Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Sad Case Of Elswood White

The bottles piled up and only served to add to the clutter.
The room stank and it was a smoke cast tomb.

Frank didn't know if he should hire a cleaning lady or a hazmat team instead.

It was Halloween he hated this time of the year.

The kids started earlier cause the world had become disgusting.

A place a fucking kid couldn't even enjoy the simple pleasures of dressing up.
And chasing candy from door to door.

The night moved as they all did.
And as the witching hour approached.

That all too familiar knock was at the door Frank had no need to question.

He simply grabbed two beers and went outside to sit upon the stoop.
With a young friend and all too familiar ghost.

"Hi Frankie how you been?"

The little boy asked as he sat down beside him.

"Well I look about as good as I feel kiddo."

Frank replied as he cracked the beer and kicked it back.

"Yeah well I believe a pile of your dog’s shit looks and probably smells better than you."

"You got the money why don't you get someone to clean that place up?"

The little boy who had been forever froze in time asked.

"Ain't you got nothing better to do on this night, like scare the living shit out of people Casper?"

He laughed then replied.

"Fuck you Frank, besides you can only haunt those that remember."

There is such great sadness in the reality of truth.

They sat there passing the hours and Frank did what he did best.
Well besides drink that is.

He cracked jokes making his young friend laugh, bringing life to a dead conversation.

"You know what I really want Frank?"

"Some hair on your balls and a couple inches on your dick?"

"No you jackass, I just wish I could."

He went silent and the pain set in as something that happened so long ago became a fresh wound once again.

There was nothing that could be said and he knew it was time to go.

Elswood was the child frozen in his existence, a kid who was shot in the chest at seven.

Long before children being were  used as target practice.
 And child killings hadn’t become the constant headline in the evening news.

The night faded slowly.
And soon it was time to part.

Frank said his goodbyes.

And much like his young friends life that was ended to soon.

This nights page came to an abrupt end.

John Patrick Robbins, is the editor in chief of the Rye Whiskey Review and Black Shamrock Magazine. His work has been published in Fearless Poetry Zine, Punk Noir Magazine, Piker Press, Red Fez, San Pedro River Review, Heroin Love Songs, Sacred Chickens, The Dope Fiend Daily and Schlock Magazine. 

His work is always unfiltered.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Wake-up Call by Chuka Susan Chesney

Waking up from a Drambuie nap
in the orange peel afternoon
with Siamese cats
Jack and Maurice
who crouch like tarts

Thinking about how
Covid snagged Trump
or maybe it didn't 
Is he making us chumps?

All of a sudden I loudly fart
Jack's ear flickers
Maurice starts

But the felines repose
they don't get disgusted
I hope by January
Trump will be busted

Chuka Susan Chesney is an artist and a poet. Her poems, art, and/or flash fiction have been published in Peacock Journal, Inklette, New England Review, Compose, Picaroon, and Lummox. Chesney’s paintings and collages have been in exhibitions and galleries across the United States.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Here Be Dragons by Lauren Scharhag

Here is the block where
I was first catcalled
by an adult man.
I was 11.
Here is the city pool
where an older boy
chased me into
the ladies' locker room
where I hid until
my mother came
to pick me up.
I didn't go back
that summer.
Here is the vending machine alcove
where a group of boys
cornered me during
a forensics tournament
when I went to get
a cup of coffee.
So many locations
and tableaus,
so many scenes of
so many crimes,
so many sites
of trauma.
These are the places we carry,
the cartography of our lives,
a terrain of wounds.
Memory charts no course
through rough seas, and these
are the spatial relations 
we dare to traverse.

