Come With Me
We walk the steps
of forced life within a
filthy neighborhood— a doomed
scenario that tortures existence into
a blind escape stare, where the
angels of the absurd cannot comprehend
a vision of a place where ugly people
play for keeps…
Not Science Fiction
Far away from all the
Maybe, maybe not
I’ll never be cool like that pretty lady who writes crosscutting poetry and plays the blues harp.
Her books continue to examine how she lives life on her own terms, owing explanation to no one.
Don’t we all want to say that about ourselves?
Quietly, I sit in my mancave in Northern New England watching the young/old walk by, always with hints of remorse. Attempts getting into a zone where words enhance my true soul are often stymied. The big boy magazines reject my shit without any explanation on how to jot better.
Getting on stage either to recite a great observation or playing some Little Walter tune on the harmonica—Kim A. has it going.
I’m always stuck in inward violence.
I also realize that this should not be looked at as a “contest.”
But, I do.
And I’m way down on the scoreboard…with no timeouts
The son God
In the light
on the hill
of the city
in the fire
on the mountain
in the hands
in the lost days
Looking for Harajuku Girls During Hanukkah on SW Nyberg Street
After a rough night on a soft bed, my oral
Fixation – for serious – had me seeking some
Bone-blonde flawless flame at New Seasons
Market. Honestly, the only animal that is
Territorial around ideas was getting kind of
Fistic in my chest, inside that smoking cloche
Of half-regrets. Now beauty walks in beauty’s
Absence, or it isn’t beautiful at all. But as
I walked between Cabela’s and MattressFIRM,
It hit me: normal animosity is always there
For no good reason, either in a sleeping bag
Or silver-colored scarves. I don’t believe free
Will a thing, but know that into being paradise
I sing: I took this nostrum and a look into
LA Fitness when the cuckoo clocks went off.
Greed for money’s bad, but greed for meaning’s
Worse; as always, the twain contended – like
Science and equality – as I gazed upon the teller
Inside Banner Bank from outside. Her face
Was full of one, her fist the other, but my
Scientific fact-checker – blind to things
Like poetry and pride – said I had to move
On. And like so many times before, I didn’t
Ask, “Move on to what?” – the very question
Frightens the living. Honestly, the day took me
In stride, as if the very phrase, “as if,” was
Now sci-fi. Honestly, I never try to change
Another’s nature; that’s a rare achievement,
Rarer yet, is it not worth the effort. Still, I stood
Outside Batteries Plus with a girl on her
Cigarette break, and said, “Flowerlike, my snow-
Flake: your person and your personality…”
To which my learned company replied, “You know
Who has no dignus? You, dingus!” The mRNA
Of oblivion; I think she was Bolivian…
I acted American, and it wasn’t until I sat
Down by my lonesome in The Good Feet Store
That she and I were on decent footing again.
I answered my own question there with, “God only
Knows,” and meant it, without believing in Him.
The devil can be so Homerican! It’s safe to say,
I’d leap over barrels and five-barred gates to
Meet the Sugarplum Fairy at Pieology or Mud Bay.
Good people only know good facts. I only say
Bad facts out loud if the Philharmonic Orchestra
Is warming up, and I never answer honestly when
People ask, “How are you,” unless I’m in Home
Goods. I put bindweed in my ears when I walked by
The highly intelligent higglers in GOLFTEC.
Gallantry, gall and Girl Scout cookies were getting
Me ready for a nap, but the galaxy wouldn’t stop
Spinning. For serious, I’m sad to say, some jolly
Fellow – a widow’s man – was moving through
The aisles at Michael’s like King’s knight to bishop
Three. I don’t know what it means if my tea leaves
Are teal…Someone outside Red Robin said I
Have a basenji’s baseness, and her friend accused
Her of “charitably characterizing again.” Now there are
Two ways of disliking the non-pharmaceutical
Interventions life will offer: one is to dislike them,
The other is to write a nice Yelp review – some well-
Off words – for Bright Now! Dental. Permanent
Ephemera can’t give critical thinking toxic megacolon.
