Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

AMERICAN CENTURY BLUES

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2018 at 5:23 pm

Jimmy the crew chief
doesn’t wanna hear I don’t know…
when you’re back late from your route
me and my partner slid in, we missed the hammer of rush hour
even with 3 extra stops thrown in last minute this morning
this is the first day Isaiah didn’t wear shorts, bashing out of the walk-in
laughing to shake my hand
the guys in the office ask me if I like it and I don’t know what to say
daylabor weaves an exhaustion into you
it breaks down your defenses so everyday occurrences
of the natural world take on a phenomenal and mystical weight
dawn and dusk in industrial parks
shouldn’t be so pretty, the brown briar crowning
pitiless bodies of water, maybe as deep as a creek
but gone by the end of the week, and the sun
slanting in so hard you’re dry drunk on the light
we’re all covered in a salt barely visible, the dried sweat
of hard men and women working in the building
the job reminds you what you kid yourself about as a young man
what you need, what you’ve always needed and what you always will–
something steady at home, standing in the kitchen
bringing you sweet tea with a smile–
I’m 42, it’s not as hard as it used to be but just as taxing
I guess the difference is I let the job take it from me,
all of it and what’s left is for her,
it’s easy to get romantic about work
driving into the sun both ways, being worn down and tired
steel-toed boots and leather gloves tied to your waist
but that’s what’s different now, too–it could be romantic
but it’s not.

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Laugh At All The Lovers And Their Plans

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2018 at 10:31 am

Were it not for all these flags that wave, I would not know I was free…
Through the Rye

They lion grow…
–Philip Levine

My heart
a whorish beast
roaming darkly

Love Junky

…there’s a really specific definition to the world that seems to be diseased and hostile and violent, or maybe decaying. And there are one or two specific narrators that are either like peeping at the world or kind of on the lam.
-Dan Bejar, Destroyer

I think it’s going to rain today…
Randy Newman

How long is this supposed to go on? My heart the medicine chest. This blog the clothesline. I found the 2 of Hearts walking through my wonderful Hyde Park yesterday, listening to Jason Isbell beneath the grey sky in a smoky wind. Everything is fucked, everything is fine. I know there’s inspiration in the ether, I’m touched by it when it flies so close. But I’m in my tomb a lot, or womb–safe and lazy and warm, and I’m so tired of writing about my life. I’ve outlived a decades old trauma but it’s in the memory and conditioning. Wraiths of the past can still nip at my heels but there’s a whole new cast around the table. Think of each of these statements as a talisman or many sided coin. I need to write in ambiguity because I gave it all away and I am so tired of writing about my life.

Philly’s supposed to happen–in March. Pslamships and I will hit the road from there, and lay some tracks when we return. The moving job fell through–too many days standing around and being lied to and sent home to trust I’d be safe out there on the road or behind a dresser coming down a flight of stairs backwards. I’ll be lucky to get paid for the 6 hours I gave them, unless of course they call me to pay for my company coat. That’s the fucked half but I got an interview next week and the corporate threw me some extra cash Thursday for doing 7 drops instead of 2. That’s the fine. That simple gesture actually helped me make up my mind. I gotta get full time and stop living off my credit card. I’m not starving, not homeless and actually writing, in earnest these days. I knew I’d have to get the new year off right, so I submitted 3 poems to a contest and a zine December 31 and I am so tired of writing about my life.

Sara the Italian looks good on a bike, out there in Alpine and inspiring me, reminding me of the Good Life. It’s not peaches and cream and you’ve got to rise and shine to grab it. You bet. Brother Raffe‘s in Hostile City, he’s playing again and in town from Berlin, on the phone talkin’ with me ’bout Bulgaria and the Blues. It’s Sunday and I’m sipping cold espresso with milk and brown sugar, in my small bedroom and office officially preparing to get this rig the fuck unwound. The 2 of Hearts I drew on my walkabout yesterday–it’s Wisdom could be self-evident and painfully obvious. Surprise birthday dinner last night, for Brother Adam with friends, vibing over Thai tea and Topo, the best shrimp I’ve probably ever had at Deckhands, about sobriety and recovery, laughing like a lunatic and tipping Candle 95%. I fell out, like I do, and woke up late and here we are, Good Reader. There’s no fat in the fire and no grist for the mill in this week’s post. I’m just writing because I can, avoiding the deathly and dire, skimming over the heavy and thinking out loud because I am so tired of writing about my life.

