Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

Laugh At All The Lovers And Their Plans

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2018 at 10:31 am

Were it not for all these flags that wave, I would not know I was free…
Through the Rye

They lion grow…
–Philip Levine

My heart
a whorish beast
roaming darkly

Love Junky

…there’s a really specific definition to the world that seems to be diseased and hostile and violent, or maybe decaying. And there are one or two specific narrators that are either like peeping at the world or kind of on the lam.
-Dan Bejar, Destroyer

I think it’s going to rain today…
Randy Newman

How long is this supposed to go on? My heart the medicine chest. This blog the clothesline. I found the 2 of Hearts walking through my wonderful Hyde Park yesterday, listening to Jason Isbell beneath the grey sky in a smoky wind. Everything is fucked, everything is fine. I know there’s inspiration in the ether, I’m touched by it when it flies so close. But I’m in my tomb a lot, or womb–safe and lazy and warm, and I’m so tired of writing about my life. I’ve outlived a decades old trauma but it’s in the memory and conditioning. Wraiths of the past can still nip at my heels but there’s a whole new cast around the table. Think of each of these statements as a talisman or many sided coin. I need to write in ambiguity because I gave it all away and I am so tired of writing about my life.

Philly’s supposed to happen–in March. Pslamships and I will hit the road from there, and lay some tracks when we return. The moving job fell through–too many days standing around and being lied to and sent home to trust I’d be safe out there on the road or behind a dresser coming down a flight of stairs backwards. I’ll be lucky to get paid for the 6 hours I gave them, unless of course they call me to pay for my company coat. That’s the fucked half but I got an interview next week and the corporate threw me some extra cash Thursday for doing 7 drops instead of 2. That’s the fine. That simple gesture actually helped me make up my mind. I gotta get full time and stop living off my credit card. I’m not starving, not homeless and actually writing, in earnest these days. I knew I’d have to get the new year off right, so I submitted 3 poems to a contest and a zine December 31 and I am so tired of writing about my life.

Sara the Italian looks good on a bike, out there in Alpine and inspiring me, reminding me of the Good Life. It’s not peaches and cream and you’ve got to rise and shine to grab it. You bet. Brother Raffe‘s in Hostile City, he’s playing again and in town from Berlin, on the phone talkin’ with me ’bout Bulgaria and the Blues. It’s Sunday and I’m sipping cold espresso with milk and brown sugar, in my small bedroom and office officially preparing to get this rig the fuck unwound. The 2 of Hearts I drew on my walkabout yesterday–it’s Wisdom could be self-evident and painfully obvious. Surprise birthday dinner last night, for Brother Adam with friends, vibing over Thai tea and Topo, the best shrimp I’ve probably ever had at Deckhands, about sobriety and recovery, laughing like a lunatic and tipping Candle 95%. I fell out, like I do, and woke up late and here we are, Good Reader. There’s no fat in the fire and no grist for the mill in this week’s post. I’m just writing because I can, avoiding the deathly and dire, skimming over the heavy and thinking out loud because I am so tired of writing about my life.

See you next week? Motherfucker?

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It’s Been A Wonderful Year

In Uncategorized on December 28, 2017 at 4:02 pm

While Americans are fascinated by major legislative drama, endless sexual abuse scandals, endless Trump-Russia scandals, and countless inappropriate presidential Twitter outbursts, key regulators — almost uniformly drawn from the ranks of corporate America — are doling out favors at a pace that boggles the mind.
-Matthew Yglesias

Why don’t Americans understand how poor their lives are?
-Umair Haque

Remember, we only shoot black people.
Cobb County Police Officer Lt. Greg Abbott

A great America would be one where everyone had access to basic health care and dentistry, everyone was educated above a basic level, and everyone was treated equally and well. A great America would build policy on all the great science its universities produce. It would be a world leader in translating the latest knowledge into policy that improves people’s lives. It would be a beacon of Enlightenment thinking, as it was when it was founded.
Tobias Stone

Is there any way to read it without you getting any money? You know, so I’ll only waste my time.
Weird Mike’s Meltdown

2018: You are supposed to change your life – for good. With all of the evidence you’ve gathered over the past few years, now is the time to take action. You know where you want to go, the challenge is only whether or not you will be fearless enough to let yourself do it.
Another Load of Dirt For Your Brain

Another load of dirt for your brain!
The Accused

I’m not a professional. I only write when I want to. I’m an amateur and insist on staying that way. A professional has a personal commitment to writing. Or a commitment to someone else to write. As for me, I insist on not being a professional. To keep my freedom.
Clarice Lispector

You’re not a renaissance man you’re a cunt.
-Joe McCabe

Don’t it feel good now that it’s over?
Ain’t it just grand now that it’s done?

