Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘Hunter S.Thompson’

Charlie Gordon’s Blues

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Buddhism, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, Poetry, police brutality, punk rock, recovery, self-help, sober, sobriety, straight edge, suicide, Writing, writing about writing on August 10, 2017 at 9:07 am

Oh, the work I could get done if my heart weren’t so full of hate.
David Sedaris

I know this is not Church, but get close to the Lord.  The world is getting close to the end.
Little Richard


If it could happen then — in 1980 — then it can happen now.
Scott Crawford

We love your voice.

Rebecca Loebe

I’ve been clean and sober for over 2 years, but you’d never know it looking at my apartment.  It looks like I been riding with the King, drinking with Papa and partying with Guns ‘N Roses.  My kitchen doubles as a place to type, much like Bukowski and Hunter Thompson’s did-but don’t ask.  Boxes full of Farewell to Armor and Anthology Philly (WragsInk), September and All in the wind (Yellow Lark Press) are underneath the War Room table.  The black nest of power cords, USBs and chargers beside it ain’t pretty either, and it’s a fire hazard besides.  Topo Chico bottles and La Croix empties christen the floor like cities and the bedroom at the back of the mansion is sinking in a cyclone of fitted sheets and pillows.  The bathroom is gross and there are piles of clothes everywhere.  “Dude clean” is apt and I’d do well to get a maid-but then I’d have to pre-clean, like Doc does, and her visits would be another deadline for me to stroke out over.  I have no excuse and no one to blame.   It’s a fucking mess in here.

The last 4 days on shift were an epic and colossal laziness, a laziness I needed to recover from, which is why I’m sitting here at 3 in the afternoon sipping cold coffee in my sleeping cargos, writing.  The world is out there and at large.  But I couldn’t get to sleep until after 2 last night, when I finally pulled earbuds from the phone and left Uncle Hank and Mike Patton mid-show.  We’re not even halfway through the summer and I feel fine.  The new lease starts 8/15 and I’ve got a flurry of shit to get cracking on, none of which I started, or even attempted to, since we last spoke.  As per usual, I sat down to write this with the intention to bag my bad blues, let you know what’s bothering me and get right to it.  Besides being beholden to a deadline, and despite all appearances of transparency at GFtT, there’s a lot of shit I’m loathe and even ashamed to admit.  Mostly it’s how I haven’t done much with my time, that I’m depressed and stuck winding down the end days as an indentured servant.  I’ve squandered precious time, that for the last couple years I only sensed running out, winding down, acutely and terrifyingly-fuck.

My other blunders, faults and peccadilloes-I’ve been writing them down, just haven’t posted them here.  They’re in a file called FVK Daily, a draft of a blog post like this one except it goes on and on, listing and enumerating all my dirties and lust, all the venom and corruption that haunts me daily.  Maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing, or the imperative of Natural Selection to never be satisfied-but I feel like I can do it, get it all out and fix what’s wrong with me simply by writing it down, posting it or etching it in ink on the lined pages of a store bought yellow bound pocket spiral I call LIGHTNING/RENDERING.  It’s a tradition that dates back to 1992.  I’d buy a notebook at CVS, its color informing me and setting the tone for our time together-me and my Friend the Journal, who would be with me, help me to manifest, worship and smash my idols, and self-actualize.  It’s the power of writing, good Reader, and poetry.  It’ll never fail to get you out of a jam-that is, your head, and help you to fetishize your pain and cast your journey with pomp and grandiosity.  It’s how we mythologize, and how we make ourselves heroes, how we hang it on the fucking wall, find and take from a sense of place, which in turn gives us a sense of ourselves-our shape and color, our small graces and thunderous foibles, our smokes and charms, our roaring and our lightning, the drums of the arena calling for your head in the black and endless rain.

I don’t have any answers this week.  I don’t have any answers most weeks, and I’m loathe to wrap this in a cute or poignant way.  It’s the end of the world.  Thank you for reading.

 

 

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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.

The Coarse Grind, Becoming The Media

In activism, ANTI-WAR, Being A Writer, blogging, journalism, music performance, news media, observation, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, Performance, punk rock, War, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on February 9, 2017 at 10:25 am

Whoa.  Part 3&the final installment of The Coarse Grind, written in better and far less ominous days.  The message is the same.  VOX POPULI VOX DEI (the voice of the people is the voice of God).  See you next week motherfucker.