See you next week? Motherfucker?

ANOTHER HOSTILE CITY BREAKDOWN

In Uncategorized on January 4, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Sooner or later, we all hit the wall…
Nathan Hamilton

Between trouble and the blues, how will we ever survive? Between mental illness and class it’s a wonder we’ve done anything for ourselves, let alone the ones we love.  I had to get gone from the hometown but I should’ve left a long time ago.  There are some folks back there still making it.  They still got some love for me, their hearts would only betray ’em otherwise and anyway they’re too stubborn to die.  Most of them I’m better friends with from a couple thousand miles, though they’re not to blame, or anything or anyone besides anger and addiction and the crushing blow of loss.  I’m never a stranger back home, which is good considering all the years I was there and all these years I feel on the outside practically anywhere else.  They love me in Philly and I love ’em right back but that’s only because years have passed since I danced on a burning bridge making drunken midnight phone calls singing songs full of broken glass.  I was an asshole of the highest order but we all take a turn.  When I go back some are still cautious around me but they’re usually the ones I never liked anyway.  If you thought this was going to be a humbling apology from me you’d be half right–I’m not humble but I am sorry.  I shook up some squares, forfeited any good reference, drank to blurry shakes and fought out on the street but mostly that was just another long, boring night in Hostile City.  Ain’t it though.

They say you oughta be nice to the people you meet on your way up because you’re only gonna meet them coming back down.  I’m not coming down and just because I’m coming back doesn’t mean I should need to kiss the ring or stand on ceremony. Those 317 baleful words above are only a loquacious lathering, a fancy way for a straight edge Big Mouth to announce I’m heading back to the yard and I got a job moving furniture starting Wednesday.  Sister Sarah suggests I may be overthinking it but words like failure and colossal mistake seem apt when you’re interrupting your status as a full-time artist to attend the same shuck & jive as your first ever full time gig, striking out on the mean streets of West Philly at the end of the Twentieth Century.  My first apartment was the biggest 1-br I could find for $400 in 1996, on the corner of 45th&Locust–right next to the Watusi II where, seated on a stool on a grey Fall day, Lucien Blackwell Jr. kissed me on the cheek.  Where my Gary Fisher Marlin was stolen in a snow storm.  Where it snowed heavy in the winter and they drank just as heavy next door, closing the bar every night with the syrupy down beat of 90s R&B, when the line was 45th and no Penn kid would be caught dead or robbed below 40th&Pine. Kathy Change burned herself alive that Fall, and it was as fitting as it was foreboding–she was right about everything.

Worse than reminiscing about ritual suicide in Hostile City is that I’ve headed back to the yard.  Oh well.  If I can’t be sorry and I won’t ask for forgiveness then the best I’ll get from memory lane and a 40+-hour daylabor gig is a chance to really see how far I’ve come.  You can’t go home again.  You can stash your shekels though, if you’re lucky, and live to walk sideways another day.  You can stay in the city of Philadelphia long enough to play some music and read some poetry, revisit the ties that bind and use your hometown advantage to get on the air and up under the hot lights of those same haunts and barrelhouses you said you’d never go back to.  It’s really doing a number on me, Brother.  I’m staying up late at the keys like I used to, back when I had to get it in while I could, on a manual Remington in the hot summer lit up with blunts and Pirate Radio.  What a long, strange trip it’s been.  Just when you think you’re out they pull you back in.  At midlife the past is mythic, you’re a testament but a song of the future is still being sung.  Anything can happen, if by anything you mean the same exact thing only 3 wars and twenty years later.

