Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘south philly’

2/30

In National Poetry Month, Poetry, Writing on April 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm

From the First Row of a Poetry Reading

In Uncategorized on February 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm

“No doubt about it. If you had stayed on the path you were on when we met, you would most certainly be dead by now.”

The girl had a point. My downward spiral during the Never Ending Summer of Evil Kanevil veered dangerously close to the other side of life. So much so that I eventually had to pack up my world entire into a Ryder van, cross St.George’s bridge and ride on down to the slower-lower on New Year’s Eve 2007. There were too many close calls, even for someone born in the Year of the Rabbit, like I was. Too many blank nights and too much Jersey off-roading in the Sentra, too many sad and angry walks of shame home from the Republican in the wee hours with nothing but vengeance on my mind. Philly will only let you push your luck so far before you’re standing on the corner of Passyunk East with a bike lock and a broken nose, no cash and a 20 bag of baking soda.
We were having dinner at Raphael’s when she brought it up. Natalie and me. I remember this part of our conversation well, but little else. The night devolved into too many pale ales at Rembrandt’s and the next day I was on a plane to Houston, so I don’t remember much else, except for our drunken writer’s pact. Aho, it was over the aforementioned too-many pale ales that me and Natalie made our vow. We would publish the blogs we had been holding on to. We would outsmart our shared and most hated writer’s block with a promise to each other to post. This is her end of the deal. Here’s mine.
The reading went off without a hitch and the promotions too. The promotional machinery assembled by me and the publicist cranked out the good stuff in fine gear. I penned a 1,600 word interview with Brother Don Bajema for Philadelphia Stories and attendance at the reading was strong. The film of the reading, done by the good folks at Keystone Pictures, looks great. We’re in the final stages of editing now. But more on all that later…here is great writer Natalie Kelly’s version of events on December 11, 2013.

2013-12-13 22.23.40

a series of moments

jim and maleka

The hum of a fluorescent light fills the silence of a room full of people. The floors are concrete, the ceiling is high. For reasons unknown, no one is speaking. Perhaps the acoustics generate an uncomfortable level of self consciousness. If you were to speak in an environment like this, the words would be absorbed by everyone in the room. That’s kind of the point for a poetry reading but not so much for small talk before the reading begins.

I walk in feeling enthusiastic to see my friend Jim from Austin. People are sitting quietly, waiting for words to be read. I make my way past a legitimate looking piece of filming equipment and whisper hello to Jim. Neither of us are sure why everyone is whispering but our discussion continues at the same volume you would use before funeral services begin.

Jim Trainer and Maleka Fruean are what…

View original post 1,271 more words

Goodbye bravery.

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm
I time every journey 
To bump into you 
Accidentally I
Charm you and tell you
Of the boys I hate
All the girls I hate
All the words I hate
All the clothes I hate
How I'll never be anything I hate
You smile, mention something that you like
How you'd have a happy life
If you did the things you like 
-Franz Ferdinand, The Dark of the Matinee

