Matt Sweder

Holy Shit

Welp, you just gave a whole new meaning to christening the toilet. You shat out a gargantuan turd that may or may not have, ever-so-slightly, resembled the big man upstairs—the Lord and Savior, the Good Sheppard, the Jesus Christ—and now you have people flocking over to your place like cardinals in masses to come and check out your shit. Your local church community, the town over’s local church community, God-fearers from all parts of the country, overseas—altar boys, priests, clergymen from the Vatican—the goddamn Pope himself—coming to inspect your shit and bless it.

The problem is: it’s shit. Looks like shit. Smells like shit. And you are forbidden to flush it. Adam and his apple, forever lodged in the throats of mankind. You and your shit, forever lodged in your own personal shitter.

It’s like the water leak that soiled that house with Our Lady of Guadalupe. Or that burnt piece of toast. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Toast. Except this is the toast after it’s been digested. You wonder what you ate earlier. Definitely not notre pain quotidien. Fast food, probably. Or gas station nachos. No, definitely fast food. Your holy Big Mac with fries and a shake, please. You swallowed up some of America’s finest like it was the Last Supper and you ended up shitting out Jesus. In your one-bed-one-bath’s run-down half-broken toilet. Brown Jesus. Digested Jesus. Prince of Peace. Or rather, prince of feces. The second coming—in a wave of shit.

You called the priest at the church around the corner from you because you thought maybe you could con him out of a few bucks and that’d be that. End of the line. Simple transaction. Cash for brown gold. But what you didn’t expect was for him to bring in the whole cavalry. The Knights Templar at your door—24-hour surveillance to ensure that no one breaks in and fucks with your shit. On the plus side, in a way, it’s kind of nice. You don’t live in the best of neighborhoods. Nobody’s gonna be trying to snatch your VCR to hock it for dope as long as God’s bodyguards are hanging around.

There’s a line out your door—worshippers from all parts of the globe to witness your turd. The pious poo. The poo prophet. It’s a floater—like it’s walking on water. They’ve got some member of the Patriarch orchestrating the whole ordeal (er, ordure?) letting in groups of three at a time like it’s a goddamn theme park ride. The Holy Roller coaster. They come in, kneel down before your biblical bowel, your sacred stool, your godly guano, they say a prayer and then they leave. Art thou hallowed Hankey. And so on to the next three. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. All the way down the line.

While you’re staring at the nativity scene that is your number two, opposite the holy usher—both of you on either side of the toilet like some sacred shit brigade—you can’t help but wonder: did Jesus poop? He must’ve, right? He probably shat out some real moral manure. Crucified crap. Jewish deuce juice. My shit doesn’t have shit on His shit. What’s all the fuss about? It’s no righteous rump release. Divine dump. Sanctimonious steamer. It’s just shit. Good, old-fashioned human shit. Matthew, Mark, Luke and I used the fucking John. You smile and nod at the group of three as they thank you and motion the sign of the cross. “And also with you,” you say like a half-strung marionette because you don’t know what else you’re supposed to say. Our Father who art in thine toilet? Maybe you’ll try that one on the next group.

In they come. Signum crucis. Kneel. Bow. Reconciliation. Or whatever beef (perhaps lamb, anyone?) they may have with the Almighty. Using your turd like a divine switchboard to the heavens. A séance with the Supreme. The Creator. The One and Only. Hello, Mr. Holy Ghost. Are you there? It’s me, by way of Evangelical excrement.

Another herd of three. In and out, in and out. How many hours have passed, you think, standing there in your small bathroom with an un-flushed floater and people flowing in and out like a museum exhibit. You go to check your watch, but then you realize you’re not wearing a watch so you opt for an inconspicuous nose wipe in case anyone is watching you. Never, in all of your existence on God’s good green earth, did you think that you’d ever get a single thank you for dropping a deuce. Yet, here you are, in a matter of mere hours, being thanked by the masses. A swarm of hundreds. Thousands, maybe. That’s got to be a world record. I’ll call the Guinness Book later, you think.

But then something happens. The lights flicker. Of course, you know it’s just the building’s shoddy electrical work and the landlord’s negligence to fix it—but everyone else thinks it’s an act of God. The ethereal lord from up above. A sign! He’s communicating. It’s a fucking miracle.

And what perfect timing—the coincidence, dumb luck—the Pope rolling up in that ridiculous looking bulletproof papal transport car—the white Mercedes with the phone booth sticking up out of the back of it. Ladies and gentlemen, the ceremonial blessing of shit commences.

