Jim Trainer

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Our Art

In Activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, Being An Artist, depression, getting sober, mental health, politics, PROTEST, self-help, sober, sobriety, straight edge, suicide, travel, yoga on June 15, 2017 at 12:35 pm

…when you’re sitting across from a doctor in New York and you know that you’re going to have to live out the rest of your life without drinking, and know that it’s entirely impossible to do, to almost 17 years without a drink-it’s impossible not to have some sense of gratitude.
Richard Lewis

You don’t just fucking fall into the abyss
.
-Vinne Paz, BSBB

without which
bones
are the only trace
of our being
having been
-Christia Madacsi Hoffman

Bury me in the colors that everybody hates, and I can take them with me.
Omar Lahyane

You are God hiding from yourself.
-Hafiz

Aho.  This could be some kind of epilogue to the “suicide blog” I wrote last week, drinking Americanos and Bui at the bar in Paradise.  I’m back from the island and healthier than ever but I’d still kill for a cigarette.  I’m in love with Yoga again and it’s a healthy love.  It’s devotional and daily.  I think I might’ve mistaken it for a panacea, and rightly so-the way it made me comfortable in my own skin, something I hadn’t felt for decades before that shiny Fall day in South Austin when I first went to a Yoga class.  Of this I don’t need to remind.  My time at Bat Manor is well documented.  Scroll back through the letters and screeds, the posts, rants and interviews for a Portrait of the Artist As A Beer Swilling Pussy Hound.  Somehow in the middle of all that anger and madness I found Yoga and it’s blossomed in me, and put me through the ranks from a pouch of Norwegian Schag and 6-pack a day to the odd and dysfunctionally sober writer before you.  I still fantasize about smoking, but my desire for bourbon in the a.m. has ceded.  I left it in the sand, out front the patio of my hut where I talked about alcoholism with my friend Jenni.

It’s back to Babylon and putting the time in, on the job and living out my end days in this commune, waiting for some warm thing to come along.  Politics are fucked, that’s nothing new, but I can’t in good conscience sit here in apathy, typing in my underwear with a cold cup of Italian Roast, and not reach out to my congressmen.  It’s the least I can do, especially considering I don’t do anything else politically, or actively, barring this blog and opening the channels of communication about sometimes feeling like you should end your life.  When Affordable Care first came through I really had to reevaluate my anarchistic beliefs about government and man, but that was back in the heady days of the New Century, when Obama was the man.  It was a gravy train.  I was high on the hog living here, sleeping with my Editor drinking whisky in the jar.  Then the other party moved in.  They fucking swarmed.  They had you behind them, The America, because you’re afraid of black people.  So they’re trying to take it away.  It’s business.  It ain’t a two party system but a system that either fucks you outfront or from the back and it used to be the best show in town before you voted in a pro wrestler to lead the free world.

As far as mental health and suicidal blogs are concerned, y’all really surprised me.  You get it and I’m never alone long, here at my outpost in the wasteland.  You understand being in pain so acutely the only way you can see out is the Great Exit.  Or, you don’t, and frankly, some of youse’s ideas about depression and suicide are as archaic and ineffective as bloodletting.  Shame on you if you’ve ever blamed someone for mental illness and what the fuck is wrong with you?  You know that’s their game, right?  Mike Pence would love to try and fix you if you love anything other than a hetero partner you call Mother by your side at all times to keep you from getting The Gay.  Christ.  Sorry.  Ain’t even been back a week and anger’s rising, the angst and ire, my friends and fuel, flooding the veins like a fix.  Now I’m at a loss and I don’t know what to tell you, Brother.  Except this…

Shit’s fucked.  We know this.  People like Mike Pence and Tucker Carlson are walking around breathing the same air as me and you.  But in the other hemisphere they’re learning that empty patriotism and tired American tropes are deadly, Sister-taking out villages full of mothers and children who, like you, only want to live and see another day on this shrinking black ball.  If you can get away then you must.  Disengage. Get the fuck out of dodge and get the world off a you.  I’ve pulled myself, back from the brink, and I’m here to tell the tale and do what I can.  You’re not alone.  You’re one of us.

And if you’re one of them, well, I’ll see you on the street motherfucker.