You shut the door on that house forever
Test came back that idiot boy ain’t your son
It’s Been A Long Time That I Should Be Far From Here

Fuck you that’s why!
Done Deal

That oughta wrap it.  I couldn’t be happier bidding the Year of the Cock adieu, it was rife with murder and lust, progress and scientific rollback and frought with biblical disaster.  Last year gave new credence to the term Fuckall, because, really—what part of the last three hundred sixty-two days don’t you wanna flush, forget, move on from or at least avoid at the party?  Ah but don’t too wise.  Even an apathetic ex-Pat punkrocker like me will get wet in a shitstorm.  Islands and cities are underwater and the media is no longer free.  It’s enough to make you wanna throw up your hands and tell him go ahead, make my day.  Wage war with N. Korea and kiss it all goodbye.  I’m on temp and delivery shift next week if anything else happens and I don’t play dog and pony when it comes to War.  Fear is the first of a many tiered agenda acheiving manufactured consent and I know how they are.  9/11 was the warning sign on the road ahead but even Brother Neil and Osama Bin Laden couldn’t have predicted how far our Rome with cars would fall.  No one could say we weren’t warned but, either way, it’s good elected officials are protected…otherwise heading to the nation’s capital to put Paul Ryan’s head on a stick might be the best way to spend New Year’s, that or burning down the palatial home of Mich McConell but the truth is…they’re all to blame.  I’d do wise to include the electorate of this country—Red hillbillies and Blue establishment shills who played in to bipartisan democracy but then I’d have to believe in it.  We both know I haven’t voted since ‘00 but I’ll gladly go on the record with Brother Marx about smashing the state.  Short of that I’ll be glad to be rid of this year and even gladder to be done with Outrage Culture.

The quotes above are good at making me look smart.  Looking smart is being smart in the hall of mirrors of the New Century, just ask Umar Johnson.  The fact is I have no backing, no advanced studies under my belt or degrees on my wall that could either deny or correlate those fascinating and dreadful nuggets above.  I’d just as soon retire into middle age, write my poetry and play my music, fuck it—we know I ain’t here in mind, may as well get gone in body, GTFO while I can, go somewhere with healthcare and rational women.  This is the end Beautiful Friend and if I don’t take off and hit the road things could get more than a little buggy around here.  My lease is up in March and I’m due to get some tracks to wax with Psalmships in the spring.  The MAMU should be fully assembled by the first week of ‘18 and just in time to get my performance at Metaphorically Challenged on film.  The website is chugging along.  My biggest inspiration in these end days is getting off social media.  At the very least saying goodbye to Outrage Culture and the Shock Politic.  Who am I kidding, it’d be great to say goodbye to the Oligarchy while I’m at it, and this 200-year old slaveship of Capitalocracy.  I’m straight edge, sober and completely out of my mind.  I’ve got some habits, talents for hire or things I’m going to have to support for the rest of my life.  The Arts are my revolution.  I don’t care about your cause.  I don’t watch the news so why do I still read it on Facebook and Vox and Medium?

Lastly, I am proud to announce the release of Take to the Territory, my 4th full-length collection of poetry and prose, on Yellow Lark Press.  I  hit a snag in the production schedule and there’s no one to blame except me.  That makes me feel guilty if I haven’t lived up to my artistic goals, which brings me to the finest and most efficient fuel of my 20+ year career thus far:  self hatred (it really works, Good Reader, though I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone without the brutish and stubborn constitution of an Irish Italian-American from Hostile City)  AND you, Good Reader.  It’s always been about you.  My announcement of the book’s release is enough to get us through and back on the horn with the ABAC to get this rig the fuck unwound.

May the Year of the Dog bring you great fortune and happiness. See you next year motherfucker.

 

 

DRAG ME AWAY

In Love, Performance, Spoken Word on November 16, 2017 at 2:26 pm

 

Recorded live at Brewerytown Beats in Philadelphia on October 25, 2017.  Bevan McShea and Charlie O’Hay were also featured.

Don Bajema’s Hero

In American History, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Don Bajema, Football, War, Writing, writing about writing, youth on November 7, 2017 at 8:39 am

The following interview first appeared in Philadelphia Stories in 2013.

