Sunday 28 February 2021

Government Guidelines: Removal Age

by Nick Gisburne

If a citizen has reached Removal Age
They must swallow an official poison pill
Any failure to comply, at any stage
Gives an officer the right to shoot and kill
Where a plague-infected relative has died
Use abrasive tools to grind the skin away
Hang all bodies on the meat hooks we provide
Current law permits a single corpse per day
Never question your allotted date and time
The efficiency of government is key
To extend your legal lifespan is a crime
And will triple the administration fee
    When your usefulness is over you must die
    You are not allowed to know the reasons why

Saturday 27 February 2021

The Collector

by Nick Gisburne

He rescues them from damage and neglect
Forgotten books of dark, demonic lore
A feverish obsession to collect
Addicted to their drug, he craves for more
But this, he knows, will be his greatest prize
Forbidden magic, stolen from the dead
The symbols swirl and snake before his eyes
A storm of flame and shadow fills his head
He wakes upon a floor of amber glass
His body, scorched, still breathing, still alive
He tells himself the pain must surely pass
Tenacity compels him to survive
    The dragon scratches ‘Human’ on the jar
    A rarity - the live ones always are

Tattooed Children

by Nick Gisburne

As children, left to scavenge on the streets
They live like beasts, but stay together, strong
A world of struggles, setbacks and defeats
But to a single purpose they belong
Inventions, strange and deadly, fill their dreams
Designs they scratch and scrape into their skin
The tattooed children’s enigmatic schemes
Conceal the seething bitterness within
And now, at last, the nightmares come to pass
A legion of unthinkable machines
Monstrosities of silver, steel and brass
They rise to wreak revenge, by any means
    And those who once abandoned them must die
    But not before they face the question: “Why?”

Friday 26 February 2021

The Freak

by Nick Gisburne

They say it was an accident at birth
Biology, a freak genetic code
Of all the creatures doomed to walk the earth
On him the greatest burden was bestowed
If any other man had been so cursed
He surely would be driven to despair
A scourge of such severity, the worst
A malady no magic could repair
He sees the look of loathing in their eyes
But stands before them, shameless, unafraid
And as his voice brings terror from the skies
The greatest hits of Britney Spears are played
    He murders them, the karaoke king
    He knows it, but he simply loves to sing

Thursday 25 February 2021

The Doorway to My Dreams

by Nick Gisburne

Where are you, tiny doorway to my dreams?
You show me other worlds, beyond compare
Unparallelled excesses and extremes
Yet everything is real when I am there
My life is dark, a sea of empty space
But all is bathed in light behind the door
I long to see our secret, special place
I know that you can show me so much more
Where are you? Why so difficult to find?
You stir my rage, at every twist and turn
Your spiteful games manipulate the mind
I wonder if my brain will burst, or burn
    I see you, hiding. There, inside my skin
    I cut another doorway, and walk in

Beneath the Ice

by Nick Gisburne

She breathes. I feel it, far beneath the ice
The rhythm, unmistakable, is hers
I swore I would return, and pay the price
The bottle, safe, is buried in the furs
Too many men have died to fill this flask
And I, who killed its keeper, made it mine
A spirit, bound to give me what I ask
A power without limit, dark, divine
My fingers, crooked, frozen, fight the fear
They break the seal and set the spirit free
Compelled to grant the wish, my words are clear
“Restore my love - unite us, she with me”
    She lives. I see her, far beneath the ice
    But now my soul, beside her, pays the price

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Bucket List of Death

by Nick Gisburne

She was bored with her predictable career
But developed quite an interesting plan
She would take a journey, once or twice a year
See the wonders of the world, and kill a man
Nothing ever matched the tingle of those trips
As she added to her bucket list of death
She would always kiss her victim on the lips
Just to share his final moment, one last breath
But a romance, unexpected, changed the rules
Any thoughts of murder faded into dust
Such a gentleman, unlike those other fools
He was caring, kind, a lover she could trust
    As they shared a breath of passion, as they kissed
    As she died, she joined her killer’s bucket list

The Pious Priest

by Nick Gisburne

She shifts the hood to mingle with the crowd
Instinctively, she follows where they lead
The catwalk takes their feet from cloud to cloud
Disciples, in the garments of their creed
The rabid, rhythmic chanting of the priest
Possesses every pilgrim, young and old
A storm of hate, ignited and released
And he, its prophet, garlanded in gold
She knows the frozen deserts of his home
The pious priest, who burned a thousand ships
She tracked him to this world, this lavish dome
And marvels as the poison paints his lips
    How easily he bends them to his will
    Her son, who she has come so far to kill

