Wasted Generations by Ian Lewis Copestick

Brit Grit, Ian Copestick, Poetry

Wasted Generations

Walking through this
lockdown ravaged
town, I see generation
after generation
wasted due to extreme
Government policies,
and insane politicians.

I see frustrated men,
and women, living
on streets filled with
drugs, drug related
crime, litter, and
despair. Men, and
women who can only
deal with their problems
by using, and abusing
drugs, and alcohol.

Across the street,
hanging out on the
street, like the world’s
oldest, and dumbest
teenager, I see an old
He looks so stoned,
that if his eyes were
open, I’d be able to
look into them and
see above the clouds.
I pretend I haven’t
noticed him, and
quickly turn away.

It’s not like I’ve missed
anything, just a load
of mush-mouthed,
incoherent gibberish,
fuelled by alcohol,
and downers.

A generation wasted
in more ways than one. 

The Birds And The Bees by Ian Lewis Copestick

Brit Grit, Ian Copestick, Poetry

I know that I’m not the
brightest bulb in the box,
but it’s only just occurred
to me that far from being
the most intelligent species
on the planet, as we tend to
arrogantly assume that we
are, we surely must be the
Just take a look around you.
The intricacies of the work
that goes into a bird’s nest.
Not to mention the green
factor involving all of the
Or the incredible feats of
engineering involved in
the making of a beehive.
An anthill, a rabbit’s warren.

None of these animals had
to spend 11 years in school,
then college, university or
whatever to build their own
homes. Squirrels don’t need
a City & Guilds qualification
to know how, and where to
hide their nuts. Lions, and
tigers, hunting in the wild
didn’t need to spend 3 years
studying, then a gap year to
find themselves, before they
could do their jobs.
We humans are as thick as
We should be ashamed of
just how useless we are.
I know that I am. 

It’s Just Begun by Ian Lewis Copestick

Brit Grit, Ian Copestick, Poetry

It’s Just Begun

If there’s one thing
I know that can lift
me ( temporarily at
least ) out of a bad
depression, it’s music.
Right now I am going
through the worst
bout of depression for
several years.
Yet, walking my dog
just now, the sun
was shining, and the
radio station inside my
head started playing
” It’s Just Begun ” by
the Jimmy Castor Bunch.
Suddenly my mood was
lifted. I could feel the
funk flowing through my
veins. It was all I could
do to stop myself from
spinning in the streets,
and pulling some other
funky moves.
Of course, the reasons
for the depression are
still there, waiting for me
when I come down. But
I’m incredibly thankful for
those few, funky minutes.
Without them, I don’t
know if I could cope. 

The Deadlands by Tom Leins

All Due Respect, Brit Grit, Close To The Bone, Flash Fiction, Indie, Short Stories, Tom Leins


By Tom Leins

The burn is horrendous and I struggle to look him in his good eye.

His only eye.

His face hasn’t healed, and he smells charred – like he has crawled out of the belly of hell itself.

Virgil is a tall man in a rust-brown suit. The severed nub of his thumb protrudes from the soiled looking plaster-cast on his right arm. He scratches his ruined face. 

“Will you be able to get her back?”

I nod, and he wheezes with relief. He removes a creased photograph from his wallet.

The girl has hair the colour of melted caramel. She flashes the camera a tight smile, which never quite reaches her eyes. Her collarbone seems to be tattooed. I pick up the photo and squint. It looks like a flatlining heartbeat, with the words ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ tattooed underneath.

“Can I keep it?”

He grunts.

“I don’t need the photo back, Mr Rey. Just my daughter.”


I survey the hellscape in front of me. The horizon is a jagged blur of burned-out, skeletal-looking houses and abandoned office blocks.

The Underworld looms large in the middle: a labyrinthine subterranean nightclub presided over by an elderly tycoon named Harry Hades. It’s only a year old – built on the site a notorious crime scene. Ten boys were found in the vacant lot – their bodies entirely drained of blood. People said that the Bone Daddy did it, but I don’t believe in ghosts.

‘The Underworld’ is spelled out in lurid, neon lights. Underneath, in smaller lights, are the words ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here’.

I step past the expressionless, gargoyle-esque doormen and into the vestibule – my boots crunching on a bloody mixture of maggots, lice and dried pus. The grinding bass is so low it makes my guts churn.

There are nine doors, evenly spaced out. A word has been carved onto each door: Limbo. Lust. Gluttony. Greed. Wrath. Heresy. Violence. Fraud. Treachery. The Nine Circles of Hell.

I pause next to Lust. The door opens a crack and sultry laughter oozes through the gap.

I turn abruptly as Gluttony swings open. The room disgorges a tide of putrid slush into the lobby.

