Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘pisces’

Won’t You Celebrate With Me?

In activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, anxiety, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, birthdays, blogging, blues, day job, depression, getting old, getting sober, hometown, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music performance, new journalism, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, therapy, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga, youth on March 2, 2017 at 4:12 pm

…this way or no way, you know I’ll be free…
-David Bowie

In 92 hours I’ll be 42 years old. That sounds heaps better than I could’ve ever imagined in the angry, useless days of my youth. I’d been pushing it hard until 30. I didn’t think I’d make it, which was a perfectly dumb and tragic thing for a young punkrocker like me to say. The reality was I didn’t want to make it, but to say I wasn’t afraid of dying is only half true. I was obsessed with it, caught up in its vicious thrall, and those were the days. With a profound and fortunate bit of sorcery I had somehow sublimated my utter fear of death with growing up to be anything like my old man.  So on my 25th birthday I began celebrating my birthday properly-I celebrated myself. If I wasn’t doing anything to get closer to my artistic ideals for 364 days of the year, then I would deliberately do something to further that end on March 6, every year until I died.
On my 25th birthday I strung up my old bass.  It was a small gesture that eventually brought music back to the fore, as I’d been concentrating all my efforts on spoken word ever since I failed my audition for the University of the Arts in the Fall of ’94. I couldn’t have known the importance of planting that seed but many birthdays to come were celebrated by playing a show. I bought myself a 1969 Gretsch Single Anniversary Archtop, and switched from playing upright bass to being at the front of the stage, singing and belting ’em out for years in Philly, until I pulled stakes and followed that high, lonesome sound to Texas. The pendulum swung back to poetry and spoken word with the publication of Farewell to Armor, but the healthier I get the more I feel the need to get back up under the hot lights and scream my fucking head off in a post-punk or junkrock outfit. Getting healthy took me out the birthday game.  My 40th only found me circling the chimneya outback with a young redhead in knee highs, smoking all my Marlboros ’cause I didn’t want to wake up a smoker.

I’m back in the birthday game, mon ami, and I’m going full throttle into the Arts and doing what I love. I’ve got the resources and, after years of going without, I know what I need to get by. As much as I loathed another day on the planet, let alone aging another year back on the too-small, working class streets of Philadelphia, I couldn’t be more excited about being 50, and that’s because it’s 8 years from now-8 years tightening the screw and devoting more and more of my life to Art. It’s incredibly strange and ironic that I’m swinging upward as the world begins to really roil and spin, darkly and further out from our beautiful potential. Far be it from me to ignore what’s going on out there on the street, I must be steady and find a way to affect and interact with the people that I love. We both know it’s fucked out there. My point is, it’s been fucked in here, for as long as I can remember, but now I can feel something resurrect, and I ain’t stopping but considering my health and sanity and what I can give to those in need. There’s a war raging out there that never had anything to do with me. I know that these days it’s probably acceptable to fault me for that attitude. But concentrating on my community is the only way I know to get higher. The rest, it seems, is just furor and hyperbole, diverting us from the heart of the matter. For my 42nd birthday I’ll be doing me and I is another.

It’s never been more important to be punk rock then now, Brothers and Sisters. We are all we have. Let us do work.

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

by Lucille Clifton

Grim Jim’s Last Ride

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2014 at 9:33 am

I shoulda known. I’d had more fun in 3 hours with them than I’d had the whole Fall. What a bleak time, the Fall. Bitter yellow months chomping fistfuls of black time and smoking triple 5s. Not the best basis for comparison perhaps, but this night was special.