Aho, good reader.  Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with The Coarse Grind because today I’m going for it.  Last we spoke, I confessed that after 19 years I finally knew I was a writer and it was all ’cause I started a blog.  It’s true.  I won’t get into the vast saga of a backstory  behind it but I tapped into a medium that was immediate and honest.  I had, or felt like I had, an instant audience.  I’ve always looked at writing like performing so blogging really gave me a charge.  The way you feel right before you go on stage.  Super, all too, human.From that saga of a backstory I will offer this- my heroes have taught me well.  My heroes were on the outside and they broke in.  The rules didn’t apply to Hunter Thompson which was hardly always glamorous.

This will not be a recipe for how to be a successful writer, at least not the accepted definition of success.  Do consider however, if you want to be a successful writer, one who gets paid, then you must write.  Have a system or M.O. that you know will keep you writing.  Willing.  Enthusiastic, even.  The thing that keeps me writing is my interest in it.  Sadly what is of most interest to me is myself.  Nothing else.  In fact, current events really bum me the fuck out and opinion pieces are odious.  It all feels like programming to me and all of it just swirls into a hulking barrage of sights and sounds, horrors and “truths” that I must isolate myself from.  Thank god for writing because it has become my refuge from the dark spinning world.
My point is why would campaign manager Frank Mankiewicz attribute Hunter Thompson as “the least factual, most accurate” reporter on the Campaign Trail in 1976?  And, why are we finding out now that this country was dragged into war under false pretenses, that the freedom we were fighting for was only being taken away from us by those same warlords, when we have a free press in America, and reporting is held to a high standard of objectivity and truth?  Without the internet or a distant relative living in the middle east-without Twitter, for Christ-we would have no idea what the Arab Spring was all about.  Well, some idea, and probably a spun one, provoking a reaction that could then be reported on until it was true.  I started Going for the Throat just as Arab Spring started rumbling, just as the stanchions under memorials to dictators were giving way in the parks and out on the street.  I’m not a journalist.  But I am a reporter.  And that, good reader, is the magic of writing.
None of these are reasons why after 19 years on the daylabor circuit I knew I was a writer.  I know that I’m a writer because I write.  I don’t ever not write.  And it’s all because I have found a medium that is as inexhaustible as it is exhilarating.  I have instant material simply by getting out of bed in the morning and with the click of a mouse it’s out there with all the “real” journalism.  I have stepped into the Arena.  I’m up there in the hot lights with all the shit-savvy  polished faces and grim intellectual voices of news media.

Is what I write true?  Better believe it.  Or, don’t.  And start your own blog now.

Run, Rabbit, Run

In Activism, activism, anger, ANTI-WAR, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting old, getting sober, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, PACISFISM, poetry reading, politics, recovery, self-help, sober, sobriety, solitude, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on January 12, 2017 at 5:10 pm

And the harder it gets now, the softer I sing
cause the fight to be human don’t mean anything
-Justin Currie

The budget blueprint is for the guidance of Congress; it is not presented to the president for a signature or veto and does not become law.
New York Times, 4 hours ago, on January 12, 2017

…the vote-a-rama is a wholly symbolic exercise, political theater.
-John McCain, R-Ariz.

Once a picaro, always a picaro.
-Thrall and Hibbard’s thesis on the nature of a Picaresque novel

Fuuuuuuuuuck.
-Brother Ignacio on Facebook last week

I feel the absence of Dr.Thompson acutely.  More and more and every year, the man and his work is the only rudder I can grab a hold of to steer me through the polluted black waters of the New Century.  I suppose there’s Ian MacKaye.  And Brother Don.  Which is to say the only faith I have in these dark times is in the hearts and minds of great men and women who’ve managed to keep their eyes and hearts open.  For me it’s been a journey back, I’m often lost in the blast, not as confused as angry, but it’s an anger that can shut the whole thing down.  It’s unfortunate, but not permanent, and my facilities may come back just in time.  Nobody knows what will happen.  The only thing we can agree on is an uneasiness in the gut as we brace ourselves for the terror of a country rolling backwards into the type of oligarchy I’ve been dreading my entire adult life.