Lauren Scharhag is the author of fourteen books, including Requiem for a Robot Dog (Cajun Mutt Press) and Languages, First and Last (Cyberwit Press). Her work has appeared in over 100 literary venues around the world. Recent honors include the Seamus Burns Creative Writing Prize, two Best of the Net nominations, and acceptance into the 2021 Antarctic Poetry Exhibition. She lives in Kansas City, MO. To learn more about her work, visit:

Wednesday, October 28, 2020


instant poets, just add arrogance and

social media platform persistence

look at, listen to, me me me

I insist that I’m important!


to a zero-profit market

it don’t hurt to be marginalized

it’s not the strength of line

nor command of style

but how well I can convince

you of my caprice and cleverness

in a world where posting a poem

is as easy as jerking off

usually the result is the same

come clean, a hot shower after

gratification comes with a price

plus a significant number of likes

Jay Passer's work has appeared in print and online since 1988. He is the author of several chapbooks and has appeared in a bunch of anthologies. His latest collection, Prelude to the Culling, 2020, from Alien Buddha Press, is available at Amazon. is available at Amazon. Passer lives and works in San Francisco, the city of his birth.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A Glitch? by Ian Lewis Copestick

Some of the so-called
paranormal  programmes
that I sometimes watch,
try to suggest that we
are all living in some kind
of simulation, and offer
evidence of glitches in
the machine to back up
their claims.
Now, to me it just seems
obvious that these people
have watched " The Matrix "
too many times, and have
mistaken it for some sort
of documentary.
Either that, or they have
taken WAY too many drugs.
But, apparently several
big time physicists also
believe it's true.
Well I don't know a single
thing about quantum
physics, or string theory.
To be completely honest
I watched a TV programme
about it, and it went way,
way over my head.
But what really convinces
me that I'm not living
in a computer generated
simulation is that it's
so bloody BORING !!!
Surely if some future
World Government wants
me to live in a simulation
for some nefarious reason
I don't quite understand,
then they would have made
it a lot more entertaining.
I could be battling robots,
or exploring new worlds,
having sex with gorgeous
Nobody would write a
computer program that's
this fucking dull.
Or, maybe I'm wrong,
perhaps that's the evil
twist, only a civil servant
could come up with
something so shit.

Ian Lewis Copestick is a 48 year old writer (I prefer that term to poet ) from Stoke on Trent, England. I spend most of my life sitting,  thinking then sometimes writing. I have been published in Anti Heroin Chic, the Dope Fiend Daily, Outlaw Poetry, Synchronized Chaos, the Rye Whiskey Review, Medusa's Kitchen and Horror Sleaze Trash.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Poetry Boys by India LaPlace

They know they’ll reel you in with those carefully spun words,

Words that read like music and make you swoon.

Words they use to build themselves up in their own minds

So they can carelessly compare themselves

to all that they’ve romanticized.





Go ahead and fancy yourselves a “new beat generation.”

String those words together as well as you can manage,

At least they’re pretty on a printed page.

They’ll make you blush.

Those smiles, that spark in their eyes,

They wear their costume – dark demented soul – so well

That you’ll fall for how they fall for you,

How they just can’t live without you,

They’re in love and they know it.

You’ll fall for how they watch you

Because you’ve never noticed a red flag in your life.

Animal-like. Almost primal.

They’ll play up their sob stories

Because it’s so much easier to play a victim or a martyr,

To tell you how unfair their lives have been

Then it is to tell you that they’re fucked up.

They’ll cry about how things didn’t turn out.

The dreams they never chased, never really worked for,

Surprise. Those didn’t pan out either.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

A few reworded quotes, a couple of lines

Read just the right way, in just the right voice.

Their picture, their video masked with just the right filter.

Deep. Tortured. Begging.

Please, please choke on this regurgitated shit.

There are men who write poetry who aren’t

Whiny, unevolved, poor little poetry boys,

But those men are poets,

Not boys who slide into your messages with:

“I’m drunk.”

“I’m horny.”

“My wife/girlfriend

Doesn’t love me anymore.”

“I’m sad so I can go behind her back,

But she belongs to me.”

“Sure, I’m messaging some cute young thing,

But that bitch finally found happiness

In a real man’s arms instead of

Worshipping and appreciating the ego that is me.”

Poetry boys spin their words with their pens,

Their typewriters – if we’re going to get real hipster about it –

Because real words, substance, gets stuck in their throats,

And they haven’t faced themselves in the mirror

In god knows how long.

They want you weak at the knees with your legs and heart open,

So they smile those smiles, wink those winks.

