Preacher Allgood

out of my league

a night so cold 
the river to hell froze over 
and I hotwired a Kawasaki mule
and I spun and skidded my way back among the living

why, the living asked

because, I said
I saw the ice
I saw the mule 
I didn’t hesitate
I didn’t deliberate
I didn’t ponder the consequences
I just hopped on
and goosed the shit out of the motor

no, the living protested
you didn’t want to be one of us when you were here
you wrote horrible things about us in your poems
you refused to make small talk with us in checkout lines
you spit on our holidays and mocked our beliefs
why would you come back and bedevil us?

for the cheap beer at Vern’s Tavern
and a game of eightball
I inform them

too many superb hustlers in perdition
they beat me every time
I’m so out of my league
I’ve been barred from the tables for eternity

Robert Guffey

mom 2.0

what’s far more painful than your absence
is the knowledge that you
lied to me 
and snuck around 
behind my 
back 
and refused to discuss your
feelings with me, 
despite the fact that for ten months I had to endure constant 
accusations
of lying cheating satanic sacrifice and murder, despite the fact that every emotion 
i could give 
was given willingly
with no strings attached, no recompense demanded–
except for openness 
and 
honesty.

odd,
now that i think about it,
how much you resent your mom for cheating on your
dad,
how much you resent her for not appreciating all he 
sacrificed for you, your sister, your mother,
how much you resent her for playing games with your dad’s emotions,
how much you resent her compulsion to shut down her heart when situations get too stressful,
how much you resent her for running away rather than face a difficult situation head-on,
how much you resent her for molding you into a newer,
more elegant and sleeker version,
of her.

Ken Kakareka

Jam

Now I know why 
Bukowski quit at 35 
and went on 
a 10 year drunk 
after 10 years
of hammering 
the keys 
with little 
to no return

I am in 
a similar boat
35 is a scary age – 
especially when 
you’ve worked 
so hard 
for so long 
at something 
with little to show

Especially in 
a society where 
we have to show
Maybe that’s why 
show and tell 
was such a big deal 
in grade school
Maybe that’s why 
there was so much 
ridicule 
if you didn’t have 
much to show

Bukowski didn’t have 
much to show 
after 10 years of 
pouring his soul 
through words, 
so he quit 
temporarily
Luckily, 
he bounced back
I don’t know 
if I’d be so lucky 
if I quit

I’m trying to use 
the wisdom at hand 
not to quit
It’s not my wisdom, 
but I’ll borrow it 
for the time being 
if it gets me 
out of a jam

Daniel S. Irwin

The Stranger

Now, here’s a bearded wonder
Wandering into the bar,
Red suit, boots, hat and all.
“Ho, ho, ho!  Drinks all ‘round!
When Santa drinks,
Everybody drinks.”  Okay,
Fine by me.  He could be
Tinkerbell for all I care.
But, I’ll have a drink
Or two or three on him.
Whoever this guy was,
He came in on ‘empty’.
Guzzled down whatever
Like he was a fish.  Hell of a
Dayshift bender.  Ol’ Nick
Could really put it away.
Then he headed to the door,
“Merry Christmas to all!”
Barkeep says, “Who’s payin’
For all this booze, Santa?”
“Why, my elves of course.”
“What elves, Mr. Claus?”
“My elves, everyone drinkin’
Here with me.”  Ain’t nobody
Pullin’ that stuff at Fred’s Bar.
Me, and the rest of the ‘elves’
Ran out the door chasing after
That fat bastard.  Didn’t matter.
He eluded us all.  That’s the fastest
I’ve ever seen a fat man run.
Drained our pockets and gave us
A good reason to look forward
To Santa’s next Christmas visit.
We’ll surely be waiting with
Milk and cookies and a
Baseball bat.

Damon Hubbs

Impression

after Thom Gunn’s ‘Expression’

for several months I’ve been reading
the poetry of my juniors
or maybe they’re my contemporaries
it’s hard to tell 

who’s who these days
there’s so many voices 
battling in best of 
the beat cover bands

and there’s still much talk 
of Mother, the abandoner
and Daddy, the angry alcoholic 
both hated equally

however 
all that hatred 
was confessed better 
long ago.  