See you back there somewhere, motherfucker, in the blue mystery, on winding streets of smoke and drunk on the bloodwine of history–wandering, wondering, captivated, free.

#yearofthedog #docmartens

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It’s Been A Wonderful Year

In Uncategorized on December 28, 2017 at 4:02 pm

While Americans are fascinated by major legislative drama, endless sexual abuse scandals, endless Trump-Russia scandals, and countless inappropriate presidential Twitter outbursts, key regulators — almost uniformly drawn from the ranks of corporate America — are doling out favors at a pace that boggles the mind.
-Matthew Yglesias

Why don’t Americans understand how poor their lives are?
-Umair Haque

Remember, we only shoot black people.
Cobb County Police Officer Lt. Greg Abbott

A great America would be one where everyone had access to basic health care and dentistry, everyone was educated above a basic level, and everyone was treated equally and well. A great America would build policy on all the great science its universities produce. It would be a world leader in translating the latest knowledge into policy that improves people’s lives. It would be a beacon of Enlightenment thinking, as it was when it was founded.
Tobias Stone

Is there any way to read it without you getting any money? You know, so I’ll only waste my time.
Weird Mike’s Meltdown

2018: You are supposed to change your life – for good. With all of the evidence you’ve gathered over the past few years, now is the time to take action. You know where you want to go, the challenge is only whether or not you will be fearless enough to let yourself do it.
Another Load of Dirt For Your Brain

Another load of dirt for your brain!
The Accused

I’m not a professional. I only write when I want to. I’m an amateur and insist on staying that way. A professional has a personal commitment to writing. Or a commitment to someone else to write. As for me, I insist on not being a professional. To keep my freedom.
Clarice Lispector

You’re not a renaissance man you’re a cunt.
-Joe McCabe

Don’t it feel good now that it’s over?
Ain’t it just grand now that it’s done?

You shut the door on that house forever
Test came back that idiot boy ain’t your son
It’s Been A Long Time That I Should Be Far From Here

Fuck you that’s why!
Done Deal

That oughta wrap it.  I couldn’t be happier bidding the Year of the Cock adieu, it was rife with murder and lust, progress and scientific rollback and frought with biblical disaster.  Last year gave new credence to the term Fuckall, because, really—what part of the last three hundred sixty-two days don’t you wanna flush, forget, move on from or at least avoid at the party?  Ah but don’t too wise.  Even an apathetic ex-Pat punkrocker like me will get wet in a shitstorm.  Islands and cities are underwater and the media is no longer free.  It’s enough to make you wanna throw up your hands and tell him go ahead, make my day.  Wage war with N. Korea and kiss it all goodbye.  I’m on temp and delivery shift next week if anything else happens and I don’t play dog and pony when it comes to War.  Fear is the first of a many tiered agenda acheiving manufactured consent and I know how they are.  9/11 was the warning sign on the road ahead but even Brother Neil and Osama Bin Laden couldn’t have predicted how far our Rome with cars would fall.  No one could say we weren’t warned but, either way, it’s good elected officials are protected…otherwise heading to the nation’s capital to put Paul Ryan’s head on a stick might be the best way to spend New Year’s, that or burning down the palatial home of Mich McConell but the truth is…they’re all to blame.  I’d do wise to include the electorate of this country—Red hillbillies and Blue establishment shills who played in to bipartisan democracy but then I’d have to believe in it.  We both know I haven’t voted since ‘00 but I’ll gladly go on the record with Brother Marx about smashing the state.  Short of that I’ll be glad to be rid of this year and even gladder to be done with Outrage Culture.