Great writing has heart.  It really is that simple, although it’s not easy.   Former world class athlete Don Bajema presents a baby boom generation that is wide-eyed and innocent.  His self-styled anti-hero Eddie Burnett is taken to the horrible edge of things-but Bajema stops there, allowing the reader to bear witness and Burnett to make up his own mind.  Winged Shoes and a Shield (released last fall through City Lights Booksellers) follows the track and field star-cum-dropout’s trajectory through diaphanous rites of adulthood, dysfunctional family life, drug and spousal abuse and the terrible reality of American racism-all under the specter of the draft for the Vietnam war. Bajema’s take on the dire nature of our National character during sunrise in America is crushing, but there is always a choice offered in his work.  His hero strives to remain beautifully awake. Don Bajema’s hero has heart.

I’m struck by the innocence of some of your character (s) and point(s) of view.  Their attitudes and perceptions seem to be from a more innocent time, almost like the adolescent idealism that was somehow forgotten in the generations following baby boomers, after what I would call “Sunrise in America”.  
I think I’ve done all I can to deliberately retain innocence and an adolescent idealism in my life and work. Trauma fixes personalities in time and place and from ages thirteen to twenty I saw that generation I write about, a perspective I will forever view the world from…as the Kennedys were murdered, King, X, I saw riots, burned cities, dogs set on kids, National Guardsmen open up on peaceful protesters, I watched our military annihilate hundreds of thousands in a country of farming peasants, commit massacres of villages and napalm children running naked in dirt roads. Then I was told Vietnam was our tragedy, and I watched my generation buy that lie, while I refused to believe it and became ‘unpatriotic’-an epithet I cherish since I am not a patriot. We saw cops billy clubbing hundreds of kids, watched the FBI pull Civil Rights workers out of swampy dams, saw churches bombed. We had grown up in duck and cover drills but saw nothing to alleviate this stupidity and arrogance, wastefulness and corruption in our society. My perspectives are at once innocent and outraged.
I’ve felt sorry for the existence and fate of every generation that followed mine knowing full well that I, and my generation, have failed miserably to realize the glimpse of what it could have been.

What do you think is a fundamental difference between the once-hopeful flower power movement of the 60s and subsequent generations?  Are things more or less dire now? 
I think these are the best of times and the worst of times. I think the 60’s are perceived in error as the ‘flower power’ era. Nobody bought that flower in your hair shit. That’s Wall Street advertising and appropriation. The Beatles were laughing behind ‘all you need is love’. We fought in the streets. Our rebellion was an affront to the police and dangerous as hell in most of the country. These times are worse in that we are at the beginning of ecological collapse, deprivation and constant foreign and domestic war in battlefields from Sandy Hook to the Middle East and back again.

Your perspectives, “at once innocent and outraged”, are very similar to Eddie Burnett’s.
I’m better at busting a lie than telling the truth. I don’t think we can know the truth. The world and our existence is chaos. We do all we can to delude ourselves, personally and through agreed upon delusions like government and the economy, to go forward in an overcrowded and unmanageable zoo. A zoo that is our over populated planet and a circus in which we observe it. Is there hope? Yes, if we just face the fact we are highly complex primates conscious of our own mortality and freaked out by it. We do not have a god, we are not created in superman’s image, science cannot save us and most of our beliefs are ridiculous, especially any ones even remotely religious. But we are a very, very young species and we grow exponentially in intelligence if not in emotional compassion.
Eddie and I in respect to these qualities? Yes, I think they are inseparable. So, the short answer is yes.
The choice to remain “innocent” despite the horror and atrocities of the world, to choose good or to champion the inherent good within our human nature is quite insane, considering what is going on in the world around us.  
It does run contrary to the ‘fight or flight’ concept to champion…that which generates, protects, or provides for love and life…to be kind, to be generous, to be willing to extend these qualities first, in any given situation, is to be regarded or open to suspicion that one is weak, or a sucker.
I used to tell athletes enjoying their newly discovered power, and this is also true ethically and spiritually, that ‘strength gives the option to be kind’ but nobody ever knew wha I was talking about.
It’s our values-as much as one neurosis or another. People want it simplified, and it’s the singular ego that holds sway over their thoughts and actions, especially in a competitive context. Yes, nature appears to be competitive but it’s really a kind of dance. Self interest is important but it shouldn’t be paramount in our psyche. Nice guys finish last and “the meek shall inherit the earth” but to be meek is to be despised. For me, its war or not war, and my choice is not war. Which doesn’t mean if you invade my home with bad intentions I won’t go for it, but-and I have been in various potentially disastrous circumstances, given the chance I’ll opt for kindness every time.
The whole question of any individual and the world is a tale of heroic struggle, and I think a lot about Faulkner’s comment “the only story worth telling is the story of the human heart in conflict with itself”.