I choose Violence. One way or another, I always choose Violence.


The door opens with an infernal creak. A wave of evil, reeking heat takes my breath away. It’s as hot as hell and twice as ugly. The men drinking themselves into damnation are the worst of the worst. Child murderers. Spree killers. Degenerates. The violently unhinged. Sickness comes off them in waves. They rub shoulders, careful not to look one another in the eye – or spill each other’s pints. Their names are tattooed on their foreheads, their crimes inked on their knuckles.

My armpits feel rancid with sweat. Perspiration stings my bloodshot eyeballs. As I pass through the crowd, hushed voices rasp like flame. Yellow eyes glare at me from the gloom.  Pale, naked girls drift around the room, drinks trays in hand. I grab a drink to try and alleviate the blast-furnace heat, but it tastes hellish, so I spit the fiery liquid back in the glass and place it on the next tray that passes my way.

At the back of the room, Harry Hades slouches in an obscene gold-plated wheelchair. A girl – Beatrice – performs a private dance for him. There’s a choke-chain wrapped around her throat – fastened to his wheelchair. Her movements are weary, her feet are calloused. She has been condemned to perform a relentless slow grind by a bored sadist.


Harry Hades is old. Not frail, but old enough to have lost his fear of death. He jerks the chain and the girl falls at his feet. He removes his tinted sunglasses. His eyes look dead.

“How can I help you, young man?”

His dentures are so big that he can’t close his mouth when he grins at me.

I hold the photograph up for his inspection.

He shrugs.

“If you think she was here, she probably was.”

“I’m going to need her back.”

Another shrug.

“I care little about what happens outside The Underworld, young man. I have everything I need down here. But no one steals a soul from my realm.”

I don’t have the energy to talk to this rotten old motherfucker – especially in this heat – so I throw a brutal right hook at his elderly face – crumpling his bone-structure like a scrapyard hatchback.

Streaky blood leaks from his broken mouth. He spits a mouthful at my feet and speaks in a nasal whine.

“How about I let my hell-hound off his leash?”

It’s an idle threat, and I let it hang in the air – like the stale smoke from his high-tar cigarettes.

“Do your worst, Hades.”


Crouched behind the wheelchair, attached to a second choke-chain, is a lean, tattooed guy with a flick-knife sneer and a mangled ear. Hades yanks his leash. He scampers across the floor on his hands and knees, before springing to his feet.

I forget his real name, but he’s a Scottish ex-bareknuckle fighter who was banned for life after killing two men in the cage. His torso is layered in clumsy prison ink: skulls, daggers, obscenities. In the middle of his chest is a brand-new tattoo of a three-headed dog with a serpent for a tail. It’s so new, the tattoo is still wrapped in clingfilm.

Hades unclips the chain, and I see the man’s muscles bunch and harden.

I don’t give him the time to make a move – I grab his leash and wrench his pale face towards my fist. Once. Twice. Three times. On the floor, he whimpers like a kicked hell-hound.

Hades attempts to scramble away from me, but his slip-on shoes look skittish – like hooves on a blood-slick abattoir floor – and his withered legs give way immediately. His forehead hits the concrete and blood as thick as mould oozes from his ruptured skull.

I place Beatrice on the vacant wheelchair and move towards the exit.

Cretinous faces leer at me, but no one makes a move to stop me.

I retrieve a complementary matchbook from the table next to the exit, strike a match and drop it in the pocket of one of the nylon bomber jackets hanging on the coat-rack.

Kick up the fire, and let the flames break loose.

I doubt these rotten bastards will even notice.

The End

Bio: Tom Leins is a crime writer from Paignton, UK. His books include Boneyard DogsTen Pints of BloodMeat Bubbles & Other Stories (all published by Close to the Bone) and Repetition Kills You and The Good Book: Fairy Tales for Hard Men (both available from All Due Respect). For more details, please visit:


The Blink Of An Eye by Ian Lewis Copestick

Brit Grit, Ian Copestick, Poetry

A dull, overcast, Sunday afternoon,
strolling around my old neighborhood.
Past the bungalow in which I grew up,
the place where we used to play 4 hour
long games of football, which no one
ever won. Past what used to be a park,
where I remember falling from the
roundabout, and grazing both of my
I find it really hard to believe that these
things happened 40 or more years ago.
It’s true what the old people say ( you’ll
find out that a lot of it is ) life goes by
too fast.
In the blink of an eye you’re 21, you
blink again, you’re nearly 50.
Now I try to keep my eyes wide
open all the time

Don’t Ask Me by Ian Lewis Copestick

Brit Grit, Ian Copestick, Poetry

Don’t Ask Me

Things, for me, always seem to go wrong,
but that’s nothing new.
It’s been going on for far too long,
disaster is my natural milieu.

