Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“Bodies never lie.”

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2019 at 11:00 am
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN ON NOVEMBER 23, 2019

When Jordan slithers out from under his rock each morning, dons a shirt and tie–sans the jacket, lest he be mistaken for Joe McCarthy–his life’s work is to besmirch everything America stands for in service of Donald Trump.
Good Guy Brent Larkin

At the expense of a massive debt to them of half a million dollars, they really helped us to grow.
-Conrad Keely, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

But today Devo is merely the house band on the Titanic.
Gerald Casale

Sometimes I don’t know where this dirty road is taking me
sometimes I can’t even see the reason why…
-Townes Van Zandt

Hallo.  Trainer here.  I’m attempting something I’ve hardly ever done and that is front load blog posts for when things get crazy.  Not that shit ain’t batshit now but all the more so, in the coming weeks–4 doubles in a row, Christmas party after Christmas party, printing and binding 550 books and flying across the country are all on the dais and it’s a good thing I’m insane otherwise I’d lose my mind.  January will be dead city and though I hope to be working full time by then it’ll be an opportunity to write and cultivate a Yoga practice, maybe.  Otherwise plan the next jaunt–OH, CAN, AMS and GUATE.  It goes on Good Reader until it doesn’t.  I told you I’d publish 10 books in 10 years and that’s only the beginning of everything I’d like to undertake before I hit 50.  If you haven’t figured it out I’m making up for lost time.  Strangely the time seems to burn by, and faster, when I’m this active.  At least it seemed like I had all the time in the world when I was in my 20s and 30s and waitin’ round to die.  Death seemed far off back then or I acted like it was.  My 20s were bourbon and love and my 30s only differed when I began to wonder if running and gunning was all there was and anyway getting fucked up and fucked.  Sex and drugs and rock and roll was always a dumb story and maybe now we see how prescient the end of the 60s really was.  Not only that but that punkrock is maybe a middle class phenomenon and no underground or street politic will change or alter what’s coming now.

It’s unrepentantly sad, alarming and grotesque that it’s sown up and we blew it bad but I’ll still go out tonight and go to work tomorrow.  I touched on this on my last front-loaded blog post.  There’s a heavy why to every endeavor now.  Perhaps all the moreso because there isn’t any answer.  I don’t know why we should go on but I know we will.  Until we can’t and we hit the wall and we’re evicted of her beauty and exiled of God’s bounty forever and gone.  The human experiment fails.  We pass this age and the next one passes us.  We lay long like stone past the stars last bright shimmy.  We’re gone the air, gone the mountain, gone the river and the lake, gone the whatfor and aggrandized, gone the grief, gone the backyard, gone the children, the skinheads at the railroad track in the thick, beat suburban night, gone the Marlboro reds in the Fall, the beer and the wine, gone the wild laughter, meditation, the gesture, animal and song, gone the cup, the ride over and after everything we planned and coveted, all we squirreled or shared, after every dread and small fear, every stroke and fawn, after every triumph, tremor and tumult fade and get rubbed out and peeled off it won’t matter if I’ve published 10 books or none, if I write poetry or personal journalism or Part 21 of The Coarse Grind.  It won’t matter if I loved you or saw you and looked you in the eye but I’ll do it anyway.  A book a year every year for 10 or until I can’t, and arms for you and eyes and ears and lips.  Come close and let’s clutch to each other Good Reader, let’s go down together, with beauty and ire, out from this dream of life onto the fevered wings of death and fire, into this diaphanous unspooling of the myth, let’s get flung and heaved and kiss it all goodbye.

2031, JIM TRAINER’S SIXTH FULL-LENGTH COLLECTION OF POETRY, IS AVAILABLE NOW THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.  NO COMEBACKS BY WILL STENBERG IS AVAILABLE NOW THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.
ORDER YOUR COPIES HERE.
PLEASE JOIN US AT THE RELEASE FOR THESE TITLES, FOR A READING AND SPECIAL NIGHT OF POETRY AND SPOKEN WORD AT BATCH NEXT WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 11
AND AT
SPECK’S RECORDS IN PORTLAND, OR ON WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 18.  

SHARE THE POEM OF THE WEEK ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND I’LL WRITE YOU A POEM!

SEND ME YOUR ADDRESS AND I’LL WRITE YOU A LETTER!

PART 21 OF THE COARSE GRIND, MY MONTHLY COLUMN ON THE CREATIVE LIFE, IS LIVE AT INTO THE VOID.

Stay tuned for news on these releases, readings and broadsides from each collection, designed by Snakes Will Eat You and letter pressed at the Austin Book Arts Center.

2031, JIM TRAINER’S SIXTH FULL-LENGTH COLLECTION OF POETRY, IS AVAILABLE NOW THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.  NO COMEBACKS BY WILL STENBERG IS AVAILABLE NOW THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.
ORDER YOUR COPIES HERE.
PLEASE JOIN US AT THE RELEASE FOR THESE TITLES, FOR A READING AND SPECIAL NIGHT OF POETRY AND SPOKEN WORD AT SPECK’S RECORDS NEXT WEDNESDAY.  

SHARE THE POEM OF THE WEEK ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND I’LL WRITE YOU A POEM!

SEND ME YOUR ADDRESS AND I’LL WRITE YOU A LETTER!

PART 20 OF THE COARSE GRIND, MY MONTHLY COLUMN ON THE CREATIVE LIFE, IS LIVE AT INTO THE VOID.