“Let me fill you up so I can fill up all the parts of me

That I haven’t already drowned out with booze.”

Because all the real artists are alcoholics, right?

             Previously Published at HST and her chapbook Sad Discoveries

  India LaPlace is kind of like if a dive bar and a dumpster fire had a human baby. She is a poet from the United States and a single mom who is aspiring to be a person with self discipline. Associate Editor at the sensational Horror Sleaze Trash. Generally pleasant, naturally cynical. Easily won over by a good book and a twisted sense of humor. You can find her on Instagram: @indiabrittany She still loves Louis C.K.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Predator and Prey by Leah Mueller

No one said “zombies”
in Night of the Living Dead,
just “ghouls” and “those things”--

undead corpses that lumbered 
with relentless purpose 
towards a human flesh barbeque.

Kill the brain 
and you kill the ghoul.
Flush it with fire, until 
it turns away, moaning.

Watch it cover its face
with half-severed hands.
Feet shuffle forward, 
fingers grope past

haphazard barricades, 
the half-open windows 
secured by flimsy boards. 

They always come back,
multiplying first into hundreds
then thousands, like mutant
bacteria.  No one is spared.
Virtue no armor. In fact,

the flesh of virtue tastes
best of all. In the end, 
the cellar is the safest place,
but it’s too late to hide.

If you survive, a random bullet
will take you out later,

but at least you will never
become one of them.

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Bisbee, Arizona.  Her most recent books, "Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices" (Czykmate Press), "Death and Heartbreak" (Weasel Press), and "Cocktails at Denny's" (Alien Buddha ) were released in 2019. Leah’s work appears in Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and elsewhere. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Beer with the devil by Mike Zone

Talking to the devil

when you can say you’re not that kind person anymore but you still are

just quicksilver sliver of night shivering terror for the razor touch

she doesn’t haunt me anymore

nor do tragic mists and shipwrecking shark mouthed siren muses

my blood doesn’t flow in the water 

like it used to

some of us 

never outgrew Edgar Allen Poe and punk rock

some Camus for good measure

(as much as we’ve tried)

“What do you know about punk rock?” she asked

Mike Zone is the author of A Farewell to Big Ideas, Void Beneath the Skin, Better than the Movie: 4 Screenplays and Fellow Passengers: Public Transit Poetry, Meditations and Musings. A contributing poet to Mad Swirl and contributing writer to the graphic novel series American Anti-hero by Alien Buddha Press. His poetry and stories have appeared in: Horror Sleaze Trash, The Daily Dope Fiend, Outlaw Poetry, The Rye Whiskey Review, Synchronized Chaos and Triadæ Magazine

Friday, October 23, 2020

always more by Tanya Rakh

there is always more 

for us.

each taste of blood and 


always more . . .

all our endless, burning 

horizons . . . 

Tanya Rakh was born on the outskirts of time and space in a cardboard box. After extensive planet-hopping, she currently makes her home near Houston, Texas where she writes poetry, surrealist prose, and cross-genre amalgamations and works as a professional manuscript editor. Her poetry has appeared in journals including Danse Macabre, Literary Orphans, Yes, Poetry, and Miletus International Literature Journal and is featured in several issues of Alien Buddha e-zine. Her first poetry collection, Hydrogen Sofi, was published in 2019 by Hammer & Anvil Books.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Morality Tale by Alec Solomita

Virtue crawls through his beard like 

lice, an apt accessory to the branches 

and banana peels in his composting biz.

My man! Reducing methane emissions

is just one sign of his beneficence.

Was a time we’d call him a know-it-all;

now we just eye him biking by, his

bins filled with rot, his smile a smirk.

I tend to hold a grudge till the eagle grins:

Dropped a buck once to an old teeter on a grate

and Mr. Man says, “You shouldn’t give them

money. There are better ways to give.

He’ll just spend it on booze.”


I said. Stopped at the corner packie, 

procured a pint, sat down on the sidewalk

by my new dawg and shot the shit ’til dawn.

"Morality Tale" was published by the Galway Review in April of 2019.