The quotes above are good at making me look smart.  Looking smart is being smart in the hall of mirrors of the New Century, just ask Umar Johnson.  The fact is I have no backing, no advanced studies under my belt or degrees on my wall that could either deny or correlate those fascinating and dreadful nuggets above.  I’d just as soon retire into middle age, write my poetry and play my music, fuck it—we know I ain’t here in mind, may as well get gone in body, GTFO while I can, go somewhere with healthcare and rational women.  This is the end Beautiful Friend and if I don’t take off and hit the road things could get more than a little buggy around here.  My lease is up in March and I’m due to get some tracks to wax with Psalmships in the spring.  The MAMU should be fully assembled by the first week of ‘18 and just in time to get my performance at Metaphorically Challenged on film.  The website is chugging along.  My biggest inspiration in these end days is getting off social media.  At the very least saying goodbye to Outrage Culture and the Shock Politic.  Who am I kidding, it’d be great to say goodbye to the Oligarchy while I’m at it, and this 200-year old slaveship of Capitalocracy.  I’m straight edge, sober and completely out of my mind.  I’ve got some habits, talents for hire or things I’m going to have to support for the rest of my life.  The Arts are my revolution.  I don’t care about your cause.  I don’t watch the news so why do I still read it on Facebook and Vox and Medium?

Lastly, I am proud to announce the release of Take to the Territory, my 4th full-length collection of poetry and prose, on Yellow Lark Press.  I  hit a snag in the production schedule and there’s no one to blame except me.  That makes me feel guilty if I haven’t lived up to my artistic goals, which brings me to the finest and most efficient fuel of my 20+ year career thus far:  self hatred (it really works, Good Reader, though I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone without the brutish and stubborn constitution of an Irish Italian-American from Hostile City)  AND you, Good Reader.  It’s always been about you.  My announcement of the book’s release is enough to get us through and back on the horn with the ABAC to get this rig the fuck unwound.

May the Year of the Dog bring you great fortune and happiness. See you next year motherfucker.

 

 

Take Your Medicine

In alcoholism, recovery, Uncategorized on December 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm

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

I’ve really let myself go. I’m doing my best but my best is paltry and weak. Nights I fall out, days I do what I have to. What I know, in my mind, is fear. It’s fear keeping me in line, not taking any chances. What I don’t know, in my body, is trauma, or the memory of it, the abuse that continues, that’s changed me and keeps me on a dark and narrow track. I tried to disengage from this blog. I shared poetry and performances and I wrote about others. Writing about others came home to roost when they started taking notice. Not so much because they took notice but for the kind of attention they paid to being what I felt was a hack anyway. It’s all fine and well. Writing isn’t a perfect art. Guns need to be cleaned and even then you’ll breach wide and fire into the wide blue—instead of taking down the enemy you only alert them to your location. My explanations only dug me in deeper. To the uninitiated, the newsletter I sent out last week made me sound petty and worse. There’s no excuse. It’s not funny anymore. Asserting masculinity can no longer be at the expense of femininity. True power never seeks without but always comes from within. We know this, and the world going to pot? That’s no excuse either. Ultimately, the truth is a good medicine. It’s often bitter and harsh but that doesn’t make hiding out in the dark any easier or any more sense being afraid. The truth hurts but it’s trauma that keeps us hid and a memory of pain that’ll keep us suckling at a lie.

This is the blog I’ve been trying to write—for weeks, the diamond in the mire and sticky dross of gossip and vituperation. I can’t live down that it worked, for a while, that I felt like I was living Mencken’s life of kings slinging ‘em down week after week. There’s hardly anything more satisfying than taking down the Goliath in 600 words. Nothing feels better than a bourbon in the morning either, but the real problem ain’t the hangover. The truth is the truth. When the light of day finds you it can feel like it’s cutting you down your cold middle, especially if you’ve been hiding out stanchioned in the frozen night. The light ain’t wrong, the light is the light. It feels good on your back and bids you enter the sacred spaces of dusk and dawn. The night is ok for poets and soldiers advancing, and alcoholics and sex addicts—me, I’m peeling back the layers. I quit drinking to get to the Real and oh boy have I. The fireworks, Doc, have started. I’m confronting myself, it’s dank and musty in here and like the song says there’s too many skeletons in my room today.

