Sunday 31 January 2021

Access Denied

by Nick Gisburne

They shall not strip the metals from our lands
We work as one to drive the humans back
Electron chambers bubble in our hands
Each weapon primed and focused for attack
Invaders come to trick us with their lies
And thus they are deserving of their fate
For when their ships fall, burning, from the skies
Who then will call their ashes ‘grand’ or ‘great’?
Behold the Chosen, warrior machines
We serve the Storm of Nations as a shield
With honour we defend the proton screens
No robot in our ranks will ever yield
    Let all the fifteen planets fight with pride
    The access to our system is denied

Together, Whole

by Nick Gisburne

The conclusion of a story begun in this poem’s companion piece: Cauliflower Dreams.

Remember him, a kind and gentle soul
We share these tears to know that he is gone
The goodness of his spirit makes us whole
And still the bonds of friendship linger on
He wandered, often, free and without fear
Returning home with tales of distant lands
Until, one day, at last, he settled here
He laboured, every day, with skilful hands
The riches found in marriage gave him joy
As one, they grew a garden, lush and green
She passed from life, yet nothing could destroy
The memory of all that they had been
    Together, lift his body, raise his soul
    And feed him to the dragon, roasted, whole

Teacher’s Had Enough

by Nick Gisburne

So teaching is the most rewarding thing?
I’d like to slap the scumbags saying that
Or stitch their lying cake holes up with string
It’s turned me alcoholic, and my cat
If I could jam the children in a jar
I’d whack it up a wolverine’s wazoo
And then I’d show you every mental scar
You’d think it couldn’t possibly be true
I need to burn these books and go to bed
The cat will lick its balls and watch me cry
“But this is how the future works,” they said
Another year of this? I’d rather die
    Within this prison, homeschool, I am held
    But teacher’s had enough - you’re all expelled

Saturday 30 January 2021

The Killer Contract

by Nick Gisburne

They tell him his career is at an end
The hitman, too unstable, too insane
The crimson cards on which the hits depend
Are contracts he will never now obtain
He begs the boss to offer him a chance
Perhaps a move to torture could be fun?
But membership is cancelled with a glance
The Circle of Assassins says he’s done
Without his loyal family of crime
His choices are: to focus, or to fail
He knows he needs new skills, but takes his time
And now, at last, a contract in the mail
    The hitman won’t let madness take him down
    He visits children’s parties as a clown

Try One, Now!

by Nick Gisburne

The 1950s mother! Here, today!
A marvel, unlike anything you’ve seen
You won’t find cheaper! Nothing more to pay!
Controllable and willing, meek but keen
She cooks, she cleans, she washes, wipes and dries
Designed to serve and follow every rule
Authentic and complete - she even cries!
And why not let her take the kids to school?
For parties she’s the hostess with it all
Attentive, humble, never in the way
And after dark, when bedtime duties call
She’ll soon agree to anything you say
    The 1950s mother! Try one, now!
    For men who want it all, but don’t care how

Friday 29 January 2021

Cauliflower Dreams

by Nick Gisburne

The first part of a story, continued in this poem’s companion piece: Together, Whole.

She lifts the leafy cabbage of my heart
Without her beets my beans would surely fade
These radishes will never roll apart
She spreads my soul with messy marmalade
My nights are filled with cauliflower dreams
She stalks the winding weeds and none are spared
We simmer as the saucepan slowly steams
Impatient for the feast our love prepared
No longer will my precious pumpkin grow
Her roots are withered, frozen by the frost
But though our garden sleeps beneath the snow
The life and love we planted is not lost
    We grew our dreams together, she and I
    But now she grows a garden in the sky


by Nick Gisburne

He frightens tiny children with his face
They run to mother, frantic in their screams
And soon an angry mob has given chase
Their empathy is lacking, so it seems
The princess loves to fly and loves to play
She rides the summer breezes on a cloud
Descending now, she spies him, old and grey
And wonders why he gathers such a crowd
Alas, he is grotesque, she must admit
But bullies are the lowest of them all
She pelts the mob with curses till they quit
And bids the man be welcome at the ball
    At sunset, as her birthday guests depart
    He stabs the royal princess through the heart

Thursday 28 January 2021

A Sinking Ship

by Nick Gisburne

She looks at what her future has become
An empty bottle, crashing to the floor
So far from understanding, she is numb
How distant is the world she walked before
Emotions blend and blur with every sip
But nothing matters now beyond the glass
Her soul breaks on the rocks, a sinking ship
An empty train to nowhere, second class
A future of serenity and peace
Becomes the hearth and home of all she craves
Yet still she drinks, that easy, slow release
A pathway paved with pain and shallow graves
    She wonders how to focus, how to be
    And where to find the courage to be free