I have a tendency to duck out, hide away-not so much in apathy but utter disgust-a muted outrage.  I’m good in the clutch, I’m steady, but the day to day bores me to tears.  My point is I’ve had to read the same article on NPR at least 5 times now, and I’m still not sure I understand it.  Politics are made deliberately obtuse, which doesn’t make it any easier for a zen outlaw and escape artist born in the Year of the Rabbit like me.  After my second go through of the article, I searched online for a great quote from Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, which led me to William Brinkley and spidered out into unrelated research and ended in a flame war on Facebook with a stupid twat and eventually plugging in my strat and doing some Stinson, Waits and Psalmships covers.  It’s almost 3:30 in the afternoon.  I’m exasperated from waking up at noon to hear the news, and vague and obtuse writeups on NPR and the New York Times.  Can this qualify as activism?  Am I done now?  Can I have some time to myself, take the day maybe, lay in the tub with a copy of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail?

I am disgusted with myself.  Outraged at the world and about at the end of my rope here, at Going For The Throat.  It’s been happening for a while, probably concurrent with the tidal wave of dread that came over me right after I turned 40.  There was gratitude-and a real sense of power, standing in my kitchen, the last night of my 39th year.  I started to run myself through the ringer, you know, how I do, but then came something else.  You feel an ease in parts of your body you didn’t know you could feel anything.  Know what I mean?  There are parts of us that are so wrapped up in responding to stressors created by the mind that we don’t even know are there, let alone utilize, strengthen and nurture.  Aho I did not expect something positive to come of this post.  It was practically a resignation letter.  That is the power of writing, my Brother, my Sister.  You’ve got to clear the chamber. There is a diamond of you, buried ‘neath the toxic retelling of tired stories and lies.  You are not this detritus of the mind.  You are not your mind.  You are.  Unless you’ve made your exit-downing a bottle of barbiturates, running a garden hose from the exhaust pipe in through the window of your car, or turning the business end of a shotgun on yourself and pulling the trigger-like those 3 writers have.

As sad as it may sound, if not killing yourself is the one great thing you’ve managed to do today, this week, this year-than you can be glad.  I sure am.  But don’t worry about me.  This is not a cry for help.  I may be tired of my own bullshit and have to call myself out in public like this for getting frustrated at the news and dumb girls on Facebook but I won’t be checking out any time soon.  I’ve got work to do.

See you at the readings motherfucker.

Please join Jim Trainer this Sunday January 15th, at Malvern Books, as he and 100 other poets read as part of the National Poets Protest Against Trump and on January 22nd at Kickbutt Coffee, for his featured reading at SpokenandHeard, with wonderful poet G.F. Harper.  

…a question of Fuel…

In anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, Charles Bukowski, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, hometown, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, new journalism, new orleans, observation, on tour, PDX, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, Portland, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, TOUR, truth, Uncategorized, Writing, writing about writing, yoga on December 22, 2016 at 10:10 pm

Introjective depression – the autonomous kind, on the other hand, is characterized by intense self-criticism and there is frequently, then, an intense drive for achievement to offset the internalized sense of inferiority and self-scrutiny.  These individuals can be extremely critical of others as well as themselves and can be intensely competitive, often achieving a great deal, but with little sense of satisfaction – no amount of external validation seems to satisfy the harsh and demanding person that they can be in relationship to themselves.
-Karl Stukenberg on Sydney Blatt’s Developmental Theory of Depression

it seems we lose the game,
before we even start to play
Everything Is Everything

Got my walking papers.  Guess this means the gloves are off.  5 years can feel like a lifetime or it can go by way too fast on shift, on the clock and working for the man.  If it sounds like I’m complaining it’s because that’s my voice, I’m charged with it-fiery and riled and launching these missives through the barrel of a gun.  It’s because the last thing I want to do is tell you a lie or waste your time.  It’s this voice I honed and came to grips with, working for Mr. Fox.  The job gave me a bedtime, gave me the morning, still hated but doable, forced me to eat meals and sleep and watch movies and be lazy.  Above all it taught me what I need to be high functioning, and it’s hardly what I thought it would be.