Alec Solomita wrote his first story when he was 12. It was about senility, which should give you a bit of a character note. Since then, his stories and poems have appeared in many publications, including The Adirondack Review, The Southwest Review, The Galway Review, Algebra of Owls, The Blue Nib, and Bold+Italic. He was shortlisted by the Bridport Prize and the Southword Journal. He was named a finalist by the Noctua Review. His poetry chapbook, “Do Not Forsake Me,” was published in 2017. He lives in Massachusetts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Happybaby by Scott Ferry

 after a long day of chasing my infant son 

away from the cat’s water bowl 

i now have him chasing superfood puffs

around his highchair table 

while i make chicken burritos

ipa and whisky handy and chet baker 

tickling the ether through this 

late september evening


my boy drops about half of the rings

with his less-than prehensile thumbs

but when he claws at one with his swollen clumps

he reminds me of me when i was too drunk to sleep

(I have never been too drunk to eat)


this piano and trumpet feel like i never had pain

like i should never care and now i know why

people become alcoholics but sadly

(or not at all sadly) i can never drink 

in the morning to keep the numb 

parade rolling down this blind curve

so i hurt and dry heave (if i go that far)

and stop 


and as i have been selfishly writing

my son has ripped off his bib 

and has placed a clotted puff in his hair 

so i extricate it softly and reward

him with more puffs me with a sip 

of beer all these distractions

from the great lingering pain

or the invisible god 

in our wet


Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN. He has recent work in American Journal of Poetry, Misfit, and Cultural Weekly, among others. His second book Mr. Rogers Kills Fruit Flies will be published by Main St Rag in Fall 2020. More of his work can be found at

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Auntie Mabel by Troy Schoultz

Got busted in ’67,
A baggie of weed she bought off the paperboy
Fell to the floormat from the glovebox
Of her Plymouth Satellite
As she fumbled for registration.

She knew how to work a room, danced 
Until last call, and shot pool like a pro.

She was the one relative
To spend summer weekends with.

No nursing home could hold her captive.
Her last escape found her at a tavern two blocks away.
They found her in the glow of the neon,
A pool cue in one hand, a vodka 7 in the other,
The same smile she wore in that long ago mugshot. 

Troy Schoultz is a lifelong Wisconsin resident. His poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in Seattle Review, Rattle, Slipstream, Chiron Review, Word Riot, Fish Drum, The Great American Poetry Show, Steel Toe Review, Midwestern Gothic and many others since 1997. His interests and influences include rock and roll, vinyl LPs, found objects, the paranormal, abandoned places, folklore, old cemeteries and the number five. He is the author of two full length collections and two chapbooks.

Monday, October 19, 2020


In the dead-torn aftermath:

Human bodies

Ripped away from

This World

The words must be 

A torrent 

Of versifiers

A  torrent 

Of tortured souls

A devestation

So vast

That a blood rain falls 

Down so hard that

It burns, scars this earth

With its hatred forever of

Its loss

Of what

Was once 

Called freedom

Of what was

Once called 


Where poets &


Once looked

Up to the night stars

& bathed in heavenly 


Where lost


Once saw God

Where the


Dreamed & 

The heroes


Swords from





In suits & ties


Of genocide

Our enemies

Without end

As heroes

All breathed

Their last


For liberty

And in the silence:

An old black

Man sings

"We Shall Overcome"

And 200,000

Church bells




These verses

Ripped from


Where angels

Fear to tread

R.M. Engelhardt is a poet, writer & author who's work over the last 20 years has been published in such journals as Thunder Sandwich, Full of Crow, Rusty Truck, Writers’ Resist, Dry Land Lit, Rye Whiskey Review, Hobo Camp Review & many others. He currently lives & writes in Upstate NY and his new books of poetry are entitled "DarkLands" (Published By Whiskey City Press 2019) & "Where There Is No Vision, Poems 2020"  (DeadMansPressInk)

Both are now available on

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Phil blew two saxophones at once in between his vocals on “Sweet Home Chicago” and “My Girl.” He soothed his saxophones with linebacker hand...