You can’t really top the title of DFP’s summer 2022 with a clever headline…the world is literally on fire and it’s all been engineered through propaganda leading to various dying species and a dying planet…yay but we’ve created some grand visions and spun a few words here to chronicle it all…
WORLD ON FIRE: PROPAGANDIE! The Dumpster Fire Press summer 2022 anthology! Featuring art, poetry and writing both nationally and internationally set to the theme of world on fire and propaganda. Originally a supposed to be a black-box of civilization collected scattered records of humanity’s final days scavenged by drones and put together by a super-computer…war in Ukraine happened on top of that. Contributing artist Paul Warren’s work was taken down by an internet store due to controversial content, so we at DFP decided to throw in the propaganda of the industrial war complex and authoritarianism in general and support our contributing artist’s cause…proceeds from the sale of this book and its black and white edition will be donated to Red Cross relief efforts in Ukraine.
Pandemic NYE, #2
The water tower
was the only
Each winter’s night,
the slate-gray phallus
twinkled with neon.
lapse in judgment
might invite a
grisly, lingering death.
The Wurst Bar
a sound, its
heavy door propped
half-open to reveal
rows of empty
I passed a man
on the sidewalk,
sprinting from car
pasty face encased
in a paper mask,
as if he could
literally outrun a virus.
suggest that even
if we bolt
we’ll never evade
I keep my
faster than ever.
Two tickets to the gun show
every day of the week
they spend their savings
and government pay
to produce hate
to shoot the protesters
for human rights
cause it’s unamerican
if it’s for the cause
and don’t think of the consequences
of actions long spent
just Trigger Happy
Cold Dead Fingers
pointed at the
rest of us
Flaming Liberals who want
Freedom and Peace
flowers and cellphones
in red blood
Voice to Skull Transmission
Normandie Avenue between Fountain and Santa Monica is a quiet drag in East Hollywood. Here the rent is higher than other parts of the country but not too high for the service industry to have a bed. Those that by day take care of the children of the rich, who run the cafes, the drycleaners, the auto repair shops, those that run the machinery of West Hollywood or Beverly Hills. The help sleeps here at night. After the smog from rush hour settles it glows in that famous California sunset. Mechanics, delivery people, Uber drivers, accountants, customer service, unemployed, disabled vets hang their hats here. But no one wears hats anymore. It’s 2020, or is it 2022 already?
Quarantine is in effect. Now those laid off or on furlough are home. Those that are lucky enough to work from home are on the block all the time. No need to leave. Safer to have food delivered. The meat ain’t meat. The air is too dirty to open the window. There is a filter on the tap water. No one comes in here except once a month when the exterminator fumigates. Then we wear masks inside as well as out.
On Normandie if you look closely at the line of cars parked along the curb you might notice something strange. Like clockwork just before dinner the men leave their houses and get in their cars. The doors slam. The radios start up. On hot nights some start their engines to run the AC. But none of the cars pull out. No one leaves. The silhouettes behind the glass sit still. Some smoke a cigarette. Some chew candy. Some nurse a six-pack from a plastic sack.
As they sit in cars with nowhere to go the radio is interrupted by sentimental ads about how someday soon we will be able to leave our homes and see each other again. Rub shoulders. Hug. Shake hands. Embrace. The men in the cars know the other side of the story. The pandemic has made their mortgage-boxes crowded. Like floating space stations the houses are full day and night. Full of the kids, wives, pets, and if you were bad in another life the in-laws are there too. There is little reason to leave. When you do leave you’re confined by social distancing. Necessary to stop the spread of the virus true, but still confined. People were in the way before but now they are in the way before they even get six feet in front of you. It would be nice to be social again sure, but it would be even nicer to be alone for a few minutes. Now the car is the only sanctuary on the block.
After a couple beers, a few long drags on a smoke, or just some good tunes from the stereo the guys in the cars start to decompress. Soon the windows come down. Some yell across the street. Hey is that you? You still there? How’s the wife? How’s the kids? Driving you crazy? … Graduating… piano lessons? What’s that setting you back? … Don’t tell the wife I’m eating candy. Suppose to be off sugar. You know these LA women. All want to live forever… Well, you shoulda married a Scientologist for that shit… Me I hope there is no afterlife at all. One life is enough for me. Keeps things special. No use dragging things out. Wear out your welcome… Hey, if you keep talking like that I’ll come over there and cough on you. You’ll be eating your words all week wondering if I gave you the Covid. You’ll be clinging to sweet life hoping for more time. You’ll be making up gods, praying to old ones, and sweating fever dreams about the afterlife.
