Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘travel writing’ Category

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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

The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me Today

In depression, getting old, getting sober, mental health, mid life, middle age, self-help, sober, sobriety, straight edge, suicide, travel writing, Writing, yoga on June 8, 2017 at 1:23 pm

All they will find is my beer and my shirt…
Tom Waits

The obstacle is the path.
-Angie Knight

Now he’s just a mean old bastard when he sings the blues…
Master of Disaster

The number one thing that makes us grow as human beings is pain.
Damien Echols

I came down to fix myself.  Didn’t know how hard it was gonna be.  Last night I woke from a nightmare with a bright ringing of pain down my neck.  My first two nights here were shot through with headaches and soreness and that ain’t the half.  When they ask you, in Paradise, how you’re doing-do you tell them you fantasize about suicide and you’re harboring a daytrip to one of the bars inland to remember and forget over shit bourbons paid for with weak American dollars?

“Good!  How are you?”

On the bright side, it only takes one connection to save you and I’ve made two.  Sweet Jenni, the medicine woman, has shown me more warmth, wisdom and compassion than three Kerrville hugging lines.  Coffee with Paulie has sometimes lasted an entire day.  He just adds water to his and I’m happy laughing and bullshitting long after my Americano’s drained.  We practice twice a day down here, which is also good news, but Yoga’s only a tool.  It won’t take the pain away but maybe give you something to do while you’re working through.  Doom and suicide ideation are my evening practice, when flow is slowed and we’re urged to just be.  I don’t need to go into how I fell out of love with Yoga, but will instead say that the Tao that can be named is not the Tao.  Yoga is a practice, not a cure all, and certainly not an extension of my crumbling vanity.

It’s only because wisdom can’t be communicated, Good Reader, and ha ha, nothing lasts.  Not vanity, not what you thought would save you.  Not your looks or lightning wit.  The money’s gone and the good times too.  I don’t mind telling you like it is because it’s the end of the fucking world.  Maybe I’ll get myself sorted.  I’ll win the next round and put depression back in its cage.  Then we’ll watch the world burn to an ashy rind.  Or we’ll get firebombed on vacation.  Or we’ll be picked off by anything worse than a common cold because we can’t afford Affordable Heathcare.  I’m sure there’s a Buddhist way to turn all this around but I’m spent, Brother.  I spent it all.  I haven’t been breathing right for over a year, I’m fat and indentured with nothing to show for the last 5 years except three books of poetry and a rickety and newfound sobriety.  My shitlist grows every day and it’s a reel of resentment I go over in my head, late at night here in Paradise.

If all this sounds dirty and grim, well, you got that right Sister.  I didn’t realize how bad it was until my second night here, when my health and grand mal disatisfaction stood in bas relief to the warm wind through the palms, and the gulf outside my window, and Yoga and vegetarian cuisine three times a day.  I’ve really let myself go.  I haven’t felt this rotten since I was 15, but I’m 42 now, and my own death is a spectre looming longer than the sky.  I’ve wasted too much time.  I’m where I am and not where I thought I’d be and no amount of dreaming will save me.  Apparently the third year of sobriety is the real bitch, which could explain this falling apart and dire need for motherfuck change that has risen.  Of course I stayed too long in college town and probably drank and/or fucked away my intellect and movie star looks.  I guess I should mention, since y’all are such beautiful, caring and compassionate people-I’m ok.  This ain’t my first rodeo.  We tell it like it is at Going for the Throat, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s dark down here.

And that I’m getting better.

See you on the mainland motherfucker.

Won’t Stop

In austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Charlie O'Hay, hometown, Jim Trainer, Lamont B. Steptoe, music performance, National Poetry Month, new journalism, news media, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, poem, Poetry, poetry reading, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, Spoken Word, TOUR, travel, travel writing, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on April 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm

…to live outside the law, you must be honest…
-Bob Dylan, Absolutely Sweet Marie

It’s a good thing I don’t care about what you think then, isn’t it?
-Your Writer on Facebook this week

Last week on Writing On The Air cohost Martha Louise Hunter asked me where I get the time to do it all.  God bless her.  We were talking about this blog and how 600 words a week is the least I can do if I’m going to call myself a writer.
“Of course there’s Letter Day,” I told her and cohost Joe Brundige, “and I’m posting a poem every day for the month of April celebrating National Poetry Month.”
I told them that All in the wind was book 2 of the 10 that will be published through Yellow Lark Press, beginning with September in 2015 and ending with a collection, as-yet-unnamed, in 2025.
“10 books in 10 years is great, a fine goal,” I went on.  “-but I’m only making up for lost time.”
Brother Joe and I share a symmetry, and experience the joy of communication that can happen between two stringently honest people.  It took appearing on the show twice for me to realize-I am doing the thing.  It’s good when that happens, as opposed to the slave driving I’m usually doing with myself and the crippling feelings of despair anyone reading this blog is, by now, all too familiar with.