In he comes—the Pope, that is—to your one-bedroom apartment. You, him, and that other dude in the Men in Black uniform who’s been with you the whole time are crammed into the bathroom together. The Pope does some spiritual ritualistic hand gesturing and pours some holy water onto the floating turd—as if it wasn’t wet enough from floating around in the bowl. He closes his eyes for a moment and stands completely still. Silent. Then, he breathes in heavily (wrong move, holy man) then whirs his head around as if caught by surprise of the horrid stench emanating from the Jesus turd trying not to pass out. I mean, that’s some fast food shit. Probably some beer shits, too. That ain’t no Redeemer steamer. “Whew,” he says. “Forbidden fruit, more like forbidden fudge, eh?” Whoa. Who knew the Pope had jokes?

“My man. Right out from the downtown chocolate factory,” you say, pointing at your ass. The religious regiment (religiment? coining it) man who’s been there the whole time scolds you with dagger eyes. Apparently it’s not kosher to chime in on the fun.

Papa Pope’s holding up the Rosary now in one hand and the Bible in the other, speaking to no one in particular in Latin or Italian or whatever mother-tongue of the houses of the holy. “It is now blessed,” is all he says after his anti-climactic theatrics. And then he leaves! That’s it. From the Vatican to the one-bedroom. Five minutes tops. Peace’d the fuck out.

Everyone is applauding and cheering and hugging. Did I miss something? I don’t get it. All you’re doing is wondering if you can flush it down now. You motion toward the man who’s been there the whole time to ask him what the protocol is, but he brushes you off by shaking his head and bringing his finger to his lips. You’re definitely gonna have to move out now, you think.

So, there it is. The Holy Shit. Blessed by the Pope himself. Now, all because of you, the hive mind of the faithful idolizes, worships, and prays to a single piece of solid, floating, enshrined, steaming shit. A new relic. The symbol of God. Lord, shit almighty. A-fuckin’-men.

Scott Manley Hadley

Rasputin in the Disco

Rasputin feels the madeira flow through his veins and the sweetness and the liquor make him feel fucking alive. The room is dark and it flickers and flashes in bright colours, there is dyed or painted paper fixed to the lanterns, the mirrors on the walls, one of them shattered, send out scraps of multi-coloured light in a thousand directions as the movement of the dancers shakes the wall its chains are attached to.

Rasputin stamps his feet and swings his head, his arms raised (one, holding a glass, tentatively) and his face shows a bliss he only ever feels when his body is engaged in these bestial, essential, human pleasures.

Like dancing, like drinking, like fucking, like prayer.

The room is full of beauty, beauties, beautiful women, beautiful young women. They aren’t beautiful because they’re young, he thinks as he stares, his body shaking and sweet wine splashing from his large right hand. They’re beautiful, he believes, because they’re women. Because woman is beautiful, because woman is life. Femininity is divine, he muses, his eyes focused on the bouncing tits of a blonde actress renowned as a hedonist. Femininity is fertility, Rasputin thinks, his head nodding to the bass and his shoulders twisting to the melody. We must love the beautiful, divine, female, he thinks, and to prove this to God we must make love to as many women as will have us.

Rasputin is taller by a foot than everyone else in the room. His beard is five times bigger than every other man’s, and the gold crucifix that swings from his neck beneath it looks like a broken pendulum as his jerky movements keep it in motion.

The dance has him gripped, his feet, his knees, his chest, his arms (he drains the last of his madeira and flings the glass towards a wall; there is a gentle twinkle of smashing glass and a booming laugh from one of the smarmy fucking aristocrats who follow him around trying to lick his bootstraps or his balls), his whole body seems to roll and shake and shudder. Sweat drips from his eyebrows, his heels tear into the wooden floor, almost splintering it beneath him, his robes float, his eyes light up and he doesn’t stop. 

The band finishes a song and in the moment of silence before the next he doesn’t stop moving, just shouts ‘Bol’she! Bol’she!’ and continues dancing to silence.

The musicians on the low stage share a look and start to play again, but Rasputin is demanding ‘Bystreye!’ over and over again. He wants the music faster, he wants more of it, he wants it constantly.

Deep breaths, pumping feet, plucking strings, fingers and arms moving with the speed and an intensity that Rasputin wants, and he floats, drunk, licking his lips and looking at the bodies of the women around him, listening to the music that fills the air, blinking into the lights that surround him from a thousand directions, the shattered mirrors, the coloured lanterns, the glow that seems to emanate from his own eyes. Rasputin dances, and Rasputin dances hard.