We were at Gusto, 48th&Burnet in Hippie Town. We decided to get another bottle of wine. We drank that one much quicker and then dinner was over. We were having tea up in the high rooms when Rach asked me to go out with her for some cold beers in the midnight w/Southern et al. We trekked over to Gourmand’s and waded through the thick bario night to get there. Once out front, some dipshit was drunk and Alex and another broad discussed how he had just texted her looking for a hookup but-aho, here was out front the bar, shithoused and stupid and talking to her. We went in. I ordered a water and stood there at the end of the bar with my hood up, glowering. I observed the crowd dynamic and theatrics sullenly. Then I ordered a beer. I shoulda known. Years of alcohol abuse have rendered me curiously sensitive to the stuff. That’s the thing about alcoholism. You’d think with your increased tolerance you’d be able to handle it better. The truth is you handle drunkenness the same way every time. That is to say, you don’t handle it at all. That’s what being drunk is. But with the increased amount of time and larger quantities it takes to get there, you’ve got more time to think about it and reason it out. But even the most seasoned alcoholic like me will find his senses muted, his sensibilities non-existent and a burning desire for confrontation, or at least something to grab hold of to stop the Ferris wheel from a-spinning.
I’ll spare you the details of what happened next and just get right to the point. After 2 hours of watching young people stab each other with conversation, rope you into one and suddenly ask you to step outside to smoke about it-I was only getting angrier and angrier. Shit. It’s nobody’s fault. Being angry with the misguided and unkempt and rude-the young-is like expecting to win a bullfight because you’re vegetarian. How’s that for a mixed metaphor? What do you want from me? I was drunk. And after all these years of doing it the hardway my emotional switchboard is all-wet and shorted out. You know what my problem is? Anger. Aho. Been my drug of choice for as long as I can remember, even when I was a straight-edge skinhead. Well I guess I always smoked but anyway, yeah. Fuck it. At least that’s what all systems read when I get shitty. Which I will get. No doubt about it. Alcohol is Jim Trainer’s rainstorm in a bottle. Instant black cloud. Now, get me drunk in a dirty shithole east side with a bunch of folks who don’t know they’re gonna die and it’s a recipe for catastrophe. So anyway. I almost came to fisticuffs with the lesbian who tends bar there and I’m not looking forward to seeing her again. I don’t do well with alpha males. I mean, I get it, you’re a lesbian-but, you’re still a woman, right? The fairer sex? The goddess? I’ve been wearing white tees and jeans longer than you’ve been alive honey. And I wasn’t hitting on your girlfriend. My comments to her were some of the realest conversation I’d had all night. I didn’t realize she was so shithoused but after standing at the end of the bar for 2 hours I shoulda known. When I finally opened my mouth and said what was really on my mind, and in fact it was the only positive sentiment I had come up with all night long and not only that but found the need to communicate it, and then you come up “swoll” as you say, pointing your 20-year-old finger in my face and judge ME? Well. Here’s the thing, honey. Alpha males are a conception of the losers. You know what tough guys do? They throwdown. They don’t talk about it. Would I react that way given a choice today? Probably not.
What would be your answer to that question?
Actually it doesn’t matter because by that point, my friends were thinking that I had an anger problem and I just needed to be dropped off and put to bed and THEY WERE RIGHT. I was up past my bedtime and I’ve been hit too hard, I’ve seen too much. You don’t grow up in Hostile City and reach the age of 40 without more than a few forgone conclusions about your own behavior when alcohol takes the place of sleep, let alone in a dirty ill-lighted room full of 20-somethings after midnight on the East Side.
Fuck it. Sorry doll. I am. I think you should take a look at yourself a little more closely but, that’s me. Live your life. I hope that if we do meet again it’s peaceful and we can reach an understanding. But it won’t be after 10pm. And that goes for the lot of yas. It’s the Year of the Pumpkin and March 1st was Piscean Independence Day. No more bullshit for this old soldier. And no more a whole lot of other shit, too.

The final and lasting danger is this contentment. All my heroes are dead. I’m going dark, while simultaneously going suit-and-tie guy with the career. I may write about my life but that doesn’t mean I have to live it all the time. Or live it down. Or give authenticity to my writer’s voice by drinking like Henry Miller and fighting like Papa. What a fool I have been. And I don’t mind apologizing for it, either. If I did I’d still be a fool. 39 will be a banner year. 2014 is the Year of Jim Trainer. The Year of Jenn Spransy. The Year of Maureen Ferguson and the Year of the Pumpkin. No more deep-cuts in the lust-smothered night, no more rueing of the sunlight and no more bitters for the ingenuine. I’ve rivalled the blues, and trouble cain’t touch this. After all these years I’m like a lion tamer, and my patience-once ever lacking-has found a new fount. I know what I’ve come for. I will have no use for my own heart when I’m dead and gone. I ain’t takin’ it wit me. I’ll be leaving it here, with all of you and hopefully years before I check out.

we may have caved to tempests of lust
and hid, shut out behind walls of resentment

-Ring The Bells

Thank you for joining me in this version of death we call life. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of work to do.
Signing off, this is the end of our broadcast day. This has been Grim Jim’s Last Ride.

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