Fuck

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, Boredom, depression, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music journalism, music performance, new journalism, news media, politics, PROTEST, punk rock, self-help, sober, sobriety, solitude, straight edge, TOUR, War, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, youth on May 18, 2017 at 10:53 am

It’s beautiful down here.  Great weather. No stress. People come here, they live to be 100.
Joey Merlino

We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death.
GY!BE

As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face up to what challenges us. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but everyone who has to undergo hardship, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome what troubles us.
-The Dalai Lama

We are living in a news cycle that can be measured in nanoseconds.
-Dan Rather

If this doesn’t take you down,
it doesn’t mean you’re high
-Soundgarden

Yo.  Trainer here, at the bougie coffee shop, where the jazz is smooth and the skin is white.  I can’t complain but I will.  It’s been a long time that I should be far from here, and I’m way past being sick&tired of my own bullshit.  Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to spend some time with others, hang out and fraternize, but-most of them are worse.  What an existential stalemate I’ve reached and for shame, too.  I’m in the prime of my life with money in the bank but all I can do is bellyache about how easy living is down here in the Pearl of the South, crank out another 400 words and go home and jerk off.  Oh well, it could be worse, I could be satisfied with life, like any of these feel goodies here at the coffee shop seem to be, listening to Curtis Mayfield, eating bananas and grinning like imbeciles.

This could be a great opportunity to take to the streets, or hit social media and throw my complaint onto the pile.  I can’t even pretend to care anymore and it could be because the whole thing has been at hysterical pitch too long.  No wisdom can be discerned.  I see outrage and I understand.  I see smug complacency and I didn’t think I could ever understand but-look at me, with my fat stomache and apathy, black clothes and apolitical angst.  Whichever side you’re on, one thing is certain and that is the genie can’t be put back into the bottle.  Racism is the biggest problem in this country, barring imminent ecological disaster, and the American experiment has failed.  We ain’t gonna make the nut.  It’s all over baby blue, big business has trumped all and the thing that really spurred it on was as dumb as the color of our skin.  I can’t pretend I’m not entitled, no matter how much I ignore the national scene.  Does my apathy anger you, Good Reader?  If so, then use it-impeach the fucker, eat the rich people, start a riot in the street and burn it all down.  Let these be the chronicles of a sorry bastard who didn’t care, or whose own emotional load was too close to capacity to affect anything except putting out fires.  It’s that bad.

We came up with a soft date for my departure, and it’s after the summer and the over 3,000 miles we’ll be doing up to the Adirondacks and back.  I looked at a car today.  Lady wanted to sell it to me at almost a grand over the Kelly Blue Book value, and that was after my mechanic found about $500 worth of repairs she claimed unaware of.  It goes on.  Psychologically I suppose I’m at a crossroads.  The worst is done.  I’m sober now.  I’ve survived and I don’t even entertain the bad drama needed to get laid anymore.  Mr. Excitement has retired, the dreamer is fully woke.  I suffer bad anger and terrible boredom though, the former flaring in my abdomen and stiffening my neck and upper back, literally getting my haunches up and cursing to myself in the dark.  I can’t carry that burden anymore, either, Brother.  I feel like there’s an opportunity here, that I could do a lot better than cranking out 600 word complaints to you and generally just getting by.  My first time on the therapist couch I’d been up for over 72 hours on whisky&cocaine.  Safe to say I’m over that.  I’ve survived.  Maybe it’s time I give my man a call and see if we can thrive.

See you next week motherfucker.

Confessions of a Zen Outlaw

In Activism, activism, Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, christianity, new journalism, politics, PROTEST, punk rock, revolution, truth, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on April 6, 2017 at 5:41 pm

