Daniel J. Flore III

A CHURCH SERVICE FOR ONE

I would like to go to a church and pray on my knees in an empty sanctuary.

Then I would get up and sing along with “The First time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack on my phone as the worship service.

I would light a cigarette in there as my incense then I would preach a sermon about how I should give up smoking.

I would say something to God like I miss you and look at the stained glass that looks like it is made of blood and think about all the prayers uttered in this building and what they all might have meant to the Lord.

I would hock up all of my phlegm in a gold offering plate and leave a couple bucks in another.

Snoozing in the pew with my cat I would adjust my blanket so that I was completely covered and count lost sheep being found by their shepherd.

I would not be afraid of being profane in this holy sanctuary.

God knows how bad it’s been and I’m here to flush out the toxins.

I would take communion with a bun from a Whopper and a Coke, baptize my forehead with the sweat on my Burger King cup and I would cross myself as I exited and breathe an easier breath than when I came in.

Perforated By Sirens, By Mark A. Pearce & Danny D. Ford

Perforated by Sirens is a poetic collaboration between two friends written during the height of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. The book manages to fuse two distinct perspectives, with Mark being in Bristol, England and Danny being in Bergamo, Italy. Bergamo suffered one of the highest pandemic casualty rates in the world.

A5 saddle stitched chapbook. Lovingly handmade, hand stamped, and hand numbered. Limited to 25 copies. Printed on an old Canon laser printer we found abandoned at a dump site.

BUY A COPY HERE

Linnet Phoenix

Devotion

Here I kneel
in deference,
simple silence,
a wordless prayer,
an act of devotion. 
In gentle rhythm, 
head rocked forward,
eyelids closed, 
hands hold legs
to steady stance.

Touch is tantamount 
to taste in grace.
I asked you to stand,
tell me your fear,
read me words.
Stroke auditory buds,
as blood pounding,
in matching pulse,
I slide my thumb 
inside your ass.

Charles Rammelkamp

Slang

“…a scurvy-looking cove sitting with a couple of doxies,”
I read in a detective novel set in 1719,
digging the eighteenth century patois, 
fiction my escape 
from the sledgehammer of horror
of the year in which I live, 301 later.

A sketchy-looking dude sitting with a couple of hoes.

I look up from the novel 
at the television screen,
where the current president sits
with his daughter and his wife,
a bloated, scowling man
with fake-blond hair,
candidate for a stroke,
his cosmetically-enhanced companions
all counterfeit curves and color.

I turn back to my novel,
to the eighteenth century,
not so different 
from today, I concede.

Walter Ruhlmann

Lube Tube

Spain had this strange concept,
part exciting,
part frightening
he dragged me to a cage, a trap
me mouse, him cat.

Spain toyed me in the pub
a finger in my shorts
trying to snoop my hole
my hand grabbing his mole.

The lead drag screamed at us
s/he was supposed to be the queen
their slick make up leaked from their eyes
s/he scared us and we fled.

The aftermaths of this was weird
I had no place to go
he had no bed to share
both broke
a hotel room was nay.

The tube became shelter
we kissed and hugged and rubbed
on the seat of an empty train.

Then,
Spain stopped at Stockwell
I had to go further, alone,
down south,
soothing my frustration.

Soon I would leave London
to reach Southampton.

Max Sheridan

SHAVED AND WAXED

I was thinking of taking my Craig’s List ad down early when she answered.

Honestly, I hadn’t expected to find anyone on Craig’s List who would shave and wax my asshole for five bucks, let alone a dental hygienist. I mean, you couldn’t find a six-pack of Schlitz beer for under eight.

I sat around until about seven that evening, and then I couldn’t take it anymore. I emailed her.

“You’re cheap,” I said. 

She answered right back. 

She said, “Some people aren’t in it for the money.”

She asked when was good for me.

I said three o’clock Friday.

She said seven was better for her. 

And maybe she was right. Meemaw would be napping in the basement at three o’clock. If we skipped her nap, I could get her in bed by six and we’d have the whole evening. 

Seven o’clock it was.

I ate breakfast at Denny’s all week long to bide my time. High stacks and poached eggs. The Denny’s booths were smooth hard plastic. I told myself they’d probably feel a whole lot smoother once I got my ass waxed. 

Thursday came and I had second thoughts. What if meemaw woke up early and wandered upstairs and found me facedown on the ironing board with a mysterious female applying coconut oil to my asssflap? Congenital heart disease ran in the family. Meemaw might have a fit. If she did, it wasn’t technically my fault, but I’d still have to explain it to the judge. 

Come Friday I made sure meemaw was in bed by six with a box of Queen Anne cordials and the HSN on full volume. She was sawing wood by six-fifteen. I gave it another fifteen minutes and cleared a space on the living room floor. 