The inside look into Eddie Burnett in Winged Shoes and a Shield reveals the troubles of a seemingly well-adjusted athlete, at least you would think he’s well adjusted, a star on the track and field, an operator like his dad, but then you find out his back story, and all is not as rosy as it appears.
Jim you are 100 percent right…Eddie Burnett’s and my own challenges are derived and contorted by being at once too sensitive and too afraid to admit it. Burnett is a winner, celebrated for his athleticism. He is victorious and stoic on the outside but, within, he is both too sensitive and too scared to admit it.

In Too Skinny, Too Small, your latest work, we find an adult, if not grown up, Eddie Burnett as a mega football star in a bloated and self-important NFL.


Too Skinny Too Small was a disappointment as an experiment. I found myself too nauseated by the values of the corporate game and industry of the sport, and the ignorance and appalling lack of compassion and voyeuristic jack-off of the fans, commentators and just about every disgusting value the game has to offer that I bummed out hard on the topic. But I’ll keep writing it to a conclusion. I overwrite when I am unclear of what I want to convey. Basically, I’m predicting the inevitable–on field, nationally televised death that will occur fairly soon.
Too Skinny Too Small is going to make reappearance during the play-offs.
I enjoy writing on Going For The Throat and I like the idea of people being able to read it off of a blog.  I’m not sure where it’s going to go but I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens.

What can you tell us about your writing process? What does a day of writing look like for you? You once said to me, “Never try to please your audience”.


Carmen and I both work and we have two young kids, so I write when I can. Frequently late at night or early in the morning. I used to write listening to music, but lately I haven’t been and find that I write better without it.  
Music, for me, even if I’m only barely aware of it, takes some of what would be in the writing away.
Almost everything in Winged Shoes And a Shield …was written to be read on stage and most of the stories in it were written the day of a show. I found that it gave the work an immediacy. Almost everything in the collection is a ‘one take’ kind of thing, with very little or no re-writing. Rewriting, for me, is a bad thing. I tend to over write, not so much in terms of flowery, self indulgent stuff, but when I re-write I frequently find myself adding a lot of material so that the work is ‘new’ to me. But then it may not necessarily have the impact of the original words first set down on the page. So, for the time being I’ve been convinced, and most of my friends and collaborators almost insist, that I should never rewrite my work. I think my best material comes from writing that is done on the day of a show.
The idea of ‘pleasing your audience’ means that you are writing to an effect rather than just sort of channeling whatever it is that is coming out of you. That does not mean do not be aware of your audience. A writer should be considerate as all hell of the audience-but not necessarily doing anything to please them. What that means is don’t make them work too hard, don’t make them wade through a lot of stuff. So, my best writing addresses the audience as though they were in a club or wherever it is I’m reading. But I never try to please them. I don’t even try to please myself. I just write it and then read it and let the chips fall where they may.
I also read what I’ve written out loud, this reveals the clunkers in the work and I can change them on the spot. So it might be a page and then read it out loud, then go on.

What’s next for you and Eddie Burnett?

Eddie will stare me down as less than the man I was born to be and I’ll try to provide him the words…since he is the universal observer he’ll be around or in anything I ever write.
I’m looking forward to my reading with you on December 11th.

Too Skinny, Too Small by Don Bajema appears serially on Going For The Throat throughout the 2014 NFL Season. To read more visit jimtrainer.wordpress.org.

Just Like October

In austin music scene, death, death, mourning, Jim Trainer, Music, music performance, Performance, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, song, songwriting, true love on October 26, 2017 at 5:21 pm

I can’t even begin to tell how much I love you
I was born to hold you, to look down in your eyes
I was come upon this earth to be right by your side
you’re the one who come out of dream to me, woman
when you sleep you’re curled in some distant heather
it’s windy and wet there, just like October
something deep inside of you that I remember
there are many lives that we have lived together

no don’t get up and try and speak love
God’s pourin’ light down on you from above
if  all I ever really do is love you
then God came down and did this for me
You’re for me

I’ve walked a million burning miles to look at your smiling face
suffered my whole life long just to be healed by your grace
if you ever go away I’m with you
in every breath and word, every motion, every moment
I am yours
no don’t get up and try and speak
it’s late now and this train’s gettin’ up to speed
winding through the heartland into the deep
fertile and green land of a woman and a man
this is real

so don’t get up and try and speak love
God’s pourin’ light down on you from above
if all I ever really do is love you
then God came down and did this for me
You’re for me

