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…

Port Chicago


Barbara A. Meier


Railroad cars above satin white ballast, hidden in casket-shaped hillocks,
buried fragments, guarding secrets, whispered across generations. A pall
of wildflowers purple the bulwark sides, concealing memories of mass destruction.


The magazine dressed in ice plant greens, pinned with rusty quills, leaving
rusty bleeds of forgotten jobs: containing blasts and discharging electricity.
A boxcar rests in peace, between revetment walls. It is the silence of the tomb.


Death has stolen our voice. Our DNA vapourised on a summer night.
The fossors stand empty-handed. The air is moist with forgetfulness.
The miasma of dead bodies linger in the evaporation.


Our bodies born up; effluvium to cloud ledges,
coating aeroplane windows: Amelios potamos.
The water birds scuttle the top of Suisun Bay,


crying for the children, living only in the memory
of names etched in granite. S2c Eddie L. Cross,
S2c Jessie V. Crump, M3c Clarence S. Fields…


War has no children, just thoughts that live
in the brains of mighty young men,
expendable and sacrificed in careless disregard.


An accident of afterbirth and after death.


“I am injured in my spine but that is nothing compared with my many
friends who have been blown into forgetfulness.”  – Joseph Crosby

BARBARA A MEIER lives on the beautiful Southern Oregon Coast. She teaches kindergarten at the local school. When she is not teaching she stares at the ocean and writes. She has been published in the Poeming Pigeon, Cacti Fur, and Poetry Pacific.
Website: https://basicallybarbmeier.wordpress.com