Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘sobriety’

Got the time?

In alcoholism, anger, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Poetry, publishing, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, Writing on September 15, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Writing about writing can cast me as acrobat, deadbeat romantic, matador, hack journalist, and dayworker. And if you follow, writing about writing is like holding a mirror up to a mirror. There are infinite mes spreading out into the horizon, with just as many typewriters and mugs of steaming black espresso.
-from I MATADOR, I ACROBAT

I told someone I don’t know to go fuck himself on Facebook last week.  And I was accused of watching too much mainstream news.  Commentary is the new activism. Shit’s wonky everywhere and I volley between torrential fury, moderate agitation and the near catatonia of an emotional hangover. None of this is useful when the clock is ticking and somehow I have confused accomplishing what I set out to with the validation of my entire existence. It might sound ridiculous, it certainly feels that way, but forty years hang in the balance and the days hemorrhage past while I’m fucking away what scant time I have in worry and utter disgust at the world.
I just cannot deal, People. And I just cannot deal with people. There is too much to do, time is punching me in the balls. What the fuck was I thinking? Facebook?! The kicker is that I’m by myself most of the time. All alone on social media. How much longer can I devote myself to Art while deflecting the inane distraction and outright pathological detraction of simple minds?

I need to get a grip. I’m called to pray in the only way I know, with Yoga and meditation. Hatred won’t keep me safe. Nothing will. Sometimes I can carry the world, slice through like a Samurai. But these windows are pitifully small. And let’s face it, most of the time I’m mired in personal struggle. I against I. As wont to get in a fight on Facebook as I am to work out an outline with the printer, get 2 letters off every Friday and figure out the basics of InDesign.

The first thing I do when I’ve been shaken from my tree is harbor resentment, cover myself in a quilt of disappointment, grovel over the fact that there’s no net, never was and I’m on my own. Coupled with the fact that I often confuse not being an Artist with the grim assumption that I have failed at life, I missed my chance and I should’ve never left my hometown.

Now that I wrote it out I can see how ridiculous it all sounds. Not to put a silver lining on a pile of shit but my Art still talks to me. Poetry is still telling me things. And this season, without a girl Friday to edit and drink and get lost and end up in bed with, I confront my inner critic. That motherfucker. Laden with Karma and speaking a twisted language of doubt and fear. I’m close to not having a crutch at all, which is all I ever wanted-to get up and face me and really take a swing. And without-booze and sex and hate and anger, I’ve only got me. It’s daunting, but no more than it ever was, and real. That ought to put some voltage into the mess of my mind, shake up my bad bag of disappointment and help me pick up this sad stack of bones, make my way through the junkyard and never look back.

See you on the other side motherfucker.

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The Friend Catcher

In alcoholism, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Correspondence, getting sober, going for the throat, Letter Writing, mental health, Music, music performance, Performance, punk rock, recovery, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, song, songwriting, Spoken Word, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 25, 2015 at 3:21 pm
The number one thing that makes us grow as human beings is pain.
-Damien Echols on spending eighteen years on death row for a crime he did not commit.

Jimbo 🙂  Thanks so much for the letter and poem.  The thought and intention put into it is palpable and exactly what I needed.  I forgot how powerful words can be in this form.  Thanks for reminding me.  I’ll say it made me feel inspired and pheonix-like, ha ha.  I’m going to keep it with me on the road.  I’ll keep you posted too
.
-Brother Chris