Ashen and boot black, I come up the hill
brushing the fresh dirt from my knees
it’s windy and wet here, just like October
this is the end of our lives together
tomorrow there’ll be another sun
come up mighty even though you’re gone
trains whistle cold out into the vacant fronteir of night
without a word from you, without a whisper
I am yours

I am yours

Recorded live on Flaming Arrow Radio with DJ Diane on WKDU, 91.7FM Philadelphia on October 24, 2017.  Jim Trainer performs tomorrow night, in Manayunk, with Psalmships and Cardinal Arms.  For more information please visit here and here

HOSTLE CITY BREAKDOWN

In Philadelphia, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized on October 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

to live and die is human
it’s our lot and fate
in Philly both these things
can happen in a day
I want to push up against someone
and have them shove me right back
I want to feel them standing down and parting
and cursing me at my back
I want to yell out on every corner ayo!
be pulled along to the brink
shrouded by street sages smoking on stoops
beneath centuries of trees
I want to remember why, what I’m cut from
what I’d resort to in a pinch
I want to push back walking
bleeding blue into cement
I want to shake hands with Bobby Lemons
the old Mayor of 10th Street
sip at the Last Drop, 12th&Pine
remembering street poetry and sweat
for years I spoke into mop handles
above an Ethiopian bar
for years I tumbled roaring
rolling rye bottles out of cars
there’s a woman for every season there
a reason every time it broke
you take the tender part and tie it
‘round your neck in a shimmy, yoked
Philly’s the perfect place to lose, get lucky
or walk sideways for a decade
it’s my Irish Italian parents
a perfect foil an utter bane
you figure it out or you get fucked there
or you get fucked when you do
Hostile City might help you win a little
but will laugh at you when you lose
someone’s car alarm is always going off
people are rude and mean
the cops won’t help you, someone will rob you
your reflexes are always sharp and lean
some of my favorite people in the world live there
best friends, loves, family
shame it took some and buried ‘em
but, too, it seems
Hostile City has a way
to rid you of all your enemies.

 

Take to the Territory

In alcoholism, anxiety, art, austin music scene, beat writer, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Charles Bukowski, day job, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, mental health, mid life, middle age, Poetry, poetry submission, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, Spoken Word, straight edge, Submitting, submitting poetry, suicide, the muse, TYPEWRITERS, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on September 14, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Since I started so late, I owe it to myself to continue.
Charles Bukowski’s letter to John Martin

After fourteen years delivering and sorting the U.S. Mail, and at the age of 50 Henry Charles Bukowski began his first novel. John Martin (Black Sparrow Press) saw something in “Hank”, and offered him $100 a month to quit the Post Office and write full time.  Hank started writing at the same exact time every day.  It wasn’t an arbitrary time, but when he would’ve had to clock in to the Post Office–every day for over a decade working a job that was killing him. He finished the aptly titled Post Office in a month.

For many tragic and dull reasons, I don’t have any clear signposts in my life.  No one took me under their wing and no one showed me the way. My Father wasn’t exactly a company man, which I admired, but he worked all the time, which I didn’t.  My relationship with my elders was often toxic–I loathed what they’d become, or they were Christian, and I abhorred my hometown.  I’ve no real world examples of how to live. I got some heroes, though, 3 to be exact.  Of course Hank is one of them, the holy ghost of the trinity.  Bukowski showed me the way.

Life happens to you.  It’ll rattle you senseless.  I don’t consider myself a great writer, but I’m happy with my work.  I’m happy to work, above all, and that simplifies things.  All people like me need is rent and a desk.  We don’t seek more from life.  We whittle our needs down.  We need less and less and therefore have to work less and less hours at the job–until we don’t need anything.  With a lack of social climb and without the flash of material wealth, the world will leave you be.  We work the bare minimum at shit jobs that take the least from us.  We’re not paid to think or feel or consider someone else’s dollar anywhere in the simple hierarchy of walls, food and art.  It’s that simple, and beautiful, if impossible to explain to virtually anybody else.