Government Guidelines: The Breeding Box

by Nick Gisburne

Your allocated partner was returned
A suitable replacement has been found
No further mate selections may be spurned
Our methods and criteria are sound
Although your body index score is six
We need to clear a surplus stock of threes
The subject has genetic facial tics
But falls below the median for fleas
Your breeding box is sterilised for use
Generic pills and lotions are supplied
The absence of desire is no excuse
Complete your impregnation task with pride
    If any fluids fail to find a hole
    Divert them to the public protein bowl

The Talking Doll

by Nick Gisburne

I found her in a box, tied up with string
A talking doll, with just the sweetest smile
She was a precious, pretty little thing
The seller thought her nauseating, vile
I tried to pull the ring, to hear her speak
Instead, I found a tale of disrepair
Her body, bent and battered, cracked and weak
Demanded all my time and special care
But then, the tiny footprints, smears of ash
Reports about the seller, burned to death
It seems that I must pay with more than cash
And every time she talks, I catch my breath
    “We’ll have such fun, I promise, you and I
    Together, always, till the day you die”

After completing the poem, I looked and found this ad for Chatty Cathy, the original talking doll:

Near the end the narrator says, "Just pull the ring, you never know what she’ll say next".

Or do.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Forgotten Magic

by Nick Gisburne

I slice the pagan symbols through my skin
To call upon the darkness of the dead
A rush of life bleeds out as I breathe in
The sacred invocation fills my head
A spectre, he who turns the tides of time
Emerges from the offering of blood
Unworthy of his gaze, I state my crime
And fall before his mercy, in the mud
The lord of all things passed, and all to be
Regards the mystic sigils of the spell
They bind for but a moment such as he
Yet even gods must bend as they compel
    “Almighty king of earth and sky and seas
    Reveal, remember, where I left my keys”

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Never Finished

by Nick Gisburne

I write to say goodbye to you, my friend
These words, too few, too late, were never said
But nothing brings me closer to the end
The letter, never finished, never read
In everything around me you are bound
A book, a chair, the creaking of a door
Each taste or touch, each smell or sight or sound
Reminds me of a time we shared before
I play our music, cry with every rhyme
And raise a glass to toast the empty air
I long to hear your laughter one more time
I wish I could believe that you are there
    The letter, never finished, not today
    Too painful are the words I need to say

She Loves You

by Nick Gisburne

She loves you, more than anything she knows
In you she finds the stillness in her soul
A perfect, pure devotion breathes and grows
A smile, a word, a whisper, makes her whole
She lives to be a lover and a friend
Deserving of the promises you gave
She fears the loss of you, of this, the end
She knows that she must listen, and behave
She tells herself the best is yet to come
But huddles in a corner on the floor
And somehow, though her face is bruised and numb
She swears that she will love you all the more
    But I am Judgement, come to call your name
    And burn you in the everlasting flame

Sunday 24 January 2021

Sugar Tigers

by Nick Gisburne

The clocks blow sugar tigers through my face
They wrap koala toes in rainbow clay
Tobacco snails pour soup from outer space
The snow cows interfere, but drain away
Spaghetti armadillos wax my chest
Their paws are tiny cakes, or so I thought
The custard queen breathes paint and chews my vest
She shines her cymbals with a squid she taught
In kilts of cloudy cloth, monastic toads
Build windmills from a purple tree of cheese
They sing of rum in French computer codes
While pompous oysters scrub my teeth with bees
    The crunchy peanut universe is jammed
    Experimental medicines be damned

City of Despair

by Nick Gisburne

They seek the silver city of despair
The wretched, without number, without name
Their dreams, forgotten, lost, they know not where
Polluted by the secrets of their shame
The moment of arrival is at hand
A tide of weeping saturates the dawn
What stains their souls they do not understand
Too soiled, too sick, to ever be reborn
Behold the shining city, feel its pain
A prison, thick with blood and bone and skin
The screams for cold oblivion, in vain
Escape as twisted echoes from within
    A silent, faceless beast unlocks the gate
    It beckons them inside to meet their fate

Friday 22 January 2021

Maga City Gone

by Nick Gisburne

Remember Maga, Land of Those Who Lost
Recall its twisted demons, how they raged
A mighty wall, unfinished, at what cost?
The prisons, where the little ones were caged
An orange painted monster seized the prize
He soiled the white-walled palace, sick with hate
Polluted streams of poison spilled his lies
His appetite for worship none could sate
To save his crown the Maganites marched on
He promised he would lead them up the hill
But when they stormed the summit he was gone
The tyrant never fought, and never will
    The power from his tiny hands has passed
    We pray the gods will let his silence last

Tuesday 19 January 2021

The Tainted Angel

by Nick Gisburne

The tainted angel spurns the sacred light
She curses, spitting, screaming at the Sun
Descending on the righteous with her spite
Her will, her fury, vengeance, shall be done
She hides the children men have tried to break
Their faces scarred by secrecy and sin
But theirs is not a torment she can take
The sickness lingers, festering within
The seams around their souls were picked apart
Defiled with soot and ashes, dirt and dust
The blameless burn, and yet each beating heart
Betrays the names of those who broke its trust
    The tainted angel finds them, one by one
    And though they beg for mercy, there is none

