Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘damien echols’

The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me Today

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

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

The obstacle is the path.
-Angie Knight

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

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

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

“Good!  How are you?”

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

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

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

And that I’m getting better.

See you on the mainland motherfucker.

To Confront Junk

In alcoholism, journalism, music journalism, news media, punk rock, recovery, Writing on December 1, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Twenty years on the outside can seem like a lifetime.    I have fled the wreckage of family, hometown, God&Country.  I ‘ve never owned a tv and I’ve never listened to pop music.  I only sank deeper and deeper into a dream. I know what you’re thinking, no problem.  It ain’t lost on me that I’m the envy of every suburban warrior denizen who for whatever reason bought in to this cheap culture of patriarchy and bloodsport.  My aim was to never be like my Father who, for all his admissions to the Man, still found a way to live as far outside the madding crowd as the taxman would allow.  Point is, I’ve done it.  I’m never like him (besides the fact that I am him but, aho).  Mission Accomplished.  And in 11 short years I’ll have rivaled his lifetime, or go down like him, quick and young.  Whatever the fates hold in store, if I’m not like my father then the question becomes what now?
This morning, instead of going to Yoga, I laid in bed drinking coffee and reading Damien Echols.  I’ve been chain smoking Shag all day, never good, and drinking black roast.  I listen to Blind Pilot and Nick Drake on Spotify, which is the worst of all these.  Last night I took a trip down Resentment Lane, you know, just checking in.  Another upset.  Another rupture.  Another splinter of isolation.  I’m running out of people.  I’ve blocked more people than you have on your friends list, and, you know what they say.  If you encounter an asshole, they’re having a bad day.  If everyone you encounter is an asshole, then you’re the one with the problem Brother.  That axiom will do nothing for those of us who know we’re assholes, however.
I’m very aware that there is a fine layer separating me from the world at all times.  Sadly whenever you talk to me, I’m away.  In the past, the exception were those who I deemed true, whom I coveted, held court with, sometimes participating in an unspoken and co-dependent exchange.  Our deal.  They’d tolerate me, tempests of anger and ice-storms of isolation, battles over perceived slights and who knows what-the-fuck else, I wish I did, but drinking was part of the deal-and I’d suffer their flaws.  A vicious cycle.  Say what you will about alcohol but we needed it to scale our walls.  Whatever it took.    Some (most) of the best memories of my life involve alcohol, groundswells of emotion and passion that a Pisces like me thrives on.  But the mornings got darker and darker.  I got sick.  I would say I got further and further from my authentic self but there was no movement.  A whisky drunk can be fun when you’re young.  After 30 it’s just sad.
My quest for Refuge, combined with bitter droughts of alcohol and isolation, has found me right where I left off, my Father’s son and at the bottom of a rock&roll journalist dream.

I was doing it wrong but I’m not letting go of the dream. There’s something calling me back into the fray.  My eyes have been opened.  I have seen and will never unsee.  It’s not lost on me that as I sit here doing this Leonard Cohen bit, smoking by the window and writing lyrics, that just 15 blocks from here some of the wisest and most devoted practitioners of Yoga are gathered under one roof and answering the call to prayer.  I can’t keep turning a blind eye to world affairs, keep hoping you’ll join me in wishing them from existence.  I still believe we can do it but they’re all lazy offal.  Thinking for themselves causes them to panic.  It’s too much trouble but it ain’t no thing to defy the calls for peace and understanding and health care from an old punk rocking pacifist/iconoclast like me.  I need to keep an eye out.  I’m called to journalism.  I’m called to health.

they’re calling out for war here, Rose
and I hope you’re safe in Dublin

I won’t say I’m redoubled.  We’ve heard that before.  I like reborn better, cuz I know now, and I’ll never unknow.  I’m 40 and everything I ever wanted has come to me.  I had a limited scope though, when I first drafted this dream.  It’s up for review.  I know what I want and I’m gonna get it.  I’m reentering the fold.  I can only imagine what I will find there, but hopefully it’s some original thought, some understanding, something to help keep my feet planted on the savage road.  This health.  This dream.  This media and this journalism can be ours, you know.  Despite what they’ve told you your whole life, it’s our world.

May your dreams know the mountain and your troubles hit the dirt.

Sincerly, L.Cohen

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