A dear friend is in the hospital in Berlin. He’s being charged 10 euros a day until his insurance kicks in. We lost the Queen of Austin Comedy last night, all the more shocking because she seemed to be making it, even if having to start a GoFundMe to help with hospital bills after her kidney failed last year. The machinations of the Trump administration twist and grind darkly and the days are adding up since he swore in and I swore to keep up with his every move. I keep telling myself that one of these days I’m gonna hole up and just read the headlines from January 20 until today, but the reality is sinking in that the rulers are the rulers, and short of spitting in Paul Ryan’s face out on the street, I’m neither willing nor able to stem the tide.
Professor Joe Brundidge asked me if the fight is over last night, during our taping of Chillin Tha Most.  My gut tells me it’s not but I often wonder. In a strange turn it takes tragedy to shake things up and get a response from me.  I’ll pray in the way that I can but the question of God seems like pointless conjecture when right here on earth a Christian shitheel with an Eddie Munster haircut will try to make it even harder for us to do anything but get sick and die. Meanwhile in the other hemisphere, 250 innocent people will die for no reason at all. It’s hard to be zen about it all-when the base and corrupt, the murderers and plunderers can advance any fuckall agenda while progress for the common man is only mired in red tape and rollbacks. I let my gut answer Joe’s question, but, after I thought about it I had to concede, sadly, that the fight is over. We’ve got about eighty years of a sustainable ecosystem left but, like the poem says, somehow, strangely I feel fine.

In an even stranger turn things are only looking brighter for me, your writer, the littlest bit these days but that’s enough. I’ve gotten by on nothing for so long, it’s not hard for me to thrive with just a little of the gods’ favor. I feel like they may be smiling down on me, and it could very well have to do with the years I paid them respect and attrition. I bowed down to the god of luck even while bargaining broke against the black night, gambling with the shards of a glass ceiling, floating a broom and gnashing my teeth ever since I dropped out of college in the twentieth century. What can it mean? I don’t know. I’d like to tell you I’ll always give back, that no one besides me and New Ghost know better that it’s got to mean something to the folks back home. The truth is I’ve always been giving. Am I privileged? Should I be out there, on the street, fighting the good fight? Well.  If I lead, who will follow? You think it’ll be these hordes? The Americans? There comes a time when you’ve got to ask yourself: am I being lazy or is it just too damn late?  You know what my answer is.  I’m after what I’ve always been going for. This and every post since that bizarro shit show of an election last November have been my long and protracted extraction. I’ll be keeping my people close and closer, and conquering my own world over here.

Don’t believe the hype. There is hope but not much. If you’re busy shaming me for what I’m not doing then you’re not suited for politics. Try religion.  There’s plenty a flock to be fleeced in making people feel ashamed.  But it ain’t me babe.  I’m invested in the arts and up to my tits in bearing witness. I’m not much of a mover or a shaker.  Although, with your help, good reader, in the coming months I’ll be doing both. Stay tuned for a whole lot of good news coming from the Office of Jim Trainer.  I’ll be putting my protest on to the page.

Rest well, Lashonda.  See you next week motherfucker.

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a Race Traitor

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

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

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

Faith in humanity is ignorance of humanity.
-John Staples

The bourgeoise had better watch out for me!
Bad Brains

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

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

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

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

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

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

See you on the streets motherfucker.

MOVE

In Activism, activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, depression, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, politics, PROTEST, punk rock, recovery, revolution, sober, sobriety, War, working class, Writing, writing about writing on January 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm

There’s colors on the street
red, white and blue
-Neil Young

…I have no worries.
-The Dalai Lama

Time is runnin’ out I’m comin’ right down to the wire
gotta go do something to get myself higher
-The Velvet Underground

I’m sitting on a backlog of posts that chronicle my road to recovery from my homeless hometown beginnings to my modern day battles with depression in Paradise. These posts offer a more definitive and specific timeline than my unusually hyperbolic tellings of devastation, sexual conquest and ego mania.  They’re a good answer to questions like “Did that really happen?”.  I’m at the end of my rope here but not for creative reasons.  The blog is cutting too close to the bone.  I’m sober now, and there’s a whole world of drama and conquest I’ve sworn off.  I’m reduced to surgery on myself, without anesthesia, and live on the world wide web.  There was no better grist for the wheel than my decades long fall through the Night Kitchen.  Boredom could be a root cause of alcoholism, which is to say, existential dread.  Down here at the Office we got nothing but, good Reader-malaise and anger, agitation and the rest.  These are the colors of my palette and of course the canvas is you.

