Landfill Empire

Caitlin Johnstone
3 min readJun 5, 2024


Listen to a reading by Tim Foley:

The moonlight caresses the missile silos in Russia
and the blown out hospitals in Gaza.

The garbage plays in the wind like children.
The exhaust fumes and the sounds of traffic feel like sex in your senses.

You can meet the divine here.
Here in the city.
Here in dystopia.
Here amid the smell of piss and the sleeping bags on the sidewalk.
Here in the heart of a dying empire,
whose cancerous tendrils sprawl like ivy
across the dying face of a dying world.

You can let the LED lights dance
with the light at the core of your being.

You can drink from the Great Mother’s breasts
beneath a billboard for the latest iThingy.

You can raise up your heart to the pigeons,
and to all the other animal species whose lives
we have not yet succeeded in extinguishing.

For us, this is Eden.
For us, this is the only place in which Buddha can be born.

In the future, if there is a future,
maybe the humans figure things out
and create a healthy world.
But that world is not our world.
That world is not where we clocked in to do our daily work.

We clocked in to this strange civilization,
where headless robot dogs keep showing up in police forces
and sniper drones play the sounds of crying babies
to lure out Palestinian civilians.

Where we have amputated our sacred connection with nature and land
and affixed a prosthesis made of viral videos and sitcoms
to the aching, festering stump.

Where everyone’s eyes are darkened by unnatural mindings,
and everybody’s always hungry no matter how much they eat.

This is where we will make our stand.

This tanglewire nest full of fast food wrappers and broken toys,
this mess where everything smells like motor oil and despair.

This is the manger in which Christ consciousness will be lain.

This is the armageddon town that will become our paradise.

This is the landfill empire where we will finally let sprout
those mysterious seeds planted in us long ago.

In this strange civilization,
in their own secret language,
even the buzzing drones over Gaza
sing the holy name of Allah.


My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece here are some options where you can toss some money into my tip jar if you want to. Go here to find video versions of my articles. Go here to buy paperback editions of my writings from month to month. All my work is free to bootleg and use in any way, shape or form; republish it, translate it, use it on merchandise; whatever you want. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. All works co-authored with my husband Tim Foley.

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