I been trying to dig myself out. Hang up the gossip column and get to the hard stuff. I fell into a hall of mirrors. I was so busy trying to convince others what an artist I was, when the truth is I was only trying to prove it to myself and either way I haven’t been an artist, haven’t been writing—not in earnest, anyway. I wrote about chronic masturbation at the end of the world, burying horrible xs and practically day drinking cocktails of resentment and woe, leaning grim and perverted beneath the masthead of this column. I was getting by, which, for a co-dependent, alcoholic, anger addict is ok. It’s better than getting fucked up or shacked up or using precious bandwidth on folks who can’t even comprehend the problems you’re railing on. It’s fine and well, survival. It’s what we know but, to thrive? Like our heroes have done, to thrive is far from this day to day I’ve taken on—delivery shifts and YouTube marathons, sugar gorges and late, musty masturbatory mornings. As deplorable as the Gossip was, and as trite that I’d be focusing on someone else are the endings of these posts. They’re always wrapping it concisely, in a bow for bullshit. It’s contrite and positive and 20th Century Essay Writing 101. Don’t leave your readers behind in the mess and quagmire you’ve lead them down—lift them up Good Writer. I can’t anymore, Good Reader. I can’t lift you up. You’re on your own. We’re on our own. This is our world now. At least I’m not having to explain, though–backpedaling into sexist doublespeak that was somehow supposed to defend a heartbroken romantic on the edge of Empire.

Sometimes the best you can do is call it, a bad hand is a bad hand, as she used to say, and probably still does, in her happy married life far and away from me and my mawkish bullshit. See you next week, motherfucker?

I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2017 at 3:46 pm

there was a mashup
off 2222
this morning
I saw the guardrail
twisted up like a fist to God
speeding by, making a delivery
on shift,
at my pickup a slight woman
of indeterminate Asian origin
poured cold water and I sipped
looking up at the Buddha
above the bar,
I read somewhere
we’re only Rome with cars
well the highways of America
are a perfect analogy
we’re all moving
deathly fast
and going nowhere
I had to loop around twice
to get to my bank
and even then
drive IN through the OUT
past the teller windows
because traffic on Burnet
wouldn’t let me in
just to cash a check for 120,
my roommate can’t afford toilet paper
and asks me for the rent,
the letters on the Selectric stick
sometimes, Steve at Duncan
shakes like an alcoholic
when I bring the machine in for repairs
so maybe that’s why,
there’s always been
something so oppressive
in me, it sunk me
through the hometown
and I’m still falling
I’ve made a little peace over the years
a very little but enough
to keep suicide as an option
I know folks who’ve taken it
the suicide option
and I can think of some I wish would
whatever it is, this
oppression in me, and my tiny valiance
against it
is fine and well
makes it feel less impossible
but the world
smacking into the sun
the world imploding in
the graft, the murder, the rape
and the squalor, the most horrible
never
living up to our beautiful potential
I don’t know what to do about that
I still don’t know
what to do about the end of the world.

The internet is dead.  Of the all the things you’ll hear folks complain about in the coming weeks, the fluidity and control of this new media is the most important sociopolitical issue of our time.  I’ve got no dog in any other fight but even this one I’ma have to sit out and see how the worm turns on a pig named Pai.  Send an email to jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com and I’ll send you the latest post of Going For The Throat.  This way, we can enjoy it alone together, away from prying eyes and without the narcissistic and hateful and unimportant.  They’ve been running slipshod over this site for years and I’m tired of writing about my life.  It’ll all make sense when you read what I wrote–and I can’t wait to hear from you.
VOX POPULI VOX DEI (The Voice of the People is the Voice of God)

Ab irato,
Trainer

Don Bajema’s Hero

In American History, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Don Bajema, Football, War, Writing, writing about writing, youth on November 7, 2017 at 8:39 am

The following interview first appeared in Philadelphia Stories in 2013.

