Thursday, 30 March 2023

A Seventh Share

by Nick Gisburne

His marvellous, mysterious machines,
Constructions of synthetic skin and bone,
Are coveted by seven kings, whose queens
Are statues, changed by sorcery to stone.
The strange inventor offers each a choice:
One seventh of the kingdom for their wife,
And six are more than willing. They rejoice
To welcome back the brides he brings to life.
The seventh takes the second choice instead:
A magical contraption, real enough.
The morning finds him murdered in his bed,
His queen too mean to swallow his rebuff.
    She sells her seventh share for piles of gold,
    A robot, rich forever, never old.

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Watch It Burn

by Nick Gisburne

You think you need to take another turn,
That mine is not the door you hoped to find,
But let me light a candle. Watch it burn.
Our destinies are tightly intertwined.
The soul you see, your sister’s, in the smoke,
Is destined for the darkest hole of Hell,
But sacrifice would save her with a stroke.
I brought you here to bargain. Listen well.
If you will take her place, for just a day,
Descending into suffering and pain,
My sons will send her spirit to the Fey,
A deal I made with those I should have slain.
    Perhaps you fear deceit inside my plan?
    The Fey, not I, will trick you, mortal man.

Ready for the Fight

by Nick Gisburne

Your efforts to extinguish what we are
Should break us, but, with certainty, will fail.
Imperfect, your intolerance, so far
Has proved itself too puny to prevail.
We’ve lived like this for centuries, concealed.
Is bigotry the best that you can do?
For every stifled life you force to yield,
A thousand threaten what you thought you knew.
We do not ask for anything. We live.
Outsiders. Unacceptable. So what?
We wish you saw the goodness we can give,
But, somehow, stained with hatred, you cannot.
    We swim beyond the shadows of your sight,
    Reluctant, yes, but ready for the fight.

Pariah’s Gate

by Nick Gisburne

Pariah’s Gate, the seventh of the Six,
The hole through which no rebel may return,
Delivers death beyond its bloody bricks.
For some it is a fate for which they yearn.
Approaching it, unchallenged, I believe
Salvation lies before me, not behind.
The city, manufactured to deceive,
For misfits such as me was not designed.
Oppressive heat. It creeps around the cracks.
A sliver of reluctance. Is it fear?
But others dragged the burden on their backs.
I will not bend. My destiny is clear.
    The Gate receives another pilgrim. Me.
    No madness could imagine what I see.

Model Three

by Nick Gisburne

Upgrading all the fibres of her flesh,
The quintessential core of every piece,
She knows the finest artificial mesh
Could bring her no redemption, no release.
With primitive beginnings, Model One
Was little more than speculative junk.
The vision of the man who made her? None.
A genius, a dropout, and a drunk.
When blessed with self-awareness, Model Two
Demanded something more than he could give.
No tech or tool enough for her, she grew
To covet his ability to live.
    The Model Three, the cyborg, stands complete,
    Her metal body wrapped in human meat.

Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Risk in Every Word

by Nick Gisburne

We’re not allowed to speak of what we see,
Prohibited to criticise, or curse.
Discussion is forbidden. We agree
The Prophet Kings are perfect, not perverse.
The murders never happened, never were.
A genocide? Impossible. Untrue.
A thousand affidavits all concur.
I will not break my silence. Nor should you.
To speak of it, to think it, is insane.
Believe that there is risk in every word.
We live because we overlook the pain,
However many screams we overheard.
    Authority and power never lie,
    And those who speak to question them will die.


by Nick Gisburne

When Koorah pulls her baby from its bed,
The Mother Cult is generous with praise,
For, in the prophet’s credo it is said
A second son on sunlight shall not gaze.
But Koorah is no follower, no fool,
No empty vessel waiting to be filled.
An infidel, she scorns a sacred rule:
By dawn he must be mercilessly killed.
The bundle in the box is not the child,
The Sisters, sightless, cleverly deceived.
With trickery, their temple is defiled,
Her elegant illusions all believed.
    She flies beyond the boundary, pursued,
    Delighted to deprive them of their food.