I finally booked Boston.  I’ll be speaking at the Middle East Corner with the Reverend Kevin O’Brien and bussing down to Philly the day after, for the Philly release of All in the wind.  Joe and I recorded an episode of Chillin Tha Most at the mansion last week, and it should be on the net next Thursday.  Last week was the kind of week I’d like to have every week, with gigs and radio appearances almost every day.   I kept on pushing till the light of day.  Which is heaps different than the life I’m living in my head, where it’s never enough and I’m only a day working coward.  What’s next is complicated but simple in terms of intent.

I’m quitting this gig.  Moving out to the east side.  Minimizing.  Scaling down.  I’m not sure how it will look or how to even vaguely monetize poetry and the spoken word-but I’m full of ideas and already making half my imminent rent with the gigs I’m already playing.  It’s strange to be striking out now but hardly unlikely.  I’ve long since abandoned anything resembling the common tropes of being an American.  I don’t have any kids, don’t even have a girlfriend.  But I’ve got a passion for media and all forms of communication.  I hope to get further invested in print and broadcast media.  Before I fly out to Beantown the MAMU should be fully assembled and my next purchase will be a touring vehicle.

It took me a while to wrap my head around it.  I had to keep it to myself and it made me resentful.  I couldn’t talk about my plans on here, there was some bad blood about me leaving but there doesn’t have to be.  I’ve started paying my taxes, I got a new dentist and a healthy line of credit.  Everything is moving as it should.  My next venture will be some time researching topics for the blog, so’s to avoid the kind of soul searching pap and whine that she hates and can appear on Going For The Throat when its weekly deadline is on my neck.  Your ideas are welcome, as are paying gigs-do you have a story for me?  Can we find a way to pay my freight so I can come to your town, speak and play?  Please chime in, in the comments below, or drop me a line at: jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com.

This east coast jaunt will be a short one but I’m thrilled to be sharing the stage with the Reverend Kevin O’Brien, Duncan Wilder Johnson, The Droimlins, and Jim Healy in Boston.  The Philly release of All in the wind is stacked, with award winning poets Charlie O’Hay and Lamont Steptoe reading.  By the time I go back to work I’ll have played at least 3 shows on the east coast, sold some books and burned hundreds of miles.  I’ll be exhausted, which is how I like it, and plan to be in the coming months.  Into it, no stops, full bore.

See you on the East Coast motherfucker.

MIDDLE EAST CORNER 4:26

Low Drama

In alcoholism, anger, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, depression, getting sober, going for the throat, hometown, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music journalism, music performance, new journalism, news media, Philadelphia, publishing, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, travel writing, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on October 27, 2016 at 11:55 am

“So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here―not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, Hunter S. Thompson

…In the city there’s a thousand men in uniforms
and I’ve heard they now have the right to kill a man…
In The City, The Jam

When I first got into the blogging business, I was up to my knees in a day gig.  It didn’t pay much, $7.50/hr, and not much was expected of me-just 40 or so hours a week putting tags on orange merchandise for the University of Texas COOP, in a cold building on the corner of Real&Alexander.  I could’ve played it right so many ways back then but I didn’t play it at all.  I was young, 34, and new to town.  The woman I was living with back home had forced my hand.  While living with her had all the trappings-4 walls and a hot blonde milf with blue eyes and big tits-it was crazy, ’cause we were crazy-so rattled from our dysfunctional upbringings we couldn’t dislodge from the deathgrip of each other, and the sex was incredible.  I didn’t play it any way back then, working in the warehouses.  I didn’t have the luck or what some call confidence to go for what I had come for.  The Rockabilly Dream.  I had my first piece of journalism published by the end of my 5th month here so maybe I was leading in with the writing.  The truth is I didn’t start blogging in earnest until a year later.