Y’all sure know how to make a guy feel loved.  And it’s just like you said you’ve got to be the love you seek.  Which is lofty and idealistic and perfect for an old romantic like me.  And there needs to be a saying for when good shit keeps happening.  Am I right?  I mean, we know the hits keep coming is a good one when the shitstorm is raining down and the mud is rising up.  There’s Kismet, that wink from out in the unknown saying ‘Yass‘ ‘Go Forward’,  or ‘Word’ … I’m not examining this journalistically, but do we not have some colloquialism or turn of phrase for when good fortune continues to arrive?  It just gets better and better?  You kidding me?  That’s a go-to, for me, when the shit’s so bad you gotta attack it with marrow scraping sarcasm.  Ultimately, when you’ve spent the last 25 years battling depression you have the luxury of not feeling bad.  Not ever feeling good, mind you, and when I say not feeling bad I mean not feeling like there are two tons of hot metal slowly pouring down from a white sky of pain and just when you’re numb as a statue, the sun sinks, the heat gives and you’re left like some life-sized figurine, the night air sticky and humid and giving the copper of your flesh a patina of green.  I don’t know the parlance of victory or strength, let alone the unassuming joy in eternity’s sunrise. All I know is I haven’t smiled so much in a very long time, last night, beginning to read all your wonderful comments.  As a recovering depressaholic I’m loathe to hang my hat on any kind of cure-all but it sure is nice when I rediscover and Y’ALL REMIND ME THANK YOU VERY MUCH, what this work is for and exactly what we’re doing here.  With the blog and the everything, what is it, we’re sending out, to other souls like radio, to connect.  Could it be that you, my followers, are all part of my generation?  Does that even fucking matter?  I’ve made connections with folks I never would’ve even met, and I continue to connect with them in profound, life affirming ways.  My letter to Brother Chris, quoted above for example.  Maybe I’ll reprint my initial letter to him some Letter Day down the road when I can’t come up with  even a pastiche of a blog like the last one (let alone a slick 6 or mean 8).  All I wrote to him-all I did-was shine back what he had only been shining out.  I wished him well, in print and earnestly ( I can’t even begin to describe my joy about the power of the written/typed word, so I won’t ).  I wrote him a letter.  Remember those?  Before all of this, ever went down?  Before the Terrible Century, back when rock and roll meant so fucking much and the attention and the girls were only caveats?   We played it like we meant it because we fucking did.  Now that that storm of anger/August has passed like a warhead, and I can walk down west 6th with a little Philly in my step, I’ve caught up on sleep and I can dig my heels in a faceoff with my anger, do work and get back to the grind.  As far as your boundless love and strength, sent to me vis-a-vis Facebook and etc.,  y’all sure know how to make a guy feel loved.  Oh, and I never had a problem with anger as an emotion.  Aho.  It’s just that I’m too old to be missing sleep over it.  My needs in service to the body are many.  In some kind of cosmic joke, my hatred and anger have raged on and only grown ha ha ha but the body is tired and soft.  But also wisdom has been accrued, even all those fuckaround years when I thought it was a curse, I have done nothing if not gotten wise, and I can’t unsee it which of course was the problem…oh christ I’m a riot eh?  From the depths of loathing to the christ like idealism of a poet.  Believe me, I know all about being me.  Which could be a perfect beginning to wisdom, Know Thyself.  And as a superstitious X-depressaholic I’ll play it safe, hedge my bets and say that on my good days I have found a way to put rock and roll into writing.  Songwriting, well, let’s open that can of snakes some other time, eh good reader?  When I say y’all are keeping me alive you have no idea how true it is.  We keepers of the flame, old punkrockers and yogis and wives and laborers.  Oh yeah and the last part, the alive part…with my phasers set to choke the last 2 weeks I had forgotten to be that wisdom.  Alive.

And here for you.
Trainer
Austin, TX

Shards

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

Shrieks from Paradise

In Being A Writer, Being An Artist, BIRDS, blogging, getting sober, going for the throat, mental health, recovery, sober, sobriety, Writing on August 11, 2015 at 10:42 am

Under conditons of peace the warlike man attacks himself.

Oh boy. Quoting Nietzsche now. Smoking cigarettes and drinking black coffee too. This is getting old. I came off the road fresh and ready. I was pounding it to the boards and doing work. But now the grind has caught up with me. My rediscovered superpower, anger, has run its course and I’m spent like a shell casing. Sitting on the roof. Watching the birds. I tried feeding the fuckers but war broke out. The fucking grackle. At first I was amused. He strode up as if he was in tophat and tails saying “I say good sir I do believe.” But then the others flew in and, get this, they station themselves around the booty, stand there and yell out to the others “This is mine. Fuck off.” It got nasty out there and I’ve come to think that survival is war. There is no free lunch at least while others are around and no private joy can last. To further illustrate this point, the crews are up the street, pounding and drilling, erecting towers of greed into the hot sky. Ah, there it is, thee hated drill. You know how many times I’ve been woken up by the sound of drilling rock? Put it to you this way, I’ve been working this gig for over 3 years. Barring my first four months here there has been construction of some kind every fucking day. First it was the turnaround at the corner of 8th&Rio Grande. Then it was the condo, 7, they’re calling it. Then a repave of the turnaround. And now another condo at Nueces. I sometimes think I had more peace living at Oak Run and working as a bartender at the Whip. It was quiet at least and a man could do some reflecting. My life was allot simpler then but maybe I was dying. I’m certainly dying now and the windfall of working in a mansion downtown has become a cold hard reality. Yep. It’s a grind.