For You, I Beat the Living Shit Out of my Inhumanity
The crowd is jeering, as I make myself
My pet peeve’s bête noire. My cruelty,
Whose crown is golden, looks at me with
Sorrowful eyes. Some witnesses have second
Hearts for brains, to bathe themselves
In the muddy, midday light of empathy,
Whose crown is golden. Ingratitude takes
Hold of me. I’m strangled by the desert’s
Wings; pale black, night-blooming wings.
Sweet nightmare, why’d you have to go
And do that? Selfishness makes wisemen
Lazy. Phony magnanimity might brush
Your mane, my bruise-bronzed heart is
Fine. It goes both ways – correction’s fist –
And I’m no overzealous corpse. This isn’t
Any form of love… Sometimes the meaning
Wears the word out. Would you look at
That! Norman Mailer wrote the donning
And doffing protocols for golden crowns
On garlands of paper flowers. I think it’s
True, and dangerous to forget: too much
Respect grows best in majolica flowerpots
Painted by Toulouse-Lautrec. If it’s the whip
My anger wants, it’s the whip my anger gets.
A Pillar of Snow
After John Ashbery, “Into the Dusk-Charged Air”
He used to walk a runway like a hotel with
an appetite, like India away from Taj Mahal.
The crowd was his sierra, tempting him
with exodus; a tango for an over-40 thrill.
He could’ve won an Oscar as the charming
side of March or Romeo, but the heart
cannot be dressed in Yankee Doodle genius.
Instead he kept a hotel in his eyes and Nissan
Altima. In India, a Chevy Malibu had washed
his feet with headlight madness. A Ford Sierra
lost its grip on reality by the light of his tan. Going
for Apollo’s car, he blew a kiss to pull the sun
faster than an Alfa Romeo or winged minute. He
turned a Volkswagen Beetle’s brain into a Yankee:
“Out, out –
The beauty spot – a stain
On man’s eternal eye;
A fact – or two – are slain
To prove fertility”
He offered up tonight as a hotel for tomorrow.
India had taught him violence was a bad joke.
He wore the Sierra Madres to officiate all of
yesterday’s tangoes with today, and vowed
to avenge tomorrow’s death. (The o-shaped scar
on Romeo is from that ruined breath.) His
catwalk flowed into the Yangtze river out to sea.
Sex and Information: Three 11-year Sun Cycles
Your body is a list of facts: “Humility out-virtues
All virtues,” and, “There is nothing more odious than
Being humbled,” to name a couple. The sound of
Light is something in your breasts I wouldn’t dare
Behold, but your booty tells me: “Behold
Suffering, the opiate of the gods and spice
Of paradise for men!” And copulation, in a space
Without direction, reminds me in your eyes
It says, “The hawk was born of riddled fire; the hawk
Was lust in love expired.” Then laughter comes into
The sky, a supernova not in line with doctrine.
Your body lends appearances a speech, the most
Repulsive malady in other people, but you
Mumbled. And my interpretation (to light a
Sound) was, “Something in the beast you shouldn’t dare
Behold,” but your shoulders told me: “Behold
Suffering, the piety of men and the spice
Of paradise for none!” The population in your eyes
Was sent to space without direction, reminding me,
“The mother’s map is in my lover’s lap.” I forthwith spun
The wheel of fascination, and a selfless axle
Birthed a fiction purely friction to the doctor.
This bodiless adventure is a word embodied;
Sex: akin to blackbirds that out-shadow shadows.
To name a couple – Crumbling Light and Timeless
Sound – is something in your rest that isn’t dark
Or cold, but your grunting archways tell me: “Behold
Suffering, the poetry of gods and the spice
Of paradise for minds!” The most repulsive melody
Is space without a blackbird for the eye; remind me
Why: the man is hawking riddled tires; the woman’s
Map is plainly just a line of frisson poorly drawn: frozen
Fructose. From where I’m docked, I see more levels.