I got down a few back issues of People Magazine. I put out a cup of tea and some pillows and a tin of ass wax I’d ordered from a third-party seller on Amazon.

It was ten past when she finally got there. She’d come with a little guy who called himself Durant. Durant claimed to be her assistant. I still didn’t know her name.

Durant said, “Hey, I know you.”

I got this a lot.

I said, “I used to wrestle. Semi-pro.”

“Holy shit,” Durant said. “Earl ‘The Pedestrian’ Wilmer. You’ve lost weight.” 

Durant said to the lady who was going to wax my ass, “Pam, Earl used to walk around in circles before jumping on law-abiding, tax-paying wrestlers from behind.” 

Then he turned to me and said, “I’m sorry, Earl.”

Before I could ask sorry for what, Durant smacked me in the head with one of meemaw’s vases. He was fast. I hadn’t seen it coming. But it wasn’t enough.

Durant tried picking up the sofa. It wouldn’t budge. He went for the fire poker, but I got to him first. I put the sleeper choke on Durant. Durant wouldn’t go down.

Durant said, “You’ve got to do better than that, Pedestrian.”

“I didn’t do anything to you yet,” I said.

He tried to worm his way out, so I rabbit-punched Durant in the ear and he sort of slumped over into my arms and began to slobber.

Pam screamed: “You killed him!”

“I didn’t hardly hit him,” I said. “And you’ve got to be quiet.”

“You did. You killed him. He’s not breathing.”

It was true. Durant wasn’t breathing.

I said, “You came over here to rob me.”

“It was Durant’s idea,” Pam said.

“Do you even know how to wax assholes?” I said.

“Durant does,” Pam said.

We stood around not saying anything for a minute or two and then I said, “You better get him out of here.”

“I’m not touching shit,” Pam said.

“You better,” I said.

“Or what? Are you going to kill me too?”

Probably, I wasn’t. I’d never really even knocked another man out. Durant was the first, but I’d killed him. So you never knew.

“Is he your boyfriend?” I said.

“What’s it to you?” Pam said.

“Nothing. But if you want, you can dump him in back of the Safeway on Tedeschi Street. There’s no cameras back there. Either that or I call the law.”

Pam began to cry.

I said, “Grab his feet.”

When I got back inside, meemaw was stirring in the basement. She wasn’t a big woman, but she wasn’t quiet on her feet either.

I made meemaw a plate of Oreo cookies and a glass of milk and set them both down on the dining table. 

Meemaw ate two Oreos before her eyes started to move about the living room. I knew that vase was special for her. Grandpa had brought it back from China on a selling trip.

“You broke the vase.”

“Yes, meemaw.”

“You little fucking shit.”

When meemaw went back down to the basement, I drove out to the Safeway on Tedeschi Street. I didn’t see Durant by the dumpsters. 

I went inside and bought a compact mirror and a waterproof razor and a bottle of Nair hair remover. I got a six-pack of Schlitz beer out of the cooler, and I was wrong.

The Schlitz was four ninety-nine and it wasn’t even on sale. 

William Taylor Jr.

Old 45s

After she’s made dinner
after they drink and fight 
have sex and watch 
the television
after he goes to bed
she stays up and drinks
tequila and dances 
alone to old 45s
Dusty Springfield
Patsy Cline
The Shangri-las
and for a few hours
she forgets about
the debt
and the doubt
the things he said
the things she said
and where it’s all
surely headed
she gets lost 
in old songs
and for a while lives 
in the music that sings
of other times
when the world 
was different 
when she said 
pretty things
to pretty people 
and tomorrow wasn’t 
always something to dread
she has to be at work
in 5 hours and she 
says just one more 
shot and turns 
the record 
over.

Always More, By John D Robinson

Horror Sleaze Trash proudly presents the poems of John D Robinson.

“These are survivor poems, battle scarred verse that hits the soul and assaults the frontal lobe. Here is a poet who has lived several lives and emerged on the other side intact.”

—Joseph Ridgwell, author of Burrito Deluxe

“This book is not decorative art. This book is not the exercise of the commercial artisan. This book is stripped of 21st century consumer bullshit. This book is a way in to what matters. Get ready. It is going to hurt. And you will love it.”

—Henry Stanton, UnCollected Press

BUY A COPY OR DOWNLOAD HERE

J.J. Campbell

suicide lovers

your lips tasted
like danger
 
like death was
just around the
next corner
 
your tongue 
danced in my 
mouth like i 
was the 
unexpecting
victim
 
it was a cigarette 
on the front porch
 
the sad reminder
that suicide lovers
will never get a
storybook ending
 
so many years ago
 
now we’re flirting
with death while
burning every damn
bridge along the way
 
sometimes sorrow
is all we can get 
by with
 
like any fucking 
fool
 
we’ll turn it into
something that 
someone will 
think of as 
art