VOICES FROM THE FIRE: R.M. Engelhardt

Shakespeare,  Kerouac

& Bukowski Are Waiting

And You’re Running Late

(In Memoriam For Gerald)

Everyday

One Poet Enters

Another Exits

Handing Over The Pen

It’s the story of

The world the story of

Words the story

Of what makes a

Poet a human being

And makes a human

Being a poet

To each

Their own voice

To each their own

Gifts to share

We have been

To heaven &

Thru hell

Drank in bars

And fought

For & against

Everything

But in the end

We all walk out

The same door

Beneath the big

Red glowing

Sign that says

“Exit”

ASYLUM

Every morning comes in

Like smoke 

A vision through

The trees

We have wasted

All this beauty

All this precious time

With postcards

From the damned

As memories

As our souls still

Bleed for better days

She was the universe

The black hole

You fell into

That you

Never escaped

But that

Defined you

Forever

GHOST

Like you

I was once

Human

A part of all

Things connected

But now

After these times

After these wrongs

I’m just no longer

Here disappeared

From all my friends

The bars & the big

Bad wolf called

The world

Woven

Now intermingled

With the fabric

Of history

And time

Tragedy

A Non Entity

Just a memory

A stranger

Still

Without an

Obituary

Or a song

Living

Somewhere

But just

Not here

Anymore

GENIUS IS A

DRUNK IN THE BASEMENT

A

Broken Record

Broken poet

Broken song

Something

About the flowers

Something about love

Shufflin a’lone gainst

The night &

The darkness once more

Broken Record

Broken poet

Broken poem

She is

She was

She’s a ghost

She’s the apocalypse

Taking away her burning  love

In a broken world full

Of broken thoughts

Broken words

Lighting up another

Cigarette in the dark

An epiphany

A cliche

Another poem

A

Broken Record

Broken poet

Broken song

What happens

What does that

What hasn’t been

Said that hasn’t

Been sung?

Said?

God is in the trees

God is in the closet

God is all around us

Desiderata

Touch that holy

Veil muther fucker

Touch that veil before

It’s gone

But the devil

Is hanging out

All alone

In the basement

Writing

Poems

Drunk

A

Broken Record

Broken poet

Broken song

And that shit

Is pure genius

Worth more

Than any pushcart prize

Made of gold

For

Genius is just another

Drunk in the basement

Talking to himself

Writing poems

To a bottle of

Gin

DEATH BY PUNK: FINAL (official) CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

That’s right…DEATH BY PUNK is heading your way in April the cruelest month, just in time for Dumpster Fire Press’ colossal series of events to coincide with Poetry month…even the anthology is more than just poetry…

So send you punk, DIY, counter culture and/or death themed work to

clockworkoomphstudios@gmail

if you feel so inclined to be part of this milestone for DFP, it being the first anthology…

also get a chance to overshadow editor in chief Mike Zone’s own subpar writing as an added bonus…

March 1st is the Deadline

You can also still submit the ongoing VOICES FROM THE FIRE rolling e-zine/blog, no theme required and if accepted wind up in an actual tangible anthology that may or maybe consist of two volumes a year…things are rapidly shifting in this small press world.

Oh and in April because I don’t have enough going on, I’ll be announcing a new anthology with another fantastic theme…

what could it be?

Stay surreal, see ya’ next week for the next installment of VOICES…

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: R. KEITH

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Milenko Županović

Mount Sinai

The serpent

of unbelief

in the hearts

 of sinners

apostles

 of the faith

on Mount Sinai

holy commandments

in the dust

 of the past

the light

  a new dawn

in the shadow

 of the cross.

Paradise

Nightfall

of the gods

in the arms

of destiny

darkness

of centuries

prayers

of believers

in the womb

the last

days

of paradise

The last Christians

Bloody tears

on the faces

of believers

prayers

from heaven

in secret chambers

of the last Christians

at dusk

of Judgment day.