Great writing has heart.  It really is that simple, although it’s not easy.   Former world class athlete Don Bajema presents a baby boom generation that is wide-eyed and innocent.  His self-styled anti-hero Eddie Burnett is taken to the horrible edge of things-but Bajema stops there, allowing the reader to bear witness and Burnett to make up his own mind.  Winged Shoes and a Shield (released last fall through City Lights Booksellers) follows the track and field star-cum-dropout’s trajectory through diaphanous rites of adulthood, dysfunctional family life, drug and spousal abuse and the terrible reality of American racism-all under the specter of the draft for the Vietnam war. Bajema’s take on the dire nature of our National character during sunrise in America is crushing, but there is always a choice offered in his work.  His hero strives to remain beautifully awake. Don Bajema’s hero has heart.

I’m struck by the innocence of some of your character (s) and point(s) of view.  Their attitudes and perceptions seem to be from a more innocent time, almost like the adolescent idealism that was somehow forgotten in the generations following baby boomers, after what I would call “Sunrise in America”.  
I think I’ve done all I can to deliberately retain innocence and an adolescent idealism in my life and work. Trauma fixes personalities in time and place and from ages thirteen to twenty I saw that generation I write about, a perspective I will forever view the world from…as the Kennedys were murdered, King, X, I saw riots, burned cities, dogs set on kids, National Guardsmen open up on peaceful protesters, I watched our military annihilate hundreds of thousands in a country of farming peasants, commit massacres of villages and napalm children running naked in dirt roads. Then I was told Vietnam was our tragedy, and I watched my generation buy that lie, while I refused to believe it and became ‘unpatriotic’-an epithet I cherish since I am not a patriot. We saw cops billy clubbing hundreds of kids, watched the FBI pull Civil Rights workers out of swampy dams, saw churches bombed. We had grown up in duck and cover drills but saw nothing to alleviate this stupidity and arrogance, wastefulness and corruption in our society. My perspectives are at once innocent and outraged.
I’ve felt sorry for the existence and fate of every generation that followed mine knowing full well that I, and my generation, have failed miserably to realize the glimpse of what it could have been.

What do you think is a fundamental difference between the once-hopeful flower power movement of the 60s and subsequent generations?  Are things more or less dire now? 
I think these are the best of times and the worst of times. I think the 60’s are perceived in error as the ‘flower power’ era. Nobody bought that flower in your hair shit. That’s Wall Street advertising and appropriation. The Beatles were laughing behind ‘all you need is love’. We fought in the streets. Our rebellion was an affront to the police and dangerous as hell in most of the country. These times are worse in that we are at the beginning of ecological collapse, deprivation and constant foreign and domestic war in battlefields from Sandy Hook to the Middle East and back again.

Your perspectives, “at once innocent and outraged”, are very similar to Eddie Burnett’s.
I’m better at busting a lie than telling the truth. I don’t think we can know the truth. The world and our existence is chaos. We do all we can to delude ourselves, personally and through agreed upon delusions like government and the economy, to go forward in an overcrowded and unmanageable zoo. A zoo that is our over populated planet and a circus in which we observe it. Is there hope? Yes, if we just face the fact we are highly complex primates conscious of our own mortality and freaked out by it. We do not have a god, we are not created in superman’s image, science cannot save us and most of our beliefs are ridiculous, especially any ones even remotely religious. But we are a very, very young species and we grow exponentially in intelligence if not in emotional compassion.
Eddie and I in respect to these qualities? Yes, I think they are inseparable. So, the short answer is yes.
The choice to remain “innocent” despite the horror and atrocities of the world, to choose good or to champion the inherent good within our human nature is quite insane, considering what is going on in the world around us.  
It does run contrary to the ‘fight or flight’ concept to champion…that which generates, protects, or provides for love and life…to be kind, to be generous, to be willing to extend these qualities first, in any given situation, is to be regarded or open to suspicion that one is weak, or a sucker.
I used to tell athletes enjoying their newly discovered power, and this is also true ethically and spiritually, that ‘strength gives the option to be kind’ but nobody ever knew wha I was talking about.
It’s our values-as much as one neurosis or another. People want it simplified, and it’s the singular ego that holds sway over their thoughts and actions, especially in a competitive context. Yes, nature appears to be competitive but it’s really a kind of dance. Self interest is important but it shouldn’t be paramount in our psyche. Nice guys finish last and “the meek shall inherit the earth” but to be meek is to be despised. For me, its war or not war, and my choice is not war. Which doesn’t mean if you invade my home with bad intentions I won’t go for it, but-and I have been in various potentially disastrous circumstances, given the chance I’ll opt for kindness every time.
The whole question of any individual and the world is a tale of heroic struggle, and I think a lot about Faulkner’s comment “the only story worth telling is the story of the human heart in conflict with itself”.

