Mike Zone is the Editor in Chief of Dumpster Fire Press, the author of Shedding Dark Places (almost), One Hell of a Muse, A Farewell to Big Ideas and Void Beneath the Skin, as well as coauthor of The Grind. frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Outlaw Poetry and Cult Culture magazine.
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Mike: In my early teen years…of course being a pretentious kid and believing I had the world by the balls and was reading something new my influences were: Alan Moore, Jim Morrison, William Burroughs, Albert Camus and Irvine Welsh
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Mike: That’s difficult to say…I’m inspired by a plethora of societal factors but if we’re looking at specific writers whom I admire who actually push me to challenge myself…Kevin “Wolfman” Martin, Roz Washington and Robert Ragan, all of whom I worked with on the collaborative project THE GRIND…though who doesn’t want to name drop Hunter S. Thompson. Erich Fromm and Mark Fisher?
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?
Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Mike: I grew up in Holland, Mi…the western part of Michigan on the lakeshore which is considered the Bible Belt of the North I believe…we’ll leave it at that as I live in Grand Rapids now…travels here and there and everywhere in-between allow to reconcile and instigate a mental restart in general when contemplating one’s existential quandaries in a new environment. It isn’t always doom and gloom when you realize most of it is a simulation and cerebral elasticity tends to take hold even if it’s a beautiful woman in a sundress whose arms you will never die in.
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?
Mike: This a tough nut to crack. I will always cherish THE GRIND but you have to keep going forward…Dumpster Fire Press being editor in chief seems to be a good candidate as there is always something being cranked out…my latest book SHEDDING DARK PLACE (ALMOST) published by Alien Buddha Press is a collection of poetry and prose written during the pandemic that I didn’t realize was meaningful to a lot of people but honestly whatever I’m working on at the moment.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Mike: Oh yeah, when I was seven I won a Young Author’s Award but still wanted to be Darth Vader, when I realized it truly was a long time ago in a galaxy far away…I thought “Hey, I take away other people’s dreams too…”
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Mike: I run a press and work full time in a pot lab…writing saves me…but I like to clean my house and take meditative walks. Eventually I’d like to dig live shows and travel again…Sicily, anyone?
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
VOICES FROM THE FIRE volume 3
THE CROWS WILL NEVER TELL BY JOHANN VAN DER WALT
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others? Favorite art piece?
Favorite art piece is Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows
Favorite line…well, just heard a Holocaust survivor being interviewed about Polish Jews digging their own graves and then being shot into them “…and the Earth was shaking for days” don’t take my new poetry collection title…
This particular line though is taken from my poem “The last days of us”
a jagged blues tune sung by dusty angels
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Mike: I have to say my brother in writing Roz Washington…after my mother died he actually kept me going even while I took care of her before her passing. He would tag me social media posts to write poetry on the fly which wound up becoming a salvation of sorts.
my heart is a chainsaw chasing you in broad daylight but I don’t care who else is playing this game introduced you to the family but you wouldn’t taste from a feast of fiends looking for friends of apples and human meat wrapped in the skin of a snake like a siren you’re wailing as in pain and danger wanting the cops to come calling doom upon the kitchen table why’d you have to break everything we could’ve done? Arbitrary species Fireflies of the apocalypse A cerebral pattern of psychedelic geography both of time and place where the external universe and inner space go where existential dread fears to tread junkie switchblade glowing angel gleaming in the backseat carjacks a Mercedes with a blowtorch ecstasy itself riding shotgun peels the jeweled peach as motorized wheels burn a rubber haze blind singing serial killers hiding inside nuclear clouds feels like we’ve been here before voluntary madness in the time of corona Something about a dream Something about a dream… Something about a gun… Something about something… Something about nothing… eyes wide shut rapid fire pinballs the realization that when I awaken- you’ll actually be here perhaps even real eyes guided by touch feeling an image sculpted by longing fingers, loves, woods sitting in a movie theatre we feed off emotions factory made Shakedown Street (deadhead poem) Was it worth the trip? arriving at Terrapin Station searching for guidance among the boney faces from the haven you started from everyone thought Joe Shakedown was a good old man coming on up from the street headshop in bloom peace, love, kindness groovy bears cosmic skeletons all ghost dancing around no one knew about the iron cross the badge he wore underneath the rest when the people cried “Justice” he cried “Treason” when they demanded answers he demanded punishment love that black market don’t you Joe Shakedown? don’t dig those taxes but you’ll take our money be it consumption or state sanctioned we see you, Joe the tower up north you brag about where you take strippers and questionably underage girls didn’t you plan to abduct someone once? “Reeducate her. Ply her with alcohol, good drugs and gifts, she’ll change her mind about the dark meat..” yeah, you sold the business “Jerry Garcia was a junkie.” there’s a big difference between smack and what you’re addicted