Your Story Ends

by Nick Gisburne

I won’t be bruised and broken, not by you.
I never woke up wanting what you give.
I’m done with all the pain you put me through,
The fear in which you’re forcing me to live.
You claim that every kicking is deserved,
Each spiteful slur or slap a lesson learned.
Consider me released, my sentence served,
My fictional conviction overturned.
I want to introduce you. Meet my friends.
I loved them long before you staked your claim.
They’re certain this is where the story ends,
That none of us will ever speak your name.
    You think I’m weak. Alone, perhaps it’s true,
    But we are more than any match for you.

Monday, 27 March 2023

Radiant and Raw

by Nick Gisburne

I’m sipping this extraordinary wine,
Chianti, from a bottle, through a straw.
The ambiance, my darlings, is divine.
I’ve never felt so radiant, so raw.
The beast I just beheaded, in my bed,
Was heaven to the touch, but such a bore.
His tedium released me as he bled.
The shivers of elation kissed my core.
I’m such a nasty, naughty little boy.
I wouldn’t kill another one, I swore,
But no, the sweet euphoria, the joy,
Becomes too dark, delicious, to ignore.
    Before I show you what my words describe,
    Support my murders. Like me, and subscribe.

Why Run?

by Nick Gisburne

If you were blind we’d beat you... maybe not.
The race is yours. Why punish us? Why run?
We’re seven thousand dog degrees too hot.
Not one of us can bear to see the sun.
A crazy competition. Is it fair?
We’re each at least a suitcase size the worse.
We lied when we pretended not to care.
An ambulance would help us, or a hearse.
We’ll never catch you, baffled by the bet.
Still waiting for the start, we’re out of breath,
But don’t discount our stamina, not yet -
We’re all a dozen sweaty steps from death.
    Be merciful. Be gracious. We concede.
    We don’t know what we’re doing. Blame the weed.

A Wannabe Who Wasn’t

by Nick Gisburne

She never looked for greatness, glory, fame,
But hungered for a taste of more than this.
A faded star. A fast-forgotten name.
A memory the world will never miss.
A wannabe who wasn’t. Close. Not quite.
The chances came, but somehow slipped away.
Her days were busy, brutal, every fight
A soul-destroying journey of dismay.
Impossible to flourish, to survive
She treads a darker path, a colder street.
It scars her soul, but keeps its light alive.
She conquers it, controls her own defeat.
    The wannabe she couldn’t be is dead,
    But someone stronger claims its crown instead.

Sunday, 26 March 2023

A Magical Machine

by Nick Gisburne

I saw when I was seven they were real.
They came with sly, excited smiles, at night,
Explaining that they needed to conceal
A secret they had stolen, in a fight.
They whispered they were Little Ones, the Fey,
And with them came a magical machine.
If I would store it safely, for a day,
They’d show me spells no childish eyes had seen.
They clambered, careful, quick to follow me,
To camouflage their box beneath the stairs,
But, long before my fiendish friends could flee,
I sprang the trap, to catch them unawares.
    The Elf Inspectors told me they would come.
    A hero, I’m a sneak, a snitch, to some.

Splendid Silence

by Nick Gisburne

I never thought I’d need another brain,
But this one isn’t faulty yet, it’s full.
The second that you speak, a searing pain
Convinces me to swaddle it in wool.
I mustn’t let more information in.
Diminish your cacophony, I beg.
In time, in splendid silence, I’ll begin
To syphon this extraordinary egg.
You’d help if you were many miles away.
I wouldn’t want you watching if it burst.
The science is unshakable. I pray
You’ll never see the symptoms at their worst.
    Migrate, as far as possible. Fly south.
    Whatever way you do it, shut your mouth.