The inside look into Eddie Burnett in Winged Shoes and a Shield reveals the troubles of a seemingly well-adjusted athlete, at least you would think he’s well adjusted, a star on the track and field, an operator like his dad, but then you find out his back story, and all is not as rosy as it appears.
Jim you are 100 percent right…Eddie Burnett’s and my own challenges are derived and contorted by being at once too sensitive and too afraid to admit it. Burnett is a winner, celebrated for his athleticism. He is victorious and stoic on the outside but, within, he is both too sensitive and too scared to admit it.

In Too Skinny, Too Small, your latest work, we find an adult, if not grown up, Eddie Burnett as a mega football star in a bloated and self-important NFL.


Too Skinny Too Small was a disappointment as an experiment. I found myself too nauseated by the values of the corporate game and industry of the sport, and the ignorance and appalling lack of compassion and voyeuristic jack-off of the fans, commentators and just about every disgusting value the game has to offer that I bummed out hard on the topic. But I’ll keep writing it to a conclusion. I overwrite when I am unclear of what I want to convey. Basically, I’m predicting the inevitable–on field, nationally televised death that will occur fairly soon.
Too Skinny Too Small is going to make reappearance during the play-offs.
I enjoy writing on Going For The Throat and I like the idea of people being able to read it off of a blog.  I’m not sure where it’s going to go but I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens.

What can you tell us about your writing process? What does a day of writing look like for you? You once said to me, “Never try to please your audience”.


Carmen and I both work and we have two young kids, so I write when I can. Frequently late at night or early in the morning. I used to write listening to music, but lately I haven’t been and find that I write better without it.  
Music, for me, even if I’m only barely aware of it, takes some of what would be in the writing away.
Almost everything in Winged Shoes And a Shield …was written to be read on stage and most of the stories in it were written the day of a show. I found that it gave the work an immediacy. Almost everything in the collection is a ‘one take’ kind of thing, with very little or no re-writing. Rewriting, for me, is a bad thing. I tend to over write, not so much in terms of flowery, self indulgent stuff, but when I re-write I frequently find myself adding a lot of material so that the work is ‘new’ to me. But then it may not necessarily have the impact of the original words first set down on the page. So, for the time being I’ve been convinced, and most of my friends and collaborators almost insist, that I should never rewrite my work. I think my best material comes from writing that is done on the day of a show.
The idea of ‘pleasing your audience’ means that you are writing to an effect rather than just sort of channeling whatever it is that is coming out of you. That does not mean do not be aware of your audience. A writer should be considerate as all hell of the audience-but not necessarily doing anything to please them. What that means is don’t make them work too hard, don’t make them wade through a lot of stuff. So, my best writing addresses the audience as though they were in a club or wherever it is I’m reading. But I never try to please them. I don’t even try to please myself. I just write it and then read it and let the chips fall where they may.
I also read what I’ve written out loud, this reveals the clunkers in the work and I can change them on the spot. So it might be a page and then read it out loud, then go on.

What’s next for you and Eddie Burnett?

Eddie will stare me down as less than the man I was born to be and I’ll try to provide him the words…since he is the universal observer he’ll be around or in anything I ever write.
I’m looking forward to my reading with you on December 11th.

Too Skinny, Too Small by Don Bajema appears serially on Going For The Throat throughout the 2014 NFL Season. To read more visit jimtrainer.wordpress.org.

