Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘songwriting’ Category

Just Like October

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am yours

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

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Betting On The Muse

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you in the territory motherfucker.

 

 

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.

More News From Nowhere

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

…it all just seems so sensationalized.
Aziz Ansari

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Have Heart on the Hard Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Won’t You Celebrate With Me?

In activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, anxiety, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, birthdays, blogging, blues, day job, depression, getting old, getting sober, hometown, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music performance, new journalism, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, therapy, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga, youth on March 2, 2017 at 4:12 pm

…this way or no way, you know I’ll be free…
-David Bowie

In 92 hours I’ll be 42 years old. That sounds heaps better than I could’ve ever imagined in the angry, useless days of my youth. I’d been pushing it hard until 30. I didn’t think I’d make it, which was a perfectly dumb and tragic thing for a young punkrocker like me to say. The reality was I didn’t want to make it, but to say I wasn’t afraid of dying is only half true. I was obsessed with it, caught up in its vicious thrall, and those were the days. With a profound and fortunate bit of sorcery I had somehow sublimated my utter fear of death with growing up to be anything like my old man.  So on my 25th birthday I began celebrating my birthday properly-I celebrated myself. If I wasn’t doing anything to get closer to my artistic ideals for 364 days of the year, then I would deliberately do something to further that end on March 6, every year until I died.
On my 25th birthday I strung up my old bass.  It was a small gesture that eventually brought music back to the fore, as I’d been concentrating all my efforts on spoken word ever since I failed my audition for the University of the Arts in the Fall of ’94. I couldn’t have known the importance of planting that seed but many birthdays to come were celebrated by playing a show. I bought myself a 1969 Gretsch Single Anniversary Archtop, and switched from playing upright bass to being at the front of the stage, singing and belting ’em out for years in Philly, until I pulled stakes and followed that high, lonesome sound to Texas. The pendulum swung back to poetry and spoken word with the publication of Farewell to Armor, but the healthier I get the more I feel the need to get back up under the hot lights and scream my fucking head off in a post-punk or junkrock outfit. Getting healthy took me out the birthday game.  My 40th only found me circling the chimneya outback with a young redhead in knee highs, smoking all my Marlboros ’cause I didn’t want to wake up a smoker.

I’m back in the birthday game, mon ami, and I’m going full throttle into the Arts and doing what I love. I’ve got the resources and, after years of going without, I know what I need to get by. As much as I loathed another day on the planet, let alone aging another year back on the too-small, working class streets of Philadelphia, I couldn’t be more excited about being 50, and that’s because it’s 8 years from now-8 years tightening the screw and devoting more and more of my life to Art. It’s incredibly strange and ironic that I’m swinging upward as the world begins to really roil and spin, darkly and further out from our beautiful potential. Far be it from me to ignore what’s going on out there on the street, I must be steady and find a way to affect and interact with the people that I love. We both know it’s fucked out there. My point is, it’s been fucked in here, for as long as I can remember, but now I can feel something resurrect, and I ain’t stopping but considering my health and sanity and what I can give to those in need. There’s a war raging out there that never had anything to do with me. I know that these days it’s probably acceptable to fault me for that attitude. But concentrating on my community is the only way I know to get higher. The rest, it seems, is just furor and hyperbole, diverting us from the heart of the matter. For my 42nd birthday I’ll be doing me and I is another.

It’s never been more important to be punk rock then now, Brothers and Sisters. We are all we have. Let us do work.

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

by Lucille Clifton

Nicorette Blues

In anger, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, Charlie O'Hay, day job, depression, Don Bajema, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, new orleans, on tour, Performance, Poetry, poetry reading, politics, self-help, singer songwriter, sober, sobriety, songwriting, Spoken Word, therapy, TOUR, travel, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 8, 2016 at 10:49 am

