Brutal Poetry

HCE received a lot of high-quality submissions for The Brutal Issue – sadly, too many to fit inside the magazine! So we offered some of our shortlisted contributors the chance to be published on our website.

Keep an eye on our social media for more great writing like this, in the run up to the release of The Brutal Issue…

Dressed Lamb

Ricky Hawthorne

Another Friday afternoon and
I slipped into that breach
Between hedgerows, the tyres
Nestled into familiar furrows.
Delicately, I pushed the vehicle’s nose
Against the rusted metal –
The welcome nuzzle of a short abrasive kiss.
Winding the window down
The country air seeped into the car
And sat in my mouth
Like mint under the tongue.
But today, exhaust fumes
Would smell as sweet.
I tuned the radio
Randomly searching for something
Gentle, melodious
To deaden the boom
Of a pulsing fist
Against the grain of old mahogany
Thumping repetitively
Bleeding my imagination.
No music; just another list of
Lost souls occupying another field
Like this but far less green
Delivered in methodical tones
Like a makeshift menu
Of a concerned chef.

An unexpected crunch
Interrupted the roll call
And a woolly face appeared
Framed in the trammel lines
Of that grinning gate
Unconcerned, despite her isolation
From the flock, regimented
In another corner of the field.
I envied her innate ignorance
And told her so,
But she turned away, distracted
By a pathetic bleat that filtered through
The miasma of the heavy summer evening.
Fretting, mother pattered into view
Snuggling close
A gash of red dye splashed against her side
Like a crushed rose in a tar pool.
No more names now
Behind them, on a forest of nails
The haggard sun, like Obesity overdressed,
Hung, interminably punctured
And a silver blade
Shimmered across the scarlet sunset
Dissecting the horizon;
Another lamb dinner.

RICKY HAWTHORNE is a graduate in Literature, Film and Theatre. Warwick University. Short-Listed for the Bridport Poetry Prize 2015. Three screenplays completed and three teleplays adapted from my own short stories. Dressed Lamb is a war poem. Resident: Coventry, West Midlands