Tried to be clever with this title but finished up a ten hour day as I type this and to be honest, after fighting Amazon over copyright issues and Lulu with formatting issues I didn’t want to write this but the second May release from Dumpster Fire Press deserves more than that…
SOBER THOUGHTS FROM THE CRAZY HOUSE is the solo debut poetry collection by J. Maxwell whose work originally showed up in DEATH BY PUNK.
While I didn’t find his work outstanding at first, I did find it good enough to publish as I corresponded more frequently with him, and he tried to hock his to Dumpster Fire Press and I became annoyed most especially as he told me his story as I was like “Oh, no another stereotypical strung-out character who kind of write and fancies himself an artist…”
I got to know him, hence a reckoning of sorts, so when I actually almost reluctantly sat down to edit his book, I marveled at his story and applaud him for relaying his tale through different stages of his addictions bleeding into recovery and I’m grateful to him for actually sharing that with alongside with the fact he had confidence in Dumpster Fire Press as a potential home for this grand work.
Being small press doesn’t mean we have to shy away from what can be considered mainstream stereotypical issues…mental health and addiction affects a plethora of people across a wide array of spectrums, so why the hell not?
Especially if the writing is good and Dillinger just happened to have a cool concept to go with the cover right?
Dumpster Fire Press is proud to present the debut of poet J. Maxwell with his first collection SOBER THOUGHTS FROM THE CRAZY HOUSE… a poetic narrative chronicling the path of wayward youth to uncontrollable self-loathing addict in a downward spiral finally crawling from the wreckage in an artistic rebirth.
It never got so bad
As Johnny Cash
Where I needed loved ones
To fend off my demons
With rifles pointed to kill
I was never a Nikki Sixx
I never had to be shot up with adrenaline
To kickstart my heart
I was never put in a stretcher
Laid up in a hospital bed
Where so many end up a statistic
I dodged that bullet
I never spent more than a night in a cell
To sleep off the high
Never spent more than a few hours
Behind those bars
Alone with my thoughts
It was enough to show me
I didn’t want to go back
But that didn’t make me stop
I carried on for a few more misadventures
A wayward son still searching for peace
In all the wrong places
Shaking hands with the wrong people
Until I had one too many hangovers
And I was sick of being sick and twisted
That’s when I decided
I was never going to use again
To let myself feel again
And never abuse myself again
Because all I did was put myself through hell
And I didn’t even get a handbasket for efforts
An escape from National Poetry Month and poetry just in general….
Dumpster Fire Press’ first release for May features the spectacular short fiction collection from VOICES FROM THE FIRE contributor and fellow MAD SWIRL contributor Harry McNabb.
Featuring cover art by James Maj.
“It’s a real pleasure to release Harry McNabb’s latest story collection. I first encountered his work on MAD SWIRL and instantly became enthralled during the first virtual mic realizing these were tales meant to be read aloud…which got me all charged up but not entirely in an erotic way either…”
“Harry McNabb is one of those rare original voices you seldom hear about because, well to be honest the simulation existence we mainline ourselves to in order to sustain a basic form of survival attempts to veil us from the bizarro reality we actually live in and the types of stories Harry tells isn’t too far off base from the way we live, it’s like the hero’s journey in a vicarious bizarro fashion…”
“Anyway, Dumpster Fire Press is really proud to release this book and give a shout out to a seldom heard voice such as McNabb and another shout out to Colton Basinger for easing the editing process, DFP wouldn’t exist without you guys…”
“Most importantly, I look forward to the day or evening I head back to Texas, hang out with the Mad Swirl crew and meet Harry in the flesh, perhaps we’ll collaborate on a film called “The Great Interstellar Spaceship Pie Eating Contest” and he’ll take me to the mineshafts and show me where the bodies are stored.”
This is one of those fiction collections that has a little bit of everything for everyone or rather anything for anyone.
