Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘Ian MacKaye’

…for your young idea…

In Fugazi, hometown, music journalism, music performance, new journalism, Performance, Philadelphia, punk rock, straight edge, youth on March 30, 2017 at 3:05 pm

“Fuck all that shouting, nothing happened!”
Billy Idol

The rise and fall of the post-Nirvana boom I don’t care about. I think we can all agree it didn’t represent a takeover of anything.

There’s always room for bros.
Alex Rawls

Rock and roll was a dangerous weapon, chrome plated, it exploded like the speed of light, it reflected the times, especially the presence of the atomic bomb which had preceded it by several years. Back then people feared the end of time. The big showdown between capitalism and communism was on the horizon. Rock and roll made you oblivious to the fear, busted down the barriers that race and religion, ideologies put up.
Bob Dylan

And after two years of trying our best to convince you that all these things were true, it turns out that we, the media, were the ones who were lying.
Brian Joyce

I’ve been listening to nothing but live Fugazi.  They’ve got to be the greatest rock and roll band of all time.  That’s only slight hyperbole, used to convey the utmost respect and admiration I have for this band.  Throughout their career they managed to maintain form as content. Despite a complaint against the proselytizing of singer Ian MacKaye, the lyrics of Steady Diet of Nothing show a marked shift from direct moralizing into more abstract and artful tropes.  Fugazi will always represent the spirituality of salt to me.  Without drugs or alcohol, they explored deep and archetypal forms-which is a very fancy way to say they managed to let their imaginations run wild without any outside influence.  It’s very pure.  In “Latin Roots”, co-frontman Guy Piccioto’s journey of a regressing young adult laying on his parents’ bed and falling backwards through the centuries of his genealogy, happens without even the smoking a cigarette.  Perhaps this is only how I imagine it, I’ve conflated the narrator/performer/writer with his subject matter.  It only speaks of the mythology at work with this band, as there is with any great band, performer or artist.  The other thing Fugazi share with great art is that they’re in the air, or, in the water, as poet Bernard Pearce wrote.  Fugazi is the east coast, where I grew up and first saw them perform, at 15, in the gymnasium of Drexel University in their backyard of Philadelphia.  They’ll always sound like adolescence to me.

Fugazi will always be crystalized into one moment, walking down some forgotten street in Clifton Heights, as a 14-year-old skinhead, being picked up by one of the only skaters in High School at the time, him having their s/t album on cassette, rewinding it to the beginning and listening to the whole thing.  So many things are gone from the day, the most tragic being a time when I could holler out and hop in the pickup truck of someone I didn’t exactly know but trusted more than family because of how he wore his hair and the fact that he knew.  We knew.  We knew what was coming, what was happening, and it wasn’t punk rock, that was our older brother-the generation before.  This was now.  This was brand new and it was kids, like us.  They were just like us.  That feeling would last until the release of Nevermind 2 years later, when jocks and squares started dyeing their hair and it all became a silly fad-repurposed and sold.  Fugazi continued touring and putting out albums throughout it all, until the apocryphal announcement of their hiatus at the dawning of the New Century.

Fugazi will always be a winter band. There’s a resourcefulness that comes from living in winter climes, and I always think of them with their knit caps on, a chill in the air and chimney smoke mixed with the smell of wet stone just before it snows.  I’ve become a new man so many times while listening to them, on so many levels, not the least of which having shaved off my long hair and starting High School, a new man but barely one…in the Fall, which is when I received their last album from WKDU’s Stevie D., and played the whole thing front to back on a Monday evening just a short walk away from the gymnasium where I’d seen them play 13 years before-they sounded ebullient, and they always will, jaunty and fresh and political, just like youth.








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

-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.  

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



In alcoholism, Being A Writer, blogging, getting sober, going for the throat, Jim Trainer, mental health, punk rock, recovery, sober, sobriety, Spoken Word, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 22, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Good Reader. The schedule got blown. I can’t do anything about it now but offer you this-scattered thoughts and remembrances of a particularly spiky and brutal week. Gets the best of us all I suppose and I can’t thank you enough for being out there. I’m out of the shark shallows, the enemy has retreated and my phone is off.
Some names and places have been changed to protect the innocent. The guilty have no place to hide.
That’s the preface to a spoken word piece I’m working on called
Worse than Whiskey, The Artist Who Sold Medical Supplies. The preface could easily work here except to say that I have had to cut wide swaths of the original post out. I know. I’ve had to edit and it is rueful. Let’s just say that it would be better for me if I cooked up something much bigger for them to chew on and that when I do take aim it’ll be for their throats and we can be together again, just like old times.

