Alexandre Alphonse


poetry is moribund
lil peep wrote better than us
meat computer writes better than us
poetry is a lame ass art form
too worn out
rimbaud would be doing something
different today i promise you

i wish i made fashion
8th art
or video games
9th art
even better
90’s video games
or hypermodern trap
or post anti folk
but u r stuck with me for a bit
if u still want to be that is
i am stuck with me, being me,
for ever and ever and ever ever ever.

how to be cool after van gogh, basquiat, modigliani,
rimbe, nick drake, césar aira, duchamp, alfred jarry,
manuel antonio, kafka, pessoa,
rosalía de castro, cervantes…
and the sky
and the sea
and the deeply rooted trees.

Brian Rihlmann

First Date Fart

call it a way of weeding them out—
the too uptight ones
the insane, pretty ones
the ones like so many Jersey girls
I’ve known…
obsessed with appearances 

I’ll make it look 
like an accident—
“Whoops! Sorry about that!”

any reaction 
but laughter
will be an immediate 
red flag—

because if THIS 
is a problem 
what else
will I have to hide?

Dan Cuddy

Vampire Wine

The label read “Vampire”
“A merlot as sweet as blood”
But blood’s not sweet
Just the heart’s thing to pump
And if it is sucked out
The heart is low and dry
A tough squeeze and cry

The story:
Love drinks wine
Gets intoxicated
Chit-chats lotsa shit
Bits of bric-a-brac
Cool conversation
Masking the heat
Beneath the clothes
That want to come off
And lie like a heart
Body sucked out
A pudding without the pud

Love toasts itself
Two vampires
In the bite of night
Screeching like bats
Growling like wolves
Two moaning carcasses
Without a mind

Love has drama

The “ever after”
An empty bottle
With just a label

Romantics are monsters

Judge Santiago Burdon

No Gideon Bibles

There  are no Gideon Bibles 
At the Chelsea Hotel
Many a famous artist 
Seems to know it well

Bob Dylan wrote a song there
Dylan Thomas lived his poems
Ginsberg and Kerouac stayed there
And Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen

There’s always a vacancy
At the Chelsea
Get a room without a phone
Drinking Mad Dog in the lobby
Or get drunk in your room alone

Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel there
William Burroughs shot his dope
Diego Rivera cheated on Frieda
Sid Vicious cut Nancy’s throat

If the manager doesn’t like you
He’ll kick your ass out the door
If you’re broke but you look alright
You  can sleep on the hallway floor

There are no Gideon Bibles 
At the Chelsea Hotel
When I get back to New York City
Gonna stay there and raise some Hell

Brian Rosenberger

The Empire Strikes Back

Up before sunrise.
Late night. Two hours of sleep.
Last call then fucking at her place. She was closer.
She sounded satisfied. Maybe the whiskey helped. 
Both of us mid-forties, lonely. Saturday night blues.
She liked my Charles Vess Death t-shirt.
I liked that she liked.
Her cleavage and smile helped.

There’s no offer of breakfast.
I wash my cock and balls in her bathroom sink. 
Never a boy scout, never swore the oath,
but I improvise. Tooth paste on my finger.

In search of my pants, I notice her walls
are decorated by images of Star Wars.
Old school – Vader, Fett, Tusken Raiders,
the Cantina scene. Even Bossk.

I grab her ass and kiss her
with what’s left of last night’s passion,
hoping she’s game for a sequel.

Tia Mitsinikos

Write About Your Favorite Color

I like orange. But not the bright and bubbly kind. The dirty kind, like rust. The iris of rock doves, or pigeons’ eyeballs if you like.

I also like its neighbor, Dirty Yellow. Like mustard. The color of forgotten couches and curtains smelling of mildew and… dirty yellow.

I even like my pink dirty. Like intestines. Or a ballet slipper stained with sweat. And on the darker side of the spectrum, a dead rose, crusty like dried blood.

Imagine if every color were named after the dirtiest version of itself. “Burgundy” becomes “Dried Blood.” “Teal” becomes “mold.” Now mold is a versatile color. Everyone’s favorite color can be found in mold form. Mold is prismatic, polychromatic, breaking barriers, breaking…moulds. The Emperor’s New Clothes was just mold all along. Kind of ironic seeing as mold is one of the earth’s oldest life forms. The Emperor’s Old Mold. Beautiful.