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Making a Friend

by Nick Gisburne

I was weak, and I needed a friend
So I made one, and gave him a soul
More than someone on whom I depend
He is what I am not; he is whole
He has witnessed the days of my past
All the fragile emotion, the doubt
He knows all that I am, to the last
But the fear, only that, I left out
In his heart is the will to be brave
To embrace what this world has to give
He has all of the courage I crave
And the wisdom to use it, to live
    In his eyes I am small among men
    And I know I won’t see him again


by Nick Gisburne

A tangled fog of searing heat and light
I fight to focus, far beyond the pain
He said this rarely happens, but it might
A consequence of trauma to the brain
The service was expensive, but discreet
The unofficial channels always are
At least the upgrade seems to be complete
I see... my headless torso, from afar
The surgeon, pulling organs from the chest
My limbs, already strewn across the floor
A backstreet body scam - I should have guessed
He couldn’t wait to drag me through the door
    I think he’s found the bomb behind my heart
    At least I’ll see the bastard blown apart

Monday 22 February 2021

The Teapot

by Nick Gisburne

The teapot shared their lives for fifty years
Extravagant and brash, but so is she
She cuts a slice of cake and wipes her tears
Then adds a little whisky to the tea
She always loved the contours of his chin
Dismayed to see the hint of any beard
Athletic, rugged, handsome, perfect skin
The spark between them never disappeared
The letters that she wrote him, every day
Had made the war seem shorter, so he said
She found them, just before he passed away
A hundred, sealed with kisses, ruby red
    She swung the teapot, killed him with her rage
    For hers was not the writing on the page


by Nick Gisburne

The storms hurl tides of blood and seething tar
They drench the land in darkness and disease
A river, thick with plague, a poison scar
Delivers death to sterilise the seas
Colossal giants smash the city gates
The throbbing of their engines shakes the skies
Within, the doomed defenders face their fates
And yet, they see a silent spectre rise
The necromancer makes a final stand
Arcane, infernal magic fills his head
Apocalyptic angels sweep the land
The giants, screaming, shatter, broken, dead
    Though little but a wasteland still remains
    They need a plumber, soon, to fix the drains

Sunday 21 February 2021

Duels in the Darkness

by Nick Gisburne

Deformity - the torment of her day
The twist of tainted flesh on crooked bone
The eyes of those who witness it betray
The shock, the scorn, the hate she’s always known
At night, she stalks a secret, shadow place
With gun and blade she duels on the street
And, at the point of murder, shows her face
The final fist of terror in defeat
Her victims are the worst of mortal men
The arrogant, the reckless, and the vain
They fight, yet when they die, and only then
Does any man confront what gives him pain
    She duels in the darkness of the night
    With those who would despise her in the light

A Legion of Limericks: 21st Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

I am selling my soul. Will you buy it?
It’s the Angel Mark 2 - you can fly it
It’s a little bit rusty
The morals are crusty
I’ll give you a discount. Just try it

I discovered a hole in the wall
Through the tunnel I eagerly crawl
I expected to find
Something splendid behind
But it’s nothing like Narnia at all

I bought magical beans in a bag
And I don’t want to niggle or nag
But the wizard who sold me
The beans should have told me
There’s ‘Danger of Death’ on the tag

At the castle the princess was torn
By the magical oath she had sworn
“All my duties are clear
But the paragraph here
Says I’m never allowed to do porn”

Hot and sticky, I sat in the sea
And a bear came to join me for tea
When he offered me fish
In a porcelain dish
It was only polite to agree

From the alien energy source
Came a beam of incredible force
But a blizzard of smoke
Filled the sky as it broke
And the warranty? Worthless of course

She has suffered for all of his crimes
In the worst and the darkest of times
For his years of abuse
He will die in the noose
To his death, to the scaffold, he climbs

Tiny leprechauns come for the craic
They are formal at dinner, in black
But they’ve broken the rule
‘Do not shit in the pool’
I am never inviting them back

What a glorious, colourful bird
And the song, quite the sweetest I’ve heard
It was hit by a car
Here’s the head, in a jar
This was not the result I preferred