Stay tuned for news on these releases, readings and broadsides from each collection, designed by Snakes Will Eat You and letter pressed at the Austin Book Arts Center.

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#44: Dear Jeffrey

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2019 at 10:40 am
The Office of Jim Trainer
War Room
Bat Manor, TX

Jeffrey Privette
Lap of the Empire
Hippie Town, USA

Warmest Greetings from the War Room-

I’m sitting here drinking a pale ale in the AC.  We had some rain this morning and things are looking up.  Anything’s better than the state on fire w/a maggot Governor away on business.  We are born to Trouble, Jefferey, but I can handle mine.  Can you, Brother?
I think it high time to sing w/God and drink from the vine in an Appropriate place where they don’t care about Texas sports teams.  Being a Champion, like we are, is not limited to Victory.  Champions like us don’t cry about broken collarbones or cracked ribs.  We lick our wounds quietly w/our women and plot only the most bitter revenge.  Sometimes living long enough to watch them fly down in ruin&flames is good enough.  Other times, we sideline it w/a slow blues and a smoke over stimulating conversation.
If you’re having a bad day, end it, as my brother Kevin James used to say and still can be heard saying if you ever make it up to his apartment sized bar in West Philly.  We’re doing a couple of shows together on the east coast in a few weeks.  I’ll have to pipe down about how the Philadelphia Eagles are a bunch of fucking Losers while I’m there.  Those people will shoot you for your shoes.
I’ll be back in time for some Happy Haunting on my favorite holiday of Samhain in Hippie Town.  I’m thinking the Ghouls Ball on mushrooms.  Also heading down to Port Aransas for some much needed and Xanax aided r&r.  I don’t like to do drugs in public so I’ll save my little blue zenpaste for the end of our first night on the Gulf.  With any luck, I’ll be awoken to collard-green omelets&miso infused taters cooked by a thick Italian girl who understands me.
My heart is filled w/the Compassion for all things living, all things dying.  Everything else is War.  They will come w/their Resistance but they are paper-thin and We are Champions.  They’ve been squatting on Our meal ticket long enough.  It’s time to scale the wide walls and eat the Rich people.
Here is part two of my adventures in OK.  I do hope you enjoy it.
Please give my best to the Missus and all the Children even if they’re not your favorite.  Beer soon, and Trouble after.  I look forward to our Deep Counsel.

your Brother,
Jim

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#43: Dear Editor Phil Two

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2019 at 7:34 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
P.O. Box 49921
Austin TX 78765

Philip Elliott, Editor
Into The Void Magazine
The Great White North
Toronto ON, CDN

1/4/19, 7:42PM

Editor Phil

Happy New Year.  We’ve put another one in the can ain’t we?!  The Year of the Cock began with jaundiced bulging eyes and those first few steps into the barnyard were wobbly and bold.  Who knew the whole thing would be rewarded or undone depending on which career I base my self-esteem on? The first few days of ‘18 were spent standing around a freezing yard in Manor, huddled round with n’er do wells, criminals, dreadlocks and immigrants waiting to go out on a truck.  They were paying $11.75 an hour and I kind of lost my mind thinking I was back in the moving business, after twenty years and 3 cities, bartending jobs making twice that and a deep cast of unbelievably rageful and lust lorn babes and witches, cooing me to sleep in suburban bedrooms or plunging me through the barroom glass.   It was a head trip getting up Phil, putting on the steel-toeds and standing on the hard ground at sunrise in the cold yard–I mean it triggered my fight or flight and I’ve been in FIGHT ever since. My lady did me well on that end this Fall. She soothed me. We laughed and we slept and we read Post Office together.  But now we’re done and it’s Friday night in the city and I’ve got 2 columns in the can and am on point for the relaunch of Letter Day with this half-baked missive to you.  ‘18 was alright. I ended it with a trip below the Tropic of Cancer and sold enough books to get by.  

9:20PM
Good thing we were interrupted, a pause was in order…I said I sold enough books to get by.  That is uproarious mate, fucking unbelievable but it happened. Because of people like you and Heath and my Sister and Aunts and because of a good Brother down near the equator, working in a cobblestone out front a mezcal bar and lit like a cave.  Little Brother came through, Phil. He bought 25 of them thangs and I’m caught between shrugging it off and yelling to the heavens, in tearful thanks–my dreams have come true. Money in poetry is a hard dollar, Brother. Took me maybe 33 years and endless reams of white sheets with dead poems or scrawled lyrics on the other side and nights under a red light reading through a brown prism of mash and ironing out dirty ones and fucking with our clothes on in the ladies’ room.  Poetry is everything, Phil. I know my work teeters like a smoking car and that in my work are streamers, green bottles, back alley toms and vixens as stately as stone, there’s desperation in my work and blood–blood is the hope, there are voices, vices, sages and rue in it and ghosts appear and fade awayPoetry is the row we hoe, it cuts jewels from the dark night and lilts in Chinese whispers.  It’s the way in, out, through and back again. We know this but now it’s taking me places and it’s paying the bills and the luck I feel has put some slack in my bones.  I’m not exploding, though I’m very often on the edge, but letting it resound and burrough deep in me. There comes an ease of confidence when the Universe says yes, Brother—and I believe there is nothing better worth living for.  

