Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘WragsInk’

More New Century Blues

In Activism, activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, anxiety, art, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, death, depression, Don Bajema, employment, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, new journalism, Philadelphia, Poetry, publishing, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, revolution, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, submitting poetry, suicide, the muse, therapy, TYPEWRITERS, working class, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga, youth on August 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm

It’s been a while but I am at a loss.  The world may have gotten in more than it usually does but I haven’t been without inspiration since the early days at Going For The Throat.  Those days the crisis was real.  If I didn’t make it as a writer I’d be stuck behind a bar or working hospice for 9 an hour.  Dressed like a Hershey’s Kiss on campus or test driving the Golfquick LE in Sugarland.  My definition of “making it as a writer” is broad and wild.  I can sit down and come up with 600 words out of thin air, and by keeping it simultaneously all too and not personal at all, the thing will find its legs and walk its way into you.  The archetypes are free to roam.  The fact that I’ve become a character in my own story, coupled with a 10-ton outrage and Black Irish honesty has made Going For the Throat a success.  My definition of success, too, is unorthodox-but if anything is true about my 20+ year career trekking down the savage road of New Journalism, it’s that the medium is the message.  That means that I’ve got my transmitter, just like in my Radio Days, and I can feel you out there listening.  I’m a writer so I write.  I still got a day gig, one that’s winding down, and I’m not 100 on what’s in store.  I’m booking overtime-I hope to play every night and write every day.  That’s been my dream and charge for as long as I can remember.  “Writer’s Block” is less than a memory for me, but waking up today, fully clothed, in a dead confederate palace with all the curtains pulled back-is taking me back to when I knew I had to be a writer, and tried to do every day what I now do every week.  Back then it was 1,200 and pure agony.   I volleyed the imminent avalanche of self-hatred that would fall if I didn’t become a writer with the agony of coming up with 1,200 words every day.  There was beer involved.  And cigarettes you bet.  It worked but it drove me out of my mind.

I’m just as fond of those hardbitten scoop days for what happened away from the desk.  Hopping fences, getting shitty.  Falling through the Night Kitchen, driving down dark barrio streets with my tongue in Gwendolyn’s teeth.  My hangovers were grim back then, nothing compared to what was coming.  It was beginning to get old but I saw no other way to assuage both the loneliness of writing and my utter dread of never becoming a writer-as the money ran out.  I caught some breaks.  I got a good job.  I met Rich Okewole and Najla Assaf.  I found my community.  I was taken in by the good folks at the IPRC in Portland (and taken right back out by Trump’s America but that’s another story for another time).  Perhaps my hesitation to pull the trigger this morning is indicative of the end of those Salad Days as a struggling writer.  The gravy train has left the station.  Of all my myriad blues and woe, movement seems to be the answer.  As proud as I am of what I’ve become, I’m terrifed here at the midway.  Possibilities that ain’t been realized won’t be and I could die at any time.

It’s got me shook.  I quit my gig of 5 years, should be out mid-September or October 1.  I bought a car.  I enrolled in this year’s SWRFA and sent 22 booking emails out into the Live Music Capital of the World, even canvassed West 6th.  Survivors Wisdom tells me it’s time to grind it out, hit the road and stop being such a pussy.  Maybe the truth is that struggle is over.  Not this one, but that one.  The battle with self can conclude.  It’s I and I and a good night’s sleep contending for top place on my list of priorities.  I’ve found myself.  I am who I am.  Cruel time has showed me who I am and branded me with the wisdom that there’s not enough time to change that now.

We both know there would never be enough time but that didn’t stop us before ain’t it though.  We rebelled.  We clanged against the deathhead, came for the Gods and offered them the head of the King.  We bled for it, we had something to prove.  It was useless, futile and fatal and the biggest waste of time.  We squandered our youth.  The youth is gone.  It’s time to get off social media and take to the territory.  Our lives are depending on it.  I got witchy women mixing up the medicine for me and an Ayurvedic scholar laying out a diet plan.  I got Brother Don on the phone and Sister Sarah at the other end of a computer screen.  I’ve got friends like blood, holding vigil and corroborating and besides all this big love-a fear of death that is all too real.  The prime motivator.  The best time to hit it was a long time ago.  The next best time is now.

I better see you on the streets motherfucker.