I’ve published 3 books in the last 5 years, written hundreds of blogs and letters, and played more than 120 gigs, not counting spoken word and storytelling gigs, since I was hired on.  I’m glad to put it this way, and catch a rare reprieve from the inner critic.  The first sentence of this paragraph riddles the inner critic with buckshot, stuffs its mouth with gauze and sends it 6 feet closer to Heaven.  I might not be Henry Rollins but I’m gaining on him.  The pace is fucked.  I’ll never be happy with how long these things take and that’s probably because I’ll never be happy with myself.  I feel like I’m behind before I even wake up in the morning and wonder of the wisdom, sung by Lauryn Hill, in that song from days past.  But there’s so much more to it than that.

Up against it as we are, fucked and doomed to play their game should be enough to motivate, and it does.  The specter of death, terribly advancing on us from the day we’re born should be enough, and it is.  Never being Henry Rollins, never being good enough, has been fine motivation these slipshod and lean years-I know where it’s gotten me but I draw a blank when I think about what’s next.  It’s because you can’t build on a negative.  Anybody who’s ever quit anything knows that not doing it is only the beginning.  You must substitute it with something you are doing.  Quitting smoking, for example.  Of course, I had to first stop doing it.  Once I did the space opened up for something else.  Saying FUCK FUCK FUCK in my head seems to work, until I rupture a blood vessel, but certainly got me through terrible and troubling hours at the IPRC a few weeks ago.  At every step of All in the wind‘s production I was struck with the anxiety of never living my dreams-a great dread that neatly incorporates my fear of death and incredible lack of self esteem into a thorny and torrid cocktail called WHY I WORK ALONE.

Fear of dying will get you out of bed in the morning.  You bet.  A voice in your head telling you you’ll never be anything, never were anything, your parents were right and just because you left your hometown doesn’t mean you got away can also be great motivation, but not in the long run.  I’m 41 and I feel like I am just getting started.  Yogic wisdom tells me that all we are ever doing is getting started, and completing tasks with the quickness of Shiva’s wheeling hands.  The twisted cocktail of death and low self esteem, and the example of great men like meteors burning across the small town sky of my psyche can be potent, virile and all the ingredients needed for a bomb-but I feel like I’m gonna need a fire and for a fire you need fuel.

Work in media suits me.  It’s probably the only kind of work besides performing in which I feel like I am making a change.  I’m struck, sitting here, that it was just over 5 years ago when I decided to do something meaningful with my life and said goodbye to the bars with a few answered ads for Caregivers on craigslist.  In the last 5 years I was able to produce consistently as an artist by going to sleep at a certain time every night, and getting up at the same time every morning.  I had to make enough money to fund the first pressings of All in the wind and September , and have enough spare cash to fly out to the many unpaid (if not thankless) gigs in Philly and Louisiana.  HAAM paid my healthcare premiums but I was only able to get behind the trouble in my mouth with a begrudging loan against an inheritance from my mother, who sent me a check made out to the dentist.   Which is nothing I want to get into now.  It should be noted that I’m sitting on a lengthy backlog of posts, inspired by the prospect of being on RawPaw’s payroll in the Fall of ’14 and a request from Bean Maguire to recount my savage road to sobriety.  The point, now mangled and drug down this winding graph, is I only did it with a whole lot of gumption, even more bitterness and a little bit of luck.

I discovered what I need these last 5 years.  What I want has never been in question, but the crossroads of dread and inspiration at the hated age of 41 has me asking other questions.  Like, how will I hit 20 major cities a year and maintain my bedtime?  How can I possibly create without seeming to be in control of what happens within my own 4 walls?  Simply, maybe I’m not Rollins.  It’s not exactly in the cards to be on the road for over 200 days a year.  Knowing what I need is a start, knowing that it’s fuel is even better, and how I can be at my strongest and even ease the grip of this dream, live a little and breathe is healthy, and necessary.  the area of pause, as Papa put it.

Bukowski, as close to an example and road as I have, lived most of his life at War, but the man knew how to rest, too, and the author’s photos on his later works showcase the hard earned, worn and warm smile of Hank-a man aware of his limitations and therefore resting fully in his own power, if not in love then at peace.