The blog’s been on lockdown.  Letter Day.  Poetry and songwriting-don’t get me started on songwriting.  We’ll save that can of worms for when we’re up the road a piece, with some space between me and this anxiety ridden nest of calendars and seltzer cans, Amtrak itineraries, rental car agreements, press releases and road maps.  It’s a mess.  I’m excited to get out on the road with wonderful poet and friend Bernard Pearce in a few weeks.  I’m looking forward to hitting the east coast with Brothers Don Bajema and Charlie O’Hay in the Fall-and I feel compelled to this life.   It’s time to transition out of that old skin-book the dates, order merch, press the EP and sink deeply and irrevocably into a dream.  But it took me 4 days to send 2 emails last week.   I’m sunk with the day job, sometimes sleeping and lying around for the whole shift.  My identity as an Artist isn’t on the line.  My heels aren’t licked by the maleficent flames of personal anguish.  I ain’t on the run.  Everything is fine and it’s not fucking fine. I don’t need to write myself out of anything-unless it’s this, six hundred words with myself and with you, good reader, to stir the pot and galvanize, get this rig the fuck unwound and smoke the day job with real work.  Because in the meantime it’s been torture.  I’m slothfully doubled down in middle class comfort.  I eat ice cream by the pint and take naps on the hour.  I hit literary target and I’ve smoked the idea that this is a hobby.  But instead of getting to it, I’m horizontal, watching old episodes of The Howard Stern Show and listening to Henry&Heidi, or worse.

I’ve asked you to consider me, the Artist-consider my work and know I’m here and what I’ve come for.  I had a breakthrough in therapy when Ol Don Jones said
“We’re just gonna do away with you thinking that you’re not an Artist.”
So we did.  And now I’m out here in the wide world.  Blowing off ordering more books.  This morning I wanted a cigarette more than, in the last 8 months, I ever have.  I needed something to bring me out and set me straight.  I jerked off and laid down, tried to sleep off a caffeine headache and forget that today is a day I won’t get back.

I try to keep in mind that I’m lucky.  I’m closer to living my dreams than I’ve ever been.  I’m practically straight edge, unless you count Nicorette-which I chew incessantly.  As good as life’s been to me it feels pretty fucked and I guess there’s no one to blame but me.  I feel locked in, stuck and without drink or drug or sex  I often have nothing to reach for.  Just these words and you.  So I do.  It don’t take much to bring me around.  Five or six hundred words with you and the undeniable power that comes, if not from solving, then identifying the problem.

We start where we are.  Now we begin the practice of Yoga.  Were it not for this blog and our time together, I might have stared down another couple hundred baleful miles of Facebook feed or engaged in self-important dialogue and discourse on the Dog and Pony of Presidential politics.  Without this blog, I could’ve wasted the diminishing hours of my life fucking off in any myriad of pointless and self-destructive American ways.  Of course I could’ve done nothing but then that’s the fucking problem now isn’t it Pilgrim?  I can see the problem.  It has been identified.  The enemy is within my sights.  Writing like this.  Banging on the temple door.  Going for the throat.

The Winner

In austin music scene, Jim Trainer, Love, music performance, Performance, singer-songwriter, song, songwriting on February 1, 2016 at 12:36 pm

When my Nissan died
on the corner of 49th
the morning we split
I slept in it
I had my nose
re set
in my good friend Butch’s kitchen

I always hated that car
now it sits in the very same spot
when we broke up I really hit the jackpot

She’s the queen
of the parlour scene
up in Philly
down to New Orleans
she likes to tell
everyone
what a cold hearted bastard I’ve become

she had very insightful, poignant things
to say that I forgot
when we broke up I really hit the jackpot

‘cause a lie is a lie
and a cheat is a cheat
there was too many heads
rollin’ round in our bed
and too many hands
around my neck
and the streets are filled with the dead

her millionaire dad
probably bent out of shape
when he looks back
to her Ivy League days
but her wedding
it was on T.V.
all that night and the next day

she’ll probably run around that way
until she gets caught
when we broke up I really hit the jackpot

My good friend
he lives downtown
if I get blue
Butchie’ll come around
We’ll watch the news
through our teeth
and we’ll stare at the tube in disbelief

27 rooms, a couple thousand-acre plot
looks like when we broke up she really hit the jackpot

Christmas time
in Guerneville town
her father’s face
her torn gown
I wasted him
I hit him so hard
they had to carry him out to his car

I wasted 7 years of my life
when I gave that quarterback a shot
shoulda said “Look buddy, you really hit the jackpot.”

The Friend Catcher

In alcoholism, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Correspondence, getting sober, going for the throat, Letter Writing, mental health, Music, music performance, Performance, punk rock, recovery, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, song, songwriting, Spoken Word, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 25, 2015 at 3:21 pm
The number one thing that makes us grow as human beings is pain.
-Damien Echols on spending eighteen years on death row for a crime he did not commit.