Charlie Gordon’s Blues

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Buddhism, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, Poetry, police brutality, punk rock, recovery, self-help, sober, sobriety, straight edge, suicide, Writing, writing about writing on August 10, 2017 at 9:07 am

Oh, the work I could get done if my heart weren’t so full of hate.
David Sedaris

I know this is not Church, but get close to the Lord.  The world is getting close to the end.
Little Richard


If it could happen then — in 1980 — then it can happen now.
Scott Crawford

We love your voice.

Rebecca Loebe

I’ve been clean and sober for over 2 years, but you’d never know it looking at my apartment.  It looks like I been riding with the King, drinking with Papa and partying with Guns ‘N Roses.  My kitchen doubles as a place to type, much like Bukowski and Hunter Thompson’s did-but don’t ask.  Boxes full of Farewell to Armor and Anthology Philly (WragsInk), September and All in the wind (Yellow Lark Press) are underneath the War Room table.  The black nest of power cords, USBs and chargers beside it ain’t pretty either, and it’s a fire hazard besides.  Topo Chico bottles and La Croix empties christen the floor like cities and the bedroom at the back of the mansion is sinking in a cyclone of fitted sheets and pillows.  The bathroom is gross and there are piles of clothes everywhere.  “Dude clean” is apt and I’d do well to get a maid-but then I’d have to pre-clean, like Doc does, and her visits would be another deadline for me to stroke out over.  I have no excuse and no one to blame.   It’s a fucking mess in here.

The last 4 days on shift were an epic and colossal laziness, a laziness I needed to recover from, which is why I’m sitting here at 3 in the afternoon sipping cold coffee in my sleeping cargos, writing.  The world is out there and at large.  But I couldn’t get to sleep until after 2 last night, when I finally pulled earbuds from the phone and left Uncle Hank and Mike Patton mid-show.  We’re not even halfway through the summer and I feel fine.  The new lease starts 8/15 and I’ve got a flurry of shit to get cracking on, none of which I started, or even attempted to, since we last spoke.  As per usual, I sat down to write this with the intention to bag my bad blues, let you know what’s bothering me and get right to it.  Besides being beholden to a deadline, and despite all appearances of transparency at GFtT, there’s a lot of shit I’m loathe and even ashamed to admit.  Mostly it’s how I haven’t done much with my time, that I’m depressed and stuck winding down the end days as an indentured servant.  I’ve squandered precious time, that for the last couple years I only sensed running out, winding down, acutely and terrifyingly-fuck.

My other blunders, faults and peccadilloes-I’ve been writing them down, just haven’t posted them here.  They’re in a file called FVK Daily, a draft of a blog post like this one except it goes on and on, listing and enumerating all my dirties and lust, all the venom and corruption that haunts me daily.  Maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing, or the imperative of Natural Selection to never be satisfied-but I feel like I can do it, get it all out and fix what’s wrong with me simply by writing it down, posting it or etching it in ink on the lined pages of a store bought yellow bound pocket spiral I call LIGHTNING/RENDERING.  It’s a tradition that dates back to 1992.  I’d buy a notebook at CVS, its color informing me and setting the tone for our time together-me and my Friend the Journal, who would be with me, help me to manifest, worship and smash my idols, and self-actualize.  It’s the power of writing, good Reader, and poetry.  It’ll never fail to get you out of a jam-that is, your head, and help you to fetishize your pain and cast your journey with pomp and grandiosity.  It’s how we mythologize, and how we make ourselves heroes, how we hang it on the fucking wall, find and take from a sense of place, which in turn gives us a sense of ourselves-our shape and color, our small graces and thunderous foibles, our smokes and charms, our roaring and our lightning, the drums of the arena calling for your head in the black and endless rain.

I don’t have any answers this week.  I don’t have any answers most weeks, and I’m loathe to wrap this in a cute or poignant way.  It’s the end of the world.  Thank you for reading.

 

 

We’re All Mad Here

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on November 12, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Middletown 2007 2

Poetry is striking black against the white sheets.  It’s kicking against the pricks. Declaring war and reigning supreme or singing high, lonesome songs into the wind.

Source: We’re All Mad Here

“This much madness is too much sorrow.”