Brian Rosenberger

Romance Today

Romance today
has too many questions
come here often
married (optional)
have you been tested
did you come
call me
and no kind answers

Romance today
is all bullshit and fancy dances
like fencing minus the foils
parries and feints and counters
to say nothing of the thrusts
It’s boxing with a different type of glove
in a different type of ring
you feel the blows
you feel the ache
you want the release
you know you do

Romance today is
fingers locking
loins pounding
bodies arching
letting the fluids fly
which brings us to the wet spot
not comfortable is it
you’re there, I’m there, we’re there
faces of need in an ocean of need
or wishing you were

Romance today is a game
care to play

Andy Seven

The Sewing Circle

There was a three-story house in the old town burg
sewing machines in the windows
none of them worked
Men of all types rolled up the stairs
Madame Lombard’s blind whorehouse
all the ladies were blind
white, black, yellow
mostly young, very young girls
some older ladies who had no place to go
women the wind forgot
forgotten by the sea
forgotten by the burning sun

The blind ladies in waiting
egg timers by the nightstand
ring ring your hour’s up pay up

Sightless girls 
smelling and hearing
sweaty fat men
grunting and belching
putting it in drunk and bleary
skinny nervous men
apologizing, cursing, sometimes crying
“No, you can’t kiss me”
this one’s really small
this one’s way too big
small and thick with the bullfrog blues
men without a past
men without a future 
all dancing a swirly little dance
until the big bad wolf
burned their house in  

Kristin Garth


Venous Barbies bleed in hot pink as do
the Kens, for dolls with cute sadistic kinks —
or Serial Stacies, little sisters you 
didn’t know were the bad seeds, who wink
at polyvinyl chloride able to bleed 
out for their pleasure next to the rocket 
ship swing sets.  Blonde braids, pink bows, evil deeds
without human regrets, knives in pockets,
tap shoes on the tiniest feet announce 
an arrival but exit discreet after 
the final heart beat, pink brain matter bounces 
off rosy linoleum floors.  Laughter 
eluding the detectives of Barbiecore — 
the aesthetic that slays is Barbiegore.

Anthony Dirk Ray

Making Mother Proud

Gerald couldn’t believe the beauty in front of him.  He was absolutely terrified to be in the same room with such an attractive woman.  His mother always harped that he would never be able to find a woman that would be into him, and those words haunted him his entire life.  Gerald looked up to the heavens and thought, look at me now Ma, as he gave the cutie a sly smile from crooked lips.  Sweat started to bead up on his forehead and run down his side from his underarms.  The nervousness overtook him, and he had to excuse himself.

Gerald went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror at himself.  In a low volume he chastised the reflection that stared back at him. 

“Get it together motherfucker. This is the opportunity of a lifetime you’ve always dreamed of. Don’t blow this. You are the man. Show Ma that you CAN be a man.”

After a few short, hard punches to his face, he flushed the toilet and exited the bathroom.  Once back in the room, Gerald apologized for the interruption and returned to his seat next to the dream girl.  He stared deep into her eyes, and relished in the moment.  Gerald anticipated her saying something, but quickly placed his finger over her mouth and gently shook his head.

“No, no. You don’t have to say anything. Your beauty speaks a million words even without a sound.”

Gerald thought to himself, that was good.   Not wanting the moment to fade, he thought about kissing her right then, but halted.  A plethora of scenarios ran through his head.  What if she turns away?  What if she laughs?  What if she vomits?

In spite of all of his negative concerns, Gerald decided to risk it, and went in for a kiss.  When his lips touched hers, he immediately fell in love.  This was Gerald’s first kiss, and it was everything he could have imagined.  Best of all, she didn’t withdraw, laugh, or vomit.

Her lips were soft and full, and Gerald gently licked and sucked on them.  He used his tongue to explore her mouth, gently biting her bottom lip upon withdrawal.

Gerald was getting extremely hot, and began to explore her body with his hands as he continued kissing her.  He moved his hand up the side of her body, under her gown, to her breast, and sensually massaged her with every caress.  The absence of panties and bra excited Gerald even more, and gave him the confidence he needed to take things further.  

