VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Nancy E. Campos

SUICIDE 

You say it’s the easy way out 

Shut your mouth, you have no idea what my pain is about 

The feeling of being out of control 

How every thought digs a darker hole 

Thoughts you can’t escape you can’t erase 

The anxiety makes you sweat and your heart starts to race 

I have nowhere to run nowhere to hide 

As I sit in the dark and begin to cry I start to ponder it “Suicide” 

Please make it stop make the darkness go away 

I’m tired of always feeling this way 

If I can just make it stop and catch my breath 

Perhaps I can stop contemplating death 

It’s an obsession of mine 

I think of it all the time 

How sweet the eternal slumber would be 

To just let go and oh to be free 

Then the memories crash my thoughts 

Of all the small battles that I fought 

How at the end of the day 

I didn’t allow death to have its way 

Today I won, victory is mine 

As my head rests on my pillow and I can close my eyes 

For those who pretend to understand 

You don’t know shit till you’ve felt the pain 

You tell me have faith, trust and leave those thoughts 

You’re not making sense I can’t connect the dots 

I’m looking for relief a way to forget 

So I won’t do something I know I won’t live to regret 

You tell me you’ll pray for me to get better 

But all you are saying in my head sounds like chatter

You wanna know how it is that I think 

I couldn’t tell you I confused even my shrink 

Hush , don’t say those words

Believe me there is nothing I haven’t heard

I have to fight this shit everyday 

I know I can beat this! there has to be a way 

Don’t tell me it’s easy that you know I can do it 

It’s not your words but my will to commit 

 I will beat the darkness 

Even if my methods seem heartless 

For this battle I have fought alone 

To the loneliness accustomed I have grown

This is one battle I refuse to lose 

For at this moment it is Life that I choose 

Suicide isn’t the best option 

My battle to fight win and my victory is sure 

OUT OF MY HEAD 

Can’t get it out on my head 

It’s there in the morning even when I go to bed

The sadness the dark gloom 

All I want to do is hide in my room 

Sleep is how I can shut the world out 

This fear makes me want to scream and shout 

In my chest I feel the hole bore within 

As this depression chips away at my soul

I need a break I just wanna fly 

Leave all this shit behind 

It’s love that keeps me tied 

How many times has it’s cruelty made me cry 

So many times have I willed myself to try 

Just to get tired and push it all aside 

This feeling of impending doom 

I can hear it clearly as the gun goes boom

The darkness I have to fight 

Every day this battle to stay alive 

The pain is real, it cuts like a knife 

I don’t understand this thing called life 

What is real what is imagination 

For death I have a crazy fixation 

I have to let it go put it out of my mind 

This rage I feel it must be a sign 

I need to scream I wanna cry too 

But when I open my mouth nothing comes 

I don’t want to feel this pain  

Will it be washed away if I stand in the rain 

I can feel it like needles in my brain 

The thoughts hitting me all at once like a freight train 

I need it to stop, please make it go away 

I don’t want to live my life this way 

I ask myself every day why 

When would it be the right time to say my goodbyes

Then I break down and begin to cry 

 I remember all those I will leave behind 

How would they face life 

If I chose to die. 

BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY

Dedicated to my daughter my Beautiful Butterfly

The one without limits

So beautiful so gentle you live your life 

To be the best version of yourself you strive

Never giving up on your dreams 

A beautiful soul a loving being has been your theme

Pushing yourself for those that you love 

Shows all the strength and what you’re made of

Like a butterfly through life, you soar 

Loving and touching lives wherever you go 

Loving embracing the journey you face

You except life’s challenges with strength and such grace 

Instilling beauty, love, and compassion

You inspire as you live life with passion

Beautiful Butterfly go fly, fly, fly 

For you, there is no limit, not even the sky

From where I stand I can see you above 

My beauty, my little one my very own love

BEAUTIFUL GYPSY

Dedicated to my daughter my 

Beautiful Gypsy

Oh beautiful soul, beautiful child

Don’t ever change stay true stay wild

Let your essence always shine bright

For those of us who get lost in the night 

Speaking words of wisdom beyond your years

There to give advice things we need to hear

Knowing that the truth you will always speak

Encouraging us when we feel lost and weak 

You’re free you get lost in the dance moving your feet 

To your rhythm to the tune of your own beat 

Never allowing your energy to stay in one place 

You live  you thrive to fill with light and joy any space

Beautiful Gypsy child of mine 

I will love you till the end of time

BEAUTIFUL DREAMER

As I watch the moonlight dance on your face 

My heart is filled with love, you take my breath away 

The rhythm of your chest as you breathe the evening air 

I love the way the light softly touches your hair 

I’m mesmerized by your beauty in the evening glow  

 I feel you, I honor you as my tears begin to flow

You are the one, your essence completes me 

It was spoken, it was written, it was our destiny

 Our souls agreed to stand the test of time 

I would be yours and you would be mine

The lessons we knew we had to learn

Together we’d master when we returned 

Here you are as beautiful as I remember

When I first laid eyes on you that blissful day in September

As I looked into your eyes I was finally home 

The universe brought us together. I’ve found my soul 

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Shane Allison

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Stephen Whitter

Old Man, New Books

The Old Man I visited in a ‘care’ home loved to read, but not he said, new books.
He didn’t speak too well and I don’t hear too great so, i got a grip of the wrong end of the stick.
Perhaps it was the new style, or un familiar authors that he objected to, but no it was purely the newness, the hot off the press-ness that with his Arthritis he could not deal.
The springy nature of an unbroken spine, the curved pages his misshapen fingers could not render supine.
“Why can’t books be made on a spiral like a horizontal reporter’s note pad ?”
I said I didn’t know but guessed it would be down to money and people are precious about their books .
“Well they make em’ in large print for folk that can’t see”
I had to agree yes, yes they did.
And so I ended up reading books of which I had no intention,
at first I thought my allocated Old Man wanted me to read the
the books to him but no, he wanted to read, he just wanted me to
turn each page of each new purchase, to relieve the springy nature of the book.
After a moments’ surprise that suited me fine as I realised I was
getting new books to read, well if I were to turn each page?
Some were a revelation, how brilliant they were and some exactly the opposite, the fact I read them the Old Man soon realized and agreed it was ‘fair’.
But i couldn’t get the Old Man’s opinions out of him, he spent a fortune on these volumes but did not want to discuss them, not with me at least.
I even went to the length of checking with one of the staff, perhaps he had a literary friend with whom he shared his thoughts but no, i was his only visitor
So, we never discussed the thriller with, I thought no plot, or the ‘beat’ book that was anything but.
I even smuggled onto the ‘to be read’ pile some work from my own pen, an act i almost instantly regretted.
As usual though no comment was made, well, at least I fared no worse than Hardy had or Joyce or some new ‘young gun’.
On my visit today a victory, I noticed my effort was not on the towering ‘Charity Shop’ pile, where many a bestseller had landed.
Agony that day hiding my prideful smile, that fact my book was
‘a keeper’, to be re’read though not a word was said it was, ‘one of the few’. To me, from that old man.
As significant as a Times Literary Supplement rave review.

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Jon Bennett

He Just Took It 

At around 25 yrs old I called Dad 

and yelled at him out for an hour 

I don’t know what I said 

all I remember is 

he didn’t protest 

he just took it 

I think most of the internet  

is like that 

a younger generation 

screaming 

Sometimes I might  

have a question 

about an acronym  

or a new noun 

but I keep quiet 

they’ve got a lot  

to get off their chests 

and would love to find 

a dad 

any old dad 

to lay into. 

I Am With You 

We get along fine 

me and the man 

with the mangled face 

“School turns us stupid!” he says 

I nod, I agree 

and he is my brother 

Lately, I’ve come to see it 

all the mangled faced men 

all the nieces and nephews 

who can’t decide if they’re 

nieces  

or nephews 

all the obese shut-ins 

aiming guns at themselves 

all the girls and the women 

and the boys and the men 

sobbing in the mirror 

I am with you 

my outside 

doesn’t match  

my inside 

either. 

Cheap Shots 

“I’ll start with 

a bald-faced simile, 

see if anyone  

swallows the hook” 

I always go for the easy joke 

the simple sentiment 

the simpler moral 

I give no fucks about truth 

and I don’t know 

what you mean by ‘beauty’ 

but that’s not to say 

I don’t cry over these 

all the same.