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Poetry, recovery, self-publishing, sobriety, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on November 4, 2015 at 1:23 pm

…one day I will finally and fully unreel the inner-diatribe of self sabotage. I will have fully documented the script that grinds out any high hopes or goodwill about living like a cigarette butt. And it will be here, online, out in the open for all to see. And we will laugh.
Emotional Physics

come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Lucille Clifton

Aho good reader. I have gone independent. Thanks to Rubina Martini and the Independent Publishing Resource Center, I have 83 poster pressed and perfectly bound, black on yellow copies of September, my latest collection of poetry. Sometime after Farewell to Armor was released, I came to the sad realization that a publisher isn’t required to do anything for you. Assuming it’s in their best interest to sell books is a mistake and grossly overlooks what a publisher actually does for your publication. I owe allot to WragsInk. They came along at just the right time. I just got off a 2 year unemployment jag/drunk. I had to leave the premises, I had a little over two grand in savings, $2,500 of which was owed to Gioconda Parker for Yoga Teacher Training, and I totaled my car on the onramp to Ben White one rainy night that spring. I was in trouble. It was the usual kind, nothing that couldn’t be beat with a few years of hard labor or shifts as a bartender-but my real work would suffer and I’d have to stay underground for the remainder of my 30s. Without the work, the sum total of my life would be a brutal and tiresome slog and succession of day labor, shit jobs and dysfunctional relationships. I’d have to consider all options including the great shame of going back home, with my tail between my legs and not even a college degree for all my trouble. In a last ditch effort I called up Maleka Fruean and booked a reading at Big Blue Marble Bookstore. It was at that reading I would meet Richard Okewole; and begin sifting through over 250 poems to come up with the final manuscript for Farewell (and fall in love with the editor in the process). That book kept me alive. Kept me current. Prompted me to reach out to great writers like Don Bajema and reconnect with great writers like Butch Wolfram. The rest is history except I wasn’t pleased. I wouldn’t be pleased until I published my own book and founded my own press. A heaping 2/3 of that goal has been completed. I’m back from the Pacific Northwest and I’ve got 25 days left to achieve my goal. Looks like another crash course and this time it’s business. But if the past 2 months are any indication of how this’ll go down, I’m gonna have to make some changes. Some much needed ones, long overdue. My psoas is cranked tighter than a clock spring. I’ve been smoking a pack of triple-nickels every day since the summer. I’ve got big ideas but most of the time I just sit in their thrall, daydreaming and smoking on the roof. I understand the importance of rest. And I know for sure I’m gonna need a partner in crime. It’s high time for me to finish my teacher training and get back on the path of health and happiness. We both know about the dirty decades I spent, living with my Art above all else. My goals seared through romance and contentment. My focus narrowed to the barrel of a gun. I was never sure if I could make it but was certain I would die if I didn’t. It’s time for some integration, some inclusion, something other than the madness of a dayworking poet, at odds against the fucking world. I quit drinking. And I can’t really see a reason to go back to that lifestyle. “No-chance” was a great myth.  It fueled me on but it’s just a myth.   As it is I feel like my days are squandered in a retroactive doubt, which is another blog post entirely.

It’s time to finish what I started. I’ve pulled myself up and out of the ashtray. The struggle to become an aritst is over. Now is this surrendering to being one. To go forth into this world I’ve made. The dream cracked wide. My chosen destiny.  

stick with me baby, anyhow
things should start to get interesting
right about now
-Bob Dylan, Mississippi

Join me.
Trainer

mon vieil ami

In Being A Writer, Jim Trainer, Poetry, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on December 11, 2014 at 3:14 pm

I broke down and bought a pack.  Smoked one on the roof in the cold.  I thought of her and her California.  Missed her like I often do.  It was the end of a blue day.  At the end of a blue year.  Nothing out of the ordinary for me.

I’d found a way to own my blues.  They publish it, this publishing house.  Back in my hometown.  I could write about bullfighters tonight, or do my “fiction” about heartbreak.  But there’s no magic left in it and nothing miraculous about the arena anymore.

There was a time.  When as matador I could take it on.  Sit behind the President XII and the bottle and work it out.  But you get up.  And you get over.  Maybe look back longingly over the black canyons of Major Depressive Disorder.

I spent allot of time down there.  With some true companions.  They did what they could for me and I’ll never forget it.  There was the other kind, too.  Who kept a boot to it, their faces strangely masked.  The vain and the cruel, their love was a false love.  This ain’t about them. Their summer and their fun.

We’re heading into winter and the colder climes will strip the rest away.  Leaves and petals shorn, cleaved and cut down from their pale once-coveted sun.  The air out here is clean.  And the sky is clear.

I come in off the roof.  There’s a white page in the type.  I sit down, write

 Goodbye my old friend.  Au revoir.  I’ve no more use for you.  There isn’t anything to fight against anymore.  And everything to fight for.  

