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…

London Bridge

Scott Manley Hadley


Edges of glass steel concrete cut the spaces above,
but it is people below who are brutal.


Less than a month ago there were bodies here,
bodies on the bridge I cross to work.


Flowers persist, petals browning, ink running,
clues to tragedy stacked, at the bridge’s end, ignored.


I stand next to new barriers on old bridge to stop the attack repeating,
the barriers and the flowers the only change, the people the same.


The people are concrete, the people with jobs, lovers, friends, families, as if nothing happened, people with “blitz spirit” in a city that never mourns.
An individual’s death – EIGHT INDIVIDUALS’ DEATHS – do nothing to halt the city.


I stand on the bridge, looking at flowers, and I cry.
I cry for a city that cares so little for death,
I cry for a city that no longer cries.


[I cry for the friend who said “Anyone drinking in a pub called the Barrowboy and Banker deserves to die.”]


There are buildings in this city that identify as brutal.
This strength is what people mimic, strength as no reaction.
No tears, no fear, that is brutal.




If I died today, soon I’d be forgotten.
They died weeks ago, and already they are lost.


Cry for them and fear for them, cry and fear for the people who neither cry nor fear.
The city makes people hard, the city makes people dead.


Concrete is beautiful, but to act like it is death.


[When the emotional death of those still living upsets me more than the physical deaths of those already gone; I too am lost.]

SCOTT MANLEY HADLEY is a blogger and writer from the West Midlands who produces the long-running “literary lifestyle blog” TriumphoftheNow.com.