“The blog is a weekly read for me. Thanks for being real.”

It is my succinct and true pleasure good reader, to provide you with the Real. As discussed with social media mogul Charles Link a few days ago, we live in a post-authentic world. I was in the attic. And I was sweating. A culmination of slow screws and fuckarounds had resulted in this dripping hot night in the attic of a dead Confederate palace tweaking on bad hash and triple-nickels while yelling into the phone.
“Ask yourself, are you sure Ian woulda done it this way?”
Of course I was referencing that punk guru and bald hero of the times, Mr.Ian MacKaye. And of course we were railing against this hall of mirrors the terrible Century had become.
“I had no idea, ” I continued, spouting, “that being an Artist would be seldom more than coffee in the morning with social media, seltzer w/lime, maybe type a little, do something else, jerkoff and go to sleep with social media. It’s solitary and wretched, Chas, and the most amazing thing. The world is full of folks who have something to say and I am one of them. I’m so connected. I’m so alone.”

“We are all titans with our own torments I suppose.”

That’s from another Charlie, and I was thrilled when poet Charlie O’Hay wrote me this week, while also offering this jewel of wisdom:
“Drinking is pain. Sobriety is pain.”

I’m having a bad week. And I hit a snag in the publishing schedule. Let’s just say this outlet got clogged, and without any other release beside playing guitar and talking to friends, I was set to blow.  Don’t get me wrong-friends, you’ve helped.  But the pressure was on and I’ve no more access to the self-destruct button that drinking had become.  I need to get a grip.  Somehow make a tower of myself where the disappointments and cunts of life won’t sour me to the point of inactivity and shunted expression.  The attic is a metaphor.  I need an attic. A rehearsal space, some refuge.
But for now I take my refuge in you.  Thank you for being  out there.  My whole deal is about you being out there, and divinity is in the space between.  I have found no new coping mechanism, the world has taken the round, my anger got the best of me.  But you are still reading me and I am still writing it down.

See you in the rooms motherfucker.

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
―H.L. Mencken

Sittin’ On Top Of The World

In Being A Writer, blogging, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on July 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm

up on the rooftop
they won’t know if you jumped
or you fell off


Brother Mark out there in the July heat. And me up here-same. July leaves so much to be desired in Texas, but I still got my imagination and a kinghell supply of the goodstuff… Maybe someday this’ll all make sense to you.
Maybe there is no Heaven.
Maybe it never will but I’m back out on the roof again. It’s been high time for awhile now and even longer that I should be far from here. Maybe some gulf town, our bodies bronzed and lazy, cruising with the top down listening to the Ramones and stoned out of our fucking gourds. Take it ease. Mobile down the alleyway and roll along in the ocean breeze at 20, head back to the hote and fuck like bunnies. Up with the sun and Yoga. Then coffee and sex and breakfast and a nap before she goes out shopping and I can get down to it-the fast 800 or the mean 12, but-what the fuck am I talking about? There’s no rest for the wicked so I’m back out on the roof again.