Tomorrow her black Mercedes will cut like a bullet through that tabernacle of trees.  Ginkgoes and high oaks, a bony penumbra of branches in the crystalline sky above us as we drive.  We’ll snake around the museum and she’ll drop me at the station.  I’ll kiss goodbye her sanguineous lips, her green eyes.  To my lips I’ll hold her gloved hand.  Then I’ll sink into the tunnel and be gone.

Twenty years on the outside entering Crescent City.  Summer peeling offa me; their summer, their fun.  Winter in New Orleans.  Christmas in the Quarter.  City mes amis it’s been too long.  There isn’t anything to fight against anymore.  And everything to fight for.

au revoir

Farewell to Armor Reviewed by Butch Hamaday

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Farewell to Armor exposes an earned beauty, present in all things, transcending muted and lost love, isolation, unflinching introspection and long days put in at pay and wage jobs. The 56 poems in the collection leave the theatrics behind. Shedding artifice and armor, Trainer takes the reader with him down bad roads of loneliness and points to a promised land of solitude. The celebration of survival is a strong theme throughout Farewell to Armor, but the collection also finds Trainer quietly lamenting what his survival has cost him.
Through a series of heartbreak and a string of mind-numbing day jobs, Trainer finds that in shielding his heart from the world he has hidden it from himself. “Don’t ever stop fighting,” he implores, perhaps suggesting that his real struggle is within, that only by revealing himself to the world can he reclaim his heart.

-Butch Hamaday, Norwester

Jim Trainer will read  from his latest work at a very special night of poetry and spoken word, presented by the Moonstone Arts Center, with Don Bajema and Maleka Fruean, at the Brandywine Workshop 728 S. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19146 on Wednesday December 11 at 7pm.  For more information check out the events page on Facebook.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm

CONTACT: Jim Trainer: 512-203-6288, jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com

Austin Poet and Singer/Songwriter Jim Trainer Reads From His Full Length Poetry Collection

I don’t know why
but
between trouble&the Blues
we’re expected to function this way
some small window
this
some real gamble
this.
we may have
our
day in the sun
and
we may ride high
atop
some fearless Nights
but
we will have to come back down
and
we will have to hash it out
here
between trouble&the Blues.

-from between trouble&the Blues by Jim Trainer

June 10, 2013, Philadelphia, PA: Jim Trainer will read from his debut poetry collection, Farewell to Armor, on June 27, 2013, at Mugshots (
1925 Fairmount Avenue
 19130). The reading will also feature American Book Award winning poet Lamont Steptoe and visual artist, singer/songwriter and poet Bevan McShea (Pheonix Veil).

Jim Trainer is a communicator. Growing up in the hardcore punk scene of the early ’90s taught him everything he needed to know about real work. Trainer put in the work, playing a vivid mix of blues/folk music around venues up and down the east coast, across the country, and many, many Philadelphia bars, house concerts, and coffee shops. It gained him a following, becoming known for his intense style that rode the artistic fine balance of romantic longing and unexpected social commentary. Trainer also read his poetry out extensively, and one of the readings led to his first full-length poetry book, Farewell to Armor, published by local press WragsInk.

Trainer took inspiration from a Bukowski biography, learning that the great poet didn’t start writing until he was 35. That’s when he really got serious about getting the words down, on a President XII manual typewriter he bought for $17. “I devoted myself to the simple line,” says Trainer, who now resides in Austin, Texas, and plays a regular rotation of music and poetry there. “I remember mornings coming off a graveyard shift, just beat-to-hell tired, pulling into the Shell, getting a quart of beer and heading home where I’d type and drink into the 8-9-10 a.m. hours. Looking back, I think I was forging a new language for myself. I had to get those lines down simple, and quick, because I was working three jobs. It was my only release. Writing has always been a means of survival for me.”

He’s carried the torch for independent media, broadcasting as one of the early voices of Radio Volta 88.1FM while writing for the Philadelphia IMC’s wire in the early ’00s. He currently serves as contributor, editor and curator of Going For The Throat, a semi-daily publication of cynicism, outrage, correspondence and romance.

Philadelphia artist and musician Bevan McShea has been writing poems since childhood. He began performing spoken word poetry as Lightborn after the international success of two underground hip hop albums. Freestyle and a capella versions of the songs live on stage became more appealing than the lyrics over beats, due to the focus on the subject matter, and after a successful feature role at NuYorican Poets Cafe,  Bevan shifted his writing style to fit the spoken word format.