She really wants it, Gerald thought, as animalistic urges took control of him.  His breathing quickened and heart raced, as he ripped at the material just enough to expose a breast.  Gerald maniacally sucked at her nipple, as he feverishly rubbed and gripped every portion of her body that he could grab.  He mounted, and struggled to pull down his pants and spread her legs, while still tonguing her slightly parted mouth.

Just as he was about to penetrate her, the door opened, and a hysterical, loud voice could be heard.

“What the fuck are you doing?  Jesus Christ!  Get off of her!”

It was Frank, the proprietor of Resting Days Mortuary.  

Gerald worked for Frank for about two months and had been an exemplary employee.  That is, until Frank had to leave to run an errand and left Gerald alone for the first time. 

Frank was absolutely horrified.  He pulled out his phone and called the police, while he covered up the body and pushed Gerald away.

“Yes, this is Frank Lorretto from the mortuary.  I’d like police assistance immediately.  Defiling of a dead body.  Yes, defiling a dead body!  He’s here now.  Hurry.”

Frank picked up a metal rod from the table beside him and held Gerald at bay.  Neither of them spoke much while they waited.  Frank shook his head, looked at Gerald in disgust, and surveyed the rest of the room.

A few minutes passed and a knock could be heard at the front door.  Frank motioned for Gerald to head that way as he followed.  Frank opened the door and two policemen were standing there.

“Thank God, officers.  I caught my employee having sex with a corpse.  I want him off the premises right away, and I would like to press charges.  I run an honorable business here, and the dead need to be given the respect that they deserve.  How would you feel if she was your wife or daughter?”

Neither cop knew how to respond, but tried to remain professional as possible as they looked at Gerald.

“Is this true sir?”

Gerald was embarrassed, scared, and visibly shaken.

“Yes.  I’m sorry.  I couldn’t help myself.  She was just so beautiful.”

The cops handcuffed Gerald, put him in the car, and one of them informed Frank how to go forward with the legalities.

“Thank you officer.  I appreciate your fast response.  I am in shock.  He seemed like such a  personable guy and was always great help.  I was under the impression that he wanted to learn about this profession.  Now I see that it was for all the wrong reasons.  I just don’t know how I’m going to tell the family.  Like I said, no one deserves this treatment, living or dead.  I have hours of sanitizing and repairing to do tonight because of him.  Again, thanks for your assistance officer.”

Frank shut the door behind the officer and went back into the cooler.  He looked around and attempted to notice anything else that Gerald may have contaminated.  He nervously made his way over to the body of the woman, reluctant to look at her.  Frank stood over the woman and shook his head.  A single tear ran down his cheek and fell to the floor.  He looked down on the woman, and spoke in a reverent tone.

“I’m so sorry.  I should never have left you with him.  I’m just glad I got back when I did.  Let’s get you fixed up.  What do you say?”

Frank retrieved numerous sanitizing agents and his makeup bag, then spent several hours righting the wrongs that were done by Gerald. 

When he was finished, Frank stepped back and observed his completed work.  He proudly smiled wide, then began to disrobe.

“Now where were we beautiful?”

Willow Croft

To My Aborted Fetus

I was a child, myself,
but I knew enough
to choose
not to give you life
not to bring you into a world
that would abuse you like I was abused,
a place where I wouldn’t be able to feed you, or
where the food is poisoned
as is the water
and the air there is to breathe.
On top of all that
I might not have been able to keep you safe
at your schools
where every day of learning
means knowing how to barricade
the door to your classroom
and count up to a hundred while you
wait for the time
you’ll watch your classmates die
you’ll watch yourself die
from over a hundred bullets
from the guns that are loved more
than children
I promise you, it’s not a consolation
to know that
you might be used to death
that you could cope
because every day
you’d be forced to watch the world die
from greed and pollution and environmental destruction
and the animals who are extinct by the 
time you turn the page on them
in your picture book
it’s not a life I want to live
even with all my greed
but somehow I keep going
and the only state of grace I have
in this mad, mad world
is that you aren’t here 
to witness my heartbreak
at seeing you die
a thousand small deaths every day.

John D Robinson


When I last saw him
he told me he was
climbing to the stars,
that he was living the
dream, that paradise
was in every breath
and that love could
never be defined
but he was ascending 
a stairwell toward a
higher understanding
of being
and he was found
dead in his lonely 
with lonely photographs
and lonely possessions
and lonely memories,
just like the breeze,
belonging to no one
but touching us all
just for that pure 
instant disappearing 
moment of


From: Everyday, Somewhere, Hickathrift Press