Sue 

I wrote a song 

and named names 

whether the names I named 

were actual names 

or made up names 

I’m not at liberty to say 

I’ve made many dimes 

off music 

all told 

after expenses  

and thirty years  

5 or 6 hundred 

dimes 

Now, at night I lay in bed 

my jar of dimes 

under it 

and quail at the thought 

someone will sue me 

the lawyers will take 

my jar of dimes 

smash me over the head with it 

and remove what little 

sanity I have left. 

Opiates are the Opiates of the Masses 

I liked it at first, 

they killed chickens in the bathroom 

it was ‘exotic’ 

but small, so small 

just me and my laptop 

So I found pill corner 

and coke corner 

and all the other corners 

lined up easy 

as Tijuana pharmacias 

just another lonely loser 

like all those  

popping pills in trailer parks, 

pick-up trucks, penthouses 

living in  

an American dream. 

EYE SCREAMS

RQF! DFP!

Dumpster Fire Press is proud to present our first August release

Ryan’s Quinn Flanagan’s latest poetry collection EYE FLUSHER

Art by Dillinger

A new RQF collection! Dumpster Fire Press! That’s all you need to know! Powerhouse poet Ryan Quinn Flanagan like a machete wielding cross between Bukowski and BB King does not bow down before the Eye of Horus but is the elastic eye of the divine god-king himself through portraits of ordinary madness in a realm of anything but sane,tempered by a shaky social contract. Your optic nerves will be flushed from a whole of delusion in this one, setting the dumpsters of stagnant existence aflame!

Never Shit Your Own Pants 

Heidi came running down the hall  

and said that Frank had done it again. 

Amy was charge nurse, 

responsible for the entire building.

And all the residents at the Guildwick 

Home for the Elderly. 

Sam was sent with Heidi to deal with Frank. 

He did the same thing at least three times a week. 

Went into other residents’ rooms 

and stole their pants before shitting in them 

and walking around the ward. 

The smell was horrible. 

Even for seasoned nurses and staff. 

Ok Frank, pants off! 

said Sam. 

Heidi stood back to avoid the splatter. 

Don returned from lunch break and laughed. 

Ah Franky, I see there was an accident!

Frank said nothing. 

An acquired brain injury had left him  

largely mute. 

Sam double-gloved and ran off to dispose 

of the pants. 

Leaving Heidi and Don to clean Frank off 

and get him ready for bed. 

Whose pants do you think they were this time? 

asked Heidi.                  

Who knows, 

laughed Don. 

Frank kept cupping water in his hands 

and splashing it against the wall. 

His wife had died six years ago. 

Frank had no one now. 

Just a power of attorney who lived 

in a different city and couldn’t care in the least. 

It’s pretty smart if you think about it, 

Don said.                     

What is? 

asked Heidi. 

Never shit your own pants, 

Don said. 

Look in Frank’s closet. 

He has at least twenty pairs of pants, 

but never shits in any of those. 

Heidi looked over to the large brown wardrobe 

across the room and laughed. 

So you think Frank is some kinda genius or something? 

Heidi laughed. 

Crazy, not stupid!

Don said. 

I think you’re going to steal other people’s pants 

when your time comes, 

Heidi nudged Don jokingly. 

I’ll have my own gig, 

announced Don. 

Shit really isn’t my thing. 

Are pants? 

joked Heidi. 

Just then, 

Sam returned to check and see 

how things were going with Frank 

who kept grabbing at the towel 

as Don dried him off. 

I need you to go check on Natalie, 

Sam told Heidi. 

She’s up and screaming bloody murder again. 

Heidi ran off to check on Natalie. 

Amy was at the nurse’s station. 

Having already begun the paperwork  

on Frank’s latest incident.

She said I looked like Dimebag Darrell

and I told her

I didn’t know

who that was

and she told me

he was this big metal

guitar god

who was shot

and killed

on stage during

a show

and I wondered

if I looked

like poor old Dimebag

before or after

he was killed,

but I didn’t ask

her that

because I wasn’t

a complete asshole

yet.