What’s the sin in being poor?  Chinaski asks in Post Office, when it’s clear all the county can do for his alcoholic girlfriend is let her die.  Being poor can be devastating.  For years I lived one gas bill or dental procedure from total poverty, but it wasn’t that bad.  I probably could’ve called home if it really hit the fan, but–young and dumb and for years, the bar of sustainable catastrophe was constantly raised.  I’ve had months in rooms 5×10 wide.  I’ve lived without a phone or bathroom.  I’ve lived in places that would make family and friends from back home blanch–for $150 a month in an unbeknownst health hazard.  I lowered my rent every year for 5 years living in Philly, only ponying up to $500/month for a huge 1br on Buckingham Place because I came in to some money when my Father died–Life Insurance he had promptly paid all those years working.  God bless him.  After that place I got back to lowering my rent, and did so every year until I finally left Philly (and paying $135 a month for a room at 10th&McKean) for good on New Year’s  Eve 07.

My next move is counter to the artist’s imperative to live way below my means.  Moving across town, taking a roommate and paying $850ABP/month isn’t the same as being an artist full time.  But what the fuck is?  The rent’s steep, if Austin affordable, but it’s a sublet and I’m not locked in to the criminal contract you have to sign to get an apartment in Texas.  I’m quitting my job of the last 5 years with no parlay, as of today I’ve nothing imminent, other than almost through applying for Uber and Instacart.  I’ve some gigs booked, starting tomorrow, which isn’t nothing.  My roster might not be robust but a couple to three hundred dollars is nothing to sneeze at while unemployed, even if all that can be sapped with one phone bill and a car insurance payment.  It could be worse.  It could always be worse.  I could be banging 50 signs into the hard ground on the median of William Cannon for $50.

That was one of my first jobs in Austin, before I resigned to be a writer.  The search for a day gig became a full time enterprise.  I would sometimes work around the clock, get off graveyard and sleep until the afternoon when I’d head out for a promotions or catering gig.  Nothing was guaranteed.  I had to take everything that came my way because of course the money was shit and none of it was steady.  Which was ridiculous, and not what I’d come over 1,600 miles for.  It drove me to drink and write.

The shit hit the fan for this country in the financial crisis of 08, and by the time I came down in May of 09, competition was steeper than it should’ve been for the shit jobs I was applying for. It felt like a whole other level, especially considering I hadn’t worked in almost a year living with Laura.  Looking back, 2-3 months really isn’t that long to be looking for a job and shit eventually turned.  My 7.50/hr job filling book orders at the University COOP parlayed into a full time position at their warehouse on Real&Alexander.  From there I got hired on at the Whip In, and when they laid me off I lived off unemployment compensation for a year after that–until I landed this gig.  Five fucking years later and I’m heading back out into the America.    This morning I started writing this at 8, which is when I’d have to get the old man out of bed.  Something in me knows that as much as I hate the grind, I’ve got to love the real work that much more.  Sleeping in is bullshit.  Perks and the good life.  I’m up against it now, the anxiety is dizzying and I’m immobilized with dread.  I got up anyway, sat down here and got started like I’ve done thousands of times before, 497 times at Going For The Throat alone.  I sat down and got to work.  Like Hank.  What else?

Have Heart on the Hard Road

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, art, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, Buddhism, buddhist, day job, death, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, going for the throat, Henry Rollins, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, Performance, punk rock, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, song, songwriting, straight edge, suicide, travel, travel writing, truth, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on July 27, 2017 at 1:53 pm

You should learn how to feel sad without actually being sad.
-Laurie Anderson’s Buddhist Teacher

Self-editing is humiliating. I didn’t start a blog called Going For The Throat to censor myself. There have been times over the years and I’m sure I’ll be called to do it again, for whatever dumb reason life may deal me at that moment. Admittedly, I’ve steered away from skewering certain individuals because it would’ve only esteemed them. Those come out in the wash, though. It took me a couple years but I was able to call out certain cunts on here who’s name I never would’ve mentioned before. Of course there are professional considerations, but if you’re a dayworker like I am you have very little control or catharsis-I’ve found that biting your tongue on a shitjob only rears in the end. You can abstain from speaking your mind but if some boss deserves it, it’s only a matter of time before your hands are on him in the alley behind the break room. Things have their way of working themselves out. Living in fear is worse than dying which might soudnd idealistic to you but any jerkoff who posts at least 600 words about himself on the world wide web every week isn’t playing with a full deck of practicality to begin with. What that means is if I’m crazy enough to dream it, you know I’m just plain crazy too. Self-editing, or censoring, is bullshit and I only do it if I’m at an impasse. If I’ve stared at the same post, and re-read it enough times to know it by heart, then it’s time to flush it and start anew. This isn’t poetry. At best, Going For the Throat is a gun-I’d only point it at you if I’m shooting to kill.