to… renovating a white building with a big black cross love the silver medallion that’s the virgin Mary, right? trading in the tie-dye shirt for a leather jacket coupled with a black and yellow polo what a proud 50-year-old boy you are hey, Joe where you going with that gun of yours? *strong language content warning* we wish fever dream ‘cause I don’t get laid in real life virgo somehow in my room fung-shuis the space presents a plentitude of multicolored condoms cast aside we don’t care we take each other inside atomic level equilibrium these are the unstable molecules of dreams penetrating each other’s eyes oceans and nocturnal skies crashing intricate ink on her body moving freeze frame thumb on her lip somehow we’re both begging for something in silence equally stained equally cleansed with a paradise kiss virgo ascends capricorn down low goat and virgin entwined I might rob a bank for her mourning thoughts cityscapes decay the necropolis crumbles sometimes home just becomes another mausoleum what if we abandoned cemetery grounds? what if we acknowledged stardust angels and demons… just to touch the earth? an outdoor amphitheater instead of stones and ghastly statues we had trees and the winds blew breezes splintered by branches atmospheric impression of bodies reminded of you vibrations along the skin stirring memories then there’s your voice solar ray presence a phantom hand presence on the shoulders maybe heaven can be a place on Earth where no one has truly departed Communion Sharing this meal Knives over forks Forks over knives bloody cracked feet from the long walk home from freezer warehouse to freezing streets bus stops running past 11 another ten-hour day decided to treat myself frozen pizza pepperoni flaky croissant crust garlic powder day and night wasted keep one light on heat down low four bites in stomach shrank wages of precarity we share our meals alone exhausted and worn Hollywood Land the winner is… woke up dead belly ache sweats throbbing shoulder pain inflammation in a shrinking kidney babies on fire in Ukraine bullets in cats and dogs doom scrolling news- jilted algorithms social media- impersonal friends cinematic ceremony burned-out star calls for ZELENSKYY smelts his Oscar Zelenskyy’s got a war and genocide to abate Hollywood Land needs his strange-love appearance a wealthy man slaps another wealthy man for insulting his wife coked out tears consoled by Macbeth you can see why the prince isn’t so fresh anymore and why everyone hates Chris social fabric receding disparity increasing the glamorous dead need constant resurrection even amidst a world on fire crisis Hollywood can go fuck a narcissist’s ass giving blowjobs to fascists and neoliberals alike Catfish Catfished by a crossdresser using his sister’s pics tells me “I’m just like my sister, only you can cum in me.” “Not really.” I don’t come to him distracted by a screen peyote and vision quests I start talking about shamanism the masculine and feminism combined in other cultures to undertake these transcendent journeys he hands an odd-looking pipe we smoke meth rancid chemical taste brain like cloud ego struck spinning silent dark talking about identity and existence displacement of genuine evolution I had just lost my child presumably a son touching hands in the ether impotent exiled from the realm of the carnal toward the valley of desolation Exiled Division and Hall Leaving home on the road to… somewhere car crash left for dead back to the condo it was her birthday by her grace gave me three hours she was moving her ex back in my parents lost their lost house living in a one bedroom exiled near division and hall visitors only get 10 days hot blood ruminations and an overpass can be surprisingly warm Alone sometimes Solitude is god planting new seeds of contemplation whipping the light from Horus’ infinite eye finite in cosmological options divine right equals god-driven boundaries crossroads of deception there’s a depressing jewish revolutionary dying roman style next to a couple of zealots political bandits crescent moon side pocket q-ball \John gets down offers his head to Salome- the barmaid Moses starts the chant slapping Bacchus on the back GET DOWN JOHN! sound and fury ignoring Shakespeare’s and Faulkner’s ghosts painting Macbeth 2: The Musical we wear the crown of thorns growing laurels from our wounds “the bane is the way we live the boon is who we are” so says the new god legless on the sidewalk Solomon Lawry "and the Earth was shaking for days" Solomon Lawry died today Frozen Out by the apartment complex’s pond Nothing on But a big black overcoat Crushed brim brown faded black fedora Whitebeard Stuck with goose feathers and leaves Eyes reflecting morning sky Promoting Professing Prophesizing LIVE NUDE JEWS! “like some porn theater” he gasped Over half a century Recorded seven years before Polish Jews in the dead of winter Digging graves For the soon to be dead They had finished They laid their shovels down Order to strip Machinegunned down LIVE NUDE JEWS “like some filthy red-light joint” He coughed between brandy and a cigarette “and the Earth was shaking for days.” LIVE LAUGH LOVE Yeah, that’s what it said checking out dating profiles co-managing the thrift shop needed new material to escape second job hell I LOVE TO LAUGH was her best quality according to her she wouldn’t meet anyone in the park after dark nor sell anyone her panties used or otherwise I LOVE TO LAUGH she was ready to “finally settle down” 3 kids from 3 different fathers possibly pregnant but she didn’t want yours “looking for a father, a protector, provider. My be-everything and forever.” “God first, family second and cocktails” But no cock tales “no dating unless it ends in marriage” no relationship unless it ends in death was my reply “been there done that with sex…” “if you want sex…watch a porn.” I was used to that “NO 420, AT ALL!” “I’m rough and country but cleanup real nice…need a professional but strong man who loves