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…

World Peace at Last

Dana Stamps, II


During war, a riot, a fight, what good are
decades of study, experience, a well-developed
inner life, against a thug, a gun, a knife,
a club? Just
like the Starship Enterprise
zooming along, free,
but the Captain has not turned on the shields,
with Klingon warships everywhere…
but We, the Persons, have no sophisticated
science of shields. We
educate – take the tests, make the grade –
but cannot, will not, end vulnerability
to a passion killing, an honour
killing, a killing
                          She was Pakistani, a
celebrity, said CNN, dead
from her brother’s strong hands, but he
drugged her
so it would be compassionate
while he choked her.  Yes,
we all need a force field, advanced
enough that if we turn it off while butt-naked in bed
and our lover decides to murder us, the shield
clicks on, and We are safe.

DANA STAMPS, II has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cal State University of San Bernardino, and has worked as a fast food server, postal clerk, security guard, and a group home worker with troubled boys. Her chapbook “For Those Who Will Burn” was published in 2016 by Partisan Press. Recent publications to date include: Blue Collar Review, Rattle, Chiron Review, Front Range Review, Trajectory, Slant, and Sierra Nevada Review.