I come up from the boiler room. She’s turned off all the lights. There are candles burning in every window. The windows are open but the furnace has stopped blasting the room with hot air. She’s left no note. In the kitchen a sole lamplight is glowing above the type and made brighter reflecting off the blank white sheet in the reel.
I sit down. I crank the silver arm of the President XII, advance and return the reel. My hands are black with furnace grease. My breath is musty, wet&cold.  I’m still exhaling cellar air. I start typing. I begin…
…South Philly…by the sign of the cross on a Monday morning. I am overcome with complete and utter sexual exhaustion. I can feel her in the ease of my joints and in the cracked fascia of my arms and legs. I can taste her and the salt of our sweat. Catholic School kids make their way down the cold pavement in twos and threes. Church bells crack the autumn air.  I walk down the steps to the orange line and sink into another dream…
…A dark rainy morning at the shop.  Auggie and his weed.   Spicer cracking wise.  Led Zeppelin and Bush and Live.  Lightning out through the double doors and then thunder booming down the suburban sky.  The nervous feeling in the bowels of a 19-year-old kid, standing there, waiting for the storm to come.  He’s trying not to hope for the day off.  He doesn’t want to jinx it.  But he is hoping for the day off  just the same…
…Up on a high hill above Wheeling.  It’s just him&her and this connection of feeling between them.  She’d never be so old again.  He’d never be less bitter.  He had the rest of his life to wonder about the wound and the opening.  He was 23, wearing wingtips and innocent to his own game.  They pile into the van and bomb their way through Appalachia.  They’re coming home…
Then this, the blurry amalgamation of my youth in three memories.  I keep typing…
…the yard is filling with water.  It’s up to at least 4″ by now and me&my sisters can’t get inside.  The doors are locked and we don’t have our key.  Mom’s Nova’s in the driveway but Dad’s pickup isn’t.  We run around to the backyard and find the rabbit,  floating by the porch drain, dead.  His solid black eyes seeing nothing.  His paws stretched out, waterlogged and useless.
and then…
…He comes in, hulking and quiet.  The silence of the house is weighted.  It hurts.  There is a shame coming from an anger unexpressed.  I look into his room from the hall  and see him sitting with his freckled back to me on the bed.  He is sinking and silent.  Then I see her face,  giant, pursed, as she shuts the door.
this is much later and I’m 14 now…
…we’re at Dunkin Donuts smoking and drinking coffee before school.  We’re late for homeroom  but we’d make first period and slide right in.  At 8:20am we get up, slap 1$ bills and quarters down and make our way out into the working class morning.  We walk down the length of the counter.  I’m ready to explain to anyone in my way that what I’m doing is my own goddamn business and if they don’t like it then they’ll have a big fucking problem on their hands and a fight they will not win…
It’s the bravest I ever remember being, then this…
…the last day of 9th grade at Upper Darby High.  Someone’s playing I’ll Stop The World in the parking lot.  She’s coming out from the stands toward me.  The sunlight catches her hair, her legs, her eyes.
She’s incredible, gorgeous as always but not so much the cheerleader anymore.  There’s something softer in her eyes and sad.  Her movements have an openess to them now and she’s moving toward me with the unmistakable language of her budding sexuality.  I want to tell her I want her, that I’d stop the world and walk away with her, across the parking lot and across the street from school, through the cemetery and into summer forever.  See you next year, I say instead, and walk away.    I don’t find out til the beginning of sophomore year.  Her father died that day, in the parking lot, when I walked away with more conformity than the lot of them rallying  in the stands behind me and yelling into the hot open air.  Goodbye bravery.  

I rip the sheet from the reel and sit there in front of the President XII.  Goodbye bravery, hello Blues.

This Perfect Machine

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I started this journal when I lived in South Philly.  I called it Cream&Sugar.  We lived across the street from Bobby Lemons’ shop.  He sold groceries, Christmas trees and coffee.  Plenty of cream plenty of sugar.

We weren’t deep South Philly. We were thankfully far from the stadium, far from that once cruel cohabitation of Italian immigrants and oil refineries.  We were at 10th&McKean.

Me and my roommates moved to South Philly when the honeymoon on Antique Row was over.  I was heartbroke and hellbent and we all suffered.  I took my shots and now I got the Philly in me.  I’d rather have the Philly in me than be in Philly that terrible summer with a Nissan Sentra and a bottle of Xanax.

It was the Year of the Cock and I’d fell out of love.  Me and Evil Kanevil couldn’t quite get back in the saddle.  He couldn’t make that ride on a cold October day in MN and I took my final ride to the slower-lower on New Years Eve 07.

The right people payed.  We all payed.  Those guidos from Ocean City who broke my nose are up a foul river from the good life.  That fucking woman got back together with her football player husband like nothing had happened.  2 out of 3 of those catering companies went under and we’re still waiting on the third.

Philly’s got a dirtiness to it that is weird and strange.  There are plenty of vacant lots and cold shells of warehouses for someone to get lost in and never be heard from again.   Just ask the Franklin Slasher or Gary Heidnik.

I was riding high between addiction and madness.  Even when I was out of my balloons I was lucid.  There is a  difference between lucid and clear but neither is what you want when you’re living in Philly.  It was paranoia theatre at its finest and most certainly mutually assured destruction.

I live in Austin now.  It was 80degrees on January 31.  I go down to the bario store to get my coffee.  Plenty of cream plenty of sugar.

Halloween, West Philly 1999

Halloween, West Philly 1999