When the snowman was dating my daughter
I was pleased with the flowers he bought her
But I gave him no doubt
If his snowballs fell out
I would thaw out his thing with hot water

Threads of Aether

by Nick Gisburne

We wear it on the aether ships we tame
The highest and the lowest, rich or poor
A pendant, crooked cogwheels, forged in flame
A charm, for luck, a token to be sure
We harvest threads of aether from the sky
The veins are rich, but thick with dark debris
We dance with danger, knowing we may die
And kiss the cogs to set our troubles free
If greed betrays the careless in the clouds
Tenacity is hammered on our hearts
Farewell to anxious lovers, cheering crowds
The ship of dauntless aeronauts departs
    We sail beyond the clouds to claim our prize
    The harvest, threads of aether, from the skies

Saturday 20 February 2021

Whispers of a Nightmare

by Nick Gisburne

I pull the shattered scarab from the clay
A shock, a cold connection, grips my heart
The paralysing tendrils of decay
Contaminate, divide, and twist apart
The whispers of a nightmare brush my face
A suffocating evil, septic, sick
They slip inside the mind to take its place
Dismantling my soul, they pry and pick
Unlocked, unleashed, a nauseating curse
Awakens in the shadows of my skin
Immortals, spawned beyond this universe
Impatient for the madness to begin
    The demons of apocalypse descend
    And I, alone, bear witness to the end

Friday 19 February 2021

A Legion of Limericks: Twentieth Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

All is calm as I wait for the sun
In the stillness I steady the gun
I see death in his eyes
But no hint of surprise
For he knows now what has to be done

We are stirring the cauldron of grief
For the infamous Liar-in-Chief
There is nothing inside
Only smiles when he died
And for most there is welcome relief

I have nothing to pay for a meal
Should I beg, perhaps borrow, or steal?
I have one other skill
I’ve decided to kill
It’s a little like clubbing a seal

Scrolls and parchments, strange, alien skin
Tattered bundles, but where to begin?
What strange secrets hide here?
Ancient, festering fear
Are there answers, or madness, within?

From the depths of a fathomless pool
Swarms a legion, accursed and cruel
Are they beasts of the night
Born to butcher and bite
Or the quiet ones bullied at school?

There are days he will never reclaim
He forgets, but has no one to blame
But the treasure, the prize
Is the light in his eyes
When he smiles and remembers your name

I have twenty Bavarian nieces
And the buggers all bore me to pieces
I will cut out their souls
Plant a bomb in the holes
And just hope their banality ceases

When her shadow fell into the water
A bespectacled navy man caught her
He returned it at speed
But he bungled the deed
It belonged to the dog of his daughter

Though I may not be handsome or rich
I was charmed by a beautiful witch
We were out on a date
And the dinner was great
But I woke as a frog, in a ditch

For a hundred and ninety-nine years
I have saved the most precious of beers
It was ready to drink
But it fell in the sink
All I have is a gallon of tears

A Legion of Limericks: Nineteenth Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

Let us see how much pain you can take
You are strong, but I know you will break
When your spirits are dead
And the contract is read
You’ll be married and cutting the cake

I will tell you the future I see
Hear the wisdom once given to me
From the day we take breath
We are destined for death
But, as long as we live, we are free

They insist that my face does not fit
And they try to convince me to quit
But I prove them all wrong
I am worthy and strong
On their bigoted bias I spit

When the Devil dropped in on the town
He decided to burn the place down
Good old God was on form
He delivered a storm
So the flames are all out, but we’ll drown

In the smouldering ruins and ash
Bands of sickening scavengers dash
There is profit in pain
Where the helpless are slain
And their bodies are trampled like trash

Call him worthless, a criminal stain
But he thrives in the depths of disdain
In your moment of need
Say his name as you plead
In the heart of his deadly domain

Said the wolf to the innocent child
“I am dangerous, hungry, and wild”
He expected her cry
But she said, “So am I”
Then she picked up the rifle and smiled

In the circle of clowns there is fear
For their master has summoned them here
He exposes the snitch
Drags him into a ditch
And he beats him to death as they cheer

From the moment they breathe, she begins
Weaving tapestries into their skins
Scenes of scandal and shame
Twisted fibres of flame
She must shape every strand of their sins

See the future! Discover your fate!
Take the journey, before it’s too late
It’s a serious crime
But the nature of time
Means of course you could probably wait

Thursday 18 February 2021

A Legion of Limericks: Eighteenth Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

The elixir is cold in my throat
And I dream of the sky as I float
Senses seamless and keen
Mind in harmony, clean
But I’m vomiting blood on my coat

Tiny windows where nobody sees
Broken doors with inscrutable keys
Is it prison or tomb?
Is this really my room?
Can I speak to the manager please?

