out of bed.  Something in me knows that as much as I hate the grind, I’ve got to love the real work that much more.  Sleeping in is bullshit.  Perks and the good life.  I’m up against it now, the anxiety is dizzying and I’m immobilized with dread.  I got up anyway, sat down here and got started like I’ve done thousands of times before, 497 times at Going For The Throat alone.  I sat down and got to work.  Like Hank.  What else?

The Medium Is My Message

In Activism, art, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Buddhism, Charles Bukowski, depression, Fugazi, getting old, getting sober, going for the throat, Henry Rollins, Jim McShea, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, new journalism, news media, Poetry, published poet, publishing poetry, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, suicide, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 24, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Proud and excited to announce this week’s post is featured on Medium!  Please go there and show me some applause (icon of hands clapping at the bottom of, or just beside, the piece).  Feel free to leave a comment, too, so they know we have arrived.

Thanks motherfucker!

 

More New Century Blues

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

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

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

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

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

I better see you on the streets motherfucker.

Charlie Gordon’s Blues

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

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

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


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

We love your voice.

Rebecca Loebe

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

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

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

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

 

 

More News From Nowhere

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

…it all just seems so sensationalized.
Aziz Ansari

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Hecate’s Road

In alcoholism, anger, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, death, getting old, getting sober, journalism, magic, magician, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, on tour, Poetry, punk rock, sober, sobriety, straight edge, TOUR, travel, travel writing, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on July 20, 2017 at 6:04 pm

How is it that we never completely comprehend our love for someone until they’re gone?
-Patti Smith, M Train

Magic comes to me in fits and starts.  Yesterday, out front Tops Grocery, I heard the crow first, looked up and waited.  Another appeared.  There are always more and of course there is always the shadow of crow, there on the ground in front of me but looking up again see one flying just overhead.  That made 3, from none, that I first heard, and one.  Something else catches my eye.  The boy in orange crocks, looking up too, at the same crow, watching.  Later that night, after swatting the horseflies from my face and belting out the lyrics to a new song in the driveway of the cabin, a woman came from out of the brush with the boy beside her.  His name was Remi and he played drums and guitar and bass.  Remi is 8 years old.

In the kitchen I show him open D and teach him Mona, the Bo Diddley song perhaps better known as Who Do You Love?  It’s a simple 2-chord vamp and Remi picks it up instantly.  He teaches me No Sleep Till Brooklyn while refusing several offers of cold seltzer and philosophizing how he’s only concerned with being alive and what could kill him.  The scrapes on his shin, the scratches and bite marks on his hands (from Bandit the Maine Coon), his poison ivy-they don’t worry him.
“Only if I die and that I’m alive,” he offers not sagely but just like a boy.
He shows me some drum patterns.  Tells me how he fell off the stage but climbed right back up behind the drums in time for the solo.  Talking and interacting with him is unassuming, simple, and factual but enthusiastic.  Mentions that he’s been here for a long time. His mother wraps it up with Blair on the screen porch.  They leave and me and Blair part ways.

I’m sitting out front of Cafe Sarah in North Creek, at an impossibly small, aqua-colored garden table.  I can’t see the bugs but can feel them biting me.  I haven’t caught anyone staring at me but can feel it acutely.  The family just to my right give off a toxic, American vibe.  Whatever charm there is on these streets is bled out, the bitter rasp of smokers’ laughs never puncturing the heavy meanness.  I’d do much better at the beer garden up the street, or even Laura’s, but I don’t drink and I don’t want to spend any dollars anywhere up here, only to have to fight for my psychic place all over again. They think I’m a golem and that’s fine. I’m a man and I mask my sadness masterfully by only shining back anger.

I finished Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, by Carrie Brownstein, and am just about through M Train.  Brownstein put me back in the 90s, the last time it meant anything anywhere. The detrimental rigors she suffered on tour with Sleater Kinney were all but ignored by me-I was going for the glory and read on as, unsurprisingly, Brother Vedder rose from the pages to affirm the power of rock and roll, like only he can again and again.  Patti Smith understands better than anyone that to be a poet is to stake your claim in the magic of the world.  Her existence is shamanic.  Her inner life informs her outer life, and her outer life always becomes manifest.

Guess you could say I’m out here in the territory.  North Creek sadly feels like the end of America, and it just might be.  My inner life is populated with legend.  My outer life is having to fend for myself psychically, with the flags flowing and thousands of miles travelled and thousands to get back.  I’m off hitch here-disconnected.  My only way out is in a greasy barn with a ping-pong table, up the hill from the cabin where Ben, Blair and I bunk like untoward and swoll dorm mates, away from home and girlfriends at University.  I talked with Jill this morning, who I adore.  She’s 86, out there cutting back the long leaves and talking about the effect of sobriety on Art.  She’s twice my age and if I had a wish beyond this ordinary, cold water phase, it’d be to have her faculties, at her age, and drink chilled vodka in a squat glass while smoking Camel straights.

The road was fine-exhausting as it always is, like a Goddess, an event of endurance.  Seems fucked that this is the prize-at this cafe with the chiggers and Americans, but it’s nice by the lake and I heard my first loon call, late yesterday afternoon.  I’ve got some things turning in my mind, aspirations that sprung up and surprised me, and, despite my road and ageworn body, I should do wise to take note and make these seeds sprout and make happen.  What else is there but the idea and its manifestation?  I never fit in anywhere, let alone upstate where it seems like all anyone ever does in America is wait around to die.

Ab irato,
Trainer
North Creek, NY

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.