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…


Louis Gallo


You too are my child.
I gave birth to you when I was born.
The labour and delivery, easy enough,
though like mothers everywhere
I craved pickles and my back ached.
I have watched you grow for years now
and am disappointed
your corporate giants bleed us,
all of your parents.
You prescribe medicines that kill us,
your parents.
You elect imbeciles for high office
and forgive them for their crimes.
You educate us at the price
of bankruptcy.
You chip away at the happiness
you assure with your plutocratic
hands in our meagre pockets.
You assign us numbers, standardise
us into each other.
You spawn ideological fringe groups
that want the rest of us dead.
I still love and revere you, mother
that I am, but son, daughter,
you have grown monstrous
and disfigured.  Not the baby I recall.
I cannot think of a better place
though some seem enticing
Canada, Denmark maybe
but so cold, so cold.
You need major surgery, my child,
your disease may be terminal.
I, your parent, have already died.
Did you ever love me?


LOUIS GALLO’S work has appeared or will shortly appear in Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth, Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review,and many others. Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books: A New Orleans Review. He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.