It is torment he cannot avert
An unbearable blizzard of hurt
As he changes and grows
In this body he knows
He will never fit back in that shirt

Let us slaughter the slow and the weak
They will give us the serum we seek
Split the skull and the spine
Drink the fluids like wine
Though their toxins are bitter and bleak

See the bodies hung high in the trees
Watch them swing in the shivering breeze
They are signs of the scourge
Of the poisons we purge
There are none so unworthy as these

In the mirror I fear what I see
I am certain this cannot be me
Cold reflections of age
Disappointment and rage
This is not who I wanted to be

When he whispered the promise, she fled
But his flower she took to her bed
She was charmed by the rose
But together they froze
And he found her by candlelight, dead

Seven witches were quietly sitting
Roasting criminals, smoking and spitting
While they waited to eat
Slowly basting the meat
They were bingeing on Netflix and knitting

With her voodoo she turned him to stone
But the seeds of her downfall were sown
In his shirt was a ticket
She’d even helped pick it
The jackpot, if only she’d known

I have kicked the big bucket - deceased
I can’t wait for my funeral feast
In their droves they’ll attend
Come to mourn a good friend
Or it might be just me and the priest

A Legion of Limericks: Seventeenth (Surreal) Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

As the bird of conspiracy sings
She is haunted by rhythmical strings
But the oracle tells
Of impossible bells
In the gardens of innocent kings

Lonely children with desolate eyes
Light the beacons of dust with their sighs
Only reason rings true
But the echoes we grew
Shade the evergreen glow of the skies

There are castles of cinnamon clover
And their riddles bring rage to the rover
In the darkness of time
See them coil as they climb
For their nightmares will never be over

From the annals of wandering whales
Are subtracted unusual tales
Such an intricate catch
Lures of light are no match
For they whisper with snow in their sails

Swirling armies draw stars in the smoke
In their battles to pray and provoke
Understanding the seed
May empower its creed
To enlighten, yet never uncloak

She begins her illegible signs
With a cobweb of damaging lines
But a scandalous flow
Blows them woefully low
Till the spiders entangle their spines

In the spark of a unicorn’s eye
Long before there were starfish to cry
Only dance filled the trees
But the tangerine seas
Sang of sorrowful seasons gone by

If your vision is fearsome and free
Tell me, why do you wander with me?
Do you struggle to stray
On this dangerous day?
Are you lost in my deadly debris?

From the shadows, where nightingales die
To the fields of the fever we fly
Cloaked in spiralling steam
We are lords of the dream
Come to shatter the shivering sky

Seven circles envelop the dawn
As the child of illusion is born
But the mothers must weep
For the scarlet runs deep
When the sunset bleeds over the corn

Wednesday 17 February 2021

A Legion of Limericks: Sixteenth Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

It was vengeance, but no one could blame her
When she found he was trying to shame her
As the hate in her eyes
Ripped the tissue of lies
It was clear that no evil could tame her

As I storm every city and town
Watch me burn every inch of them down
When I throw you aside
Though you cower and hide
You will praise me and worship my crown

When the substance was put into gin
It exploded on contact with skin
But a blend with old whisky
Made everyone frisky
Production’s about to begin

She was sculpted with painstaking skill
A gargantuan effort of will
But the artist was old
And his studio cold
So she looks like a duck with a drill

I’m a zombie. I’m falling apart
I’m so hungry I’ve eaten my heart
And I’ve taken a look
There is nothing to cook
I could chop off an arm. It’s a start

She was branded, the miscreant’s mark
And forever ignored in the dark
But the one she accused
Was so quickly excused
That the contrast could not be more stark

There are virile young vampires outside
Each is looking to find a new bride
All the women have packed
And their husbands, now sacked
Beg for one final fumble. Denied

For the fortunate, favourite few
We provide an inedible stew
Those who ordered the duck
You are shit out of luck
It’s a dungeon, not dinner for two

There’s a train coming into the station
It’s the Devil’s Express to Damnation
If you paid for a seat
There are nibbles to eat
If you’re standing, prepare for castration