Jimbo 🙂  Thanks so much for the letter and poem.  The thought and intention put into it is palpable and exactly what I needed.  I forgot how powerful words can be in this form.  Thanks for reminding me.  I’ll say it made me feel inspired and pheonix-like, ha ha.  I’m going to keep it with me on the road.  I’ll keep you posted too
.
-Brother Chris

Y’all sure know how to make a guy feel loved.  And it’s just like you said you’ve got to be the love you seek.  Which is lofty and idealistic and perfect for an old romantic like me.  And there needs to be a saying for when good shit keeps happening.  Am I right?  I mean, we know the hits keep coming is a good one when the shitstorm is raining down and the mud is rising up.  There’s Kismet, that wink from out in the unknown saying ‘Yass‘ ‘Go Forward’,  or ‘Word’ … I’m not examining this journalistically, but do we not have some colloquialism or turn of phrase for when good fortune continues to arrive?  It just gets better and better?  You kidding me?  That’s a go-to, for me, when the shit’s so bad you gotta attack it with marrow scraping sarcasm.  Ultimately, when you’ve spent the last 25 years battling depression you have the luxury of not feeling bad.  Not ever feeling good, mind you, and when I say not feeling bad I mean not feeling like there are two tons of hot metal slowly pouring down from a white sky of pain and just when you’re numb as a statue, the sun sinks, the heat gives and you’re left like some life-sized figurine, the night air sticky and humid and giving the copper of your flesh a patina of green.  I don’t know the parlance of victory or strength, let alone the unassuming joy in eternity’s sunrise. All I know is I haven’t smiled so much in a very long time, last night, beginning to read all your wonderful comments.  As a recovering depressaholic I’m loathe to hang my hat on any kind of cure-all but it sure is nice when I rediscover and Y’ALL REMIND ME THANK YOU VERY MUCH, what this work is for and exactly what we’re doing here.  With the blog and the everything, what is it, we’re sending out, to other souls like radio, to connect.  Could it be that you, my followers, are all part of my generation?  Does that even fucking matter?  I’ve made connections with folks I never would’ve even met, and I continue to connect with them in profound, life affirming ways.  My letter to Brother Chris, quoted above for example.  Maybe I’ll reprint my initial letter to him some Letter Day down the road when I can’t come up with  even a pastiche of a blog like the last one (let alone a slick 6 or mean 8).  All I wrote to him-all I did-was shine back what he had only been shining out.  I wished him well, in print and earnestly ( I can’t even begin to describe my joy about the power of the written/typed word, so I won’t ).  I wrote him a letter.  Remember those?  Before all of this, ever went down?  Before the Terrible Century, back when rock and roll meant so fucking much and the attention and the girls were only caveats?   We played it like we meant it because we fucking did.  Now that that storm of anger/August has passed like a warhead, and I can walk down west 6th with a little Philly in my step, I’ve caught up on sleep and I can dig my heels in a faceoff with my anger, do work and get back to the grind.  As far as your boundless love and strength, sent to me vis-a-vis Facebook and etc.,  y’all sure know how to make a guy feel loved.  Oh, and I never had a problem with anger as an emotion.  Aho.  It’s just that I’m too old to be missing sleep over it.  My needs in service to the body are many.  In some kind of cosmic joke, my hatred and anger have raged on and only grown ha ha ha but the body is tired and soft.  But also wisdom has been accrued, even all those fuckaround years when I thought it was a curse, I have done nothing if not gotten wise, and I can’t unsee it which of course was the problem…oh christ I’m a riot eh?  From the depths of loathing to the christ like idealism of a poet.  Believe me, I know all about being me.  Which could be a perfect beginning to wisdom, Know Thyself.  And as a superstitious X-depressaholic I’ll play it safe, hedge my bets and say that on my good days I have found a way to put rock and roll into writing.  Songwriting, well, let’s open that can of snakes some other time, eh good reader?  When I say y’all are keeping me alive you have no idea how true it is.  We keepers of the flame, old punkrockers and yogis and wives and laborers.  Oh yeah and the last part, the alive part…with my phasers set to choke the last 2 weeks I had forgotten to be that wisdom.  Alive.

And here for you.
Trainer
Austin, TX