Stories meant to be read aloud at inappropriate times and places such as JESUS AND THE JAMES BOND FACTORY…
So there’s a bunch of James Bonds at the James Bond factory and I’m killing it on the production line stuffing tongues into mouths when a big hyena comes skulking over to me and I don’t know how it got here because we have forcefields between the plant and the forest where the hyenas live. I say, “go away, scram!” to the hyena and it takes on a flirty expression that sort of says, “but I don’t wanna go home…” and I am having none of that. I know some of my colleagues like to date and copulate with hyenas, but I don’t because I love Jesus and Jesus loves me. I tell the hyena, “get lost, you stupid hyena!” but it puts its paws up on the assembly line and insolently grabs one of the tongues with its jaws. For a moment my countenance takes on that of an evil, red-eyed, and growling lawnmower. What the fuck? Why can’t everything be perfect like a penny into a slot? I went back to adding tongues to the heads of James Bonds. The heads have mouths and noses but no eyes because that is the next step on the production line ahead of me. My head feels like it’s on fire for a second due to an intermittent allergic reaction to the tongues. It hurts but I power through the pain because I need this job because I gotta get that bread. The funny thing is, whenever I get this allergic reaction, I have X-ray vision for a second. Doctors don’t know what causes it, and they wanted to send me to a CIA hospital, but I said no, and they said yes, and then I said I was lying about the whole thing because I am schizophrenic and so they gave me anti-psychotics that I don’t take, but pretend I do. I’ve studied schizophrenia thoroughly in the DSM, so I know what to say. I decide to take a break and I take off my gloves. I see one of my coworkers stroking the hyena with desire in his eyes and I roll mine. I walk across the gangway and look down to see a sea of freshly minted James Bonds saying, “Vodka Martini shaken not stirred,” and other catchphrases. This sea of men is also where they learn to flirt and have sex with each other. Some of them will get movies. Many others will die on missions. I make it to the break room, and I go over to the VHS player. I scour the titles. Cruel Intentions. Billy Madison. Event Horizon. Pump Up the Volume. Adventures in Babysitting. Then, bingo: The Passion of the Christ
We’ll just leave it there for right now…
I really can’t say more rather than you should just pick up the damn book and read.
Stay surreal as DFP still contends with getting out the latest issue of VOICES FROM THE FIRE , in the meantime support someone who is actually creative…
The Black Venusian Scrotum-Worm
Beyond the plague damned world…
(1) He awakes. Something is knocking at the sky, trying to get in.
She lies beside him. She hears nothing other than his breath, his heartbeat, the warm pulse of blood in his veins. He rises with a curious sense of unease.
An endless golden day. He paces barefoot from the shade, across warm sand to the water’s edge where ripples dash themselves across clusters of weed populated by small maroon crabs. They rotate sensory dishes to observe him, before scuttling into the safety of moist weed cavities. The world has no end.
— 0 —
(2) Dormant for a billion years, a random particle-drift infiltrates the air-scrubbers. Circulates on breathe-in breathe-out cycles. To eventually be inhaled. Lured on throbbing body-rhythms to the warm nutrient flow of seminal fluid, to bask in its potassium-rich testicular organic-bath, revived in spontaneous cellular division to multiplication and growth. A black slug-worm. Then two.
In order to proliferate it acts upon its host, increasing sexual desire that will result in ejaculation into further hosts. Swarming within its tight scrotal incubator in its millions. On the return flip there is love… and a lover. Two carriers. On Earth there is love, and there are more lovers. In the madness of an induced global orgy the Scrotum-Worm spreads around the world before its presence is even identified. Because humans are always driven by the reproductive imperative. Then the worm begins to modify its host’s spermatozoa to better serve its needs. Evolving from parasite to symbiote. Into a fused devouring hybrid intelligence, with each grotesquely deformed gonad slapping soft and wet, squirming, coiling and slithering with a million black worms.
— 0 —
(3) The sterile orbital habitat alone survives uncontaminated. It is sealed and isolated as a human last-chance refuge. With artificially inseminated uncorrupted embryos reared free of all social contact.
He awakes. Something is knocking at the sky, trying to get in…
everything went to hell:
eating fresh salmon and
against a sunset backdrop
of Puget Sound
the car crashed
into a utility pole
at ninety miles per hour
survived the accident.
Tow away the wreckage,
no one wants to see it.
Take off your facemask,
order another martini.
