Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Buddhas On The Road

In alcoholism, anxiety, Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, depression, getting old, getting sober, going for the throat, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, new journalism, new orleans, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, poetry submission, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, Spoken Word, Submitting, submitting poetry, TOUR, travel, travel writing, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga on September 10, 2016 at 6:53 pm

“Fuck Yoga,” my partner was saying, “you should take up boxing.”
We were on the long slink into Texas from Louisiana.  Crossing the gulf coast underneath godheads of clouds that rained on us as we passed.
“Something where you can hit someone, and get hit.”
I was wound tight but it wasn’t the traffic.  It wasn’t from my third cup of gas station coffee either.
“Just sit back,” I told him and eased the stereo up to 10.
Suddenly the rain broke and the road wound long to the horizon.  A good sign.  I rolled the windows down.  My partner fell asleep without another word.

The close quarters of a black 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe were enough to make us buggy, rolling down the windows or reaching for the stereo, a set of earphones or a piece of gum.  Any way to create some space.  My partner slept for a lot of the drive.  Most in fact, which was ok, and much better than unsolicited advice about my “short fuse” or spartan road diet of sliced apples and bread and cheese from Starbucks.  It wasn’t all bad and in fact was mostly good.  We had a good run and he offered encouragement with his criticisms, especially after my set at Siberia on Saturday.

The gist of it is that in twenty years of booking bands, Bernard can spot talent and according to him I’ve got it.  As much as I’ve heard that over twenty years of performing, his words sank in, really got in there.  It was undeniable and I heard him.  He also offered that maybe the dayjob shouldn’t be anything but.  When I told him my plans of riding my caregiving gig as long as I could he said it was a mistake.  I heard him, too.  This blog ain’t about him though.  At least not specifically.

This post is about a life devoted to the creation of Art.  An attempt to disabuse myself of fearful notions that have only kept me doleful and caged.  I took the safe route.  Perhaps.  I still made Art.  In Yoga this morning I realized that everything I think is just that-what I think.  This is some powerful medicine, Brothers&Sisters, and between the kind words of my tour partner and the self-realization afforded one on the Yogic path, I can see out.  I ain’t so scared anymore.  So, then- what am I waiting for?

I don’t know.  But my laziness knows no bounds.  There’s been a lot of fucking about since we pulled off LaTex Road last Monday.  I started back working full-time, which ain’t easy.  I’ve submitted some work and attempted to book some.  But much like when I was smoking and boozing and knew I was not living authentically-I know now that I’m not at 100%.  The details of it are shameful.  I don’t know why you’d want to read about it, but you do, and for this I am forever thankful.

Philly is the last to be booked on my east coast mini-tour.  Perhaps that’s how it should be but I’ve known about these dates since May- when I pushed back my usual June shows to September, and added Boston and NYC.  Some shit fell through.  Mostly unforeseen but now I know.  Also, I don’t need to be reminded that throughout my endeavors I will find a way to blame myself, to prove that I’m not good enough or worry about screwing it up long enough to actually screw it up.  Fly into Boston at twice the cost of a ticket quoted in May, without radio, without a local third act and without a place to stay.  Not to mention without New York City booked at all.  Some shit fell through.  Other shit I worried myself into a fit over, while doing nothing but laying on my back and masturbating.

Shameful, I know.  It’s fucking crazy being me.  I don’t know what I’d do without you, good reader.  I’m still kicking against it, the blues, insisting on this life and burning down the savage road I first stepped foot on over twenty years ago.  I’m still fucking it up colossally too, making twenty year old mistakes.  It’s as if I’m doing this for the first time, which, in a way, I am.  Sober.  Completely me.  Raw.  Nervous.  Wanting a cigarette so bad I could cry, at times, but knowing that my pain would only stop there.  It’s quite the ride Brothers&Sisters.  I’m quaking in my boots.  I’m nervous and raw and completely me.  Still after it.  Still alive.  Still going for the throat.

Namaste

There is no Buddha but the Buddha that you are.  If you meet the Buddha on the road you haven’t understood what the Buddha is. It is none other than your original mind. The idea of seeing the Buddha as outside of your self is conceptual-as is “becoming enlightened.” One can not become enlightened because that would assume that you are gaining something that you don’t have. Your basic nature is enlightened, awake, free, non-dual. This is completely experiential and not conceptual.  You have to kill the concept of Buddha both inside and out.
JJ Simon

 

 

 

 

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Winter Birds

In austin music scene, Music, music performance, singer-songwriter, song on August 13, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Love of my Life, let go of my hand
I’m about to be reborn
through the canal, to the other side
Not sure who I’ll be
We lit us furious so madly in love
we burned our thousand suns
Time to cleave the fruit from the rind
destiny

I was 11 when my Father left
my sisters, momma and me
I’m as old now as he was then
you gonna have to set me free

Love and Death are the curious things
but in Life you can be sure
“A ship is but a building until
it leaves the shore”
I have his watch, his old cologne
a polaroid of him waving bye
All the phones hangin off they hooks
sayin Mama don’t you cry’

Does the sun in the sky need love?
Is the moon up there all alone?
How can the man in his cell be more free
than a King up on his throne?

