Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘Steve James’

The Coarse Grind, New Journalism

In Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, day job, getting old, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, music journalism, new journalism, news media, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, RADIO, Submitting, submitting poetry, TYPEWRITERS, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on January 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm

What follows is the first installment of The Coarse Grind, my column that was never published.  A local zine and arts collective had asked me to write 3 drafts under 600 words.  I ended up writing 5 of them and sent the first 3 to the editor.  We had a correspondence then, that included the phrase “curating for millennials”, but ended with me accusing her of being “disingenuous” and “silly”.  I can see her point now, almost 3 years later, while reading these over.  I don’t know who could be expected to read anything as long as 600 words as even major news outlets race to publish first, and edit and redact later.  Besides the horror in realizing how long ago this was, I’m emboldened reading these, in full faith that you, good reader, will read 600 words every week, even if it’s the same old story.  That’s the boon and bane of the blogging business-you’ll never run out of material as long as you keep writing about yourself.  Christ.
Stay tuned for the next 2 installments of The Coarse Grind.  

New Journalism

Christmas Eve ’95 I slept in Cromwell Park. I’d been thrown out of my mom’s house for not having health insurance. It needed to happen. And the rest…I suppose. What happened was I fell through about 5 years of daylabor and shitjobs, another 5 as a mad Boehme, 3 on the getting-sober circuit and shit about 3 years working down here, in the Pearl of the South.  What also happened is I decided to be a writer.  I had to be, as clichéd as that might sound.  I was working a string of jobs that were boring the life out of me.  I dealt with it the only way I knew how-with a typewriter and booze.

One of the first things I did when I got here was get a library card. Checked out Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life, a biography of Charles Bukowski by Howard Sounes. It was profound for me to discover the great poet had started writing poetry at the age of 35. I was 34.  Another thing I did when I got down here was pitch to Verbicide Magazine and write blues legend Steve James a letter, to say hello and ask for an interview. Those first months in Austin were a fertile time, days and months planting seeds and business cards. It was like I landed, dropped my bags and said,
“In 3 years I will be a writer.”

Then I got a job.  Then I got laid off.   I stayed on unemployment way past any reasonable amount of time, and fell sadly short of my goal of becoming a writer in 3 years. I had to go back to work.   It was one of many crises of doubt I had experienced, going all the way back to being homeless in my hometown in 1995.  I wanted to be a writer.
I landed a live in gig, in a big yellow mansion inconveniently located off west 6th.  A perfectly annoying backdrop and foil for this phase of my life which I can proudly announce to you is “being a writer”. This is the being a writer period, the being a writer time. Now it always was, I guess, but I didn’t know it then. Neither do you. But I appreciate you reading. It completes me. I feel received. Like radio-a magic jolt to it, an urgent zing to these words coming at you-can’t you feel it?  Right? Wow.
What do I do now that I am a writer? That I’ve cleaned my guns enough to crank out 8-1,200 words, neat and fine, on a whim or otherwise?  That of anything and everything that ever happens I not only have a ticket out of but a ticket into? That’s right, good reader.  I got an inroad to the best game in town and the players? Well shit the players are me&you darling and isn’t that nice?
Now that I’m a writer think I’ll bring it back for you. Tell you how I got here and that I’d like you to join me. In the late night or in the bright morning, I’d like you to join me on the savage road-this is the new stuff-join me in this new media, this new age-this moment. Let’s do some shit. Send out our signal into the hungry land. Let’s send out a song of love or better let’s send ‘em some anger. Let us burn.

Advertisements

LIVING BY THE HIGHWAY

In poem, Poetry, travel, travel writing, Writing on May 7, 2016 at 3:46 pm

the crews haven’t stopped beeping
since April 2012
the city is growing, they’re building their towers
into the sky
tearing the John Falk Library down
and spreading boutiques out into the barrio

if you ask me my problems I’ll tell you few
never had many but a great one and now
at 41 the beast is tamed
I drink decaf in my underwear
in the big leather writer’s chair
despite this city’s prostituting
and New California land grabbing
there’s always a high snap to the air
in Texas in the springtime

there’s a road that blows through here
straight to where Blind Lemon was born
through frontiers of desert
and straight off California into the sea
many great men and women have passed through here
finding for a new road
mixing it up with the fates
putting their hands into the wind
eschewing the doom&dredge of a conscripted life
and bucking against parents&teachers&peers
who were doomed

doomed to lose, doomed to resign
doomed to only live and die
it’s why I’m here, at this outpost in the unproud South
in the savage land

now that the Rottweiler of blues
sleeps a little too soundly at the gate
and sprites of my fancy all blew away
into orange canyons of Colorado and
Saint Jack’s blue&grey California
and as the New Century, The America
builds its towers on my back, steamrolls over
graves of the individualist, the true pioneer

I like living close to the highway
I like to think one day
my road’ll jump up and rope me
Woody&McMurtry&James&Stewart
will lure me, the irresistible molt&call
of the proud highway
the good red road
when they come for me I want to be ready
to take the path with a heart.

 

 

The Best Man

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2011 at 9:47 am

The phone rang while I was waiting for the other side of the pork to brown&glaze. I cranked off the radio. It was her. She was lying in a hot bath and she called to quote Thoreau and ask me when I’m coming.
“Next week, Dandelion.”
She said it ain’t nothing but cold rain and grey up there.
“We’ll make it, baby.” I hung up the phone.
The pork was done. I poured myself a large glass of beer. I shut down the oven and put the meat in the fridge.
The days are short and cold and it’s getting nasty out there.  Yesterday somebody got killed out on Ben White when I was driving to the interview. They had the left lane roped off eastbound and the wreck was twisted on its side. It’s impossibly rigged and fucked-trying to make a living down here just might get you killed.

Won’t be long, Dandelion. Just you and me out on the West Coast again.

I remember running to the store in my Valentine’s day boxers for Pale Ale&Maduros. We had Steve James on the stereo. The wedding was off and the weekend was ours. I drove out in the nicest car I ever owned, paid for by the hours in the basement of Cityzine reviewing countless horrible bands. I remember them telling me that Philly was where it was at and I remember the closeness, that terrible closeness. Someone drilled it into her head she had to marry him or she would die poor. They were all wrong and we had a good run then. Those were mad young days.
Grinding it out on those flathead steel streets ain’t much different than this hustle and shakedown here. I’m blowing 50 bucks on gas interviewing for jobs that pay $9/hr.  She’s filthy rich and living up on some rain-soaked mountain in Multnomah County.  It’s the same old madness but a familiar escape.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

One more interview and I’ll be hopping in a cab and saying so long to Hippie Town.  I hope the cabbie lets me smoke and I hope he knows a better way to the Airport than Ben White.