Komorebi  

Drugless eyes on the space filter, 

the people of Lemuria in my Komorebi head – 

by penchant, by perchance, we need a byline; 

some way to understand why the leaves have curled 

like busy cigars, a question of light before  

everything else, William Blake’s The Ghost of a Flea 

forever on loan and that spunky hockey man  

who calls teeth “chicklets” working the PA down at  

the arena with a thrilling wasabi pungence: 

my time in no man’s army is up, 

night cap invitations go unanswered as fog horns 

while splinters of a dying allegiance cut across 

the lattice fencing, all fury melts away like  

some sticky cold season lozenge.

Skin Motels

She says

we should find one of those

skin motels where half the known world

seems to park outside,

but no one ever stays.

One of those hobo joints

along the side of the highway

where the kid at the front desk

seems a little slow,

gives you a single mattress

and a scrambled television

for the week.

The curtains pulled over

like stand-in eyelids

you never once think of

again.

A sink of brown water

to throw over your yellow

nicotine face.

Cigarette burns

through the angry tartan

comforter.

Her screaming drunken legs in the air

like a mess of migrating birds.

Hoffa Makes a Comeback

They just started looking for Hoffa again.

Searched this old Jersey landfill last week.

You have to think they got a pretty credible tip

to go digging through all that garbage.

Waist-deep in the worst from the worst.

Some guilty catholic deathbed thing

with the priest and the whole deal.

Or someone pulling a laugher.

Fucking with the Feds like so many times before.

Spinning yarns over the wire.

So they can hear their own voice

played back in court.

An army of news vans lined up out front.

All those long antennas.

Like fly-by-night water towers

of lipstick, ratings

and rumour.

I’ve Never Once Been a Man Who Didn’t Have it Coming  

Some things are deserved, 

the rest is peddled as dopey bait shop knowledge – 

I’ve never once been a man who didn’t have it coming, 

that slippery uppercut nestled under glassy jaw, 

the book thrown at you with an entire library  

of clunky adamant hate; 

my filthy doomsday eyes forever on the blood shot, 

a slave to skinless, boneless puppy mill science 

so that the words become bodies, 

one long annotated excuse  

of cries and explanation.

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Paul Warren

Manequincide

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Joseph Farley

Better Lies

Tomorrow I will tell better lies,

ones that are fit to wrap around the truth.

You can’t serve up just the facts.

That would be too cold.

No, you must warm it up,

add spice, distort it,

so not even you can recognize

exactly what you are talking about.

Practice

Every day I practice at being nothing.

I sit or stand or lay on the ground

and disappear into air and silence.

Those who walk by ignore me

as I ignore myself,

my value less than a bug on the wall,

a stain on the ceiling,

a sliver of cellophane carried in the wind.

I work at it. Work so hard

that my knuckles bleed in the snow

while a thousand miles away

my toes drift senseless in the ocean.

One day, with luck, I’ll achieve

all that is, all that ever was,

and know how little I am

and how little any of it was.

Somewhere in the middle

There are things I do

that I shouldn’t,

and things I write

that I should not.

Ah, we are born perfect.

Someone said so.

But others have said

we are born flawed.

It is only natural,

since we exist in nature,

that I should be

both good and bad 

and all that is in between.

It is all there on the graph,

the bell curve

of human behavior.

The comedy, the tragedy, 

the horror,

along with all the mundane

that makes up most of the story.

Doing what we must

Poetry won’t stop bullets.

It won’t stop grief.

It won’t stop humans

from being beasts.

It does make life and death

and the stuff between

sound better, read or said,

than wails and screams,

and the thud 

of lead and fists and rods

into luckless flesh.

Words must be said

for the dead.

Tradition dictates so.

Make that final recitation

ring of heaven, fate, change.

Then begin the real prayer,

the one you and I must live,

day and night until the end

of what has been with us

from the beginning

of words and men and need

for this or that,

or just more, 

and more

and more

of the needless same.

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: R.P. Verlaine

Crack Vials 

A song for the eighties 

Users 

use once 

then useless, 

Gutted, 

open like a wound, 

or junkies’ vein, 

or treatment center doors 

for rich boys with cash. 

Visiting Harlem, 

doing the stop and go 

to cop and blow, then 

drive near slo-mo 

back to Jer-Z 

at 55. 

But users 

don’t stay tourists long 

and end up doing 

life on the lifestyle 

24/7 on the crack vial. 