Laid off as a bartender and emboldened by articles appearing in Verbicide magazine, along with the news that I’d be receiving $444 biweekly from the state of Texas in unemployment compensation, I figured the time to be a writer was now, or, then.  The Fall of ’10 saw me suffering one of many well documented crises of faith I have suffered throughout my lifelong career in the arts.  A crisis of faith can best be described as do or die.  If I didn’t make it as a writer, while on unemployment in Texas and during my 35th year, I’d be doomed to factory warehouse work, promotions work, bartending or hospice care.  That’s what life offered me then, what it looked like.  But what a wild, reckless time I had trying to be a writer.

The image of me standing up bourbon drunk in a black convertible speeding through the barrio with a sexy redheaded nurse at the wheel is a good one, a fine image to have.  But also, many black mornings, much anger and frustration, much banging of the head against the wall.  My writing regimen of an hour a day had been upped, naturally, to 1,200 words a day and it was nothing but pain.  Looking back I was learning the hard lesson that whatever you do in the Arts, and more importantly, despite what you think about whatever you’re doing in the Arts, doing something is not doing nothing.  It all counts.  If you’re diehard and Irish like me, something will have to give and if you’re up against the wall, does it really matter what gives?  Your head or the wall, Pilgrim-but let me tell you something-there are many ways through a wall and if you’re lucky, like me, you can make your Art about that and many will join you and celebrate through you, get behind you and push-until you’re through.

This blog is what it looks like on the other side.  I know that with the littlest amount of discipline, I can come up with a 644 word missive and whale-killer of a blog that’ll sink any amount of blues and malaise and anger and sexual frustration.  I know how to do it because I put so much time in doing it.  My blogging medicine is strong.  Now when I say the littlest amount of discipline, I mean that what you’ve read so far took me 20 minutes.  Most blogs do.  It’s the excruciating tweaking and editing that takes up the nut of time needed to get these up and posted for you good reader.  20 minutes to wrap it-my blues, my anger, the jagged edges of sobriety and Kelvin depths of loneliness.  What a blessing.  What a goddamned miracle.  You know how I can do all this in 20 minutes, Brother?  Because I’ve spent days doing it.  Yep.  1,200 words used to take me 8 hours, a 6-pack of Black Lager and a late night drive through the barrio.  Now I do 600, for your benefit, and at the speed of the Age of Information we are living in, and I do it in 20 minutes.  Is it good?  I’m happy with it, extremely proud at times, but ultimately comfortable in the knowledge that if you want to write good, write bad.  At the helm, in the War Room, at your desk or easel, even on the road at the MAMU-there is no wasted time creating Art.  This, right here, is the best 20 minutes I’ve spent in the last 3 weeks, Sister.  Now if I could only find something to do with the other 1,420 minutes of the day.

See you next Thursday motherfucker.
Vote with a bullet.
Trainer, Going For The Throat
Austin, TX-Nationwide

Buddhas On The Road

In alcoholism, anxiety, Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, depression, getting old, getting sober, going for the throat, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, new journalism, new orleans, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, poetry submission, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, Spoken Word, Submitting, submitting poetry, TOUR, travel, travel writing, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga on September 10, 2016 at 6:53 pm

“Fuck Yoga,” my partner was saying, “you should take up boxing.”
We were on the long slink into Texas from Louisiana.  Crossing the gulf coast underneath godheads of clouds that rained on us as we passed.
“Something where you can hit someone, and get hit.”
I was wound tight but it wasn’t the traffic.  It wasn’t from my third cup of gas station coffee either.
“Just sit back,” I told him and eased the stereo up to 10.
Suddenly the rain broke and the road wound long to the horizon.  A good sign.  I rolled the windows down.  My partner fell asleep without another word.

The close quarters of a black 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe were enough to make us buggy, rolling down the windows or reaching for the stereo, a set of earphones or a piece of gum.  Any way to create some space.  My partner slept for a lot of the drive.  Most in fact, which was ok, and much better than unsolicited advice about my “short fuse” or spartan road diet of sliced apples and bread and cheese from Starbucks.  It wasn’t all bad and in fact was mostly good.  We had a good run and he offered encouragement with his criticisms, especially after my set at Siberia on Saturday.

The gist of it is that in twenty years of booking bands, Bernard can spot talent and according to him I’ve got it.  As much as I’ve heard that over twenty years of performing, his words sank in, really got in there.  It was undeniable and I heard him.  He also offered that maybe the dayjob shouldn’t be anything but.  When I told him my plans of riding my caregiving gig as long as I could he said it was a mistake.  I heard him, too.  This blog ain’t about him though.  At least not specifically.