From our cars we look up at the apartment building on the west side of the street. A mosaic of characters hang in the brick windows: The old lady singing in the shower. The mustached hipster on his phone. The teenager sounding like he is having a mental breakdown. The bald man hacking a lung elbows on the sill sneaking a smoke. The family cooking beans and rice laughing in a chorus. A panorama of people hangs in the air. We have water. We have light. We have entertainment. We have food. We have drink. We have each other. Things could be worse. Things have been worse. Just look at history. But still. Will things ever get better?
Some of the men in the cars wave from behind the glass as I walk my dog. The yards are dioramas: the bunny house with southwest landscaping little Fiats and rabbit cages. The house where the elderly Asian lady keeps thirty-six potted plants in the yard and waters them with one long hose. The little man in the baseball cap sleeping in the grass sometimes wakes up and picks from the orange tree. The elementary school where kids cackle, cry, and traumatize each other. The chop shop where gear-heads clamper day and night. The yard where chickens roam free and roosters trumpet at dawn. The house with remnants of playing cards and empty Coronas strewn on the lawn under the white noise of a ball game from an old transistor radio. Neglected dogs in mop-locks bark at every passer-by. Joseph keeps his grey hair long in honor of his Indian heritage and makes his tenth trip to the corner all day coming back with hot Cheetos and Yoohoo. There’s the mullet man yelling at anyone who parks in front of his house as he blares Pearl Jam. The AA meeting in the grass is sipping coffee and cigarettes. The overweight Star Wars fans who never pick up after their giant hound. The stoners on their porch clicking on laptops as they fume purple skulk in the air. The one house where no one lives enclosed in vines and wooden planks. Lime Scooters line the curb. Teens bop to buzzing beats on plastic cells. Sunshine, distant ocean breezes, tropical flowers juxtaposed with the trash only humans can make, desert rats, jungle rot, giant prehistoric insects that know no winter. The street lamp bends like a neon question mark framing a halo around the man in the gutter.
This afternoon the men shuffle out to sit in their cars to find a flyer under each windshield wiper. The white sheet waves in the wind. Another advertisement for shit we don’t need? No… It makes for good reading as we loiter in our cars lined up for a drive-in movie that never begins and never ends. It reads:
Are you going to allow your children’s bodies and minds to be controlled and repressed remotely by criminals? Research then pass it on. OUR BODIES AND MINDS ARE HACKED AND THEN TORTURED WITH ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY AND VOICE TO SKULL. IT IS DONE REMOTELY AND DIFFICCULT TO PROVE. This torture includes sexual stimulation or control, sleep deprivation, intimidation to participate in harassing others, symptoms are created- then misdiagnosed and medicated for life, thoughts are read, dreams inserted, subliminal messages sent, thoughts erased, the ability to learn or understand is sabotaged, all types of pornography sent, moods and states of being created. With extreme surveillance our lives are recorded, and with our bodies and minds hacked, the worst invasion of our privacy. 90% of the people don’t know this torture is inflicted on them, only the ones on voice to skull 24/7 know. THE POLICE AND FBI HAVE BEEN MADE AWARE AND ARE UNWILLING TO HELP US, THEY ARE ASKING FOR EVIDENCE WHICH IS HARD TO OBTAIN OR SENDING US TO THERAPY. THIS IS THE BIGGEST CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, PERPETRATED BY THE 1% (THE BIGGEST CO. AND INSTITUTIONS). THIS IS NOT SCI-FI OR FAKE NEWS, IT IS REAL, AND I AM ASKING FOR HELP. HELP US START CAMPAIGNING, THEN WE CAN ASK THE GOV. TO INVESTIGATE AND STOP THIS CRIME. Research Voice to Skull, Targeted individuals, rlighthouse.com, pass it on to anyone who might help, we need their attention and cooperation. I CAN’T FIGHT THIS ALONE. Local voice to skull transmission sent from XXXX N. Hobart blvd. L.A. CA.
Curious about the flyer I stroll to the nearby address accused of relaying the transmissions. It’s a block off the main drag quiet enough that the alley cats feel comfortable sleeping in the middle of the road. The street lights flicker. Crumbling Victorian houses have excess relatives bunking on porches, swinging in hammocks and pulling mattresses out of the dewy lawn. Other houses are fenced in and boarded up, but you can hear people stirring inside whispering as quiet as they can. Coming to the address in question it looks as strange or as normal as the rest. Another mystery never solved. As the last shadow on the West Coast joins the night the Pacific paradise darkens to Bosch. The Sunset Strip glows orange under the streetlights. Junkies limp and stagger like ghosts their drool drips in rainbows under the neon pulse of the Dollar Store sign.
