Scott Halperin


She’s always wearing
some kind of mini dress.

Today it’s leopard print
and she wears it well.

She walks with more direction
than I’ve ever known.

Each step a precise
thing of beauty.

She caresses the universe
with her axial sway.

All eyes are pulled in
her direction.

Gravitational fields pull
to the sway of her hips.

Her curvers are silent,
but when her heels click past…

I’m glancing out the back
of my cubicle, dragged
by some kind of force
greater than me.

Mark J. Mitchell

Late Surrealist

First, his fish wouldn’t start.
It coughed out tiny diamonds
the precise color of her eyes.

He ran for a public balloon
but it floated off as he reached
the only cracked pyramid nearby.

Walking along Pudding Street.
shoes covered in lovely butterscotch,
he couldn’t make time behave.

When two snakes hissed open
he tangoed—solo—to his desk
to find a lunch of lunar paperwork.

Until the moon swallowed its last cat,
he melted fossilized vegetables
and prayed for a plaid taxi home.

Leah Mueller


X, as in X-rated. That’s how it starts.
X, as in stupefied, tongues hanging from our mouths.
X, as in two rivers, meeting head-on and fighting over who needs to yield.
X, as in the spot where we allowed the accident to happen.
X, as in a pair of intersecting lines, warning you are no longer welcome.
X, as in our eyes are shut, since we bonked ourselves over the head with our own hammers.
X, as in the photos that show where our bones were broken.
X, as in the squall of distress that guts my belly to the studs.
X, as in former, but sure as hell not now.
X, as in examination of why you still reside in my head, though you have no right to be here.
X, as in stitches over the wound.
X, as in the additional time it takes for scar tissue to form.
X, as in closed permanently. Watch for new location.

Charles Rammelkamp

Modernday Researchers

Jenny and Adam (not their real names),
both in their thirties,
consented to document their experience
with sex on acid
for an online tripping journal
called On the Road Again.

“We took a low-ish dose of a hundred mics,”
Jenny started, the two sitting side by side
on a living-room couch, talking to a video camera.
“Kissing was wonderful, sensual.
We did that for about forty-five minutes,
two hours after we dropped.
Everything oral was terrific.
Adam went down on me,
his tongue like a strobelight –
that’s how it seemed in my closed-eye visuals,
colorful, rapid, stuttering,
and I came sooner than usual.”

“I had no trouble staying hard,”
Adam chimed in. “I was aroused.
I loved licking Jenny’s body.”

“But when we tried fucking
a few hours later,”
Jenny smiled at the memory,
“we just giggled, laughed.
Impossible to be serious.”

“But once I had my dick in her,
it was like heaven,” Adam interjected.
“The sunlight coming through
the streaky window was psychedelic,
the visuals so intense,
like I was on a cloud or something.”

“I just couldn’t concentrate,” Jenny confessed,
“but I was so wet, Adam kept sliding in and out
when he entered me from behind.”

Adam smiled. “In missionary position,
we stared deep into each other’s eyes.
It was like I was fucking her soul.”

Hank Kirton


Harvey Joel Drexler and his psilocybin-hyped mind weaved through impossibly intricate writhing patterns of swampy tangle. He was trekking into the very heart of the marsh. His crappy apartment was well behind him, his lousy job forgotten. He was on an inspired mission, determined to eat skunk cabbage and catch frogs. Harvey was 47 years old and every second of his life showed like tree rings on his collapsing face. This effort was necessary. The mushrooms in his gut prodded him onward with eager excitement. He felt sure he was on to something big. Something cosmic. He sought change. Mud sucked at his steps. Dragonflies sang. Cattails watched him with stoic surprise. Wisdom leaked from the trees.

The skunk cabbage plant has contractile roots. It reaches into the earth, tapping directly into the brain of the planet. That’s what Harvey was after. Direct communication. He wanted to talk to the moss. He wanted to get to the bottom of things. A small frog jumped away from his clumsy advance and he reached for it, losing his balance, landing with a scrambling splash into a stagnant pool. The septic smell of the water soaked into his clothes. He stripped them off and groped back to his feet, standing naked as a newborn in all that stinking, roiling green. This was the way it was supposed to be. It was ceremonial. A pilgrimage. Like something ordained by great green entities.

And then he spotted the skunk cabbage. It was right there. Now was the time.

Huge spreading leaves surrounded a spotted pod. The very heart of the matter. The soul of the swamp. He crouched by the plant. It regarded him like a stoned god. His mushroom-enhanced vision bled through tendrils, spilling chlorophyll-infused consciousness into the humid air. It was thrilling, mysterious stuff. He fell to his knees. The unpleasant stink of the plant was designed to keep predators at bay but he insisted on close proximity. He was not afraid. He looked at it. He breathed it. He tried to make a sound but his throat had closed and all he managed was a drool-drenched sputter. He wiped his numb lips with a muddy hand. The mushrooms guided him, speaking in slow, drawn-out bubbles of dark, narcotic thought. Images instead of words. He longed to decipher their language. Paramecia giggled in his pores. Were they laughing at his folly? He joined them, his breathy laughter rising up into the trees like errant balloons. He felt itchy but didn’t scratch. It was not uncomfortable. It was a divine itch.

He reached for the leaves with a shaking hand.

And then stopped. Oh shit, he didn’t want to hurt it. He’d heard recently that plants felt pain. They got distressed. Screamed. He didn’t want to torture the magnificent thing. He placed a trembling, gentle hand around the center pod, felt heat there. A tingling frequency reached up his arm and into his mind, spreading thick, oozing GREEN through his nervous system. His spine was an antenna, picking up a photosynthetic eukaryotic broadcast. But he still couldn’t decipher its language. It spoke with whispers of algae and the soothing patter of the warm rain that had suddenly commenced like a jeweled baptism, blessing Harvey, giving him permission. It was NOW!