Greetings from the Hewitt Lake Club, Population 7. It looks like rain on Lily Bay, but it’s looked that way since 9. The sky is turning silver, there’s a low thunder rumbling and a high wind swaying the gingkoes and lone evergreen to the left of the screen porch where I write this self-censored post. Whether it rains or not means little. I’ll be wet by the time I get to the greasy barn and it’d be great to build a fire in the pod. Two days ago I would’ve had a completely different answer, with Ben in Brooklyn and the rain coming down it was just me and Blair sitting around the fire-in our pod, all day long. I was worried my resentments had ruined this trip, but woke up charged, on my day off yesterday, bounding out of bed at 6:30AM and writing over a thousand words about the horrid grind my life has become. Thank Christ that’s over with.

Out on the drive behind the cabin, by the garage where I sing, working on a tune called It’s Been A Long Time That I Should Be Far From Here-I realized something. Music, songs and songwriting, lyrics-these could be the last haven for wonder in these paling years. Fantasy. Myth. What I’ve rued since giving up the life-otherness, lust, change. Of course the fear is that perhaps I only use songs to help me through rough and large transitions. SWAMP EP, for example. I must’ve buried 3 exs alone by the end of The Winner, SWAMP‘s opening track. I resolved some issues I had with my dead Father in So Many Roads, acknowledged that I loved her in Back (I Want You) and laid out LA Telegram and Back In The Game like a dream map of the South, the Rockabilly Night and my new Spring in Austin ever dawning. I’ve penned some tunes since then and unearthed even more. I wrote down the titles to anywhere from 12-15 solid songs, songs that I’ve written that I like…which ain’t bad for someone who thinks he doesn’t write enough songs. So the fear is that, at the end of this ordeal, I’ll have 3 or 4 tunes that have helped me through, but I won’t be closer to my songwriting heroes. I’m sensing a theme here, and just wrote to Compatriot Cole this morning about never realizing what I call the Rollins ideal. Oh well. At least with songwriting it’s easy to keep in mind that it’s good work if you can find it. Songwriting is a different kind of spell-it’s writing and self actualizing but it involves the Gods on an intimate level. As a songwriter you can become anything (or anyone) you want to be. It’s instantaneous and only a fool could ask for more.

When peace comes it’s profound. The blood in my head sinks at the same rate as the sun, and I’ve expereienced dusks here both utterly sublime and completely ordinary. That’s all I ever wanted. I don’t need fireworks. I never wanted Heaven though I guess I settled for Hell. Didn’t I Brother. I never wanted a panacea or a cure all, but that could be depression talking (why bother trying to feel good when it’s such a short ride from the good life to the blues?). Know what I mean Sister? Life is…life. I got a good feeling about leaving this gig even if I only heard back from 3 of the 20 booking emails sent out from the greasy barn last Friday. I wrote another verse for an old tune and revisited one that’s been brimming from the heartlid before 10AM yesterday morning. This tenuous balance, periods of synchronous bliss coupled with torrid maelstroms of anger and irritation, sounds like life to me and of course there’s so much more I could do.

Sorry for the hodge-podge, good Reader. I tried to salvage the high points of my charge and kept the low points of the original missive to myself. No good deed goes unpunished ain’t it though, ’cause now I’m out here in the garage writing this. I flew the screen porch and came out here to wrap this fucking thing. Our pod got too full of good vibes and company, no room for me and my bitterness, which, truth be told is only killing me. Jill just walked by and said I could turn on the light if I wanted to. I told her I’d just suffer in silence and we laughed, this 86 year old Artist and me, hard, because she’s right. I could turn on the light if I wanted to.

Beautiful Friend

In alcoholism, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, journalism, Kevin P.O'Brien, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music journalism, music performance, new journalism, news media, observation, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, police brutality, politics, PROTEST, publishing, punk rock, recovery, self-help, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, straight edge, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga on July 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Let’s focus on the steak, not the peas.

-Minchia

Liberals want our country to be more like Canada. Conservatives want it to be more like Mexico.

