Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘WRITER’S BLOCK’ Category

More New Century Blues

In Activism, activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, anxiety, art, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, death, depression, Don Bajema, employment, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, new journalism, Philadelphia, Poetry, publishing, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, revolution, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, submitting poetry, suicide, the muse, therapy, TYPEWRITERS, working class, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga, youth on August 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm

It’s been a while but I am at a loss.  The world may have gotten in more than it usually does but I haven’t been without inspiration since the early days at Going For The Throat.  Those days the crisis was real.  If I didn’t make it as a writer I’d be stuck behind a bar or working hospice for 9 an hour.  Dressed like a Hershey’s Kiss on campus or test driving the Golfquick LE in Sugarland.  My definition of “making it as a writer” is broad and wild.  I can sit down and come up with 600 words out of thin air, and by keeping it simultaneously all too and not personal at all, the thing will find its legs and walk its way into you.  The archetypes are free to roam.  The fact that I’ve become a character in my own story, coupled with a 10-ton outrage and Black Irish honesty has made Going For the Throat a success.  My definition of success, too, is unorthodox-but if anything is true about my 20+ year career trekking down the savage road of New Journalism, it’s that the medium is the message.  That means that I’ve got my transmitter, just like in my Radio Days, and I can feel you out there listening.  I’m a writer so I write.  I still got a day gig, one that’s winding down, and I’m not 100 on what’s in store.  I’m booking overtime-I hope to play every night and write every day.  That’s been my dream and charge for as long as I can remember.  “Writer’s Block” is less than a memory for me, but waking up today, fully clothed, in a dead confederate palace with all the curtains pulled back-is taking me back to when I knew I had to be a writer, and tried to do every day what I now do every week.  Back then it was 1,200 and pure agony.   I volleyed the imminent avalanche of self-hatred that would fall if I didn’t become a writer with the agony of coming up with 1,200 words every day.  There was beer involved.  And cigarettes you bet.  It worked but it drove me out of my mind.

I’m just as fond of those hardbitten scoop days for what happened away from the desk.  Hopping fences, getting shitty.  Falling through the Night Kitchen, driving down dark barrio streets with my tongue in Gwendolyn’s teeth.  My hangovers were grim back then, nothing compared to what was coming.  It was beginning to get old but I saw no other way to assuage both the loneliness of writing and my utter dread of never becoming a writer-as the money ran out.  I caught some breaks.  I got a good job.  I met Rich Okewole and Najla Assaf.  I found my community.  I was taken in by the good folks at the IPRC in Portland (and taken right back out by Trump’s America but that’s another story for another time).  Perhaps my hesitation to pull the trigger this morning is indicative of the end of those Salad Days as a struggling writer.  The gravy train has left the station.  Of all my myriad blues and woe, movement seems to be the answer.  As proud as I am of what I’ve become, I’m terrifed here at the midway.  Possibilities that ain’t been realized won’t be and I could die at any time.

It’s got me shook.  I quit my gig of 5 years, should be out October 1.  I bought a car.  I enrolled in this year’s SWRFA and sent 22 booking emails out into the Live Music Capital of the World, even canvassed West 6th.  Survivors Wisdom tells me it’s time to grind it out, hit the road and stop being such a pussy.  Maybe the truth is that struggle is over.  Not this one, but that one.  The battle with self can conclude.  It’s I and I and a good night’s sleep contending for top place on my list of priorities.  I’ve found myself.  I am who I am.  Cruel time has showed me who I am and branded me with the wisdom that there’s not enough time to change that now.

We both know there would never be enough time but that didn’t stop us before ain’t it though.  We rebelled.  We clanged against the deathhead, came for the Gods and offered them the head of the King.  We bled for it, we had something to prove.  It was useless, futile and fatal and the biggest waste of time.  We squandered our youth.  The youth is gone.  It’s time to get off social media and take to the territory.  Our lives  depend on it.  I got witchy women mixing up the medicine for me and an Ayurvedic scholar laying out a diet plan.  I got Brother Don on the telephone and Sister Sarah at the other end of a computer screen.  I’ve got friends like blood, holding vigil and corroborating and besides all this big love-a fear of death that is all too real.  The prime motivator.  The best time to hit it was a long time ago.  The next best time is now.

I better see you on the streets motherfucker.