Warmest Greetings from the War Room

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, media, mid life, middle age, new journalism, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, recovery, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, submitting poetry, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on November 3, 2016 at 12:28 pm

The main problem in any democracy is that crowdpleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzythen go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, Hunter S. Thompson

Each network is a corporation unto itself, with nearly infinite money to spend and the unbelievable power to shape your opinion and mine.
-Henry Harvey

We’re not coming. You’re not paying attention.
Sex Pistols Letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma.
Bhagavad Gita

This post has nothing to do with National Politics.  If you came here to prove a point I’m sorry.  Maybe you can  hang it up and listen to me bitch for a little while?  I’m aware of the ineffectiveness of apathy.  Not caring might’ve worked for the last twenty-six years but it didn’t help-and things have only gotten worse while I was banging down blue streets strung out on a poet’s dream and railing against unrequited love.  So, I was foolish in my youth, with my time and my everything.  I’m here to make amends.  What else’s a kid suppose to do, in this country or anywhere else?  It seems to me like they die for it over there, in the other hemisphere.  They lay it on the line for the kind of freedom you and I only piss and moan away every day.  This ain’t in defense of apathy but neither your crusade.  The only change I can affect is within and I can barely handle that.  If shaking my lower middle class karma was as simple as quitting cigarettes and alcohol, I’d be home free.  I’m watching you get played by an Oligarchy on tv, a system where the house always wins, but I’m mad at myself for laying down this long and being too cool for school while the world only spun on, deeper into its oblivion.

It’s only getting worse.
-Lamb of God

The real dilemma is that I’m stuck in a glorious grind.  I’m called to the real work but the money and the perks of this gig are alright.  I don’t know what it looks like, to be on the road for long stretches of time; just that I can’t seem to do more than send a few letters out on shift, or post a blog and other incremental types of checklist tasks that forced me to fire my therapist and quit therapy.  I’m sure I’m doing just fine.  Plugging along.  Seems like every week I get the good news that my work will appear in another mag, journal or anthology.  I’ve been hitting the road, too, taking long weekends to the East and Gulf Coasts.  I’m bound to Portland in December, for a workation that’ll yield the next collection and sharpen my printing press skills.  I’m happy about that.  If I step back, I can see that Art is needed on a heart and blood level.  The colors we splash onto the canvas are alive and the characters we write are drawn to collide.  The world we create is full of lovers running into and from each other’s arms.

But I’m short a grand from travel, and the War Room&MAMU aren’t completely set up.  Besides all the ways I’m coming up short in my efforts toward being an Artist full-time, I’m wasting away.  As glorious as this grind is, it’s still a grind.  It stabilized me and picked me up, put me on a regimen with meals and a bedtime.  It was exactly what I needed after I totaled my car and was out of unemployment compensation and the only thing on the horizon was donating plasma and a temp job with the University COOP.  This job’s been a godsend.  I’ll have 3 collections of poetry published by the time I quit here but I’m feeling tethered, tied down and dragged.  It’s time for something else and I’m gonna have to get creative, good Reader, find a way to diversify my talents so that the cheddar can keep rolling in while I plot the next jaunt and get the next collection together, book the next show and find some print for my work.  This post has only put me where I am.  Which is fine.  The pale hot afternoons on shift make me jiggy and it’s not unlike me to feel like I’m spinning my wheels.  So I reach out to you.  Write this screed, edit it and post.  You either hang yourself or you hang it on the wall. I’m about to get back to it now.  Working full-time and then over time to ensure the market for an independent singer-songwriter, published poet and hack journalist.  Please send love and if you’re at the show offer to put me up.  As far as the election is concerned take C.O.C.’s suggestion and vote with a bullet.

See you next Thursday motherfucker.
Trainer
Going For The Throat
Austin TX-Nationwide

Low Drama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slow Day At The Office

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, new journalism, PDX, Performance, politics, Portland, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga on October 21, 2016 at 1:40 pm

It had nothing to do with drugs, the F word or being cool, and everything to do with the fact that Thompson never lost his sense of appropriate outrage, never fell into the trap of accepting that moral compromise was somehow a sign of growth and adulthood.
-Matt Taibbi’s Introduction to the 40th Anniversary Edition of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 by Hunter S. Thompson

Nothing on climate change, nothing on poverty, nothing on ending the war in Afghanistan, nothing on banks, on housing, on education, on campaign finance, health care, racial injustice….