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Jack Henry

insurrection 

i watch television 

interviews with bandits 

bent on destroying the last 

vestige of democracy under 

the guise of saving democracy 

saving amerika, make amerika 

great again 

i watch neighbors, brothers, 

sisters, people from the grocery 

stores and pharmacy, from 

diners on Main Street, 

gas stations and repair shops,  

from high white 

towers of corporate indifference 

to the shallow graves of those 

recently departed, i watch  

them rise up in a delusion 

empowered by the defiant, 

incited by the defeated. 

all i feel is rage  

as i watch the television,  

as amerika falls to its knees,  

as the sword of fascism begins to fall. 

i think of 1923 germany, the first coup 

of a madman but not the last, 

a fuse lit that our desperate lips 

cannot blow out. 

i think of Kristallnacht, 

and stalin, mao, and pol pot. 

death to democracy, death 

to amerika, 

and i never thought the first 

shot would come from 

neighbors, brothers, sisters, 

all the people around me, 

near me. 

they say this is to save amerika, 

to save democracy, 

similar songs of freedom 

rang out in confederacy in 

the 1850s. acts of sedition then 

and now. 

and over these last few months, 

last few years, no one dare 

dream that civil war would 

return to amerika. 

but will anyone notice, will anyone 

tear away from social media, mental 

masturbation, the ongoing stupefaction 

of under educated masses? 

i am not elite 

i am not better than you 

i am not smarter 

i am not anything more 

than a simple man tired 

of vilification for simple 

beliefs. 

i will no longer stand down 

and wait for the halls of freedom 

to be painted red. 

i’m here, i’m ready. 

come get some

conflict 

and a preacher stands outside 

the backdoor of his parish church 

screaming at God without a thought 

to passersby and the juxtaposition 

actions may represent, questioning faith writ large

blood

if the fascist stooges that trampled 

the Capitol lawn and the gilded halls  

of pain and glory had been any other color 

than white, the steps of freedom would run red 

and bodies would stack up to the second floor. 

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: BEAU BLUE

this sadness is an ancient creature

A year of plague,

A year of fire storms,

of the deaths of clever

friends and brothers,

of being a refugee,

of watching confused citizens,

watching the angry mob swarm.

pestilence and famine

draw differences so sharp

inequalities come glaring

into life and death relief

the mob is here to bargain

do you care

what you believe?

White Privilege, Cops and Knees

Nineteen fifty-nine, before the bricked-up

storefronts of today’s Rebecca Avenue,

cousin Willie and I were fighting

with all the fierceness twelve year olds

muster when they’re faced with losing position

at the table. All the tables. On the street.

We broke the shoemaker’s plate glass window.

Willie pushed me through it with one great heave

and I grabbed, took him with me into the store,

onto the floor.

Mr. Ingomar was startled, and angry,

on the phone to the police instantly.

Cops are humorless and frightened most

all the time, ‘cept when they’re humorless

and facing pre-teen boys that one day

will be men they’ll have to stand against,

maybe, so they present how menacing they can be.

The steely-eyed one coming into Bjorn’s

that day was stern and threatened destruction.

But no one touched anybody else.

Well, Willie kept throwing jabs

all the way through the lectures

and the only knee involved was

the one I nailed Willie’s butt

with on the walk back home

to face our parents’ wrath.

2020’s Disease

Wilkinsburg, city of churches,

a suburb of Pittsburgh,

ravaged by Polio,

the summer disease.

Frightened parents,

Doctor Salk’s vaccine.

Every child at Johnson’s

School was marched past

Nurse Smiley to Doctor

white coat and his instruments.

All the fathers exhaled,

moms went back to jarring condiments.

The deaths were talked of constantly,

newspaper pics of iron lungs in rows.

The battle of the century was won

but foot soldiers left on crutches

were all children on their own.

Now another epidemic tornados

through the countryside unfettered.

The viral casualties invisibilities, all that can be shown.

All the Lizards Acquiesce

The Republicans are showing their support

for smashing the American Republic in favor of

a fascist cult leader. They’re sick of democracy.

It hasn’t gotten them anywhere in the last 40 years.

Fuck democracy that means a cruel oligarchy

makes all the rules and gets all the money.

The senate of Rome eventually became the

rubber stamp of dictatorship and an empire

was born .. is that an argument for tyranny?

That’s what the Republican senators and congressmen

are waiting for .. other fascists to impose

a tyrant on their people. Whoever it is,

it has their consent. It’s a sad day, a stern test.