HOSTLE CITY BREAKDOWN

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

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

 

DON’T BECOME NOSTALGIC FOR THINGS THAT WERE ACTUALLY AWFUL

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2017 at 7:50 pm

You can’t live without a mother. Without a mother you can’t die.
Narcissus and Goldmund, Herman Hesse

Don’t let your reptile brain override what you knew was right then and is certainly right for you now.  Don’t go on a world tour of pain rehashing things that you’ve passed on or take another stab at things that’ve long since passed you by.  Shitty people are shitty.  The sea changes people say they’ve been through, that’ve brought them back from the dead and into your life are just another charade and they’re never doing it for you, so don’t get enmeshed.  Move on.  Always forward.  Never back.  This paragraph will be one fuck of a non-sequitir if it doesn’t tie in with anything except its cribbed title from an article about Joe Biden.  Truth is I don’t know what to write about this week, I don’t know where I am, except in a state of free fall, and I’m grasping–at love and the past and ideas of things that didn’t bring me comfort before but I insist will now, somehow.  It could be high time for some real deal spirituality.  I’ve shirked it long enough.  It could also be a great time to forego ideas of love and romance and let go the need to be taken care of.  How much more could I need anyway?  I’m on the love seat I bought yesterday, in my bedroom of the new apartment.  I just ate a reheated Mixmix from last night’s dinner at Koriente.  My car is parked in the driveway and it’s peaceful here, a little stuffy but fine in the fading light. No one’s going to blast in here and stick a gun in my face.  These walls won’t fall tonight and I’ll enjoy my first night of sound sleep in over fourteen days on a brand new mattress, delivered this afternoon.  The world is on fire and the end days are winding down–but everything is ok.

I bring up love and romance because I’m a romantic.  And I met a woman who we’ll call Kali, and she smacked me down to size when she told me that what I needed was what I had.  I’ve been unemployed since October 1 and as mentioned I’ve been falling through the days.  Lucky there have been some truly profound moments in the sun down here, too–days the old, street fighting me would hardly believe.  It occurs to me that other than knowing we’re on the brink and it’s all over baby blue, the torrential malaise of my psyche these days might have something to do with survivor’s guilt.  I made it through, it’s true, to be on this harried plateau where I feel the utter depths of a longing for suicide but grin from ear to ear in the sun driving fast in my car.  I know I’ve had to leave a lot behind and I’m not as glad about some of it as I am about the rest.  There’s a lot of junk back there but love too, and innocence, and every time I hurt you I know I hurt me too.  The best thing that Kali did for me was remind me this wasn’t free.  The bad love and the streets–they’re more than just fodder and grist for good poetry.  It was real and it really happened.  I’m suddenly overcome thinking about the folks I left behind–them in their misery because it was their karma and me out the door ’cause it was mine.

I can’t see an end to the insanity.  Certainly not in the New Century and maybe not in me, either.  I’ve a brave man in my life talking to me about God, and I’ve the same reaction to it I’ve always had.  The only thing changed is not that I’m losing control but that I never had it.  Fate, the World, cold plasmas of space–it’s the nature of things to break down, our bodies included, and I feel the more that gets in the better and the less you leave behind.  I didn’t think it’d get darker but I guess that’s why you get stronger.  Not to see the light but so you can rival the darkness.  Things are really winding down.  My spirituality has always been the seasons but now we’ve no Winter and no Fall and the smiles on all the faces are a prison.  The only other benevolent change has to do with music.  It’s affecting me the way it used to.  It’s splitting me down the middle again, making me feel alive and thousands of volts.  It’s giving me my edge over the sleepers and I burn down the streets of this town like a Black Irish shadow with earbuds on.  Rock and Roll never forgets.  Neither love, you should know.  There are some of you reading these words right now and I can feel you in my heart and it makes me strong.  We are all we have.  I’ll keep falling as long’s you keep holding my hand.

See you next week motherfucker.

 

Goodbye, Goodbye

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

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