I suppose spite will get you through, but me and Lindsey are never going back again.  I feel like I could be a completely different person by this time next year and I want to stay friends and gauge our wrath and triumph through each other.  I’ve heard tell that writing doesn’t come from happiness because if you’re happy then why write? My necessary corollary is if I’ve been able to write through the cutting dark and call all the dogs home then I should be able to crank this out, a note to the Friend, on a Friday night–the worst time to write, a most hollowed out and empty time when traffic streams by and girls laugh loud and high and men dress up and get down to get wasted.  I’m not concerned with them and I mean it this time. It was a weird renunciation drinking in the graveyard at 16 and listening to Black Flag but it only portended of alcoholism and there was nothing dire or righteous about fate in my hometown. We’ve all fought and now the victory becomes pause, repose and otherwise staying straight and getting rattled only at our desks, in front of our machines, the only place we’re ever truly free, and mad.  We’re all mad here.  

Best to you, Brother.  Dare we look into the Year of the Brown Pig and see that it could bring us closer?  That maybe it’s time for me to head up and anyway for us to talk about an anthology and self-publishing, readings and book releases?  Do you happen to know of any bookstores up the Great White North way into supporting independent authors and eager to purchase their work?  Because that’s all it would take, Editor Phil. I’m like the wind and coffee and cheap quarters are what makes the deal to go down.

May Your Crown Be A Halo.

Your Writer,

Jim Trainer
Austin TX

Check out Editor Phil Elliot’s great work and this interview he did about his excellent punk noir epic Nobody Move.  

FRONT LOADING BLOG POSTS AT THE WORLD’S END

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2019 at 4:05 pm
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN ON NOVEMBER 23, 2019

We are witnessing the postmodern version of the full-scale gangsterization of the world.
Dr. Cornel West

I want a body on my record.
Deontay Wilder

A great compliment
will come to you in the form
of insecurity hidden behind
a mirror of betrayal.

There’s all kinds of reasons to not believe it, not think about it. Not internalize it. That’s the next thing, right? You might think about it, or read something that upsets you—and you think about it, but then you don’t think about it. And then maybe you think about it later, or maybe you read something else, and so it becomes this awareness in your consciousness. That’s a completely different thing than internalizing it—and making it a truth about your world. Making it fit into the idea in your brain of existence itself. That’s a whole other step. And it’s really challenging.
Roy Scranton

Warmest Greetings from the War Room.  It’s quieter than a tomb at the Writer’s Desk.  The trees out the wide, green window are almost stripped and anyway have become gold.  I’m happy for the change of seasons and any kind of ecological normalcy left us for these dwindling years of the Anthropocene.   Think whatever you want to.  I commented earlier, on an enemy’s feed, about the end and the shrinking window of time we’ve left here.  From me, a comment like that can only mean growth.  In fact it was only weeks ago when I was calling him Asshole Dan on his feed and then tagging him as such on mine.  Full retaliation for the ignorant.  Kill the head and the body will die.  You know, anger and Fuck You and all that, but…this was different.  What he got from me this morning was more about acceptance than peace though there’s probably not much difference and anyway, when the human race is gone I imagine it’ll be nothing but gravy for the planet and whatever species remain.   My fight’s not with him and these days I lean from any kind of fight at all.  I could get mad enough to try and shake the thinking of the hippie bastard or I could blame the rich and oligarchs that did this to us but the truth is that we did this to us–and even if we could somehow and worldwide get on the same page we’re not going to do anything about it and that’s because we don’t want to think about the fact that we are going to die.  It’s that simple but extremely difficult to digest and anyway integrate–not that the end is coming but that the end is already here.  It’s not that capitalism did this to us, not the cluelessness of thin-headed hippies on Facebook or the selfishness of the filthy fucking rich behind wide walls that matter to me now.  We’re all going to die and anyway on the way there get extremely compromised.  The die is cast, the fat is in the fire and the time to change was thirty years ago.

The question becomes not if but why?  When we stop blaming each other we’re closer to accepting that the human race won’t go on.  If the human race won’t go on we’re left with a heavy fucking why, man–the heaviest this species has ever had to contend with.  Why should we go to work, make Art, have kids, fight for healthcare, play the guitar or vote for President when time is only winding down and, in the words of Roy Scranton, all the institutions, structures, and systems we live within are predicated on the indefinite persistence of the present…?  There comes the strangest kind of relief knowing:  not only are you going to die but the whole human race besides.  It’s a strange relief and an incomprehensible dread but either one’s enough to make you batshit and terrified.  I haven’t shit since the Presidential Election but it’s getting better.  I went from gravy tunnelin’ to angry vipers–long skinny shits that bite and burn and need to come out immediately, as in, I think I have to go oh shit I have to go!  It could be worse and it always is somewhere in the Final Century.  This has been the hardest part perhaps, not my devastation but the fact that I know someone somewhere else is dealing with it.  Dead parents and dead kids.  Cyclones and sarin gas.  A government that clubs you in the street or dismembers you behind closed doors.  It’s an uneasy peace I have Good Reader knowing both how good I have it and how little of any fight I offer really matters in the toilet flush of this last epoch.

I’m front loading these posts for the weeks of insanity that are December.  I’m backsliding into the personal because blogs are passe and I want you to have all the info you should require to make it out, buy a book and say Howdy.  One thing’s for sure about the End, it’s given me the moment.  More than Yoga or cocaine, more than upright bass or languidly laying in Roggie’s perfumed bed.  I know that when you and I meet it’ll be only one of so many times.  I know that I will say goodbye to you and everyone I know, and you will say goodbye to me.  It’s all I can do to be present.  Even on a stupid Saturday sipping cold coffee with the neighbor running a compressor what the fuck.  Oh well.  There’s always next week’s post which I’ll probably write in a couple hours.  Come on out, Good Reader, let’s do this while we can.  It’s just us chickens in the land of Nod and we knew this couldn’t last.  We’ve seen this coming since we were born.  Ciao motherfucker.