They will kill their miseries with AR-15s

aimed at election workers just doing a job.

No sir, there was no tricky software flipping votes.

No sir, we never once saw Elvis stuffing ballots in his coat.

Obligatory Editor’s Rant

Well, it’s not really an obligation…I still have free will, after all…don’t I…that’s a tricky inquiry isn’t it? Being electromagnetically spastically animated bones and meat on an interconnected bio-sphere to further propagate the zany super-cosmic string that is life with existential multi-planed vibrations so the universe doesn’t flatline.

I shouldn’t be writing this, I should be completing my story for the DEATH BY PUNK anthology due out in April but…I’m not.

For some reason, I believe some people actually follow this page and may even be fans of DFP and/or *gasp may even want to have their work showcased somehow, some way, somewhen… and here we are or rather here I am spitfiring whatever comes to mind…so let’s start with a week in review.

VOICES FROM THE FIRE….what of it? Tinkered a bit with it due to lack of art and prose. Not a big deal. VOICES will every so often return to the regular format when enough prose and art pieces return.

Originally it was to be: one poet, one prose writer and artist once a week. I’ve now gone to several poets in which I try to lump together in an oddly thematic way and attempt to tie it together at the end of the week with a visual coda by an artist associated with DFP.

So there ya’ go VOICES FROM THE FIRE… a little light on prose and art. You can check the “about” page on here to see how and what to submit and definitely where.

Gets collected in a massive year end anthology…however it’s not even March yet and it already over 100 pages, if we get over 300 pages, expect a slimmer second volume toward the end of the year. It’s organic process, as I try to run a press, write my own shit and work full time.

So if things seem a tad frenetic, they are but hopefully the end result will be something worth reading and looking through…I don’t know, it could all be empty faith that eventually makes look like I’m full of shit and that’s okay too if you think Dumpster Fire Press is projectile vomiting flaming garbage.

Secondly, wow…DEATH BY PUNK is shaping up to a stellar anthology…the response has been overwhelming and if anyone is still interested in contributing punk and/or death themed counter culture work of the visual, poetic and varied literary sort….

YOU HAVE UNTIL MARCH 1, 2021

clockworkoomphstudios@gmail.com

Back cover illustration to Death By Punk ’cause y’all sick of Dillinger’s epic front cover

Finally, DFP’s March release will be the second edition of John Compton’s book POEMS: trainride elsewhere…

Cover still progress for trainride elsewhere

Also…this April for Poetry Month expect 3-4 releases along with an announcement regarding the next Dumpster Fire Press anthology…

It might be fun or I might go insane, who knows…

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: S.A. Gerber

Another round

I’m drinking with Edgar 

while Baudelaire claws 

the turf and howls outside. 

Poe is a lot drunker than 

he should be…a cheap date, 

a ‘lightweight’ even. 

“You know that Lowell 

wrote that I am only two- 

fifth’s genius?”, he stutters. 

“So fucking what!”, I reply, 

Look what you did to that 

guy out there!”. 

“Yes”, yells Baudelaire, from 

the lawn, “A rotten influence”, 

and calls for another round. 

Juxtapose

The sun sneaked 

out this day, 

I imagine to 

please the masses. 

Most think all 

is well with 

the stark sunlight, 

Makes some others 

want to hide… 

to hibernate even. 

Cold and rain 

can be conquered, 

either by wardrobe 

or by shelter, 

but there is 

only so much  

one can do 

to beat heat. 

Some would rather 

risk heat exhaustion 

and skin cancer 

than chapped lips 

and cold feet. 

Crazy events are 

coming of age. 

Icebergs are melting… 

tornados, quakes, and 

other phenomenon are 

striking in the 

most diverse places. 

New England area 

grows colder while 

the West burns. 

Not looking forward 

to summer coming. 

All has changed. 

Without Mourners

A discarded 

child’s toy 

in an 

overgrown 

field. 

It was 

once loved 

and embraced 

for security. 

It once 

provided 

what was 

not supplied 

by humans. 

It now 

lays abandon 

exposed to 

all elements. 

Not a  

fit ending 

for something 

once precious. 

It perishes 

without mourners. 

VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Paul Tanner

organ to organ

don’t laugh at their joke?

the customer gets mad.

don’t ask follow-up questions to their life story?

the customer gets mad.

serve everyone in the queue

who is before them

before them?

the customer gets mad.

the customer is never not mad.

one wonders if being right all the time

is worth it.

one wonders how people will cope

when confronted with a genuine problem,

like cancer of the spleen or assault.

one wonders how I’ll cope,

when I realise I’ve wasted my life

pandering to everyone else’s narcissism

for minimum wage.

I’m only paid to scan groceries! I’ll wail

as the mad customer

assaults me

in my cancerous spleen

until it’s

as swollen with sickness

as theirs.

double cunt

o cunt with a 50-pound note

why do you always buy something for under a pound, 

like chewing gum or a bottle of water?

o cunt with a 50

how can you stand there unapologetic

while we call for a supervisor

to open the safe out back

and bring out armfuls of coin bags

to give to you?

cunt with a 50

you do realise we’re going to be low on change

for the rest of the shift now?

and we’re going to get endless shit about it all day?

cunt with a 50, why do you need all that change?

cunt with a 50, where did you get that 50?

and why can’t you put it in the bank?

what you up to, cunt with a 50

that means you can’t use banks?

cunt with a 50,

this is why

you’re not just

a cunt with a 50

but also

just

a

cunt.

shit happens

sir, I tell him, you can’t return these shorts.

not with all these …

stains.

I’m not having this! he warns. I’m gonna get my mum!

and storms out … 

it’s pretty sad

to have a grown man

with a shitty arse

threaten you with his mum.

sadder still

when he keeps his word:

look out the window:

she’s already marching across the car park towards us,

her special boy scurrying behind her,

smiling …

he’s not too special to have car keys.

he’s not too special to wear a wedding ring.

he’s not so special

he can’t stand outside your local polling station

telling you to how to vote.

no

he’s just special enough

to crap his pants

and get his mother to fight his battles,

when he isn’t

driving or voting or breeding

and I stand at the counter

waiting for them both,

the shit-stained shorts beside me

and not much else.

I tell her the price and she says:

no! they’re on offer!

she jabs a finger at her biscuits.

two for one!

well, they’re obviously not, I say.

otherwise they would have scanned through as that.

well then someone’s put the wrong sticker out on the shelf!

she reckons. that’s not MY fault! but you still HAVE to honor it!

trading standards! TRADING STANDARDS!

I ring the bell for help.

another worker comes over.

I ask him to check the price label on the biscuits.

he runs off.

we wait …

the biscuits are in aisle 14,

so we wait for some time …

can’t somebody else jump on to serve?

someone in the queue says.

no, I say. there’s only me and my colleague,

and he’s busy checking the price of the biscuits

for this lady.

everyone tuts and mutters.

we wait …

the worker comes back:

them biscuits aren’t on offer, he says.

yes they are! she says. you’re lying! go get the sticker!

so off he goes again …

it’s disgraceful, this is! she says.

wasting my time like this! and these people’s time!

she talks to the queue: aren’t they?

the queue nods: they’re on her side. 

we wait …

my colleague comes back, wheezing.

here, he hands her the shelf sticker. see?

no! she blinks at it. no no no!

you’re LYING! you could have got this from anywhere!

you’re just trying to embarrass me in front of all these people!

she asks the queue: aren’t they?

the queue nods and nods: they’re still on her side.

take me to biscuits, she says. I’ll PROVE it!

and off she goes, dragging my colleague with her …

we wait …

can’t you serve us while they’re doing that?

someone in the queue says.

I could, I shrug. but then I’d have to cancel her transaction.

so? they say.

so I thought you were all on her side? I ask.

what’s that gotta do with it? someone asks.

are you gonna tell her she has to join the back of the queue

when she comes back?

and you know what someone says? they say:

we won’t BE here when she gets back!

yeah, exactly, I say. it’ll be a whole new queue

and I’LL have to tell her to join the back of it!

that’s YOUR problem! someone says.

we don’t work here, YOU do!

I think I’m beginning to understand,

I say

and walk off.

the biscuits weren’t on offer

but you already knew that.

everyone did:

me

my colleague

the queue

maybe even the mad woman

and I had half a roll-up left

which I lit up

and it lit up

and I toked

and.