Those posts and essays were drafted for what I thought would be my weekly column.  My work was refused though, and I never tried that again.  I figured I had you and we had this blog and I’ve always done better aloof, on my own and conquering my own world.  The truth is I’ve only drifted further and further out-dangerously into my own orbit.  I suffer 100% less of their bullshit, but the full 100% of my own.  I’m depressed.  The beast in me is winning the round.  Stories on the radio have profound psychic effect.  I’m paralyzed in the prime of my life with almost any option I choose open to me.  Weeks gone by, Thursdays, 3 and 4 day weekends sleeping late and staying in.  I’ve held to my obligations, I work, but I haven’t been writing, and this blog’s been the only thing that’s kept me in line.  It’s not as bad as it used to be and to the depressed mind this is somehow supposed to be good.

There are certainly more important matters on the dais.  Tomorrow this country could roll back to the 20th Century, we could find ourselves working around the clock to pay exorbitant medical bills or just fuck off and die.  People are enraged and roiling and the New Dumb would rather wage war than show compassion for their fellow human beings.  I’ve never been here before, where the storm within is only matched by the storm without.  I feel fucked and the world is getting there.  It’s not news to me, or you or anyone that somewhere someone is always getting fucked and it’s usually by this country.  It’s gone unchecked for too long, our selfishness and exceptionalism have gone too far.   The beast is eating itself.  Then again, if you ask the poor, the black, the disenfranchised, it’s been going on from the beginning.  I have no solace for you, good reader, let alone a point of light for us to focus on.  All I know is, I’m getting depressed again, I can’t stay here and the New Century is about to take a dark turn.  I’m hoping my backlog of posts written at the request of Brother Bean and Raw Paw Magazine will get us through.  The shit is here, it’s landed and I’ve got to move or I’ll be crushed.

Hope to see you on the streets motherfucker.

Run, Rabbit, Run

In Activism, activism, anger, ANTI-WAR, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting old, getting sober, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, PACISFISM, poetry reading, politics, recovery, self-help, sober, sobriety, solitude, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on January 12, 2017 at 5:10 pm

And the harder it gets now, the softer I sing
cause the fight to be human don’t mean anything
-Justin Currie

The budget blueprint is for the guidance of Congress; it is not presented to the president for a signature or veto and does not become law.
New York Times, 4 hours ago, on January 12, 2017

…the vote-a-rama is a wholly symbolic exercise, political theater.
-John McCain, R-Ariz.

Once a picaro, always a picaro.
-Thrall and Hibbard’s thesis on the nature of a Picaresque novel

Fuuuuuuuuuck.
-Brother Ignacio on Facebook last week

I feel the absence of Dr.Thompson acutely.  More and more and every year, the man and his work is the only rudder I can grab a hold of to steer me through the polluted black waters of the New Century.  I suppose there’s Ian MacKaye.  And Brother Don.  Which is to say the only faith I have in these dark times is in the hearts and minds of great men and women who’ve managed to keep their eyes and hearts open.  For me it’s been a journey back, I’m often lost in the blast, not as confused as angry, but it’s an anger that can shut the whole thing down.  It’s unfortunate, but not permanent, and my facilities may come back just in time.  Nobody knows what will happen.  The only thing we can agree on is an uneasiness in the gut as we brace ourselves for the terror of a country rolling backwards into the type of oligarchy I’ve been dreading my entire adult life.

I have a tendency to duck out, hide away-not so much in apathy but utter disgust-a muted outrage.  I’m good in the clutch, I’m steady, but the day to day bores me to tears.  My point is I’ve had to read the same article on NPR at least 5 times now, and I’m still not sure I understand it.  Politics are made deliberately obtuse, which doesn’t make it any easier for a zen outlaw and escape artist born in the Year of the Rabbit like me.  After my second go through of the article, I searched online for a great quote from Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, which led me to William Brinkley and spidered out into unrelated research and ended in a flame war on Facebook with a stupid twat and eventually plugging in my strat and doing some Stinson, Waits and Psalmships covers.  It’s almost 3:30 in the afternoon.  I’m exasperated from waking up at noon to hear the news, and vague and obtuse writeups on NPR and the New York Times.  Can this qualify as activism?  Am I done now?  Can I have some time to myself, take the day maybe, lay in the tub with a copy of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail?