2031, JIM TRAINER’S SIXTH FULL-LENGTH COLLECTION OF POETRY, IS AVAILABLE NOW THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.  NO COMEBACKS BY WILL STENBERG IS AVAILABLE NOW THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.
ORDER YOUR COPIES HERE.
SHARE THE POEM OF THE WEEK ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND I’LL WRITE YOU A POEM!
SEND ME YOUR ADDRESS AND I’LL WRITE YOU A LETTER!
PART 20 OF THE COARSE GRIND, MY MONTHLY COLUMN ON THE CREATIVE LIFE, IS LIVE AT INTO THE VOID.
Stay tuned for news on these releases, readings and broadsides from each collection, designed by Snakes Will Eat You and letter pressed at the Austin Book Arts Center.

Warmest Greetings from the War Room

In Uncategorized on November 21, 2019 at 11:00 am

Any shit I get now from kids is some karma I’m going to have to eat so I don’t even mind so much.
Ray Cappo

I am positive he would never like to concede that.
Dave Dictor

I had no inkling what he was up against.
Dan Piepenbring

I just can’t do it.
Sean Doolittle

Please help us, American people.

We believe that the American people will be able to judge for themselves who the dangerous terrorists of this world are.
PKK

This place is a mess.  Serving blacks&whites, still in hangers mind you, and strewn across the floor.  Totes full of All in the wind and leftover yellow paper from September.  Proofs.  Ironing board, guitar, upright bass case and never mind the kitchen.  The bathroom don’t ask.  I haven’t cleaned this place since I moved in over 3 months ago.  It’s what it looks like when you’re a self-publishing musician with 2 jobs.  I’ve had to forfeit all else but I don’t mind.  These are the days of going on and clutching so hard to Art that all else gets blown and stacked in the far corners.  The truth is I feel better than I have in a long time.  I’d hate for this post to simply be daily dirties and prove Chas right about blogging being passe but sometimes you’ve got to do some housekeeping before you can get to the Real.  I’d like to tell you how we should stick around and be here for what time ain’t took down.  As the years blow by, the crew that remains are the True and what a gnarly cantankerous cast we are, too.  I continue to survive alcoholism and sometimes wisely wind down tapes of self defeat and a persistent inner voice that can wear me down and paralyze and that’s what’s so zen about the whole fucking thing–if I listened to that voice I’d give in and my self hatred would be self fulfilling and a vicious circle besides.  It’s the going on, heard?  Ask Gillian Welch.  Time fosters strength and survival is its own reward.  Think about you coming up in the hometown and look at you now.  You’re a fast living, make or break Artist refuting stakes and haranguing the odds til they come up red or roses.  Black is black.  Don’t you forget it Jack, and gone is gone.  There’s a lot to gain from loss and what it’s given me mostly is you, and today, right now–this moment is hands down the A#1 triumph of all we’ve been through.  We’re here and we’re together and isn’t that nice?

Book blocks are IN motherfucker.  Presses are rolling.  I don’t know why my bank won’t let me buy 10 ISBNs and a bar code so I’ll be on the horn for a spell this morning.  Then it’s off to meet with the promoter.  Then Print Guru Kevin Auer.  We’ll probably meet at the Austin Book Arts Center, drink black coffee and discuss anarchism.  My life has been forfeit but anyway devoted.  Everything fell away from bass playing and then everything fell away from InDesign and Photoshop.  Now that gigs have been played and books are in the can my charge is simple.  Make it through the catering season, fly to Portland and Philly and SELL 200 BOOKS.  I’ve a new devotion and it’s the same devotion.  I’ll have to make back what I put in to this thing and Maureen and I will add it up and then project.  I’ve got other towns to get to and others to get back to.  The point of this post is you’ve got to stick to it, whatever it takes.  I’m never one to tell you anything but straight that losing is part of the equation.  Losing is trying if you want to get cute but I’m not writing a meme here.  I’m punching this out in my bathrobe after 10AM on a Wednesday, without a clean dish in the house.  Go ahead and lose.  Lose everything, lose it all but keep clutched, be here and know that you will break through.  We only get stronger and that’s the goddamn truth.  You want a postcard life then go hang with the phonies, the real Losers.  Go be a fake somewhere else. Didn’t we deserve a look at you the way you really are?  The arts are the Arena, Bubba, and it’s punk rock all day.   What you’re most passionate about is what will save you–time and time again.  There are others out there with their own torches in the fog.  Burn yours so bright they can lean in if they have to, and spark back the pioneering, warring heart.  Ask me you should write but–the fuck do I know?  I had 2 hardboiled eggs and half a Hershey bar for dinner last night, ate them in my recliner and fell asleep right there watching Office Hours behind drawn curtains at the glass door.