New Century Blues

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Buddhism, buddhist, christianity, employment, hometown, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, new journalism, Poetry, poetry reading, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, Spoken Word, working class, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga on June 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Greetings from the wasteland and hello from the high rooms.  I’m writing this from the War Room, a kitchen in an apartment of the last Confederate Governor of the U.S.’ old place, in sweltering downtown Austin.  I’m writing it on a Monday so I can get the world off my neck.  The afternoons are best for poetry but I blew it out yesterday with a poem so bitter I won’t be able to share it with anyone, except maybe the Devil himself.  Although, when it comes to offending folks, the creation of Art usually wins out.  As it does over:  sentimentality, decency and even privacy-yep, all of these and especially privacy are rolled over in favor of getting product out.  Be it a poem, blog post, Youtube clip or article-content trumps everything.  Which isn’t to say I wanted to hurt you.  That’s not true.  There are some of you I was trying to hurt.  At least I’m not trying to offend.  Whoops.  That’s not true either.  What do you want from me?  I’m a digital garbage man so stick out your can.  If I don’t put out at least 600 words a week, black detritus piles up in my mind and I start weighing heavier and less savory options, if you know what I mean.

I started this blog 7 years ago, emulating Dr. Thompson and all but killing for his place on the pulse, his connectivity and prescience, his wit and high drama and even his gloomy war drum tone.  His predictions always came home to roost, leading Frank Mankiewicz to dub him the “least factual but most accurate” reporter on the Campaign Trail in ’72-and we all know what’s happened since then.  Trust me on this, Brother, if it got too weird for Hunter Thompson then you know we are in for one hell of a ride.  Nutter’s Rule.  I’ve written on it before.  A future on the order of raining frogs and swarming clouds of locusts is all but imminent-because that is the power of dreaming and it’s all those Nutter’s could hope for.  The music they play in mass alone should hip you to the sad imagination of folks who don’t have premarital sex and are afraid to die.  In their defense, we’re all afraid to die-it’s just that some of us have the sense to understand the Wisdom that living their way is just like dying, so we may as well get on with it, which is probably what Dr. Thompson was thinking on that black day in Febuary 2005.

That’s what is wrong with my generation but don’t get me started on my generation.  Or, do.  It’s only Monday.  My next 600 ain’t due up until sometime Thursday, and that’s plenty of time for me to examine my place in this culture and where I fit in to my Generation-because I certainly didn’t know it or fit in at the time.  Shaving your head and donning braces and boots wasn’t popular where I come from.  Neither was skateboarding, or doing anyting except getting your 12 year old girlfriend pregnant and drinking a case of Bush big boys at the trestle on a Friday night.  Playing in a band wasn’t either, believe it or no, at least not the type of music we were playing-but we did it anyway.  Of course I’d want to go back there, like the song says, but if I can’t then I’ll settle for the attitude we had back then.  Because goddamnit, the Buddhists were right, attitude is everything.  We did shit back then, that no one else was doing.  Because we were bored and our parents didn’t care.  We smoked and drank post-Nevermind, and we wrote.  Those journals are gone, or burned, or on a shelf in a cold garage in Middletown, Delaware at my father’s house.  It’s a shame what happened to those journals and the young idea is gone.  We’re all alone in the New Century but connected somehow in the hall of mirrors of social media.

It’s all fucked and I guess it always was.  The real kick in the balls is that never stopped me before.  I haven’t been breathing right for the last year and a half.  It’s been a long time that I should be far from here.  I got a Monk’s Robe Orange 2009 Honda Element with 53,000 miles and some hail damage on it that bothers me way more than it should.  I’ve got 64 copies of All in the wind’s pressing of 150 left, and orders are still coming in.  I’ve got clips of me reading and telling stories that I shouldn’t post if I cared about certain poets in my commnuity’s feelings, which I don’t, so I will.  In 23 minutes I’ll have to report back to my boss, smoke him out and make a dinner run.  5 years ago I walked out of the food service industry for good.  I threw out my serving blacks and began the search for meaningful work.  I’ll let you fill in the blanks as per if I’ve ever found it, and offer that the only meaningful work there is is for yourself.  You can be a slave in the service of another but you’re still a slave.  You can draw your own conclusions, of course, but I should’ve been gone 2 years ago, when I looked back at my life in horror and knew that if I stayed any longer I’d only be dying.

See you coming out the grave, motherfucker.

Apolitical Blues

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

Everything is political.
Ian MacKaye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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—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, new to town and working the warehouses. I didn’t have the luck or what some call confidence to go for the Rockabilly Dream I had come to Texas for.  But I had my first piece of journalism published by the end of my 5th month here so it looked like I was leading in with the writing and I went with it. I started blogging soon after that.