kids and most of all, LOVES TO LAUGH.” I LOVE TO LAUGH Well, sure I continued talking to her obviously, a couple wires, got crossed… what’s with all the spelling and grammatical errors? I can’t figure out what you’re even saying she wouldn’t settle for anything less than a 220k mortgage and the big wedding followed by the opulent honeymoon with her $12 dollar job you provide the rest no sex no offspring her version of Heaven mandatory “I’m upset because my screen is wet and I’m pressing all the wrong buttons because of what you’re saying!” I LOVE TO LAUGH Are you going through a carwash with your windows rolled down? we all had a giggle about that never heard from her again my screen name NOT A SHINING KNIGHT tagline- Business Owner. Five figures. I don’t want to have sex with you. Family guy. Dreamer I LOVE TO LAUGH People who love to laugh are psychopaths. Judas hole Dry drunk broken bottles can’t handle yourself hide behind your cross still addicted try to feed off light you’re the void still empty inside here’s 30 silver pieces go on back to the Judas hole buy yourself a drink New Amerikan Policy Housing options limited the homeless are growing gun control? rampant shootings? Lack of healthcare? We got plenty of insurance to buy. defund the police? Arm the homeless with AR-15s over 400 rounds of ammunition problems solved guns over homes bullets over mental health ban weapons for the rest increase the disparity the poor as peacekeepers deliverance unto the destitute let them defend what those you elected want right in the middle furthering right happy now? Maximum News Coverage REAL POLITIK Cointel Pro News Network What he said was just too mean Being progressive is unelectable and won’t get us far as we stand in the middle negotiating further into fascism NEWIES Objective banal glowing screen – I LOVE TIME AND NEWS WEEK MAGAZINE in the global era of diminishing print into digital onslaught dread Sometimes when I’m real angry and want to enrage my narcissistic father I put my red lipstick on and say “I’m trans!” He sucks down a can of beer Turns on MAXY BROADCASTING Iranian woman stabs online date 200 times for invasion of- insert blank middle-eastern country Young Patriot shoots transexual 228 times runs it over IT IS NOT A PERSON IT IS NOT IN THE BIBLE IT IS NOT REVERED BY SACRED FOUNDING FATHERS “Now that’s what I call trans-liquid.” Enjoyed by plenty of freemasons “ I did it for the flag” Central Neural Netscape Open wide for dulled consciousness and silly shows Atavistic accompaniment to serious issues Have to keep that in the middle thing going so we don’t step on any toes as it’s too late to reconfigure society, something must be wrong with you to even question the war on drugs along with the lack of a universal healthcare system War is okay but we prefer the mild violence of a non-violent response BOX NEWS Pre-packaged for you A patriotic news network Killing Baby Hitler Killing Teen Barack Killing god There’s a new edition of the Bible coming out The Real Patriot’s Bible “Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln riding on white horses to save Jesus from certain to death by Lucifer so he can be crucified for all our sins” Peroxide Barbie gleefully plugs needing to be waterboarded Let’s elevate business Warm apple pie and baseball Be suspicious of hotdog homosexuality Say history is wrong Economics (currently) says so Economics- a trust-based system Faith based? Money the new religion? Real speech? Words are treason and blasphemy Speak cliché No words No minds Real patriotism Corporate National Narcofascism Say no to drugs now We can’t have all this social spending What about all the business owners? Middle-class, Middle-class Even though it’s just 20% of the populace Abortion, mass shootings…you wonder if all the celebrities could get together and just talk everything out about it and leave the hate behind? These protests are causing so much tension Two celebrities kiss each other then hated each other They’re just people and so are we 44 was good he didn’t change much He was the hope and change needed 45 was angry and mean. He divided our country Those progressives want too much they’re further dividing the nation We need unity Bring on 46 To enable another 45 Media matters Let’s head back in time to 2014 to head back to the mythic 50’s as perceived in the 80’s Don’t you wish you could be a celebrity and suffer so little yet immensely in your soul They have it harder than you Don’t make waves Just stay in the middle See the positive in all this negativity Just think positive REAL POLITIK None of this is working Empire falling Economics – econocide Ban assault weapons for everyone- even cops Issue each homeless person an AR-15 400 rounds of ammunition Let them patrol wherever, whenever Citizen protectors Perfection No homes No rest needed Only the elite can watch And you like it MAXIUM NEWS COVERAGE Amerika the beautiful Dead star politiks (it's over) It’s over…really Narco-fascism What does it mean? in the end you all fell for the vicious circus and psychopathic circles understanding power to escape from “freedom” narco- for the narcotics laws eroding constitutional rights implanting soft-machine fascism FUCK THE AUTHORITY narco- for narcissism there’s a dark triad of personalities governing nations and individual bodies world on fire propgandie narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths projection FUCK THE ESTABLISHMENT economics is a religion we’re all cast in a grand performance don’t act out bad avatar ostracization will put you in line FUCK THE SYSTEM clutching coins cast by the crown celebratory mass for the wicked who slew enshrining reptile brain behavior how many throats does it take to slit through the bloody sands of time to get your family to where they are today? FUCK THE MONARCHY Paleolithic minds Medieval institutions god-like technology FUCK EXISTENCE FUCK THE PLANET &… FUCK YOU apparently A July 2022 Poetry Showcase by Mike Zone