I could’ve done allot better with my time, my life and my everything. But I’m only human. And I’ve got a chip on my shoulder the size of Texas. And I can’t take my rest.  I’m bleeding my time for dollars&cents, I work around the clock and my time off is filled with the nerve scraping sound of rock being drilled and backhoes being backed up and the yelled Spanish of the laborers wafting up into the heat and smoke.

I sometimes think I’m ungrateful. That I just need something to complain about. Some thrust, the high drama. But at the end of the day I know this is a grind, like any other, with its trials and bullshit and pitfalls to health and sanity. You know, work. And humans…humans are like jewels. I’m lucky to have you. The others-dumb as rocks. I guess this post is a retort to the last time we spoke. Anger leaves you hungover, too. Sobriety is one answer, and a great one, but there is no cure for life. No remedy. You can be alone in a crowded room, but that’s not always a good thing. It’s not like you can get some work done. Not while folksingers are asking you where they can find a cheeseplate and dudes are swingin they dicks around. Here’s the biggest problem with others-they leave you alone just enough to be in need, but never far enough for you to practice and earn true solitude. True solitude. The chalice. Heh. Now I sound like a Nietzsche quoting misanthrope, which of course I am. Viva la hatred. Got to wrap it, some shit’s going down with the grackle. Look like everybody tryna get a piece of bread.

FROM AN OMELET TO A SHALLOW GRAVE by Charlie O’Hay

In alcoholism, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Charlie O'Hay, getting sober, Jim Trainer, poem, Poetry, recovery, sober, sobriety, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 6, 2015 at 3:56 pm

for Jim Trainer

In the near perfection of a dark house
the refrigerator
that by day once said
“I’m keeping your beer cold”
now says
“I’m humming so you’ll know I’m right
where you left me
and not standing over your bed
about to smash your skull
with frozen peas.”
It is the small assurances
that get one through
night’s long tunnel.
But on the road an orphaned light
in the distance like a stone
through a black mirror may mean
anything
from an omelet to a shallow grave
and half of America between.
So best be packing.

Charles O’Hay is the recipient of a 1995 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship in poetry. His poems have appeared in over 100 literary publications including Gargoyle, South Carolina Review, Brooklyn Review, West Branch, Mudfish, and New York Quarterly.
The author lives with his wife and daughter in eastern Pennsylvania. Far From Luck and Smoking In Elevators, O’Hay’s full-length collections of poetry are out now through Lucky Bat Books.

Universal Love&Hate

In alcoholism, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting sober, going for the throat, Jim Trainer, mental health, recovery, sobriety, Writing on August 3, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Sometimes the silence can be like thunder
sometimes I wanna take to the road and plunder
Could you ever be true?  I think of you
and I wonder

I quit drinking in February. But I made the decision to in November. Like a true alcoholic, I tried to drink on, thought my shrink and everybody else was wrong, I could have a drink every night and be fine.  But after a fated 13-hour bus ride from New Orleans in February (and leaving on dubious terms to begin with), I had 4 drinks at the bougie store, effectively doubling my limit in a matter of days.  Of course it was good to see Brother James and to drink a few with him on a rainy day in the Quarter.  But I couldn’t rely on myself to keep it on a leash.  I loved drinking way too much and besides, all it took was a real bummer of an end to my vacation and a stressful journey back to send me over the limit and into my cups.   I had built up announcing that I quit drinking in my mind.  I would let you know ceremoniously and in a big way.  Oh well.  It’s fitting though, I’ve left the party from the backdoor and now I’m gone.

Sobriety hasn’t softened me or made me copacetic and bland.   The truth is I have uncovered a well spring of anger and hatred once I got out of the hole.  I’m done feeling sorry for myself and now I just hum on a steady flow of hate and agitation.  I feel misunderstood by most people which isn’t anything new, I just don’t have an instant remedy for it.  And my work on the spiritual path has paid off.  For example, at brunch this morning, instead of flipping the table over, I restrained myself and sat awhile in my anger.   The folks I was dining with would have to deal with me being uncomfortable, closing my fists and looking around like something feral and mean.  I didn’t have to hide.  Nor did I want to.
So I’m at odds with the world again.  Just like old times.  8 out of every 10 people I meet and interact with every day won’t get me and, now that I’m not drinking, the ones who could at least humor me while engaged in the pastime of consuming alcohol have moved to the outer circle as well.