I am disgusted with myself.  Outraged at the world and about at the end of my rope here, at Going For The Throat.  It’s been happening for a while, probably concurrent with the tidal wave of dread that came over me right after I turned 40.  There was gratitude-and a real sense of power, standing in my kitchen, the last night of my 39th year.  I started to run myself through the ringer, you know, how I do, but then came something else.  You feel an ease in parts of your body you didn’t know you could feel anything.  Know what I mean?  There are parts of us that are so wrapped up in responding to stressors created by the mind that we don’t even know are there, let alone utilize, strengthen and nurture.  Aho I did not expect something positive to come of this post.  It was practically a resignation letter.  That is the power of writing, my Brother, my Sister.  You’ve got to clear the chamber. There is a diamond of you, buried ‘neath the toxic retelling of tired stories and lies.  You are not this detritus of the mind.  You are not your mind.  You are.  Unless you’ve made your exit-downing a bottle of barbiturates, running a garden hose from the exhaust pipe in through the window of your car, or turning the business end of a shotgun on yourself and pulling the trigger-like those 3 writers have.

As sad as it may sound, if not killing yourself is the one great thing you’ve managed to do today, this week, this year-than you can be glad.  I sure am.  But don’t worry about me.  This is not a cry for help.  I may be tired of my own bullshit and have to call myself out in public like this for getting frustrated at the news and dumb girls on Facebook but I won’t be checking out any time soon.  I’ve got work to do.

See you at the readings motherfucker.

Please join Jim Trainer this Sunday January 15th, at Malvern Books, as he and 100 other poets read as part of the National Poets Protest Against Trump and on January 22nd at Kickbutt Coffee, for his featured reading at SpokenandHeard, with wonderful poet G.F. Harper.  

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.

 

…outside is America…

In austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, christianity, day job, journalism, new journalism, news media, PDX, Poetry, politics, Portland, PROTEST, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, War, working class, Writing, writing about writing on December 15, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Hello darkness my old friend.  I’ve got a kink in my neck.  It’s a few twists away from being a real fucking problem.  There’s a leak coming from my kitchen ceiling.  I went up and talked to the Kid, but we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from.  I came home from Portland on Sunday, after being snowed in for 2 days, with three-hundred Letterpressed covers for All in the wind, but no books.  I’m scheduled for a binding session at Minuteman Press on Monday.  We hope to have 150 copies done by end of day Tuesday.  I’m playing House Wine tonight, beneath the palms for 3 hours in 50 degree weather . There are far worse ways to make a dollar.  I oughta know.  I missed deadline filing my income tax for 2015 so there’ll be a gap in my healthcare coverage.  The Boss tells me the plumber will be by at 9:30 tomorrow morning, and I go back on shift at 5.  I’ve been fighting with one of my homies, and it all seems stupid and trite, and that’s because it always is.

These are my problems on a warm winter afternoon in Hippie Town.  Everything happens at once or nothing happens at all.  That’s this life I’ve bought into.  These years I’ve traveled down, trying to be anything other than a company man, a factory man.  Never wanting to be anything like my old Man.  The years slide past, nice and sleazy, while I crank out poetry on the dayshift, and play rock and roll music in wine bars, to women and friends and have an unbelievably sober and fine time.

Things are different in the other hemisphere.  Folks are dealing with a whole other hierarchy of problems-shit that could relegate 90% of what’s wrong in America to an entitled and candy ass complaint.  Which isn’t to say there aren’t dark corners right here at home.  Somewhere someone is paying and you always do-unless you’ve got healthcare and your country isn’t being bombed and you’re white, and you can afford security to stand down the high walls of your gated community.  To watch Vice’s A House Divided is to be lividly reminded that what split this country between hateful racist yahoos and the rest of us was Universal Healthcare.  Which is what we deal with over here-each other and pitted so by an oligarchy with a Christian hardon.  As hard as it is and as undignified is the slough we feed from in the end days of Empire–it’s probably better than anywhere else in the world.  Except maybe the Netherlands.

See you in Amsterdam motherfucker.