-Realist

Raising a kid with medical needs is a very, very steep climb in the best of circumstances, and so when we say Medicaid is like the handholds that you’re using to scale up and get your kids to help-without those, there’s nothing below, there’s no safety net once those supports get pulled out, you just fall off the cliff.
-Robert Howell 

If they were to collaborate they could strangle data access to parts of the internet, it’s not an understatement to say they could influence history.
-Elliot Brown

One need only look closely at such drag queens as Michelle Visage or Violet Chachi on the RuPaul show to suss out the cruel, cold-blooded lizard that lurks behind the eyes of the Illuminati elite.
-Stephenson Billings

What the hell.
-Jared Yates Sexton

I wish I had let go long ago.  Not long after I quit smoking I began to experience a shortness of breath.  I’ve had to teach myself to sing again.  Psalmships’ “Little Bird“, again and again.  Up high in the mountains of Minerva and out here on the blistering plains.  What felt like the broken middle finger on my left hand has moved to the thumb on my right.  If it’s arthritis, then, what the hell?  I should’ve never quit, shoulda kept drinkin’ and womanizin’ and waking up dead in a dead confederate palace, with my pants at Kim’s pool and the aching yellow sun splitting my skull like a shiv, until I could down 400mg and tell her to get…OUT. It’s painfully apparent, these are the end days.  I should’ve never left the life but I wish I’d let go a long time ago.

The stupid truth is the life never helped me let go either.  I was as hung up then as I am now and drugs never worked.  You’re not going to believe me but I could never enjoy myself on drugs because I knew it was only a drug.  How terribly unfun and what a fucking drag, eh Brother?  The closest I came was on mushrooms down at Stone Harbor, on the shore in the dark, with the Reverend and Butch as a storm rolled in. I lost myself that summer but never before and never again.  I’ve kept myself locked tight, fought against it in my 20s but embraced it until now.  I perfected my isolation and my Father’s poker face.  Like him, the world only hurt my feelings and to be obvious was to be played. What the hell? How did this thing rear and turn into a psychoanalytical journey and examination of why I’m no fun but still wishing for the days?

Oh well, if it brings us to the truth then I can live with that.  However we got here, we’re here, and these days I prefer to drink dark coffee with honey, read the news and pretend I’m smoking cigarettes in my mind, like a mid-life Cassavetes and type here in the center of a crumbling palace amidst:  piles of poetry collections, poster-pressed covers, a copy of Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, CDs and receipts and guitar strings, stacks of typed and handwritten poetry-edited in red ink, the trusty NAS plugged in and humming beside and a cold cup of Italian Roast, in the blasting AC in what I thought at one time was the center of the Rock and Roll universe, in one of the most expensive zip codes in the country-the Pearl of the South and the Velvet Rut, Austin Texas Hippie Town U.S.A.

Incidentally, that moniker and euphemism for the good vibes and pretty white girls that grow on trees down here has become outdated.  All the hippies live in Smithville now and I’m outta here, too.  Call it The City of Izods&Boots, or, the Town of Technocrats or simply, Bro Country.  Call ’em the New Rich or Fancy Dog Walkers, call ’em whatever you want because I am outta here.  It’s been a long time that I should be far from here and 5 years since I wrote that elegiac paen to my departure from the barrio.  Facebook says I been on there 8 years today, which makes for an interesting capsule of my time down here-beginning with my very first post, a video of Cory Branan singing “Survivor Blues” and ending with, well, “The End” by The Doors.

I’ve learned a lot.  I’m a different man.  I’m making the seismic changes that come from staying in place.  It was real and it was fun but it wasn’t real fun.  I’m staying on this side of the river but I am getting the fuck out of dodge.  I’ve got 4 gigs booked in the next 2 months and 2 pages of contacts on legal yellow, letter-sized paper.  Work in media suits me.  I don’t mind the world, from a good safe distance, and writing about it transforms it somehow, makes even the horrid and unconscionable worth going through.  I’m a fire walker on here, a hard bitten scoop in the hard lands.  And, lovely and overwrought I bring it on home to you, good Reader, my Friend.

See you in Hyde Park motherfucker.

Eunuch Blues

In alcoholism, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Bevan McShea, Charlie O'Hay, getting old, getting sober, hometown, Jim Trainer, mental health, mid life, middle age, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, solitude, Spoken Word, straight edge on April 20, 2017 at 11:22 am

Recorded live at Brickbat Books, Philadelphia, September 2016.

Catch Jim Trainer speaking in Boston next Wednesday April 26, at the Middle East Corner, with the Reverend Kevin O’Brien, Duncan Wilder Johnson, The Droimlins, and Jim Healy.
8:30PM, $5 advance tickets, $8 day of the show.  Please click here.

Jim Trainer will be speaking and reading from All in the wind, his latest collection of poetry and prose, at Toast Philly on Thursday April 27 with local favorites Charlie O’Hay and Lamont Steptoe.
7PM, Please click here.

Jim Trainer returns to the Mill Street Cantina for a special 90 minute set on Friday April 28.
9PM, Please click here.