I go to the Art Museum 
though I’m not sure what it is 
I’m looking for 

Pop Art 
doesn’t pop 
and Impressionism 
fails to make 
an impression 

then I reach it, I recognize it

I’ve acquired a taste 
more primary than art considers proper
so I head out the emergency exit 
to find a blowjob and a sandwich.  

John Tustin

Sex Games 

You could be younger
and getting wet thinking about
dancing for me,
aiming to please;
shaking that phat azz at the edge of my bed
while I get all worked up
over that mesmerizing shimmering flesh

or you could be getting old like me,
wanting the attention someone else
has made you feel like you don’t deserve,
finally emerging from that pit and into my arms,
wanting to be pawed all over.

I’ve played these sex games for decades
with women I’ve met –
at work
on social media
between the stacks of library books –
but it’s rarely worked out
and when it has,
it hasn’t been for long.
Now I’ve stopped looking
but I oddly haven’t given up hope.

If you think every whisper in the ear
must be I Love You
or if you think some words are never nice
and your gender studies professor 
or psychotherapist belongs in bed with us,
then maybe we should both look elsewhere:

and if you think rough sex just means
a man thrusting as quickly as he can
and if you think that being submissive
in bed 
just means letting him thrust like that
then it was nice meeting you
but let’s not waste each other’s time
any further:

I can’t thrust that hard anymore.

Robert Guffey

flop flip

she says, “this smokin’ hot japanese girl at the vegetarian  
restaurant down the street 
has been flirting with me every day.  she keeps asking 
to see all my tattoos, just to make me lift up my 
shirt and stuff—you know that ploy.  I think you used 
it on me, didn’t you?  she came all the way into fingerprint’s
just to give me some free coffee.  she used to 
have a multi-colored mohawk, but now she’s 
growing it out.  her tats are as hot as her tight body.  oh, 
man, I don’t know if I can take it anymore.  would you 
mind if I fucked this cunt in front of you and get it 
out of the way before I go ahead and cheat on you with
this little bitch?”

I say, “jesus!  why the fuck not?  how soon can we 
get this to happen?”

she says, “oh my god, I can’t believe it.  you would do 
that?  you think so little of our relationship that you’d 
let some chick you’ve never even met before fuck me
right in front of you?  how could you even stand to watch 
that happen?  how?  how?”

I whisper, “but… I… thought… you wanted that to 
happen.”

she says, “it doesn’t matter what i want.  what are your
priorities?  what matters most to you?  that’s what’s
important here.  is nothing sacred to you?  what’s wrong
with you?”

HSTQ: Fall 2022

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: Fall 2022, the curated collection from Horror, Sleaze and Trash!

Featuring poetry by Ken Kakareka, Devlin De La Chapa, David Estringel, Kristin Garth, Jeff Weddle, William Taylor Jr., C. Renee Kiser, Jessica Heron, Dustin King, Damon Hubbs, John Yohe, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Walt Shulits, Alexander Poster, John Tustin, and Damian Rucci.

Get your FREE ebook here!

PJ Grollet

Czech casting video

I watched the video with  
Marbela (4078) and they did

the “just the tip” thing and I
almost lost my mind and they

say those that can’t write the 
poem write the short story and

those that can’t do that write
the novel and by the end of the

video she said, “shove it all the
way in,” and wow what a show. 

Daniel S. Irwin

Roll Over

You sit and just tilt the head and think:
Damn, this shit’s fucked up.
Whatever happened to life’s rewards that
The teachers said you would get for hard work?
The ethereal bliss the preachers promised
For leading a gospel life?
You gotta steal the chicken to put in your pot.
The world’s too busy helpin’ themselves
To worry about you.  So you got lied to.
Ain’t nothin’ new, been goin’ on even
Before politicians made it legal.
Take your licks and like it.
Roll over, baby, more’s comin’.
When you get tired of it, kick some ass.