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 felt the time to be a writer was now, or, then.  The Fall of ’10 saw me suffering one of many crises of faith I’ve suffered throughout a 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 or promotions work, bartending or hospice care.  That’s what life offered me then, what my choices were and what it looked like. What a wild, reckless time it was, 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 hold on to.  But also, there were many black mornings, much anger and frustration, and much banging of the head against the wall. I upped my writing regimen from an hour of writing 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’s got 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 you can make your Art about that and many will join you and celebrate through you, get behind you and push you 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, anger or sexual frustration I’m dealing with.  I know how to do it because I put so much time in to doing it. My blogging medicine is strong. 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, but 20 minutes to wrap it and dull 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? 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, and extremely proud at times, but ultimately I am comfortable in the knowledge that if you want to write good you need to 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. 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

The Perils of Sobriety

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, Being An Artist, blogging, depression, getting sober, mental health, recovery, self-help, sober, sobriety, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on March 17, 2016 at 11:11 am

When will I end this bitter game?
When will I end this cruel charade?
Everything I write all sounds the same
Each record that I’m making is like a record that I’ve made
just not as good
I’m Dead (But I Don’t Know It), Randy Newman

Thirteen months without a drink.  81 days without a smoke.  I haven’t sworn off sex but I haven’t had any since Portland.  In my rip torn and agitated state that’s probably for the best.  But the hardest thing for me to quit was hash.  I might as well come clean and I might as well do it here.  Anytime I try and walk sideways around the truth, the blog suffers.  I get by with letters and poems because I’d rather not post anything that isn’t true.  We’ve come too far down the savage road together for me to hold back.  Conspicuous lulls at Going For The Throat have names, names I’ll never write.  There’s the 4 month lull in late ’13 and I miss her still.  There’s a lull in the terrible summer of 2014, and I will hate her for the rest of my life.  Rather than ingratiate anybody in reverie or venom I just disappear.  I opt to suffer all by myself and suffer I do, good reader.  Blogging clears the chamber, it’s a high wire act with the blues and it’s surgery without anesthesia.  I’m a transmission junkie and I’ll never kick.  Without the lifeline of this blog I gnash and isolate, I sink and writhe in utter rue.  As bad as it can get, it’s still better than her knowing that I think of her at all.  Spite wins the round.  I spite myself this holy release just so she can wither away, maybe scroll down the archives for awhile until she’s hooked some other sucker to wag her dog and feed her head.  My well documented success and failure with women isn’t the point, nor are my colossal oedipal issues and attraction to narcissistic bitches.  My point was about quitting hash and being honest with you, good reader.  Honesty is the rule.  I wasn’t heavy into the stuff, I never took more than one hit in a 24-hour period.  It always put me in a good mood or at least changed the channel in my mind.  I could blast off with it and there have been many afternoons at the writing desk bracing myself like an astronaut:
Phone:off  Coffee:iced Vaporizer:full Earplugs:in Sunglasses:on  FIRE!
It was instant inspiration and something different.  Something different goes a long way when the mind is full of the tired and repeating reel of failure and regret, doom and dread.  You could say it lifted my spirits but putting it that way makes it sound harmless and whimsical-2 things that my poetry will never be.  While high on hash, I also run the risk of encountering a tall blonde actress in the court, crunching down black heels and looking up to say hello to me, golem-like, on the roof, but, stoned to the gills I would have no clever retort and in fact only drop my cigarette, grunt and regret this moment for the rest of my life.  Hash took me outside myself, which isn’t a bad proposition when my mind is full of knives-but ultimately it disconnected me from myself and for the type of work I do that is heresy.  Writing and rock and roll connect me to the deep and innermost parts of myself.  Parts I’ve learned to gloss over when dealing with a cheap and fast world looking for soundbite size validation, nothing to deep or pestering, no heavy questions but only placid answers and cocktail conversation.  Whoops.  Sorry for the anger but not really.  The anger is what I uncovered as soon’s I stopped chasing the black dragon and burning that horrible, horrible wonderful drug.  Last we spoke it was bad anxiety on the dais but now it looks like I’ve gone nuclear.  Now it’s a sun of anger that never sets.  I should hope that underneath these maelstroms of emotion is energy, energy better served advancing the real work and fueling me on to the next plateau of a 20+ year career as a lion tamer, fire walker, acrobat, bullfighter and blue collar soldier-Writer.  Which is also the point.  Ain’t living long like this.  This caregiving gig’s been a godsend.  It gave me things like a bedtime and meals.  Christ, anything besides the movable feast my life had become when I got this job would’ve been welcomed, and it saved me.  It saved me from madness, from the ghastly depths of alcoholism and the wicked tyranny of sexual obsession.  It cut the drama way down and I really found out who my friends are.  My life now is on an even keel, there’s no high drama or conquest, nights are quiet and slow and the mornings are bright and clever.  I’ve nothing to hold on to when the monkey of my mind starts throwing knives.  When the heart starts roaring I get sucked in, I’m lost in the blast without a whisky or stockinged thigh to brace me.  I vacillate between volcanic states of anger and the terrible anxiety of the hunted hare.  I’m bored and boring all the time.  I’m dead but I don’t know it.  It’s everything I ever wanted.

