Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘vietnam war’

Leonard Cohen Was Right

In American History, poem, Poetry on February 25, 2015 at 3:19 pm

fell through Kerouac’s backyard in American summertime
clotheslines snapping like the iron curtain
belts humming along with our fathers
up there
bright on the billboard with a Lucky
and a smile
with Vietnam came the hard autumn
and TV and rock&roll
we might not have got fooled again but
the skies stayed grey
to the brink of Nuclear Winter
and to substitute for our phony youth
we took on a phony naivete.
Autumn in America,
with doom and catastrophe
always
someplace else, far away
from where we grovel at the feet
of celebrity
and clog the information super highway,
the single greatest advent and benefit
to the village of humanity,
with nothing but our vanity.
a great man once said
“I detest history.”
and I agree but I’m including you
and telling you
I don’t believe in anything
this poem isn’t political
this brief rundown of American history
incomplete
but what do you want from me?
I just live here.

gftt

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Who Will Judge the Righteous? PT II-Introducing Guest Blogger Don Bajema

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

PT II
violence is all around me
still my city sleeps
fallin through the curtains
I see nations crumble for me
Horizon Lion, Bev Haven

Who will judge the righteous?
It ain’t me, Brother.  That would take tenacity and wisdom.  It would take the strength of conviction, knowing what’s right and not giving an inch.  It would take what those young men do out on the field every day of the NFL Season, but coupled with the guidance of a crack playcoach whose cool&disaffected exterior only masks a keen&calculating hunger for victory.

Novelist, screenwriter, actor and spoken-word performer Don Bajema’s been there.  The former world-class athlete not only played for the St. Louis Cardinals, he’s toured Europe as a spoken word poet beside Henry Rollins and Hubert Selby Jr. no less.
There is a beautiful and searing clarity in his work.
Winged Shoes and a Shield, released last fall, offers a view of Sunrise in America that is both sweeping and penetrating.  Panoramic views of seemingly idyllic youth growing up in the 50s and 60s are presented in tandem with the malignant undercurrent of the draft and specter of the Vietnam War.  It’s not lost on Bajema that many of protagonist Eddie Burnett’s peers were using their young&naïve prowess to destroy villages of civilians in jungles far away from the track and field where Eddie excelled or the beaches south of San Diego where he fell in love.  Or worse, like Eddie many were suffering right here at home at the yoke of violent fathers who never really came home from their War years before, if only as shells of men, bitter and beaten.

I like Bajema’s America.  Maybe even better than the real one.  The man certainly offers a more authentic view of the “greatest country in the world” than the one that’s advertised.  Bajema’s America is at once hopefully idealistic and savagely dark.  It’s no accident that I hear rock&roll when I read Don Bajema.  It has as much to do with his paens to rock music’s innocence&potency as the dangerous world his characters live but dare to be in love in.

Aho.  My respect for him goes beyond acknowledging that he was there for that sublime and golden burgeoning of the middleclass and introduction of leisure such as the NFL to the gen pop.   Brother Don has kept his eyes open.  I’ve written it before, the man has remained beautifully awake.  He’s watched the whole thing come tumbling down.
He’s witnessed the murder of a dream and seen the promise of the hippie generation all but rot while a backlash rolled this country back 30 years and stalled our history sometime around 1989 and somewhere between willfully ignorant and grossly apathetic.

But, what do I know?  I’m just an apathetic ex-Pat postpunkrocker who admittedly sometimes just wants to flush it all down and watch it sink utterly into slothful oblivion.  I know, a bit much, eh Brother?  A little dark.  That’s why people like Don Bajema are important.  He’s wont to check me on Facebook sometimes, when I’m on some nihilistic, anti-Christian anti-American jag.  He never tells me I’m wrong but he doesn’t have to.  I can’t help but hear light and love coming from the voice of a man who’s been there, seen it come down, but somehow still believes.  The man is a true patriot and as close to a hero as you can get these days, when leaders and pundits and the big business of news reporting are all so busy telling you who to hate and what to fear.
Brother Don ain’t goin’ in for that bullshit, brother.  He knows that we won’t get fooled again, even if he needs to remind an unemployed and apolitical journalist like me sometimes.

Stay tuned for the first three chapters of Don Bajema’s newest work Too Skinny, Too Small, to be run serially on Going for the Throat over the next couple of weeks.  Order your copy of Winged Shoes and a Shield from City Lights Booksellers.

wingedshoesandashield

Who Will Judge the Righteous?