grackle jpeg

I’m not the success they always thought I should be.  I’m not the success I know I could be.  These are the voices of death.  I’m here today.  This world is running down.  Next week at this time I’ll have 225 letter pressed and perfectly bound collections of my own poetry.  First time I did this was in 1997.  It was a 12-page poem called A Myth Of Man, xeroxed one side and fastened with brass tacks.  Next time was Nella Disperazione, same but stapled.  August, in ’99 had a cover and then I disappeared for more than a decade.  I drank bourbon, snorted Xanax and Coke off a bank card, bussed dishes, mowed lawns, really tested their love, got exiled, found a better life and wasted another 10 years playing guitar for schwarma and healthcare until I woke up one day and realized I was 40.  I published September shortly after and then All in the wind.  Quit the longest job I ever had, moved and fell right down the rabbit hole of day labor and poetry.  Take To The Territory was 6 months late but remains my inspiration today.  Love&Wages came out on time, motherfucker, and I gained much from missing the deadline for T to the T–I’ll never do that again.  I’m here.  I’m alive.  I’m getting close to who I wanted to be and in the process I’ve discovered who I really am.  I’m nowhere near anyone they wanted me to be but the Township was the end of the line for them.  They didn’t see anything wrong with the Police or this country or War.  So I left.  I ran and didn’t walk.  Still running.

See youse at the readings, motherfucker.

YELLOW LARK PRESS WILL RELEASE 2031 AND NO COMEBACKS ON
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 11 AT BATCH IN AUSTIN TX
&
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 18 AT SPECK’S RECORDS&TAPES IN PORTLAND OR

2031 thumbnail

SHARE THE POEM OF THE WEEK ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND I’LL WRITE YOU A POEM!

SEND ME YOUR ADDRESS AND I’LL WRITE YOU A LETTER!

PART 20 OF THE COARSE GRIND, MY MONTHLY COLUMN ON THE CREATIVE LIFE, IS LIVE AT INTO THE VOID.

2031, JIM TRAINER’S SIXTH FULL-LENGTH COLLECTION OF POETRY, IS AVAILABLE NOW THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.  NO COMEBACKS BY WILL STENBERG IS AVAILABLE NOW THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.
ORDER YOUR COPIES HERE.

Stay tuned for news on these releases, readings and broadsides from each collection, designed by Snakes Will Eat You and letter pressed at the Austin Book Arts Center.

 

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#42: Dear Editor Phil

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2019 at 12:44 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
P.O. Box 49921
Austin TX 78765

Philip Elliot,Editor
Into The Void Magazine
The Great White North
Toronto ON, CDN

9/8/18, 3:09PM

True Mate

Greetings from the Pearl of the South, the Land of Little To No Consequence, where the girls are pretty and the beer is cold but you’d kill for some paint peeling walk-in where they let you smoke.  Austin’s great for chilling and quietly living out your days as an entitled choad. There’s the river and the lake and a million Americana acts who sing songs about nothing they play everywhere from the airport to the bowling alley.  The cops shoot to kill down here but mostly leave you alone. These people wouldn’t know punk rock if it stepped on their flip-flop but they sport all the accoutrements, don’t they—hallmarks of the road we paved. I remember when dressing like these tech bros could get you jumped and beat up, although we never were.  The early 90s were some proud days, mate–the most fearless I’ve ever been or since. I remember one night converging like some underground Lord of the Rings…skaters and skins in the Pizza Hut parking lot waiting, as over the hill the metalheads came.  I can’t live down those days and I remember succinctly when bravery said goodbye. When depression said hello it was, in the words of Uncle Hank, death’s first handshake.  The downside was I self-medicated for decades, destroyed my enemies in full retaliation but tortured friends and loved ones as an insufferable drunk-poet.  An American Nietzsche who didn’t write as good but had better hair. It seemed like the end, Beautiful Friend, and, ironically it was—the end of innocence and joy, but to my chagrin, as I pull myself out of the wreckage and get a clear view, the world takes an even darker turn, undeterred by improvements in my mental health and music of choice.  If Van Halen wants to know, the good times were gone by ’89, though ’91 is my earliest memory of a disassociating anger that made me mighty but wasn’t the best fuel. Ask Diamond Dave, too many have gone down in anger ain’t they, and temperance seems to be the way—function is the key and all that.  Point is it’s good to be angry, it means you’re paying attention, but it’s also good to get out of bed in the morning, have breakfast and do normal things that we in this hemisphere are blessed to.  Plus, the hangover from anger is as bad as any other and if you can harness your displeasure with this cocksucking system you’d fire on for a long time while your enemies only twist in the wind.

There really wasn’t any way I could get out of that last graph so I just ended it.  I write from the gut, throw these words down and make sense of them later, if at all.  It’s because wisdom doesn’t exist in the brain does it and Essay Writing is formulaic and dull.  I’m a big fan of magic and I love the way beginning and ending a column of words gives it meaning.  Creative Nonfiction or Personal Journalism—taking the banal and ordinary and putting boredom on an altar in a column of words.  Making the time sacred, casting ourselves the victor, poetry and writing are the Arena for it Brother Phil! It doesn’t make it any easier to discover a roach on his back when you’re working but you’ll know the reason why.  I’ve been too long in the wasteland but I can’t go back either.  The 2 weeks I spent in Hostile City proved it, and I’ve no romance or good feeling about ever going back to Philly.  Back in the Winter and Spring, when I was striking out from my day gig as a “full time artist”, a Bulgarian ex-girlfriend of mine still lived there.  She was the hottest woman I’ve ever seen. She left for Sofia though, without a word and there’s a part of me that will always wonder—but she left and Philly’s as cold and ignorant as it was 10 years ago when I drove away in a 2001 Sante Fe with 2 guitars, a laptop and $120 to my name.  Philly’s a working class town. It could be worse but it’s not easy. I got shook down by the Parking Authority and got rattled walking around. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great place to waste the rest of your life. No high adventure there but we can’t all be seekers ain’t it though.  Some should be burning the home fires for us and pounding those same steelhead streets, meeting up at the same bars and pubs and nightspots whose doors are closed to us now. Maybe not. It’s getting as gentrified there as any other American city even if it can’t shake it’s roots and on the street they can’t leave you alone.  That’s why I cut it short and keep Bulgaria somewhere in the back of my mind even though I enjoy it here in Bro Country with my new Lady Friend. She seems stable and I couldn’t be moving in a better direction than from the pages of the DSM-II—or I’ll end up alone and either way I don’t mind. I started this graph with the expressed purpose of discussing craft, the Arena, what we’re devoted and a slave to on MacBooks and Selectrics and even college ruled and writing to the edge of ourselves.  