…my comrades in arms, I bid you farewell… 
-J.Wheeler

Ultimately, my suspicion about vices has proved to be true.  Without a go to, without a release, I have discovered a fount of anger and agitation.  It’s ok I know what to do with it.  I’m still smoking, which makes even less sense.  I meet awkwardness, boredom and the aforementioned hatred with one burning, a cigarette in hand.  I smoke so much sometimes I need to take a couple ibuprofen for the headache I get from the nicotine.  Triple nickels have made it hard to quit.  On the road, when I was smoking Black Spirits or worse, it was easy to envision myself as a non smoker. I couldn’t wait to quit.  But as soon’s we pulled in and unloaded the Boss, I took the van around the corner to the bougie store for a pack of 555s, State Express, my luxurious damage.  This post is meant to clear things up between you and I.  I’m doing well.  Never better.  My hatreds are still burning, strong.  If I haven’t forgiven you I probably never will but an apology is never a bad idea, unless of course I don’t like you, in which case do us both the favor and just ignore me.  I’ll do the same for you. At the party and at the show.  Just fuck right off.  She knows who I’m talking about.  Don’t you worry good Reader, you and I’s solid. Thick as thieves.  I’m gonna need you in the coming days, when I’m at rope’s end without anything to grab ahold of.  I wish I could ascribe to some kind of universal love.  I wish I could take ‘er easy.  But I never have and probably never will.  “Too intense” is their problem.  I am awakening and it’s painful and that’s fine.  If pain is the price then I’ll gladly pay.  I’ll stay true to myself even if it means I’m the bitter Buddha, at the dark end of the guru spectrum, getting my ya-yas out with an inexhaustible work schedule and rock&roll.  You heard me right, it’s time to get the band back together.  It’s been too long.

I’m sick of love, I wish I’d never met you
I’m sick of love, I’m tryin’ to forget you
-Lovesick
, Bob Dylan

81 south

In blogging, travel, travel writing, Writing on July 30, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Leaving town can make you nostalgic, and whether you’re looking back fondly or no, you won’t be looking back long.  As the highway rises in front of you what can you do but punch it, forward and move-go.  1,483 miles to Austin.  2 and a half days in sleepy Shepherds Town in our belt.  Ben driving, jamming some Dylan covers record, and me beside, writing this.  Boss in the back strapped in with all our gear.  We’re driving into a panorama of large, lush trees.  I feel fine but I could do better.  Been juicing on the road, before coffee and smokes.  Found a Sheetz in Shetown that sells Black Spirits for $6 a pack.  These last 15 days, 10 states and over 2,000 miles have been a trial of sobriety, a wits-end, raw-nerved, white-knuckled keeping it together, and knowing that there’s nothing that can ever help you with the road. It starts to get into your bones and then you’re done for, just surrender, let it pass through you, bore you out and wear you down-exhaust you in the middle of a god foraken nowhere town somewhere in America and only taking solace in the fact that as bad as it gets out here it’s better than being back home. People are dumb everywhere, stuck in their own ruts, trying to survive in a cruel and dark world. But back home they know you. And there’s hardly any wiggle room in their perception of you. The streets sting, there’s nothing new around every corner, it’s familiar and staid. It’s the same out here, you can never outrun your demons-but you can try and exhaustion and frustration and the countless tests of dealing with people in their own arenas of dysfunction will have you reaching for it-sex, booze, cigarettes, sleep (if only you could!). You must bear down. There is no escape. The more I stay sober the more I realize that life is a series of jobs to do. You could fall off the grid for awhile, like I did for a sleazy decade in Philly, but there is a job to do and you might as well saddle up and get to it. Otherwise you’ll lay in bed thinking about it. Don’t do that to yourself. Jam that fucker until you have nothing left. Pack your gear. Load up your shit. Do the miles. The road awaits…you’ll sleep better at night and nothing helps cut through the bullshit more than a clock winding down, the sword of time. You’ll sleep better and your life will be your own.

Thank you for joining me out here in America. See you in Texas motherfucker.