singin for my supper down at 12 street and vine

What happened to that old dream anyway? The one where I’m a lover, a true romantic? The one where my one aim and sole motivation is only to please her and her sexual exhaustion is the only way I can truly get some work done on good conscience, my Queen?
Welp. I don’t know. But I’m out here on the roof, drinkin beer in the hot sun and waiting for the miracle to come. Until it does it’ll have to be a fast 800 or a mean 12, neat&fine.
What else?
Amanda wants a ranch. Trainer wants a War Room. Aho my point is that we all have dreams. Some vision, some far away idyll, some panacea or beach front where we can finally UNWWIND. Put it all down and in the words of Belle Leaver, finally take out our toys and play!
But the sun is setting on the Empire. And there are people who need our help.
there’s people getting angry in theses darkest hours, there’s blood on the streets, the streets are ours
I’m out here on the roof again. The bomb hasn’t dropped. But it hangs there-waiting. And that suit of armor’s still out there in the garden-rusting. All our aims to dismantle our defenses, strip our armor and truly covet and hold the world, never despising a single one of her enigmas? All for naught. You can’t get in from the outside anyway. It’s an inside job. Ian MacKaye was right. Function is the key.  What else, Brother? The Bard of Bettie Naylor’s out here again. In a court of blackbird, grackle and thrush, redbird, bluebird and, what was once mistaken for a lark-the white-eyed Vireo. Shit. The White-Eyed Vireo’s come out of the darkness, friends. Whereas the Yellow Lark sung of liberation from our suffering, the White-Eyed Vireo is out there on the shoulder of this savage road. He is there, Brothers&Sisters. He’s seen the sunrise, Children-and there ain’t any use in talking a bird out of its will to live. It’s futile. Like all such foolish dreams. Romance is dead. Paradise is far off. I’m on the roof typing again-in the heat and sway, with the chiggers and construction crews and milf Judges and… I feel wonky. I was up writing the screenplay with Amanda til 4. The Boss is taking it easy on me today but either way it’s good to be working. If I didn’t have a dayjob I might not write at all. And the rooftop ain’t bad. In fact there’s no place that I’d rather be.

Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish—a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow—to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested . . . Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.

Splendid Isolation II-The Unemployable Journalist

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I want to live alone in the desert
I want to be like Georgia O’Keefe
I want to live on the Upper East Side
And never go down in the street

Tragedy, it’s nothing new.  It’s hard to take.  Hard to process.  Me, I’m too far removed.  And jaded.  I don’t get angry or upset with God or Al Qaeda.  I save all my outrage for you.  That’s right, oh diligent and moral upstanding citizens of the free world.  My reaction to the horror of senseless death and murder is anger and that anger is focused squarely on you.  While I’m sure your sentiments come from the right place, they are by rote and repeated ad infinitum a midst a fucking blizzard of assumptions that initially and individually, you did not make.  I guess that’s ok if you have a target for your outrage.  Just don’t make the mistake of assuming that your outrage is mine, Brother.  And consider that the big business of news reporting is pandering to what is accepted as truth even though they’ve told you what to accept as truth at the beginning of the news cycle.

Seeking justice has proven to cultivate a climate of herd-thought which in turn is used to justify:  War, genocide, starvation, unsustainable economic&world orders and the erosion of our liberties.  Ok, maybe not justify-that’s a pretty strong word.  How about divert or ignore?  The “worst privacy disaster our country has ever faced” passed through the House of Representatives last week, with a vote of 288 to 127.
In my line of work the most crucial issue of our time is the regulation of information.  But you don’t have to be a hack journalist like me to see that if transparency&public accountability are lost then all else will soon be coming down the shitter.
How is it any worse when channels of communication are clogged with sterile, mass -morality and assumptions?  Assumptions repeated until they are thoughts-your thoughts, repeated until they are mantras-your mantras, repeated until they become reality-yours and mine.  Thanks allot.
I’m upset when the world we’re creating is predicated on assumptions.  The fact is, there’s too much madness and too much sorrow for simple answers; let alone a headline or byline in a sentence or less.

I try to extract information from the “news” outlets.  Then I address my own personal wisdom& take my own counsel.  Then I think about my loved ones.  About how good it’ll be to connect with them again.  I remind myself and then I shut off the radio and get out of bed.  I close all the windows and I close all the blinds.  I fire up the Yerba Mate and I brace myself for the next hit.
I must willfully insulate myself from the world that we are creating with our thoughts; our own and original thoughts or otherwise.
This is our world.  At least it could be.  You must disengage and shut the fuck up for 5 minutes.  You must quiet your own mind.  But don’t do it for your own sake.  Do it for mine.

I think people…it’s like they’re living in a movie.  They just don’t think anything is real.  But shit is real.
-Ian MacKaye, EDGE The Movie

I’m putting tinfoil up on the windows
Lying down in the dark to dream
I don’t want to see their faces
I don’t want to hear them scream
-Warren Zevon, Splendid Isolation

The Outsider
Austin, TX