None of this is normal, but
it’s good enough for you.
Make a list
of your fears,
each base, and
A hazmat suit
air could leak in,
and the whole
be for naught.
stare at the wall,
tight in your
and for God’s sake,
mow your lawn,
or use the stove,
is the most
National Poetry Month draws to a close, it was brutal to say the least but most of it self-inflicted for some odd reason…
Dumpster Fire Press made an event out of it, releasing five titles going hard with daily entries for VOICES FROM THE FIRE and while it drew me away from my own creative endeavors and a multitude of other projects I’d like to put out with different people, I’d sure as hell would and probably will do it most of it again.
There’s nothing more pleasurable as a small press publisher than to help in showcasing the work of a poet and artist who hasn’t been heard of much before, often or not at all. For DFP, the press stuck the objective of being a venue for a multitude of voices and will continue to do so.
I highly encourage everyone to peruse through all the VOICES posts from the last month and check out what has been posted if you haven’t already and most definitely pick up what will probably be one of the coolest issues of VOICES FROM THE FIRE vol. 2 “April was cruel…”
Shameless plugs abound….I’ll babble more about this issue when it officially drops but here’s the rest of them
The first volume of VOICES FROM THE FIRE…a series from Dumpster Fire Press collecting poetry, prose and art from here, there and everywhere else in-between. Spotlighting voices heard, seldom heard or never heard at all. First featured on the VOICES FROM THE FIRE series via dumspterfirepress.com. Come, jump into the fire with us…let’s burn together.
Two women. Two complete strangers who embarked on a single journey together under the direst of circumstances bring you a unified vision of beauty celebrating the joy of living and love. Rita Marie Recine and her friend Svetlana Kostantinov vowed to write a book poetry together to chronicle their journey through life and adversity. Sadly, Svetlana departed before it could be completed but Rita Marie continued and along with Dumpster Fire Press we are proud to present this heart touching collection of poetry.
Bleeding Heart Poet takes you to another time and place, drawing you into lives ravaged by war in a land where voices are seldom heard from or even heard at all. Letters as poetry or poetry as letters to a certain “president”…war, propaganda, geopolitical manipulation? What is it all good for?
Roz Washington is a force of nature in terms of poetry, a blend of Hip-hop, mystic visions and voices seldom heard from various walks of life. Words meant to be read aloud invoke the mythic back into ordinary existence rendering our star dust rooted world back into cosmic consciousness in one’s daily contemplation of being. Sun Life isn’t just a collection of poetry, it’s a philosophy that will get you to reconsider the ground of all being.”
Dumpster Fire Press is proud to partner with translator Xi Nan in bringing poet Li Kan’s work from China into the West. Li Kan’s poetry writing uses a lot of spoken language, and the contents of his writing also focus on personal daily life and emotional experience. On this basis, he puts forward the writing concept of “flow of life” (生命流). In recent years, Li Kan has experienced a lot of philosophical thinking in addition to his daily writing. The ideas of Heidegger, Laozi, Zhuang Zhou and others have a certain influence on the formation of his writing philosophy. In poetry writing, this also makes Li Kan’s poems show a good internal order, harmony and rationality.
I wish there was enough space to thank all the artists and poets who contributed as well but then again, I guess that’s why a second volume of VOICES FROM THE FIRE is being released relatively soon.
I myself am burned out but still working on May releases….
Next week Monday, VOICES FROM THE FIRE will return to its original format along with some announcements regarding future release dates or rather relative times, it’s been an organically chaotic process and the revelations to be shared.
Also, secretly I love anthologies…the birth of conception, editing, reading submissions all of it in the unification of a multitude of creative voices…
Yeah a sucker for pain who isn’t going to sacrifice his creative elastic eye yet but keep in mind never let anyone down who entrusts me with their work.
Stay surreal kids, April was cruel but the dumpster fire itself is only going to flame on, despite a certain human torch of a marvel who might be furious I absconded with a certain slogan but hey, we all can’t get miraculously hit by cosmic rays to find a cynical thing that sort of resembles a jilted state of bliss.