Apolitical Blues

In Activism, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, depression, getting old, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, news media, observation, PDX, Performance, politics, Portland, PROTEST, publishing, publishing poetry, recovery, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on December 1, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Everything is political.
Ian MacKaye

I’m glad that quote reached me from the mouth of one of the greatest intelligences of our time.  I’m sure Angela Davis or Terrence McKenna or Camile Paglia has said the same thing, but it wouldn’t have mattered much to me because, except for my punk rock allegiances, I was apolitical.  You know, too cool to be bothered.  Besides being on the wrong side of whatever side there is, I never stood for anything.  Politics were boring.  Activism was never as fun as bombing through the streets of Houston in a black Bronco with young trust funded Republicans, smoking meth and spouting on about the evils of socialism.  This is gonna be hard to reign in.  Especially while the most gorgeous young lady sits in front of me at Ford Food&Drink in downtown Portland, eating a tangelo and sipping tea in blonde curls and elf boots.

That’s right, Portland, and I fucking love it here.  Anything could be a step up from last week-being called a peasant by the boss and caught in a flame war about Kanye-for Christ-West with a Democratic choad from my past days delivering rich kids luggage in the hills of upstate NY and New England (love ya Nate!).  That, combined with the news these days made it a banner week for shittiness.  The only glimmer was listening to Father Ian on Tuesday and getting the fuck out of town and flying into the Emerald City on Wednesday.

I still haven’t got around to being political yet.  I’ve been balls deep in the design of the new book, waking up every day to find hours of work wasted, gone, and unusuable but rebuilding the book Mr. Miyagi style, my skills sharpened from failure after failure with Adobe’s Creative Suite.  There are some glitches, it’s true, but dealing with their Help Center for hours only to be told it’s not a fault of the s0ftware was time I didn’t have.  I had to get 150 book blocks printed by end of day Tuesday, and board a plane with them on my shoulder at 10am the next day.  All while on shift, you know, the peasant gig, and shutting it down, cooking dinner for the old man, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry and packing.   I guess it could be worse.  In fact I know it could, which, as stated last week, is the change in me.

This blog is completely self mired and utterly self referential.  I count on the readership of sensitive folks with anarchistic and anti-authrotarian tendencies who feel my pain.  It’s been nothing short of wonderful sharing the plight and the pleasure of being a poet with you, and,  best of all-it kept me inspired.  After all, I’m just a song and dance man, a performer-and this blog has been more a stage than anything else.  As far as being inspired, never having writer’s block as long as the main character in my writing is me-I wouldn’t exactly call it a deadend, as here I sit, 2,000 miles from home, in a cafe full of hipsters in sweaters listening to indie music, with 611 words written at the stroke of noon.  Jackpot and Hot Damn, as Dr. Thompson would say, victory over idleness and blues and for the simple fact that I got out of bed and made it into town and wrote all this down without a cigarette.  I’m useful, I’m writing and I’m communicating.  Thanks in no small part to you.  But when I hear the clarion call almost daily, and it’s been revealed that I’ve been sidelining it for most of my life, well I knew that much and it was in fact a deliberate choice, but that it’s not acceptable anymore and all I can do is write…I’m thankful.  Purposely.  Resolutely.

Ian MacKaye was right.  I’ll always need to get it out, get it down and “frame the agony”, somehow come to grips with the nowness and immediacty of everything.  Seeing Uncle Hank on Tuesday night reminded me what initially attracted me to the man.  He talked about being a hyperventilating borderline child who was on Ritalin until he was 18.  I remembered something about myself that I almost forgot.  I am what you call “too much” (but never how my cuntface X meant it).  Some of us are too much for this life, we can’t contain our energy and love and enthusiasm and pain.  Life is too much, the world is too much, it’s all too much.  So, we lift weights or do Yoga or run or smoke and drink and fight and fuck or, simply, write.   I’m still glad to be here with you  sharing these long hours on the sinking throne.  I know the pump is primed.  I know that, if informed (thank you President Elect Trump) I can write about anything.  I can’t be lazy though, and a Facebook and HuffPo diet have made me feel like I was doing something when all I was doing was being outraged.   Outrage is ok, until folks like Ian and Henry Rollins and Robert Kraft show you how work gets done.  And if you have a tendency to be outraged, like I do, it’s gonna be a long night.

Stay tuned for some incrdible news about the new collection and rest assured, for this week at least, about the political nature of your work, your striving, your song and your poetry.

I speak here of poetry as a revelatory distillation of experience, not the sterile word play that, too often, the white fathers distorted the word poetry to mean-in order to cover a desperate wish for imagination without insight. For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
-Audre Lorde

 

The Real Work

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Vox populi vox dei.

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