Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘Philip Levine’

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?


In Jim Trainer, Music, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry on April 5, 2015 at 9:15 pm


lit the opium this morning
and black peppery smoke
split the air and swirled around me
like a foolish dream

I thought of Levine
squinting through sulfur flares
glaring at the sun on an
industrial Detroit morning
I could see Molina
sticking his thumb out for the last time
on the bridge out of Hammond

my heroes’ work
delicate, never precious
their scars never for show
they roamed far from Hollywood
and the price was always
too high for Heaven

a poem is the way of living
and a song the way of life
it’s why Molina was always leaving
beneath a blue Chicago moon
why Levine was always looking
for a white sun burning
beyond the towers, through the smoke

The Creative/Destructive Process of the Artist: No Help From Heroes

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2013 at 4:50 pm

The practice of Yoga is the cultivation of the balance between effort and ease.

Greetings. Perhaps you are wondering, where has the author been? I’m proud to report that my absence from this blog had nothing to do with writer’s block. The practice of writing and posting on here has fine-tuned my outrage and given me focus. Even when I’m out of material I’m able to write about that and when all else fails I’ve always got 1-4 blogs in the chamber, ready to be posted. The goal was to develop the skills and habits of a columnist and come up with 800 words every day, neat and fine. I have had vague aspirations to find work as a columnist, to fly it up on their pole and reap the benefits of a syndicated readership. These things have not changed. I am confident that I can deliver on the daily, should I find such gainful employment as a journalist. The practice has paid off. It worked, and it’s been nothing but kinghigh fun and real adventure in the great indoors coming up with these missives to deliver to you all.
As a devoted (and cherished) reader
you’re also aware of my deeper desire to always find ways to serve my Art more efficiently. Ultimately I have been finding for a way to have my Art serve me.
Aho. I am after nothing but the complete realization of the Artist, that one day my work will sustain me. Differing from these catch-as-can hours stolen from the dayshift and the dayjob-on the hustle, I envision a time, perhaps 10 years from now or even tomorrow, when writing is the hustle.
Throughout the 190 posts written over the last 3 years a common thread has emerged and reemerged and it is one of health. Getting better. Getting effective. I envisioned that my health and well-being would ultimately only serve my Art, maybe even add some years to my life, years that I could devote to this grand vision I have been serving for 21 years now.
And what a grand vision it is. The fucking weight of it is, at times, debilitating. Or buggerall, I’m flying so high that even less gets done. Oh well I didn’t intend for this post to be about my insanity. Or maybe I did.

Where I’ve been-the reason Going For The Throat has been relegated to a weekly publishing schedule is because I’ve been taking it easy. Yup. I know, unheard of right? Lazy sod. Wrong motherfucker wrong. Aho. I’ve been taking it easy in the grandest sense. It’s not like I’ve been stuck in bed or chasing tail around town. I’ve been taking a break from the inner critic. The mechanic, the motherfucker behind the wheel who calls the shots and gets shit done around here. He’s such an asshole. I’ve dealt with him a few different ways over the years but mostly I’ve had to face him with one burning. That’s right, smoking. Nicotine motherfucker. But some shit went down in the mansion and my smoke-free method has failed. The approaching heat of summer has forced us to turn on the air, which of course has opened up the vents, which of course just blows smoke throughout the house and into all the high rooms, even into the ones of tenants who don’t smoke and don’t want to smell it in their apartment. It was a condition of my hire here that I could smoke out the window. But every 6 months or so I get a text from Camp, next door:
The cigarette smoke is getting out of hand.
All this is beside the point. Or maybe it is the point. The act of creation is coupled with the act of destruction. I’ve ratcheted my focus with the help of caffeine and nicotine. Then, when it’s all over, I start to drink. My heroes have taught me well. Not only have they left me with a body of work that I can sink my teeth into, they have shown me how to live. My heroes have shown me how to survive, how to get through and squeak through with the smallest bit of light coming in through the impassive slow corners of nights full of fucked, too-small life. I owe it all to them. But they can’t help me get where I’m going.

As for the weight and scope of this grand vision, shit. I’ve been pecking away at it for decades. But this much madness is too much sorrow. And I’m 38 and it’s time to get this show on the road. Simply put, you haven’t heard much from me these last few weeks because I couldn’t smoke while writing and worse, I couldn’t imagine writing without smoking. So I just smoked. Outside. That was me on the porch reading Phillip Levine with a Dunhill in hand. That was me on the roof smoking MCDs with Hater Blockers on.

The thing is, even when I was writing/posting every day and my golden hours of productivity were up and I was drunk in the afternoon or spooned out in the damp night looking for a way to murder the day, the real fuck in the ass is that this method did not serve the vision either. It’s mostly either perpetuated the blues or helped me deal with them. For true.
When you consider that my plans include owning and operating my own printing press, equipping myself with a home studio for podcasts and getting out on the road once or twice a month, lying around like a fuckall Hemingway and whiling away the afternoons won’t cut it. Aho. It just won’t do.

So here we are. Up on the plateau but at an impasse. Finding for a new way to make this dream real, hoping the new ideal and trying to break through, listless and without product-derelict and bored with no help from heroes but-it’s ok. I can see a different way and it makes sense to me now.

From up on the mountain I can suddenly see the chain.