I started this letter last night, least I thought about starting it and cracked into a poem about how close I am to total shutdown most of the time.  Then I saw him, on his back on the tile in the lamplight. It broke my heart, Phil. I’m 43. I’d spent the day loading luggage. My supervisor talked to me in a kind of way at the beginning of the shift, so I didn’t speak to him for the rest of the day, didn’t move when he walked by, and clocked out and grabbed my things without one word to him.  Fuck him. It was that kind of day. Then the dead or dying roach, some weird badge, earning your roach wings as Uncle Hank wrote in Black Coffee Blues.  It’s an affirmation and a devotion to this choice I made.  I’m not saying I celebrate living in filth. I’m saying that I live in this super private and uber quiet garage apartment for $700 all bills.  It’s month to month and I got some gig working at a hotel under some cocksucker for $14/hr. It is what it is but what’s more—nights I’ll devote to getting back to fiscal sponsors, and mornings (the final frontier) will be for correspondence and peering into the abyss for real work—that is, poetry money.  Literature. Prizes. Grants and speaking gigs. I’m still after it which either means I’m devoted or a fool. My feelings won’t be hurt if it turns out I’m a fool, considering how the certain behave—staid and craven normies who think what we do is culture or to enrich their boring lives. Country simple, I know I’m a fool.  If I were to discover I’m devoted that’d put some ease into this leg of the journey. It could give me the why I need so desperately while I wake up in darkness and type queries to the how.  I’ve got a good feeling about it.  It feels like it might break soon or the weight of this body of work could tip the scales finally and I’ll wake up a writer fully-realized.  To make it as a poet is the wildest dream. Going after it can sear through raw mornings ironing my serving blacks. A life devoted to sessions of writing can immortalize that cocksucker, put him up there on the screen and devolve his image—we’ll know he lost and that in art he’s only a dufus in effigy.  So many blown out, ass-early shifts like this morning—5AM circling the block looking for parking in the dark and showing up late and skidding in just under the nose hairs of the fat bossman. Nights, too, Phil, rageful in the lamplight, on fire and burning with everything so bad you can’t get a single line or even one word down.  I suppose it’s good to know the cooks are still in the kitchen and in some regard I guess it’s just as well the world has gone to pot. I know we’ll rise to the occasion and I know we’re cooking up something in our own way. We’re not writing for them but are sounding out into the wild and listening for an echo.  

I’ll have to caulk the seams in here and put some due diligence in to making this apartment my chrysalis.  I prefer being off the grid, behind a tall wooden fence by the highway on a month to month lease. This won’t be forever.  I’ll just need a little more time to get this thing together. My might and my love, they are moving in tandem. The red machine is here and totes full of typewritten pages.  This isn’t exactly victory but I’ll go on. Victory is tangible, it’s something we’ll have to cash in on up the road a piece—but in the meantime let’s go on. Let’s scoop and cull the dull roar of it, with handfuls of black earth and a mouthful of stars, let’s pull back on the mighty bow and go…

Further.

Your Writer,
Jim Trainer
Austin TX

 

 

2031

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2019 at 9:43 am

Come on baby, eat the rich,
put the bite on the son of a bitch…

Come with me, the writer is saying to the reader. There is a story I have to tell you, there is something you need to know. The writer is both an eye-witness and an I-witness, the one to whom personal experience happens and the one who makes experience personal for others.
Margaret Atwood

Have you ever arrived on time?

The time to come together, and put politics aside, is now.
Brian Cassidy, CEO of the Austin Chamber of Commerce

All I can say is get ready.
Chris Hedges

Well.  There’s frost on the window.  I’ve been in my bathrobe since 5PM yesterday.  I’ve shut the NPR off.  I’m drinking coffee.  The only thing for me to do is live my dreams as the world crumbles.  Ain’t it.  I can’t say it’s gotten harder, in light of our demise.  The art and the life are flowing.  I’m swinging wide and clean.  Booking flights and deposits to the printer on my credit card.  It’s harder emotionally even if the mechanicals are finally figuring themselves out.  The dusks are hard because I know they’re numbered.  Being a consumer is hard–every purchase and turn I take is painful.  I know I’m in the belly of the beast, and the whole rig of the human race is a hulking slab, tilting off the edge and the days that pass are only counting down.  Yet I go on.

 

Into the sun.  Out of her arms into the rack.  My bone sifted to sand my blood to mud and the carbon on my breath shook and peppering the black between stars.  My dream and my love sliding and oozing out, spreading cold and plasma-thin.  My song the dead ringing of stone.