“Born into trouble as the sparks fly upward”
fate trumps mystery
Lookin for home but we’re bound to leave
home will we ever be?
I been singin this roadsong so long
the one my daddy taught us
You been standing by the clothesline since summer
see what them winter birds’ve brought us

Let me go and as you float away
take a look down at your feet
As the Earth drops from view
you realize it’s you who’s set free

(c) 2011 Jim Trainer

Going for the Road #3: The North Creek Blues

In blogging, Jim Trainer, travel, travel writing, Writing on July 21, 2015 at 4:07 pm

7/19/15, 10:29 AM
Minerva, NY

Ain’t much happening in North Creek. Smoking a Marlboro on the sun porch. The wind through the tops of the trees is a warm bliss hissing, something I forgot about living under the barren palms of Texas-trees offer a perfect example of how to be. Suddenly I am so very glad we came, and that’s what the trees are saying. 1,977 miles may not seem like much to an old road dog like me, but I slept in fits, was woke suddenly in the middle of the night remembering the Preacher’s daughter. Remembering that I forgot to wish her a happy birthday, rather, I was swept up by the road, geared and up on my haunches behind the wheel, geeked on Marlboro Reds and gas station salad. I had to get up several times last night to tend to the Boss which means he had even less sleep than I did. I can’t complain, what sleep I did get was deep, and total, and I was able to dream lucidly of her and it made me smile and it made me hard. I was woke by the screeching of the loon. There’s something beautiful and lonesome about her calls. Shrill yet deep, they resound off the lake and through the bowl of the mountains. Her call is able to communicate how vast and empty it is out there and the more you listen to it the more you discover it’s quite mad sounding, and unhinged. A far cry from that glorified pigeon of a mourning dove. The common loon makes the mourning dove sound like an ungrateful toddler. The loon she is old and lonesome and quite insane on a placid sheet of lake at dawn screaming her fucking head off. There’s Izzy.

Between me and the lake I can see the Boss’mother out there throwing a ball for Dakota her little buddy. I am always thrilled to see her and will constantly try to persuade her to smoke a Marlboro with me. She’s 83 with every bit of wry WASP sass she ever had. Makes me think that in her younger days she was a real badass. The kind of trouble you like. She’s a storm of a woman and wise. You can sense her years but would never guess her age. And so, it keeps coming back to the crone, for me. God knows I spent enough time worshipping the maiden, and the mother I never put enough time into, but always tried. The crone she knows about the end of all this. All this glory and impermanence, life’s roaring and fleeting parade. She knows about the masks on all the faces. She’s old enough to know that masks will go slack, and slide down your old bones, to reveal not a face but a presence. Which is all we can offer this life, and all this life can offer us-a moment, fully aware, is perfect. Moments labeled agony will seem to last forever, and we shut ourselves out, we steel ourselves to it and deny it to ourselves, deny ourselves to it. And moments of bliss, when labeled, are gone.
Sadness and mourning need us too, friend, and we must make ourselves available to them.

After leaving the cult of Christianity, the only thing, besides my father’s death to give me pause spiritually was Buddhism. It was as simple and profound as when Bass Player X offered it to me on a roaring autumn day in West Philly. He said he would pray for my dad. A queer thought for an admitted iconoclast and nihilist post punkrocker like me. The dead need us. The dead need our prayers. This spoke to me and quite specifically had me recognize the power of the living, the whole Herman Hesse deal. We live only in each other’s hearts. God is wherever 2 or more of you congregate. If we live only in each other’s hearts than we only die there as well. But we don’t have to. Love is stronger than death.
All you have is your work. And for me, my work is in your heart. And it’s out there in the ether which could explain my lifelong love affair with radio. And I’ve always been hip to the bluesman’s charge-get it out there, out of you, holler it high into the air, conjure and put the bad bitch down. The blues is just a good man feelin bad. And as I told the Boss on the final leg, those blues men of yore will smoke a thousand Dave Grohls and they’ll do it all by themself with a 12 string and a polyrythmnic blueprint of rock and roll and their father’s song. With a country twist. A little country never hurt anyone.