Everyone has anchors of joy. Some point at their hotrod or dissolve into plasma screens that fill the wall saying ain’t this the life? These sunglasses are worth more the most sunglasses. Fuck you sunshine. But the more they talk the more they are just talking to themselves, convincing themselves this is it this is it this it… Is this it? There’s got to be a better world than this right? Or is this world only as good as we make it? We’ve made a mess of Eden. But it doesn’t get any better than the garden no matter what the ads say. The rich reach for space. Phallic rockets ascend the aqualung. But the heavens are full of airless deserts and frozen worlds, gas globes ignited in flame and fuming with poison.
There are parts of L.A. under marshal law where the cops have given up and the rest don’t care. Blocks of tent villages… Used toilet paper line the gutter. Human shit and used needles on the sidewalk… You can tell it’s not dog droppings. It’s sticky, strewn, the kind of shit from eating garbage. Dogs eat better. Shuttered storefronts. Open air drug markets. When it’s not a movie the slick noir feeling burns away. This is real. This is live. This is a stage-play where the actors aren’t acting just reacting like spiders on a stove. The characters don’t know who they are nor do they care. Reality burns in all colors of the spectrum up close and filling the peripheral all at once. It doesn’t take long for the fascination to wear off, just endless time and trial. Echoes of death threats, spittle, and fireworks ring in the avenues. Crows cackle clicking codes.
Police helicopters stutter in the sky. Lisping, demanding, chopping up clouds, the spotlight from the chopper peers down on the failed actress missing one shoe who now believes this is her big moment. When that light hits she raises her arms in adulation and begins to dance, sing, recite that Tennessee Williams soliloquy… She’s no longer faking it like that screen test… it’s real. She’s no longer pretending to want it, no longer coaxing yes-yes daddy, but father I have seen the light… She steps into the light. She tap-dances into the tunnel of light. Just as she’s about to hit that high note the helicopter flies off. It weaves in and out of the shadows on the strip pouring light on the faded motels. Another 15 minutes up and over… another big break broken.
From the skin to the soul we are the color of rain, streaked in falling stars, neon signs glowing through smog. From the homeless to the moguls in the hills we are fireflies. We are all moths burning between the desert and the ocean. Choking on salt. Gasping on dust. Screaming like silent era film stars with the title card missing. The children cry not yet knowing why but they can feel it. The elderly know it but have given up on the power of words because the definitions change every generation. The scene fades with the sun sinking like a stage prop. Will there be another day? Always. Though it seems less and less likely all the time. Give me one more wink, one more flash of sun, and I’ll say thank you.
My burning body, is a quiet plea to a distant God that has fallen asleep,
The slumber of a deity leaves a complex and precarious landscape,
one must take care to tread lightly.
guard your back and mind your scriptures.
Time is an off-kilter metronome.
It moves slowly
in the age of sleeping God’s
And we are men,
left to our devices
bulls in china shops
we move with no direction,
jagged and adrift.
We are lost.
Humanity stands trembling against the light.
Jaws dislocated and shattered teeth from nervous tics and clattering
Underneath an orange sky,
reluctantly, we prepare to claim our fate.
For ours, is a vengeful lord.
If one believes the spirituals of old,
then one should know,
“God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
No more water, the fire next time.”
The black and white version is coming soon to accomodate everyone’s budget as well.
we hope to have that link up for you soon.
It’s been an ecstatic and humbling experience putting together this anthology and haven’t had this much of a turnout since BEDROOM ANATOMY LESSONS and this is our biggest anthology in terms of scope along with page length enabling us to produce a less expensive black and white version since DEATH BY PUNK.
However if you have anyone to thank for that…it’s artist/writer Paul Warren for igniting the firestorm of the idea that would thrust the “PROPAGANDIE” concept to the forefront.
Also if you wish to support the cause more…writer/artist Efe Tusder has relinquished rights to his book UNFINISHED SKELETONS to further contribute to the plight in Ukraine…
Dumpster Fire Press presents …Unfinished skeletons (Time-lapse Flash Fictions)
I first encountered Efe Tusder through a bat-shit crazy submission for both VOICES OF THE FIRE AND DEATH BY PUNK… not exactly know what or even how I’d be able to utilize his work or even that I should, and that hesitation was a good sign but I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing either.