This post is about a life devoted to the creation of Art.  An attempt to disabuse myself of fearful notions that have only kept me doleful and caged.  I took the safe route.  Perhaps.  I still made Art.  In Yoga this morning I realized that everything I think is just that-what I think.  This is some powerful medicine, Brothers&Sisters, and between the kind words of my tour partner and the self-realization afforded one on the Yogic path, I can see out.  I ain’t so scared anymore.  So, then- what am I waiting for?

I don’t know.  But my laziness knows no bounds.  There’s been a lot of fucking about since we pulled off LaTex Road last Monday.  I started back working full-time, which ain’t easy.  I’ve submitted some work and attempted to book some.  But much like when I was smoking and boozing and knew I was not living authentically-I know now that I’m not at 100%.  The details of it are shameful.  I don’t know why you’d want to read about it, but you do, and for this I am forever thankful.

Philly is the last to be booked on my east coast mini-tour.  Perhaps that’s how it should be but I’ve known about these dates since May- when I pushed back my usual June shows to September, and added Boston and NYC.  Some shit fell through.  Mostly unforeseen but now I know.  Also, I don’t need to be reminded that throughout my endeavors I will find a way to blame myself, to prove that I’m not good enough or worry about screwing it up long enough to actually screw it up.  Fly into Boston at twice the cost of a ticket quoted in May, without radio, without a local third act and without a place to stay.  Not to mention without New York City booked at all.  Some shit fell through.  Other shit I worried myself into a fit over, while doing nothing but laying on my back and masturbating.

Shameful, I know.  It’s fucking crazy being me.  I don’t know what I’d do without you, good reader.  I’m still kicking against it, the blues, insisting on this life and burning down the savage road I first stepped foot on over twenty years ago.  I’m still fucking it up colossally too, making twenty year old mistakes.  It’s as if I’m doing this for the first time, which, in a way, I am.  Sober.  Completely me.  Raw.  Nervous.  Wanting a cigarette so bad I could cry, at times, but knowing that my pain would only stop there.  It’s quite the ride Brothers&Sisters.  I’m quaking in my boots.  I’m nervous and raw and completely me.  Still after it.  Still alive.  Still going for the throat.

Namaste

There is no Buddha but the Buddha that you are.  If you meet the Buddha on the road you haven’t understood what the Buddha is. It is none other than your original mind. The idea of seeing the Buddha as outside of your self is conceptual-as is “becoming enlightened.” One can not become enlightened because that would assume that you are gaining something that you don’t have. Your basic nature is enlightened, awake, free, non-dual. This is completely experiential and not conceptual.  You have to kill the concept of Buddha both inside and out.
JJ Simon

 

 

 

 

Is Something Wrong?

In anxiety, Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, Maureen Ferguson, mental health, mid life, new journalism, new orleans, on tour, PDX, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, poetry submission, Portland, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, sober, sobriety, Spoken Word, Submitting, submitting poetry, the muse, therapy, TOUR, travel, travel writing, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 22, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Does a bear shit in the woods? Does the Pope wear a funny hat? Is the government corrupt? Did your parents lie to you about what it was really like out here, in the wide world slaving the hours away for some shekels and a piece of bread, 4 walls and the game on Sunday? Yes, something is very wrong here and Mr.Jones ain’t the only one who don’t know what it is.

Another 4 days, another email sent. Christ.  Had I started walking with the message it would’ve got there sooner than it did when I finally hit ‘Send’ this morning. Things I’m not up for are things that must be done. Unless I don’t mind the dayjob and am perfectly happy being a wage slave, locked in a gilded cage and living in a yellow mansion here in Babylon-Hippie Town-Austin Texas-the Velvet Rut of the world. This town is like a mirage but the livin’s easy, nowhere near as brutal as Hostile City but never as real either. It’s where the Californians come to die, tech babies and plutocrats live in gauche condos in the sky and the artists and Mexicans beat the heat in pools far east of any metropolitan action. Fuck. Sorry. I  drank too much coffee and the jackhammers up the street seem to be boring into my skull.

Why anxiety? Dunno, good reader but after talking with pillar of strength and badass redheaded wicked witch of the North-none other than the lovely whipsmart Maureen Ferguson-this morning, I think it high time to up the ante. Time to book myself within an inch of my life, lest it take me days to send an email and too long to book a tour and I’ll find myself napping away what precious time I have left in my 40s to do this thing.