The breaks and odds will spike and dip sharply.  On the other end they’ll starve and from over here we’ll watch.  I wonder will the jackboots still call out for War, will the assertion of biological need across the planet be deemed only as other, terroristic?  Will humans only hold to the deathead, their children, their republic–their cars and paper and metal money?  Will their Gods be as beneficent and helpless, as magnificent and impotent as they are today?  Will the cities be only jewels round Kali’s bloody neck and will the skies go dark, gastric-blue as her tongue?  Will I see my Brother, finally see, my Sister is me and the pain was only pilgrimage, the separation only cleaved me to return, will death finally be religion, will we head into it joyously without charm, far-flung and naked as our birthday into the maw black, the King James black, tsuba black, the picotee black, hemichordate black, bourbon black, grandmama black, the black at the back of the roof of your mouth and out-your-ass black?

Is this the Fall I have always felt and why I’m never anywhere but getting off the bus in corduroys and low-top Pumas with my Father standing there, smoking a Marlboro, throwing me the ball and then me to Frank Wren and then, years later, Fugazi’s s/t is coming out a pinstriped burgundy and cream-colored F-150 and when it pulls over, I hop in and light one, roll the window down, it’s cold and it feels good being young and unencumbered, first hits of anger pure and staunch-electric in my green bomber and 10-hole docs and black jeans rolled at the cuff, it could be forever those Fall afternoons now that my Father’s gone and I’m gone the hometown.  It is.  This is forever now.  I’m young and I’d never know as much or be as unwilling to forget, before irascible irons of class set in, Community College, homelessness, rape, War in:  ’91, ’03, ’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11 and then ’14, ’15, ’16, ’17’ 18, ’19 until now, alcoholism, spirituality, wreathing love and lust through lost and found morning bell Winter and cornfield-summer days, Art and you and me and before we never had a chance, those pre-snow, smell of wet stone, grey East Coast Fall days are forever now, every day, frost on the window this morning as we get thrown and the cold black curve of eons bends to edge us out, and the end of love and struggle only needs a number as a signifier and to commemorate the end, beautiful friend, of the Anthropocene.

2031, JIM TRAINER’S SIXTH FULL-LENGTH COLLECTION OF POETRY IS OUT NOW THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS. 
ORDER YOUR COPY, AT 25% OFF FOR THE NEXT 3 DAYS,  HERE.  
SIGN UP AND SHARE THE POEM OF THE WEEK AND I’LL WRITE YOU A POEM!
SEND ME YOUR ADDRESS AND I’LL WRITE YOU A LETTER!
PART 20 OF THE COARSE GRIND, MY MONTHLY COLUMN ON THE CREATIVE LIFE, IS LIVE AT INTO THE VOID.
NO COMEBACKS BY WILL STENBERG IS OUT NOW THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.  ORDER YOUR COPY HERE.  
Stay tuned for news on these releases, readings and broadsides from each collection, designed by Snakes Will Eat You and letter pressed at the Austin Book Arts Center.

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#41: Dear John Martin, Black Sparrow Press

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2019 at 10:01 am

December 8th 1986

Hello John:

Thanks for the good letter. I don’t think it hurts, sometimes, to remember where you came from. You know the places where I came from. Even the people who try to write about that or make films about it, they don’t get it right. They call it “9 to 5.” It’s never 9 to 5, there’s no free lunch break at those places, in fact, at many of them in order to keep your job you don’t take lunch. Then there’s OVERTIME and the books never seem to get the overtime right and if you complain about that, there’s another sucker to take your place.

You know my old saying, “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can’t believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?

Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: “Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don’t you realize that?”

They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn’t want to enter their minds.

Now in industry, there are vast layoffs (steel mills dead, technical changes in other factors of the work place). They are layed off by the hundreds of thousands and their faces are stunned:

“I put in 35 years…”

“It ain’t right…”

“I don’t know what to do…”

They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn’t they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?

I just wrote in disgust against it all, it was a relief to get the shit out of my system. And now that I’m here, a so-called professional writer, after giving the first 50 years away, I’ve found out that there are other disgusts beyond the system.

I remember once, working as a packer in this lighting fixture company, one of the packers suddenly said: “I’ll never be free!”

One of the bosses was walking by (his name was Morrie) and he let out this delicious cackle of a laugh, enjoying the fact that this fellow was trapped for life.

So, the luck I finally had in getting out of those places, no matter how long it took, has given me a kind of joy, the jolly joy of the miracle. I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing, but since I started so late I owe it to myself to continue, and when the words begin to falter and I must be helped up stairways and I can no longer tell a bluebird from a paperclip, I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I’m gone) how I’ve come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die.

To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.

your boy,
Hank

AIN’T IT

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2019 at 11:00 am

I’m John Hemmer!

There is no bottom to the abyss.
-John Cusack

…forced dispersal of people from encampment settings … accomplishes nothing toward the goal of linking people to permanent housing opportunities, and can make it more difficult to provide such lasting solutions.
The Federal Interagency Council on Homelessness

“He asked me to write this book on his deathbed,” in 1989 at age 42, while he was suffering from AIDS, she says.