I’m not sure what’s happening with my head,
I don’t know my own dialectic.
I can’t remember anything I’ve said,
and my brain patterns are too hectic.

I’ve been falling apart since before I could walk,
as soon as I could, I wanted to leave.
I was asking why as soon as I could talk,
wondering why as soon as I could breathe.

Nearly 50 years on, and nothing has changed,
the world and it’s ways still confuse me.
Is it me, or is it life that is strange ?
I try not to think about it usually. 

Teen Turf War by Scott Cumming

Brit Grit, Poetry, Scott Cumming

Teen Turf War

The school playing fields

An artillery barrage on traffic

During snowy weather

Getting chased, caught and

Fake names of accomplices a must

“Dare ye to get this car!”

In my ignorance I do

Sparking a near teen turf war

I’m tripped, kicked, drifted

For not giving a shit

Flashing blue lights signal

A mammoth rapid retreat

To gullies and meadows

Frozen boggy trenches and

High slippery branches

Fuck knows who the cop is chasing

This was the night I learned

You never return to the scene of the crime.

Worried Blues by Ian Lewis Copestick

Brit Grit, Ian Copestick, Poetry

Worried Blues

I’m sitting here, alone
in my Mrs’ living room.
Sitting in the middle of
the floor, my head in
She’s in hospital, and I
just don’t know what to
do. I try to read, the words
bounce off my brain.
Making no impact at all.
It’s the same with T.V.
I’m lost, all alone, I’m not
normally the worrying type.
” If you can’t change it, then
what’s the point worrying
about it ? “
No, now I’m worried.
I’ve got those worried blues,
but I don’t have my guitar
to try to play those old,
familiar twelve bars. 

Manic by Mark McConville

Brit Grit, Flash Fiction, Mark McConville


She trembles in the snow. Her first instinct is to light a cigarette and inhale the toxicity. It’s been a long night, battling her own demons and the ones in reality. Reality is a deathtrap, and there’s no energy in her legs to run, to scatter from the position she finds herself in. The cold is unbearable and her lovely lips are chapped, her hands are rough and her whole body shakes. It has been shook for days. It is the 27th of December and the Christmas cheer finally dissipates and normality resumes, a normality that kills every ounce of jubilation. She is naturally a pessimist, void of dreams, lost in the loop of mundanity. A loop which goes on and on, tapping her mind and then resulting in mania. But this night is different, there is a concept to the storyline, a plot, a theme.

The theme is death. Death is on her mind. A bang from a gun, a bullet piercing through the skin and into the vitals, is playing over and over. It’s causing her distress, stress, a heartbeat so rapid that her heart could burst from her chest and onto the snow shrouded pavement. She’s alive with barely any clothes covering her hourglass body, she’s shaking so much that her teeth chitter, and no one asks if she’s okay, they only stare for split seconds. All these woman and men who walk past are going home or going to bars to drink their weight in liquor while this alarmed girl stands rigid.

It’s a shame as the lights shine and the people chat to their loved ones. It’s a shame that this girl, who yearns for closure and warmth, views the world through negative eyes. She’d rather die than watch couples kiss and share sexualized stories. As she dismisses the love bloom, she walks a little, trying to fix her mind into action. Empowered by manic episodes, her life has been one large disappointment, well that’s what she thinks. No mother, no father, no sisters or brothers, it has been one lonely twist of heartbreak.

Timid and sorrow ridden, she walks faster through the alleyway that leads to her apartment. Rats scurry, voices echo, the leaves crunch, and the whole city is louder than normal. The raucousness alarms her and frightens her. The recurring sound of a gun impedes her memory. She can’t dislodge the booming sound and grovels that gather pace. She doesn’t stroll now, she briskly marches towards her destination, a destination which won’t look pristine. In her mind, it will look the same, in reality, it will look torn apart.

She has lost her keys. She hurriedly locked the door and must have dropped the keys in haste. She smashes the window and climbs in, tearing her thin jacket. The kitchen is dark, and the feeling of heightened hesitation controls her. What happened? What unfolded? Is it all a dream, will she wake up and feel warm skin touch hers? Will the nightmare fade?


She trembles again. There is no response from the living room.


Lights flash in the window. The sound of dogs barking interfere.

‘’No, No, No’’

She utters the same sequence over and over.

She treads carefully over broken glass. The living resembles a crime scene.


Adam lies on the floor with a bullet wound to his left side.

The manic girl in the frame closes her eyes and staggers into the blood soaked room.

Flashbacks cut through the psychosis, and now she remembers.

It only took one bullet, one bullet to ruin two lives….