“This thing” is be an artist. Which, as discussed in blogs previous, is foregone-and right now looks like publishing 1 book a year at the IPRC and hitting the road every summer on the Gulf Coast junket and the East Coast in the Fall. It’s taking me too long to do things though. I feel retarded and unworthy.
Which as you know by now good reader, is only how I feel about it. The truth is I’ll have hit 6 of the 12 new cities I said I would’ve by the end of October. If I ever get back in front of the Great White machine I’ll have punched 6 submission deadlines to the pubs with flash fiction, essays and poems by the end of August. So, I am busy. And I don’t feel like I am. And rest never comes easy when you’ve got a chip on your shoulder and no college degree.

Be good to hit the ground running, in a Honda 2-door instructing Yoga and playing gigs until I can get out on the road again. Streamline the MAMU so that wherever I land will be a portable War Room and the fun doesn’t have to stop. Perhaps I should be grateful. I’m in good health and beside an enlarged prostate and being out of breath when I tie my shoes, I do get out of bed every morning. The words keep coming even though I’ve stopped offering libations and black hash smoke to the muse. I’ve no lovers in my life but no trouble either. When I look at the map of the Continental U.S. on the wall of the office I think I can do it. And when I reach out for help, I usually find I’m the most able-bodied and ready soldier in the room.

So what the fuck is wrong? Dunno, good reader. Dunno. One thing’s for sure though and that is it don’t take much to bring me around. I just hit the 679 mark on this post and it’s my 4th and last day off before I report back to the dayjob. Have I slain the dragon of anxiety? Hardly. But now I’m up on the mast again. Me and Ahab. Coursing the deep and ready to take another stab at nailing down the East Coast, compiling the new effort and booking the room.

See you on the road motherfucker.

Trainer
Going for the Throat

 

 

Refuge

In Activism, American History, anger, ANTI-WAR, journalism, mourning, new journalism, news media, on tour, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, police brutality, politics, PROTEST, punk rock, RADIO, revolution, TOUR, travel, travel writing, truth, War, working class, writing about writing on July 21, 2016 at 11:29 am

…I found in him an expression of the American spirit at its worst. Progress was their obsession. More machines, more efficiency, more capital, more comforts-that was their whole talk. I asked them if they had heard of the millions who were unemployed in America. They ignored the question. I asked them if they realized how empty, restless and miserable the American people were with all their machine-made luxuries and comforts. They were impervious to my sarcasm. What they wanted was success-money, power, a place in the sun. None of them wanted to return to their own country; for some reason they had all of them been obliged to return against their will. They said there was no life for them in their own country. When would life begin? I wanted to know. When they had all the things which Americans had, or Germany, or France. Life was made up of things, of machines mainly, from what I could gather. Life without money was an impossibility: one had to have clothes, a good home, a radio, a car, a tennis racquet, and so on. I told them I had none of those things and that I was happy without them, that I had turned my back on America precisely because these things meant nothing to me. They said I was the strangest American they had ever met. But they liked me. They stuck to me throughout the voyage, plying me with all sorts of questions which I answered in vain. Evenings I would get together with the Greek. We understood one another better, much better, despite his adoration for Germany and the German regime. He too, of course, wanted to go to America some day. Every Greek dreams of going to America and making a nest egg. I didn’t try to dissuade him; I gave him a picture of America as I knew it, as I had seen it and experienced it. That seemed to frighten him a little…
-Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi

Well. Hullo there good reader. I’m about as cracked from the earth as can be, despite Confederate flags draped in storefront windows and puerile mugs on the faces of North Creek citizens when I must go into town. I been into town quite a bit this trip, to shop and to drop off Ben in Ticonderoga to catch his train to Canada, but the heft of my days has been spent on my feather down double at 125 in the Hewitt Lake Club. I heard the news of 3 more cops shot dead in Baton Rouge by another unhinged vet this morning, and I can only think that in these dark times paranoia verges strangely close to prescience. It might take the actions of murderous soldiers to wake us up to the fact that we are at war. It’s easy to get wrapped up in hysteria no matter which side you’re on, but you don’t want to find yourself talking politics, or much of anything else, in Trump Country with an Appalachian redneck, 1,800 miles from home. It may be best to go back to bed after coffee and NPR and watch the wind through the trees in your cabin while on working holiday in The America.