Lamont Steptoe is a poet, activist, Vietnam Veteran, photographer and founder/publisher of Whirlwind Press. He is the author of ten books of poetry. He was awarded the Life-time Achievement Award by the Kuntu Writers Workshop from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Literary Fellowship in 1996 and has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Steptoe was awarded the American Book Award in 2005. In 2004, rapper Mos Def, opened the Def Poetry Jam program on HBO with a poem from Mad Minute. He has collaborated with Sonia Sanchez, Allen Ginsburg, Ishmael Reed, Margaret Walker Alexander, and Sam Allen.

Promotional copies and book samples available upon request. For more information about the reading, or Farewell to Armor, please contact Jim Trainer: 512-203-6288, jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com

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Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#11: Hometown Love

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Jim,

I would love to include your poems “desde el escritoire con amor” and “I Feel Alright in the P.M.” in the next anthology. Congrats! I think both will make excellent additions to our book.

Attached is the agreement for you to print/sign/scan/email to me. Thanks for being a part of the next antho.

Den
anthology-philly-image

Thank You for Joining Me for National Poetry Month

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Now this reminds me of my radio days
When I’d take the mic and leave rappers amazed
No matter how large, whether gold or platinum
I take my microphone and point the shit right at them
-Craig G, Going For The Throat

Aho.
I am featured in Apiary Magazine discussing one of my favorite poems in honor of National Poetry Month.  A poem of mine is featured in the 17th Annual Poetry Ink Anthology published by the Moonstone Arts Center.  Great writer Natalie Kelly is featuring My Beautiful Day, a poem of mine, on her awesome blog today.  I’ve submitted three poems to WragsInk for their next Anthology and we’re almost sold out of the second pressing of Farewell to Armor.  National Poetry Month has been good to me.

Aho.  30 days&nights drunk on Ale and screaming along with Randy Newman.  Feeling like I could live forever. A month spent scaling the highwire nights, burning down cigarillos and fortifying myself in a temple of smoke, polishing precious jewels of rage and humming haunted hymns onto the page.  I’ve still got a fucking brick of work to sort through before the Terrible Summer and I’ve got to come up with 3 poems to submit to the Philadelphia Poets Journal before days end.
I’ve manifested a life that serves the creation of Art.  I’ve staked this peak and now I can see the chain.  The slipshod condition of my inner Life and the mess of my heart were the price I paid.  Now that it ain’t all War anymore I turn my attention inward.  I look for peace within and I take the longview.

I don’t always take the time to tell you how much you mean to me.  How your support of me&my work is the blood and the road, the rope and the anchor.
May you know peace.  True&Lasting.  And if you’re called to fight I’ve always got your back.

Go forth and rebel.
-Blair Fox

See you on the streets motherfucker.
Jim Trainer

WORK!

Getting Used To Nothing Being Wrong

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Indian Summer. Windy&warm. Black September giving sway. Moving into the mournful season but everything is OK.
Bad blues finally broke. I’m cleaning up the apartment, apologizing to friends and I feel like I’ve been let out on parole.
Had a sexy&smart editor come through. She blew through here and we blew through my stack of words until we had a tight little package we could send off to the publisher.
Heard from WragsInk, “68 pages of Real…” and it feels good. It’s what I’ve wanted, for 20 years, and now it’s here. I had a vision when I first touched boot to Texan ground, back when I was on the night shift and the day shift and living in a $500 flat off Burnet. Seems like so long ago and that I was such a young man. Which is funny considering how I thought of myself back then and all the times in my life I thought I blew it for that matter. I blew Hostile City and landed here. Life goes on. Life always goes on. Then it ends.
Got Winged Shoes and a Shield in the mails on Friday. Burned through it in two days. The man’s writing is brilliant. Makes you wonder if you haven’t been sleeping. Or it could just reaffirm what you always knew about:
-this country
-death
-adolescence
-rock&roll
-culture, war and war culture
It’s important to be awake. And its great to have allies. You know who you are.
Tune in here for a guest blog from Don Bajema. He’ll be posting one from out on the road of his Spoken Word Tour. Catch a reading if you’re up on the East Coast.

Snakes Will Eat You designer, singer/songwriter of Psalm Ships and good friend Joshua Britton is blowing through Hippie Town tonight. He changed his mind about El Reno, OK this morning and it’ll be good to see him. It’s been awhile.

So hold on, Brother. You got this. We haven’t come this far down the bad road to close our eyes or turn any away from the Temple door. This is our life. We made this. And we’re not alone.

Best,
Trainer