Law enforcement lies 

alibis drugs are on the slide. 

Not true, drugs revive 

with more lives 

than a Vampire’s wives. 

Yet Government won’t legalize 

just build more jails 

as city after city dies 

thru shootings, holdups 

and drive-bys. 

Burying in 

low level dealers, riff raff, 

or victims like school kids 

every morning 

seen skipping by 

crack vials. 

A Bar Conversation 

Then what do you do? 

she asked. 

     As little as possible 

and then more 

      or less the same. 

At what? 

       Hard to say even harder 

       to describe without 

       a painting. 

Ooh so you’re an artist 

      she said, solving the mystery. 

Absolutely not. I hate the smell of paint,

artistic or otherwise. 

Then you…  

       Yes i  am retired 

          

but you look so young! 

Yes, yet I’ll shoot a gun 

out the window at 3 or 4 am  

when streets are empty  

but need watching. I’ll steal money 

from vipers, pimps, or whores 

if they leave their marked 

cards on the table long enough. 

Under a blazing full moon 

I’ve turned to a werewolf more than once. 

I have half a dozen pairs of women’s shoes 

in my closet left by those 

who dared not return. I’ve been arrested, 

have a record but never sang 

to the cops. I’m working on a blueprint 

for my revenge against the world. 

Yet still I smile and yes I’m retired. 

She looked at me blankly 

said excuse me, got up and left.  

I ordered a new drink, 

with hours to go before 3 or 4 am, 

to shoot at the moon I keep missing.

To Be Found And Found Out 

I have daddy issues, 

she whispered 

in my ear after 

sitting in my lap. 

Decades younger, 

not yet damaged by 

a world more cold-blooded 

than a child killer 

smiling when he sleeps. 

My luck with the ladies 

remained or had returned, 

but of course, the price 

would be paid later. 

What does a blind man 

do when given the  

steering wheel 

with a loaded 

gun to his head 

smeared in lipstick? 

It worked for a while, 

but that first night 

I took her in every room, 

including the bath. 

I thought it would work, 

she said months later. 

I told her it did 

’til it didn’t, 

but I knew I was already 

torn in half by her leaving. 

Sleep’s impossible now. 

Too often I say her name 

with the fool’s dull whisper 

questioning all, even jokes, 

laughter still born as 

I pound the walls with fists 

’til broken like everything else.

The Devil Waits 

Husband’s at work 

or in the bars, 

at a ball game, 

or looking for stolen 

cash, coming home drunk, 

dangling in that precipice 

of one of many acts 

to commit to forms  

of unique regret. 

Time measuring failure 

like a suit or coffin while 

giving his wife moments  

to consider the mail man’s  

wide welcoming smile, 

long looks of store clerks, 

or shirtless men kicking a 

ball or putting it through 

a hoop with sweat’s  

fingerprints all 

perfect in their one 

gold moment 

in the sun. 

Married eight years, 

their chasm wide 

as the circus clown’s 

nightmarish grin. 

As time slows 

to eventual 

outcomes leaving 

death as a jaded 

raconteur with all 

its shadows of  

Subterfuge, waiting 

to deal with them, 

flaunting that smile 

they once knew, 

or assumed they did 

when first in love.

At The Resort 

The former fashion 

model left bulimic 

with a taste for 

coke and foreign men. 

She hides behind shades 

but can barely 

see her future 

and 25 is her past. 

While the rich divorcee 

who circled a prenup 

with the art of blackmail 

sleazy photographs 

a vault won’t let breathe

asks me twice why 

I don’t believe in love 

you have to pay for. 

But it’s the French girl, 

Simone, dubious. 

With a counterfeit  

smile she circulates 

in shady deals with 

real estate rich. 

Men she lives to  

bankrupt and degrade 

since those entertainments 

are hard to come by.  

At the hotel bar I feel 

a chill when she says 

for me she has plans. 

Tonight, it’s a woman 

I’ve met before in noir 

films and spy magazines, 

whose bed I’d call home 

if it belonged to either

of us. When she leaves  

it’s an escape 

as she puts her wedding 

ring back on and calls 

the concierge for a car. 

Outside darkness deepens 

between street lights 

and a shadowy moon. 