Saturday 16 January 2021

The Secrets of the Will

by Nick Gisburne

The swankiest of socialites is dead
Like vultures, greedy relatives appear
The secrets of the will must soon be read
In legal chambers, splendid yet austere
A fine champagne is popped and poured and sipped
A glass for each, for these, the shameless kin
They claw and clutch the table; chairs are gripped
The sombre speaker rises to begin
They crowd like twitching mice around a cheese
Besotted by the lust for what they seek
The testament is read with practised ease
Yet none are left to listen, or to speak
    “I truly hope you drank this bottle dry
    Enjoy the poison, think of me, and die”

Thursday 7 January 2021

Unhappy Meal for One

by Nick Gisburne

All hail the demon, mighty overlord!
We summon thee to liberate these lands
Bring heathen hearts the sentence of thy sword
Their bodies screaming, slaughtered at thy hands
The dead are so delicious in defeat
Their bones repay the promises we gave
Accept this sacred food, their flesh as meat
Return then, home, in triumph, to thy cave
There will be no dessert course, Great One, no
Don’t growl; a binding covenant is real
Thy contract mentions ‘eat the dead and go’
’Twas signed and sealed in blood, a demon’s deal
    These witches will escort thee to thy ship
    I don’t suppose you’d like to leave a tip?

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Derek (Award Winning Hero)

by Nick Gisburne

He lunges into legend with his axe
He’s buffed and brawny, muscles pumped and primed
The hero’s hair is slick with styling wax
And every thrust magnificently timed
The ladies swoon and flock to see him fight
His loin cloth fills a wench’s wettest dream
Today it seems that something isn’t right
He’s out of breath and running out of steam
Back home, he sips his cocoa, laced with gin
And polishes his ‘Best Marauder’ prize
He longs for one more fight and one less chin
And wonders when he’ll start to fossilise
    His eighty-second year has fallen flat
    No pussy now for Derek, just a cat

Staying In

by Nick Gisburne

I really can’t be bothered going out
I’d rather sit here, festering away
Do all you want to threaten me or shout
It’s just another boring, crappy day
I tried it once before, you may recall
We got as far as putting on my coat
But then I had a thought: just fuck it all
I’d rather take a razor to my throat
You’re free to do whatever you may please
But never think I’m stepping through that door
If you could prove the moon is made of cheese
I’d still repeat the words I’ve said before:
    I’m fake, a doll - I’m plastic, built for sex
    And no one will believe I am your ex

Tuesday 5 January 2021

Bitter Blood

by Nick Gisburne

Her poison-painted talon slits the skin
It frees a pulse of shining crimson pearls
The hunger rises, burning from within
Obsession, hot and heady, swarms and swirls
The blood, at first, is bitter on her lips
The smoke of midnight sullies what was whole
But with her twisting tongue she seeks and sips
And tastes the perfect sweetness of the soul
She drives a deeper channel, to the source
And wallows in the surging tide of death
It suffocates her senses with its force
Enveloping her body and her breath
    As darkness drains the essence of her life
    Its poison paints the talon of the knife

Monday 4 January 2021

Locked Within

by Nick Gisburne

Her eyes are slow and sober, cold and grey
She scans the sterile prison with her mind
The passions from her past are locked away
No memory, no life, is left to find
She closes from the world her true intent
No drug, no clever cure, can breach this wall
They think her hatred lost, her anger spent
Within, she builds a blaze to burn them all
She waits, for time will incubate her lies
It comes, the day when she must be released
And when they see the fury fill her eyes
Their blood will feed the hunger of the beast
    The devil, locked within, will not break free
    Until her evil offers it the key

The Wisdom of the World

by Nick Gisburne

The books spill out in waves to flood the floor
And lost among their pages sits a boy
With every question answered there are more
They promise him the path to peace and joy
He feeds upon the wisdom of the world
Devouring ancient lessons taught through time
And as the signs he seeks are each unfurled
He meets another mountain he must climb
He listens, hearing footsteps in the street
And trembles to the music of her voice
Without her love his life is incomplete
The day she breathes his name he can rejoice
    His books describe the deepest, darkest art
    But none reveal the doorway to a heart

Sunday 3 January 2021

Broken Domes

by Nick Gisburne

The Sisters of the Shrine exhaust their pills
Their flesh soon blisters, bursting, like the Domes
Disease and death awaits them in these hills
Convulsing victims, choking in their homes
The jewelled Sacred Cities shine no more
Defences smashed to atoms, worthless, dead
The skies grow darker; poisons swirl and pour
And, where they touch it, life has burned or bled
The Matron of the Order stands to speak
She clutches at the handle of her cane
And curses all the lies which leave men weak
Her scorn is thick with vitriol, profane
    “Our god has rained destruction on mankind
    Our hopes, our dreams, our faith, were always blind”