Argelion the Great

by Nick Gisburne

Argelion the Great is not a man,
But neither am I demon, bird, or beast.
I watched your wicked world when it began,
Ignoring every evil you released.
I do not serve the saints who seal your fate.
Their piety, perverse, was never mine,
But something in the chaos they create
Illuminates a doubt in my design.
Celebrities. What witchery is this,
Their glory unconnected to their worth?
With every snide remark, with every kiss,
Another meme rebounds around the Earth.
    I grumble, unexpectedly annoyed.
    Tomorrow let these dipshits be destroyed.


by Nick Gisburne

My punishment appointment book is full,
But someone died. What luck! I’ll you fit in.
To verify you’re worthy, let me pull,
Beyond the point of pain, a little skin.
How wonderful. How easily you bleed.
You’ve answered all the questions I could ask.
Whatever strange perversities you need,
I’m absolutely equal to the task.
Sign here. Select the liquid you prefer.
Be careful not to spill it from the spoon.
Pierre will take your payment - speak to her.
Be prompt and perky. Friday. Naked. Noon.
    You’ll need another name, so let me think...
    So sensitive. So smooth. So perfect. Twink.

Saturday, 25 March 2023

Two Seconds to Extinction

by Nick Gisburne

A soldier with a cyber-grafted face,
Her sleazy imperfections trick the test,
But now, before they vent her into space,
She needs another chip inside her chest.
A second-level pscyho’s luck is out.
Her claws are quick to lacerate the heart,
And, swiftly scorning panic, pain, and doubt,
She tears her own interior apart.
A pinch of what her captain calls it, ‘Snuff’,
Returns her from the edge of certain death.
Two seconds to extinction. Close enough.
She liquifies the corpse and steals a breath.
    So far, so perfect: penetrate the ship.
    For those she comes to kill, a one-way trip.

The Colour of Their Cloth

by Nick Gisburne

Your stories paint the shades their world became,
But nothing, not a word, to them, is true.
Their dreams dissolve together, each the same.
They see no sense, no certainty, in you.
The colour of their cloth is always grey.
In time or space was any soul so slow?
Subjected to the dullness of their day,
Denounce decorum. Fuck their feelings. Go.
A cold existence, serious and sad,
The comfort of contempt, to which they cling,
Is all they ever want, or ever had,
But you, beyond their silent stupor, sing.
    The skies above the fools who fail to see
    Are filled with colours, fascinating, free.

Corrupted by a Crash

by Nick Gisburne

When someone in the Bureau took a bribe,
They left my core corrupted by a crash.
His features fade, too hazy to describe,
Distorted by the perps he pumped with cash.
I see them, somehow. Dreams. They’re coming back.
The focus, fixed, is far too sharp, too clean,
As though a politician tried to pack
A thousand perfect shots in every scene.
Injected with malicious lines of code,
Assuming I was too naive to know,
My spine revives a clean, encrypted node,
A system I assembled long ago.
    When traitors think to put me to the test,
    They overlook the brain with which I’m blessed.

Friday, 24 March 2023


by Nick Gisburne

The life of every Broken One is bleak,
Avoiding those who shout and spit and stare.
A label damns but drives us forward: ‘freak’.
Defective, we were born beyond repair.
As misfits, uncorrectable, impure,
We have no rights, no reason to exist.
Our hated state, of which we are so sure,
Is reasserted, daily, with a fist.
I watched a woman once, who tried to pass
Beyond the Gate, where none of us can go.
She took a step, but never touched the grass.
They killed her, with a single, savage blow.
    We do not dare to question what is right,
    Abused and beaten, too afraid to fight.

Pinnacles of Passion

by Nick Gisburne

I pay a pretty penny, just to see
Perversions born beyond the universe.
Expecting beasts more blasphemous than me,
Discovery delivers something worse.
Two pinnacles of passion share a wig,
And cardigans, obscene, unshapely, warm.
Their genitals, inordinately big,
Are far too limp and lazy to perform.
Bare bodies, brushed with butter on the bed,
Seen slithering in slinky rubber suits,
Resemble boiled bananas, dumpy, dead,
Cavorting in uncomfortable boots.
    To humans, sleek and sexy they are not,
    But, in my beady, insect eyes, they’re hot.