I open a dime novel 

and I’m almost settled in 

between a murder 

and an innocent 

outcast framed by a  

smoking gun… 

when there’s an impatient

knock on my door. 

Opened, it reveals 

Simone with a smile 

telling me touching herself  

and Russian Roulette are games  

she can’t and won’t  

play alone. 

FORCE OF JULY…ROUND 2

Like APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX we got some more stuff for you from DFP…

first off VOICES FROM THE FIRE VOLUME 9

COVER BY DILLINGER

Still burning…VOICES FROM THE FIRE continues! Collecting poetry, prose and stunning visuals from the official Dumpster Fire Press, rolling e-zine VOICES FROM THE FIRE featuring wordsmiths and artists from here, there and everywhere in-between.

We will conclude the run to this ever popular series with Volume 12 in early 2023. It’s been fun but time to move on for now…actually burnout contributed to most of that…as for what the content entails…check out our latest entries from late May-late July…it’s easy, click on the VOICES FROM THE FIRE section of this site and scroll on through…pretty simple unless you’re from the Great Grand Rapids Circle Jerk and you’re unable to figure out anything that isn’t directly connected to your friend’s endeavors…LIVE LOCAL!

Next up we have the final chapbook from Editor In Chief Mike Zone…FUCK YOU: A FUCKING POETRY CHAP featuring stunning complimentary visuals by WORLD ON FIRE: PROPAGANDIE brain-child Paul Warren.

I lied…as Editor in Chief of Dumpster Fire Press, I vowed never to publish my own book…I mean a book written by Mike Zone, edited by Mike Zone and published by Mike Zone…how egocentric can one get? All of a sudden I decided I wanted to circulate my work for free through various venues but first had to make proper goodbyes dropping truth-bombs left and right so please enjoy the 42 pages of poetry with stunning complimentary visuals by DFP heavy hitter Paul Warren. If anything, you’ll be saying “Fuck you” too to the way things are, were and are still trying to be in the era of Sixth Extinction.

Dance, dance, dance

Mad titans

the death of magik

Putin dance club

in Siberia

dance, dance, dance

THE HOT ZONE

Sixth extinction

U.S. Fantasy

I want to marry

Anne Sexton’s ghost

phantom Allen Ginsberg weeping

holding Walt Whitman’s sausages from the grocery cart

I just broke the other stockboy’s heart

Kissing- bad makeup

drag glitter bummed

baby gurl

“my god”

that phrase- MY GOD

MY GOD- humble thyself before thee

I need your assistance

Your restoration

Taken aback

Give me understanding

MY GOD- I ask thee, let me plead with thee

A self-serving prayer

I cannot comprehend my misery

Divine nor man-made

MY GOD- whom I own

Do not mock what is mine

Do not question nor conflate this narrative

My god and I are one

Reflective of one another

Made in his image

We are the divine face

Of the divine face

Every knee shall bend

Head will bow

Tongue shall break

MY GOD-

it’s just all too incomprehensible

Bad sex (Lipstick mirror redux)

Last night really pitch black taking us to a bleeding sky sun rise

it could have been the pot

or whiskey

possibly the beer

we played cards and watched documentaries on castles and the Spanish civil war

you always pulled out the weird toys in an effort to convert me

claimed I was too vanilla

you always wanted to bend over the bed with the windows open with subzero temperatures knowing my dick never quite worked right in the cold

it was mostly uncomfortable with you

the inside of your vagina overly pierced

like a razorblade suitcase

you’d choke me

slap me

call me a “fuck” or “son of a bitch”

discovered my temporary secret kink

mostly it was awful and kind of bad

rushed

but there were good nights

when one of us would get blackout drunk

only not to remember

you ever so gleeful “You wrecked my pussy! Let’s get breakfast.”

Only to pass out cross-eyed

denying the validity of my semi sober recollections

shortly after

only to pass out again

wanting to cuddle

when I awoke

there was that oh familiar lipstick message on the mirror

I’ve written about

So many times already

“Some poet

Can’t get it up”

It was a common problem

With you

With me

Guess it never worked out

quite right

true romance

kink and rage

not included

Understanding power

Sixth extinction

Fun Police on parade

fighting staged struggles

half a century old

you’ll never have ultimate equity

nor advancement

allow me my fun

love and chaos reigns

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Tiberius Galloway