I don’t agree with it, I don’t like ’em, it’s fake news, and I’m voting no.
-Citrus County Commissioner Scott Carnahan

The cheats I have to do between devices without the cloud, and volleying between a 5-year old hard drive and an even older iPad, make the reading and writing and attributing of a good journalist impossible.  That quote from a shit-for-brains County Commissioner took 3 stabs at pasting here and the third was a copy from a search page because by then the Washington Post blocked me with a paywall.  John Hemmer’s story’s a good one, at least it was written well and I read it while on shift at the ARCH.  I did 2 shifts yesterday and the vibe down there is nasty.  It’s getting Lord of the Flies for the homeless and it’s coming from the top down. My quote from the Federal Interagency on Homelessness was lifted from a great article in the Texas Observer (note:  write a letter to good guy Gus Bova) debunking 5 things Governor Abbot said about the homeless and all but concluding that the state just wants to sweep the homeless out from the underpass and under the rug.  Ain’t that America and don’t too wise oh ye of the middle class.  When moving day only involves a tent and everything you can’t throw away, the homeless have it easy.  By the end of the terrible summer John Cusack was sounding  Nietzschean but it ain’t hard to be profound when it’s a crime to be poor, libraries call the news fake and lizards rule the barnyard.  None of this has shit to do with me.  I didn’t vote yesterday and even if I could get to the polls I wouldn’t know who to vote for.  I’ll go blue, sure, because these are the choices.  Last time I voted blue though, the President ushered in one of the worst economic catastrophes in American history while only raising the minimum wage once in an 8-year term.  I don’t like to weigh in on politics.  The only party I belong to is the Black Party–as in fade to and curtains motherfucker, kiss your middle-class goodbye.

I previewed this post on my Patreon Monday morning.  $5 gets you backstage, and could keep me writing instead of laying there, at 4:30AM, and stewing.  You either hate what you done or dread what you got to.  Ain’t it.  I should know better so now I get up and get to it, to the tune of at least $25 a month–which is 5 Patrons at that level and who I’m broadcasting to on The Wire.  Brother Julian and I agree that being so busy you can’t breathe suits career anxiety sufferers and anyway I’d rather be banging keys than laying there, in the dark, wrenching my stiff laborer’s neck and regretting almost anything I can think of.  I’d rather be with you and so here we are.  The sun ain’t up yet but I’ve got coffee.  I’m live and in the middle of this mess, with you–and isn’t that nice?

Book blocks are in the can and Minuteman Press is rolling.  Might have some last minute edits to the covers and I don’t know when I’ll get around to learning how to design a broadside.  I’m stuck on paper choice but I’ll probably just go with what I got–200 sheets of 100lb, Lemon Drop and Blacktop from French Paper Company’s PopTone and Construction lines.  I’m at the ARCH again this morning and playing the Driskill Hotel with Brother Julian again tonight.  I’m making a delivery first thing tomorrow and playing my third and final night at the Driskill after.  Friday I’m at the ARCH until 12 and then a wedding from 3 until midnight.  Saturday I’m bartending a tailgate party at Bobcats stadium and then I’m finally free…to learn InDesign, catch up with print guru Kevin Auer and Snakes Will Eat You, until Monday when the whole thing starts again.  It’s a good life motherfucker and I don’t know how glad I’ll be when it’s finally over.  Death is my inspiration, you could say, and you ain’t lyin.  There’s a strange kind of finality to things now.  Days they mean more and less, if you know what I mean.  I’m not as prone to be proud or sentimental, in no rush to signal virtue or be seen.  I’m in the dusk and the sun is warm and fine.  Nights clobber me and I fall out, as cleanly and without regret as I can.  Then I’m up, in the pre-dawn dark, waging my war, calling out into the wild.  Banging keys.  Hitting ‘Publish‘.  Sending up and giving voice.  Living forever for a little while and dying all the time.

  Love you.
TRAINER

SIGN UP AND SHARE THE POEM OF THE WEEK AND I’LL WRITE YOU A POEM!
SEND ME YOUR ADDRESS AND I’LL WRITE YOU A LETTER!
PART 22 OF THE COARSE GRIND, MY MONTHLY COLUMN ON THE CREATIVE LIFE, GOES LIVE THIS SUNDAY AT INTO THE VOID.
NO COMEBACKS BY WILL STENBERG WILL BE RELEASED THIS DECEMBER THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.  JIM TRAINER WILL RELEASE 2031, HIS SIXTH FULL-LENGTH COLLECTION OF POETRY, THIS DECEMBER THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS. 
PRE-ORDER YOUR COPIES HERE.  
Stay tuned for news on these releases, readings and broadsides from each collection, designed by Snakes Will Eat You and letter pressed at the Austin Book Arts Center.

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#40: Ain’t that America, From Governor Abbott

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2019 at 8:45 am

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SEND ME YOUR ADDRESS AND I’LL WRITE YOU A LETTER!

SIGN UP AND SHARE THE POEM OF THE WEEK AND I’LL WRITE YOU A POEM!

READ THE COARSE GRIND, MY MONTHLY COLUMN ON THE CREATIVE LIFE, AT INTO THE VOID.

NO COMEBACKS BY WILL STENBERG WILL BE RELEASED THIS DECEMBER THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS.  JIM TRAINER WILL RELEASE 2031, HIS SIXTH FULL-LENGTH COLLECTION OF POETRY, THIS DECEMBER THROUGH YELLOW LARK PRESS. 
PRE-ORDER YOUR COPIES HERE.  

Stay tuned for news on these releases, readings and broadsides from each collection, designed by Snakes Will Eat You and letter pressed at the Austin Book Arts Center.