David J. Thompson

And All That Shit

For Christ’s sakes, Mary, Joseph told her.
You’ve got to stop crying and staring out
that fucking window. Face it, Jesus died 
on the cross, no matter what that crazy bitch
Mary whatshername says, and that’s that.
He’s just not coming back. Ever.

This was in the summer, months after
the crucifixion. Mary had barely changed
her clothes since then, spent her days 
in total silence with cigarettes and bourbon.

It’s more than that, Mary said as she walked 
over and sat opposite Joseph at the kitchen table.
She lit up a fresh Marlboro, told him she had
something to tell him. What’s that?
her husband asked.
You know that whole story about the virgin birth?
she asked. When he nodded, she continued,
Well, don’t get angry or upset,
but it was all bullshit.
Jesus’s father was some Roman soldier, definitely
not God. We met one night at a club,
we were so young back then
and drinking and dancing and doing Ecstasy 
and he promised to pull out, but . . . 
Her voice trailed off into silence, she made
a little palms up gesture. You mean, you weren’t
really the Virgin Mary after all? Joseph demanded.
Hardly, she replied,
then made a sound like a snorting horse.
Joseph said he felt like throwing up. Mary pushed
the bottle of Jim Beam across the table, urged him
to have a drink instead. 

Later, when Joseph had finally stopped crying
and the bottle was almost empty, Mary was back
at the window. She asked him how in the hell 
he ever believed her ridiculous story anyway when 
everybody else in Galilee knew she was a party girl 
prone to big lies. I don’t know, he replied sounding 
like he was going to start crying again. I guess 
because life is so much easier if you believe
in God and miracles and all that shit.
Ha! said Mary, still waiting at the window,
fucking tell me all about it. 

Not Ashamed Boudoir: Joshua and Jennifer Nielson

As it says on their website, there’s a difference between a cool picture, a great photo, and a striking image. Striking Images and Not Ashamed Boudoir is made up of Josh and Jennifer, a Utah couple that lives in Saratoga Springs.

Josh says that he originally got into photography as an excuse to get outside and “hunt” wildlife. And by hunt, he means photograph. Starting out with some pointers from a friend and a desire to pursue photography, Josh became dedicated to the artform. “Whatever the genre, we are dedicated to being artists,” Josh says. “What we try to create is something that you wouldn’t see every day. We work to find the exceptional.” About 90% of photoshoots are done together. Having both of them there means that while Josh is behind the camera, looking at lighting, focus, and framing, Jen is able to see all of the details that make a photograph great.

After learning more about what boudoir photography was all about, a little later down the road, Josh and Jen spoke about how they could use boudoir as a means to help women step away from the shame that so often surrounds their self image and the ways they view their bodies – thus, Not Ashamed Boudoir was born nearly 3 years ago.

“We started Not Ashamed as a way to help me love myself,” says Jen. Having struggled with eating disorders and low self-esteem for most of her life, she was all too aware of the toxic thought patterns that women can fall into. “I wanted to learn to stop being ashamed of my own body and love who I am now.” And what began as a project geared towards self-love and acceptance, blossomed into a passion and a journey to help the clients and models they worked with take steps towards self-love and away from shame.

You can find Josh and Jennifer on Instagram: @not.ashamed.boudoir and @striking.images.
You can also find their websites by clicking here: Striking Images // Not Ashamed Boudoir.

This photoshoot features model, Ida May, who is a published model, an artist, and an HST Girl featured on the cover of the Summer 2020 Horror Sleaze Trash Quarterly.

James Diaz

The Quick Side of Night, Wailing 

Rita is on the edge
of town tonight 
the sound of the rails 
are coming in like rain
through a hole in the roof

just one more thing
you can’t keep out

when is love not more give than take 
the car is rolling and there’s no brakes 
something about the levee can’t hold back
when the floodplain / the vein / just gives right in

been through the burnout / rehab stints /
the decades of bad luck / bad checks /
old story / you know it?
then don’t look down like that
on what you ain’t, for one second,
been in knee deep
and no way out

trash bag on her car window
it’s no fucking metaphor
it’s making due
with whatever you have tucked
underneath the driver’s seat

there must be light
in all this somewhere
or else why even try, right?

you open the book
and not a damn word of it
feels right tonight
Rita’s chucking bottles at trains 
screaming about Ray and Daddy 
and when
oh fucking when
is it gonna end 

you think the night is long?
you’ve no idea 
how fast it goes 
down here