Not that the city fares any better. We spent 3 days in Louisville-an antebellum phantom of the urbane and what the bitter end of Big City America looks like. There isn’t anything doing there or anywhere, with death and mayhem and senseless violence on the the TV above the deserted hotel bar. Downtown’s shut down. Starbucks closes at 7. There isn’t even a wind blowing in Hunter Thompson’s hometown, but had we pushed any further beyond the city limits, we might have had to deal with a Duck Dynasty situation not unlike North Creek. At Hewitt tonight they’re listening to the Republican National Convention, but what do Big Politics have to do with it? They mean less to me than they ever did. I’m alone in my cabin, with Henry Miller to read and a feather down bed to lie on and dream my silly, poetic dreams.

It would seem that it’s all a wash, we’ve spiraled down too low and there’s hate and fear entrenched in us. Of course the rut is within, but it’s without, too-the cities are deserted, corporate run neon wastelands and the country’s full of ignorant and vile yahoos, who’re overweight and codependent but think that the enemy is you if you won’t get behind the white man’s imperialist wars abroad and don’t have the backs of a murderous and militant police force here at home. Welcome to The America. Unless you’re a nigger-loving muslim faggot and we never liked you anyway.

Which isn’t to say that it’s all bad, or that the trip this year has only amounted to 3 weeks away from the real work in the War Room back home. I’ve had some reflections this time through the savage land. I’ve been thinking about the only kind of change I can muster and I’m proud to report it back for you good reader, because in fact, all we have is each other.  As the dark takes its deeper turns and we lose another source of light.  I’m sick of heroes…and television and politics and the rich and the poor, sick of Garrison Keillor abridging Hunter Thompson’s “suicide note” (on what would’ve have been his 79th birthday, on Writer’s Almanac this morning) sick of a world that pushes our visionaries to suicide but spends 146 million on The Secret Life of Pets.
What’s new to me is a gratitude, that comes from seeing myself clearly, away from home, away from Hippie Town, out of Eden and out in the backwoods underbelly and urban desolation of America, clearing my lungs of stinking Texas oak and cedar, and finally being able to breathe and hold a note-and I can see myself through the mire. What am I, but a pilgrim seeking refuge? Maybe even Bodhisattva?  Sure, now, you know I can get behind that. I have much to report, much to share-and all of it could somehow conclude nicely with the problem I’ve been having with storytelling and even this blog.

We know how bad it can get. I’ve come to you from the bowels of twisted and dire situations, reported live from the belly of the beast and always sought to come through what Dr. Thompson has called the Wisdom. The Wisdom is like a diamond in the dark.  Wisdom, to paraphrase Richard Hell, makes any situation bearable, any screw or fuckaround worth it. If not the prize or zenith, then a regrouping and a breath, a trust…and that’s where I’m gonna have to leave it, and you, good reader, for now.  There doesn’t seem to be any kind of wisdom or resolution or end to this grim parade of murder and persecution and maudlin effrontery.  It would seem to be fucked which could be Wisdom but won’t really help me now, as I gear up and head back into town to pick up Ben in Ticonderoga.  Out on the highway in The America with an open heart and a 50 pack of Nicorette gum.  Wish me luck.

I was told by a friend
that this great quest would only begin
if I’d stop circling in circles behind my own bars
and spiral on out to the fiery stars
-Mischief Brew, Seeking The Brave

Two for Today

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, poem, Poetry, poetry reading, Submitting, submitting poetry, travel, travel writing, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on May 9, 2016 at 10:03 pm

Good Reader-
I couldn’t be happier about all your subscriptions, views and likes down here at Going For The Throat.  I’d like to offer you a couple poems today, brought to you by the wonderful Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review.  I’ve felt on board with them as soon as I submitted.  I heard from their editor the very next day and she has even linked up Going For The Throat on their Facebook page.
These two were written together on one of the first days of the year.  They’re about travel, as allot of my stuff is these days.
I’m booking Houston, Philadelphia, NYC and Boston.  And I’m reading and performing right here in Austin 4 times next week.  September will get a second pressing as soon as I get a few kinks out.  Hope to see you this summer.
Please enjoy two of my poems today, “passage” and “oxbloods ‘neath the cuff“, featured on page 146 of this Spring’s FLAR.  Dig around.  There’s allot of power and talent in this issue.
Yours,
Jim Trainer
jimtrainer.net
Austin TX