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…

Breathed In

Mark Tucker


You build a nation with houses
through capital
privately organised
for profit.


You work for others,
taking orders, giving trust
to flawless men and words
with dread.


Asbestos has entered your lungs
without knowing,
fibres floated through air,
not to your open mouth;
breathed in.


Now it’s too late.
There’s nothing we can do
to stop progress.

MARK TUCKER lives in Geelong, Australia, where he writes poetry and short fiction. He also writes nonfiction irregularly as a columnist for: www.runnerstribe.com and as a contributor to: www.craftypint.com. Most recently his poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in, Gargouille, Here Comes Everyone, The Offbeat, The Wax Paper, Idiom 23, and Poetry Quarterly. He received his Master’s degree in education from Butler University (Indianapolis).