Tracer Round

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Jim Trainer, media, news media, poem, Poetry, recovery, sober, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on July 9, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Welly well well. What the fuck is up meng. Rather than recount the many twists and turns that have kept me from posting on here, and instead of having a go at the big news I’ve wanted to share with you for so long, I’ll just take a little stab at it, here, on the roof (where else?) on a warm July afternoon with a pack of triple nickels and a cup of drugstore coffee. Still feeding the beast of nictoine. But I’m giving myself a little slack, if not only because I haven’t had a drink in over 4 months but because my therapist posed the question-what if I don’t quit smoking for the next 2 months? S’alright with me, counselor. Nevermind that cigarettes are the filthiest of habits barring heroin and writing creative non-fiction. But quitting drinking is what I’m concentrating on now, which means lots of seltzer, lots of Topo Chico (see “bullet for the mourning dove” ) and lots of cigarettes. The other thing I’d like to mention, in passing, and in this tracer round of a post, is I hit a snag in the order of things ie. my Art. If you’ve been keeping up with this blog you know that I thought I had it made. The medium of blogging had helped me “become a writer” (albeit perverse and grand that most of my writing was about writing). As a reader of Going For The Throat you understood that the story had been cast, the protagonist was me, caught up in the thrust and sway of the plot, which was me becoming a writer. And all the crazy shit that happened along the way. It was all there and it was simply me, in a chair, posting missives to you (or trying to, and writing about that).  I won’t get too bogged down with it just now but I will say that a few letters from an editor gave me considerable pause. Her comments on length or how overly personalized my writing is dashed my hopes of being a professional writer and had even gone as far as queering me to the beast of creative non-fiction I had been feeding for the last 4 years writing for Going For The Throat. I felt outdated and old. The world had moved on without me. Which shouldn’t have come as any surprise considering I dropped out of the world at the age of 20, sleeping in the cemetery across the street from my old high school with a Fakebook and an abcessed molar. But I thought I had found a way in, after all these years on the outside. She liked my voice, she liked the anger and the irreverance. But in the end it came down to a generational divide and a rediscovering of what my art means to me.

Understandably, I turned to poetry. But even there the arena had changed. I turned 40. I quit drinking. I redevoted myself to the practice of Yoga. And the blues-I buried that bitch and didn’t look back. I came back from the Big Easy with nothing on my mind and no great tragedy with which to pull the good and strong verse. “Fuck the world” was my answer to my thwarted hopes of being a columnist. And I started writing poetry again. That is, until now.

21/30

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Jim Trainer, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing on April 21, 2015 at 7:01 pm

I’ve been doing this for twenty years
but only the last 5 in earnest, that is
as a working poet, that is
one who works the keys every day
everybody knows the muse is fickle
and anybody who’s ever stared at a blank page
knows
it’s madness and folly
pulling things out the air
seeking communion with all you lost
maybe there’s some love back there
maybe there’s a purple in your blues
you ain’t seen before
it’s a strange gig and I’d be
hard pressed to describe
the sense of victory you feel
when you nail it
or the way seconds pass like cinder-blocks
when you can’t write at all

17/30

In Charles Bukowski, Jim McShea, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing on April 17, 2015 at 3:16 pm

BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE 30 FOR 30 CHALLENGE

contests have nothing to do with poetry
and confessional poetry is a very hard dollar
great poetry is born of great consequence
but often comes to none
Hank said great poetry’s got blood in it
so tell me, who bleeds on command?
your praise has been encouraging
and I appreciate it
truly
it’s good to know you’re out there
while I panhandle the muse
suffer 30 deadlines
and blow smoke in the face
of the inner critic.

16/30

In BIRDS, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on April 16, 2015 at 4:26 pm

there’s a cardinal out there the color of rust
she’s busier than the others, I see her quite a bit
and I like her just fine
the grackle always seem to be having meetings
they weave and bob in a loose circle
until one of ’em gets upset
meeting adjourned
the mourning doves are loners
I can only hear one of them out there
which, as anyone knows, is too many
there are the starlings all lackluster
varying between spot and speckle
or how close to gold their yellow
the bluejay must be the most temperamental
maybe it’s his military hair cut but
he seems to be marshaling the events of the day
yelling out occasionally for reasons unclear
and the redbird, the cardinal, has found a way
to steer clear of all the drama
rocking in his own corner of the shade somewhere
all this I can see from behind the beautiful machine
I’ve engineered it so I can see out there while typing
and it’s a slow day, at the office, nothing blazing through
no poems, no stories, the kind of day that stops some writers
before they even start
but that’s how it goes
somedays you’ve got to pull yourself through
sit down and type anyway
stare out the window at birds
waiting for inspiration or the white-eyed vireo.