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

PT I
F the NFL

Who will judge the righteous?
It’s a fair question.  Am I right, brother?  That is, assuming you’ve measured up.  You pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and you’ve stomped boot to face of any weakerthan on your way up because you’re a winner and you’re not a pussy.  You didn’t piss your pants on the first day of Kindergarten and you drank beer like a Roman around bonfires in High School and you bro-downed at the Frat House while taking advantage of dumb girls in College.  It’s high time you were rewarded for towing the line of American masculinity, so sit back and enjoy the game.
Aho it’s football season.  Now you can really work out, jam those buggers and crush the enemy.  Get lost in bloodlust behind a blue wall of television light, drink and cuss and fight before you head to bed on a Sunday or Monday night, and sleep like a baby throughout autumn in America.  Ah, the game.  With its lines clearly drawn and an identifiable enemy to be conquered and humiliated.  Thinking back over your entire life, there was always the game.  Except for that dark and confusing week in September of 2001 it’s been business as usual, let ‘er rip and shutup honey the game’s on!

I don’t watch football anymore.  The last game of pro ball I watched, or listened to, as it were, was the opening Sunday of the 2011 Season.  It wasn’t the unending misery or sorry excuse for a pathetic career of my hometown Eagles that queered me to the NFL either.  Many of my homeboys have solved that problem by defecting to less dismal and dysfunctional franchises like the NY Giants or the Dallas Cowboys fer fuck’s sake.  Aho

The last time I listened to the game was on the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.  Commercial breaks were flooded with ad agency spun sympathy for the victims and first responders of 9/11.  It appeared that the NFL had sold ad time to the pounding of a tired trope-one that subliminally equates any dissent of American Hegemony with the murder of 3,000 innocent people.  You know, that old patriotism-or-treason trip.  I’m used to it.  But when I’m inundated with it, and it’s crammed down my throat on a Sunday afternoon 10 years later, and after all that time thinking I was safe behind a wide wall of apathy and listening strictly to liberal radio, I get upset.

The NFL and its sponsors were wasting my time with maudlin attempts at blind patriotism and otherwise dancing on graves to hawk wares and further the bullshit business-as-usual of consumerism.  Meanwhile my own country was quagmired in three senseless wars that, as the truth slowly started to slither out just 10 days before, were not moral, righteous, nor even humane.

This schadenfreude of manufactured consent was grossly disrespectful to the dead.  I was suffering from my own loss suffered that same rueful Autumn 10 years ago, and I’d be good and goddamned if I’d let a company like Budweiser or the NFL tell me how to feel about it.  It got worse after commercial break.  Even dumber things were happening down on the green and on TV.  There were cops&horses, flags out the yin-yang and the National Anthem sung by Lady Antebellum fer fuck’s sake.  All under the proud banner of a
customized NFL 9/11 ribbon and the official NFL 9/11 logo.

These were mawkish efforts at best, willful ignorance and an “odious exercise in corporate branding” at least.  It made me sick and I haven’t listened to a game since.

And now, as the war drums start to roll and a poisoned toad like John McCain can be heard on liberal radio and John Kerry drones on and on with some of the best paid men&women in the country on the Senate floor, debating the morality of murder, theirs or ours, and by ours I mean you&me Brother-what could this be but Autumn in America?
I thought we put down that pig of a man with stumps for arms last November.  I thought the only thing neocons would be getting out of the American people this term would be book deals and spots on Fox News at best and a dirty, shameful place in the history of the greatest country in the world besides.
As far as the Dems go, John Kerry must be the biggest shill of a man, perhaps better remembered as a dove not so very long ago, on the Campaign Trail and at the onset of all this madness.
I thought the President of the United States stood for something besides getting the Latino vote and an easy ticket out of Chicago.
I thought I could remain grossly apathetic and I thought my old man would still be around and we might watch a few more cursed Birds games together over cheesesteaks&Marlboros.  I thought we’d always have the game.
I was wrong.
This changes everything.
-Tool

Make no mistake, those who are busy deciding how best to blow another trillion dollars in a war far away will not be the ones fighting it.  You really want to see Congress get along with the Forty-Fourth President of the United States?  You really wanna see some action?
F the NFL, let’s go to war.

And 10 years from now, with your middle class and your Fourth Amendment gone, your highways jammed with suicide bombers and the news clogged with religious nutters stroking a hardon for the end days, you can enjoy another henous instant replay of American history brought to you by the NFL.  You deserve it.  You’re a winner.  Why should I care?  I’m a baseball fan.

whowilljudgetherighteousptI

LET’S GO PHILS!

I will switch channels when the NFL glorifies the military and DHS.
I will gently dissuade anyone thinking of joining the military.
I will not listen to prayers for the military.
I will not listen to the military or war being raised up from the pulpit in church.
I will not talk to people who worship the military.
I will not say the Pledge of Allegiance.
I will not salute the flag.
I will not stand for the National Anthem.
I will not vote.
I will not listen to the voice of any President.
–Switchblade commenting on Truthdig.org