Jeffrey St Clair on the Presidential Debates on Wednesday 

Welcome back motherfucker.  ‘Tis I, the bitter and grizzled one.  I’m siting here sipping iced coffee with a bum leg-amidst piles of poetry, calendars, lists, and Hunter Thompson books.  I just finished Generation of Swine this week and I’m a quarter into Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail ’72.  I have a lot to say about the good Doctor and his eviscerating view of politics in this country but not a damn thing to say about what was going down on just about every TV set in the country last night.  To the disappointment and chagrin of every hard working and earnest participant in this thing we call democracy I am not voting on November 8.   That’s about all I have to say about it.  One less voice oughtn’t tip the scales, right Brother?  The way some of you are carrying on, my silence can only improve the landscape, or at least afford me the peace of mind to get these 600 words written and posted up for you, good reader.

The psoas is cranked tight.  11 days on shift with an anger problem has fucked me, Pilgrim.  I take hot baths and do what Yoga I can.  That, and sessions with the lovely Cecily, coupled with long bouts on my back has been the sum total of my time off so far.  I stepped out to see Turning Tricks With The Darlings chop a man’s dick off onstage last night at Bedpost Confessions; and with these scant hours before my Third Thursday at House Wine tonight, I’ll try and get to the kernel of it.  The Wisdom, as Dr. Thompson has eloquently referred to it.  The reason, the meaning, the gist and the thrust-the why if not the how.
Truth is I can’t tell you nothin, man.  I mean I just spent 296 words telling you how I’m gonna come through with 300 more, and that they will have weight and discern some meaning from the spinning circus of birth and death we are all caught up in.  And just as I set that up and build enough tension and thrust around the thing, I tell you I’ve got nothing.  That I’m laid up in between gigs and the day job with a bum leg and an anger problem.  That I couldn’t give less of a fuck about the dog and pony of Presidential politics, I’m behind deadline on the next book-I should’ve been in Portland by now, and without drugs or alcohol, without the cigarette I need so fucking bad right now, the only thing I can do is write to you.

Oh but what a blessing, eh Sister?  That what’s wrong with me is what’s right with me.  That anger and anxiety, lust and greed and spiritual poverty-this is what spins the wheel of dharma round.  That I’m totally gone and halfway to nowhere.  I don’t mind standing at the back of the theater, dressed in black and sipping seltzer, laughing at Nikki DeVaughn.  That I’m the King of Irish Goodbyes and I don’t mind being alone for long periods of time.  I’m a freak and you’re a freak and we’re all freaks in this Circus-except for the squares, who ain’t right, at all.  In a geeked out way I feel I’m really coming into my own.  I feel like I’m gonna wanna be sober for what comes next.  Life is the strangest trip and I don’t want to miss a thing.  The dark can take its turns, the job can take its pound of flesh.  And the TVs can blare blue light into every house and home as the Autumn rages on-and our days dwindle and we find what little love there is in these waning hours and dare to give of it and make it last.

And that’s all it is.  This blog.  You, me.  This thing we got.  A torch.  Thank you for burning yours back at me.  See you next Thursday motherfucker.

Trainer, Going For The Throat
Austin TX-Nationwide

Dharma…it has to do with one’s life calling. It seems that many people either get way off-track or come close but no cigar. Few actually hit it right on. I’m not necessarily talking about the ‘dream job’. It’s nice to be able to monetize a passion, but there’s often a compromise that happens there.
It’s bigger than that. It’s the burning desire that drives you… its the process of it, the feeling you get from it, it’s all that good stuff you’d do if money, situation, practicality and laziness were not an obstacle.  All of it.
I feel like you have to persistently and tirelessly head in the direction of your Dharma, always. You might feel depressed and unfulfilled if you don’t. Sometimes that can be suppressed and sometimes you have what I call a “self-correction moment”-a midlife crisis, a Saturn Return, a meltdown, or just a big, bold-as-fuck life changing decision. The decision has to be to move toward your Dharma.   It has to be. 
-Brother Chris, from out on the road somewhere in the Pacific Northwest

 

Refuge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shrieks from Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#27: Letter to the Editor

In new journalism on February 20, 2016 at 12:00 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
21 Main Street, #3r
Middletown, DE 19709

Jann Wenner, Editor
Rolling Stone
1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10104

Febuary 20, 2007

Dear Jann-

Hunter Thompson was right. We are doomed. Your pop-culture won’t save you either.

Yours,
Jim Trainer
Middletown, DE