And then, before he could stop himself, Harvey seized the heart of the plant in his fist and tore it out. The mushrooms demanded a ruthless act. It was time to merge.

The hushed tones of the plant broke into an ear-curdling scream and he closed his eyes as a verdant miasma rose up in his mind and he bit into the strong, foul-smelling pod like an apple. It crunched against his teeth and a holocaust of flavor filled his mouth and sinuses and lungs.

He felt like a serial killer; worse, a cannibal. The cabbage kept screaming while he chewed and swallowed, inhaling the fetid smell like a bad memory. He gasped and choked and tried to cough. His throat closed around the burning chunks of flesh. Oh god he couldn’t breathe. Sudden panic seized him and he punched his gut and tried to Heimlich himself, to no avail. His vision, which had been bright, phosphorescent green, darkened. He tried coughing again but it was no use; his throat was closed for business. His lungs struggled, strangling to death in his laboring chest and he toppled face down into the thick, emerald water.

The frog regarded him with wise, primordial eyes.

The skunk cabbage stopped screaming. It was done. Things were back in balance.

It took three days for the swamp to consume and incorporate Harvey Joel Drexler. A pack of Cub Scouts would discover his moss-crawled bones in the fall.


From: Everything Dissolves

Alan Catlin

Vampire’s Kiss

All the color was
being leached out
of her skin in some
Unnatural way,
not the Michael
Jackson way but by
black magic rites
she once took part
in as a youth pre-
paring needles for
mojo mamas to
use on fetish dolls,
likenesses of enemies
real and imagined,
while her male
siblings played
dice for souls
of marked men,
the soon-to-be
totally bereaved,
drinking joy juice
made from pure
cane, the hearts
of rare plants,
domestic animals
& special herbs
slow cooked the old
fashioned way &
allowed to ferment
in dark caves, root
cellars on the out
skirts of villages
of the damned she
held a visa for
stamped in blood,
no one questioned
her proof of passage,
it was clear where
she was coming from
no one would want to go

A. Lynn Blumer


Somedays are shrouded,
locked in rage.

Displaced anger
better off contained.

Reflect in soundwaves,
jaw fully extended
as if to consume              its tremendous—

Somedays, it hits the gullet
floor like a wet back wrestling
the reverberation.

Find its spine—its verbiage.
It’s relentless—this echo.

Today, I can hold it still / hold it still
long enough to read its
protruding up a marked hide
& I etch a fresh line:

“It’s just you again.”

It’s just you again.

Bogdan Dragos

tarot reading

She was sucking
on a red lollipop
quite loudly
and would constantly
take it out of her mouth
to stir her whiskey with it

She wore round sunglasses
a crimson bandanna
her hair in thin dreads
and all her shirts
were sleeveless

She took the lollipop out
one more time and
pointed it at him
across the table

“You want some?”
she asked

“Um, no thanks. I, uh,
stay away from sweets.”

She dipped the lollipop
back into the glass
and stirred a bit
then put it back
in her mouth

“Good for you.
I’m not too fond
of these either.
Just use ’em to help me
break the smoking habit.
It’s been working lately.”

She picked up the glass and took a sip
of the lollipop-flavored whiskey

“Anyway, like I said,
I brought you to my place
to read your tarot cards.”

She pulled the deck out
from under the table
and began shuffling
it intently

“If all’s good,
there’ll be a second date
and perhaps even more.
It all depends on you.”

Just then,
her dog barged into the room,
a fat pit bull wagging its stubby tail
and sniffing around the guest

It then ambled to her side
and she took the lollipop
and placed it between
the dog’s jaws

She shuffled some more
very focused on what
she was doing
and when all was ready
she took the lollipop
from the dog’s mouth
and resumed sucking on it
with loud slurping sounds

“So, you ready?”
she asked

He watched her,
gulped, and
scratched his head

“Um… yeah, totally.
This is, uh… like
poker, right?”

Katie Lewington

That Word

why does the word offend
we all seem to be fascinated by them
bound in lace and nylon
want to touch give pleasure lie to receive them
pay to hurt them
drop down on our knees
to worship

the vagina is an old grandma and fanny our aunt
twat our brother, muff our pet hamster
gerbil, rabbit
they live down south with Edith and Edna –
have an accent

but cunt
cunt is young and goes where she pleases
if she chooses to she will tease
draw you in
and spit you out
and if she wants to fuck
she will do so

and if she likes
she will take plenty of pictures
post online

she isn’t tied to the one person or
the one tradition

the shadow of slut and whore, her ugly sisters

cunt has an identity of her own.

HSTQ: Summer 2020


HSTQ Summer 2020_cover

horror, adj. inspiring or creating loathing, aversion, etc.

sleaze, adj. contemptibly low, mean, or disreputable

trash, n. literary or artistic material of poor or inferior quality

Welcome to HSTQ Summer 2020, the curated collection from Horror, Sleaze and Trash!

Featuring poetry by Bogdan Dragos, John Gartland, A. Lynn Blumer, Dave Cullern, Jack Henry, John D Robinson, Peter Magliocco, Alan Catlin, Anthony Dirk Ray, Donna Dallas, Corey Mesler, Casey Renee Kiser, Jacob Ian DeCoursey, Mark J. Mitchell, Craig Podmore, Dennis Villelmi, Damion Hamilton, and Michael D. Amitin.

Kindly PayPal 5 USD to for print copies,
or download the FREE ebook instead!