Jim Trainer
Minerva, NY

End of Thee Hated Roadtrip, Lost&Found in America

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2013 at 9:54 am

The road was not fun. The mountains were not fun. But we made it out and down.  When we pulled off the road on Wednesday, that placard of the state of Texas up on the highway, just this side of the Texarkana line, was like a vision. The wastelands of Arkansas gave way to rolling plains with cows sleeping under trees. Those crazy, lazy browns and the heat&the drawl of Texas was welcoming me with open arms.  A somnabulant southwestern “breeze” was blowing.  It pasted my balls to my leg and opened my eyes dry&wide.  It was good to be home.

The trip sucked, for all the usual reasons, but that wasn’t the worst of it. I was plunged into a bad dark up on the mountain, which could only be the grim&undeniable reacquainting of the self with the self.  My time up in the mountains was like the part of a Stephen King novel when his protagonist has really gone off the rails. I could see no end to the drunk rain and when the sun finally showed itself in Hewitt, the boss told us to load it up and head for the border, only to get popped for weed on the Canadian side at dusk.

Sunday I was stuck at the BP in Five Points, Nashville, waiting for a cab and Facebook messaging a girl back home. She’d been reading the blog. She’d been feeling my pain. That somehow someone out there was reading-registering my blues and following these mad chronicles of heartbreak in America, well, shit-it’s really touching, to tell you the truth. And it’s Art.  Aho and good goddamn.
I’ve been feeling like it’s time to retire this blog and I was especially feeling that way out on the road.  I would read over what I’d posted and hate life even more. Aho even the work wasn’t enough to carry me through and, greasy and despondent in some hotel room in Malvern, Kentucky, I would curse myself for not being able to write through the misery; opting instead to watch the most horrible television, jerkoff and go to bed. But this story ain’t over; rather, you’re still reading it. And, just as I was deriding myself for not having the discipline of Papa or because I never put in the hours that great writers like Jason Woolery do, the blog’s views spike up to the second biggest day in Going for the Throat’s history.

My point is that she was feeling me. And you kept reading. The blog’s got up and started walking; your steady trickling of views is what pleases me, no matter the road or consequence. You’re reading and my pain has been received and transmuted, framed and stuck on the wall for us to marvel or laugh at on better days. Better days are coming, brother.  You can count on that. Even as that deathead crowns the horizon and the Man takes a pound of flesh for a pound of gold, we’ve got each other, and isn’t that nice?

The high wind up north is really something. Up Vancouver or Niagara way, the north wind bids you to keep travelling on, keep going. I remember walking the streets of Vancouver in the fall of 2008. I had just bought the woman I was living with back home a black dragon Kimono robe, in Seattle the night before. The thing made me hard just looking at it, picturing her in it. When I called to tell her I had bought her something special, she told me that all my “shit” was packed up on the lawn. It would be there and ready for me to move out when I got back to Philly, she said.
(That never came to pass. She had moved all my shit back inside by the time I got off tour and was back in Hostile City. There it sat in the living room, still packed but no longer outdoors.  I loaded it up and headed down to Texas.)
Besides that rueful telephone call, what I remember best about that incredible fall day in Vancouver was this feeling that I could keep on walking forever, leave the guys in the RV behind me, keep going North and never come back.
I was feeling that way again a couple weeks ago up by the Canadian border. The north wind in Niagara was blowing through and I felt like it could carry me on and blow me away. We had just got pinched at the border for the old man’s weed. It was a disaster on top of the nightmare that the trip already was. I was thinking felony and no more trips to Tulum or anywhere outside the U.S. I was thinking a lot of things but mostly I was thinking what I would tell the Canadian border guards should they sequester me in a small room for questioning. I would absolve myself completely. I would tell the truth. They’d cut me loose on the streets of upstate NY and I would ramble. Leave the job, taking only what I could carry. Goodbye President XII. Goodbye workingman blues. How could it be any worse?

One learns survival by surviving.
-Charles Bukowski

Jimbo’s back.  I have lots to tell you and share.  Friday is letter day at the Office and I want to hear from you. Send me your address and I’ll send you the things I write when I can’t write-letters. When inspiration is lacking and the body is wrecked, I look to you and am renewed. I wrap up a day’s work with a walk through the garden, past the rainbow Kale and Neapolitans, through the pride of Barbados and to the tall blue mailbox on Rio Grande, and I send out my love to you.

Please keep reading.  You’re keeping me alive.
w/ Gratitude,
JMT

Memphis BP

Your Writer at the BP in Five Points, Nashville TN