In this fragile but fortunate place
On a journey through infinite space
See the glorious light
In the stars of the night
And forget that you’re stuck with that face

A Legion of Limericks: Fifteenth Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

From the underwear under my bed
Comes the smell of old pork and stale bread
Though the leathery treat
May be deadly to eat
If it kills me at least I’ll be fed

If a movie star’s blessing you lack
When you ask them for sex in the sack
Tell them just where you are
And they’ll send you a car
Though it’s doubtful you’ll ever come back

Yes, a planet has formed in my garden
It is growing and starting to harden
I am eager to see
What the science will be
It’s a cabbage. I do beg your pardon

Once again, while on garden patrol
I discovered a tiny black hole
In the gravity well
Is a curious smell
From a wandering star. Or a mole

There are neighbours I need to destroy
But a hitman is hard to employ
Just a wandering bus
Quick and easy, no fuss
It would give me incredible joy

He is rancid, and everyone knows
From his head lice to gnarly old toes
Though he smells like a ditch
He’s incredibly rich
I would bang him for cash I suppose

There’s a gateway, a portal of light
And I stand here before it, tonight
It may lead me to death
And embrace my last breath
But its pull is too potent to fight

It would seem to be foolishly petty
For a mask to be put on a yeti
Although spreading the virus
Is never desirous
He’s sure to be breathless and sweaty

“You are finished! Surrender your sword!”
Cries the pirate while climbing aboard
But the victim is vexed
About what happens next
“I have quite a collection, my lord...
So could you be a little more specific? Would you prefer the scimitar, the sabre, or perhaps this fine cutlass... Ah. Yes, I see... the dagger at my throat certainly does bring some clarity to the proceedings. Shall we begin again? So...
Why not all of these weapons, my lord?”

There is yearning and hunger and greed
As she enters the city to feed
She unleashes the urge
And she soars to the surge
Of the heat from their hearts as they bleed

Tuesday 16 February 2021

A Legion of Limericks: Fourteenth Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

I have nothing to give you but pain
All your questions deserve my disdain
You’re the customer, yes
But I’d hazard a guess
You are missing a part of your brain

In the sulphurous swamps of the east
Lurks an ancient, unspeakable beast
He is easy to kill
With a portable drill
So a sequel was never released

There are spiders attached to her chin
Spinning cobwebs all over her skin
Though it led to divorce
She can feel no remorse
For her freedom from flies is a win

I have joined a promiscuous cult
As a fully consenting adult
Though I waited in line
And bent over the shrine
I had hoped for a better result

The delirium enters his mind
And the madness begins to unwind
On his soul is a scar
He was parking the car
But was given a ticket and fined

In a game of barbarian chess
There is only one rule to address
Simply cover the board
With a ravaging horde
And prepare for a terrible mess

Grind the lungs of a monkey to paste
Add the legs of a spider and baste
Speak a blasphemous rhyme
Serve with maggots and slime
And your children will die for the taste

Said the Sphinx, “Solve this riddle for me
What has four feet, then two feet, then three?”
“It’s a person, I think
Yes, it’s me, on the drink
At the door, when I can’t find my key”

There were seventeen swords in her chest
And she wasn’t quite feeling her best
“Look your last on the sky
For today you must die!”
From the clues she had probably guessed

Through the mirror of murderous kings
Comes the damnable end of all things
Desolation returns
And the universe burns
As the bell of the prophecy rings

A Legion of Limericks: Thirteenth Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

What a wonderful day for a ride
In the coffin of someone who died
There is plenty of room
In the back of the tomb
If the lavender lube is applied

They are watching us, tucked in the trees
And I think they can smell the disease
I’m a little unsure
When we pay for the cure
Should we whistle, or offer the cheese?

On a fascist, dystopian planet
Stands a statue of Hitler in granite
It’s enormous in size
What a Nazi surprise
But their leader refuses to ban it

There are skeletons under the tree
You must feed them with poisonous tea
If the potion runs dry
You will certainly die
For their leader is merciless - me

He had stolen her magical skin
But it summoned her, hidden within
As her soul was set free
He was nailed to a tree
And he wept as she butchered his kin

She had nothing but rage and a gun
And she told him to get up and run
When he fell and he bled
He was already dead
But she screamed, “Are we now having fun?”

We are proud of our studious daughter
She absorbed all the lessons we taught her
Stealing treasure in sacks
Slicing skulls with an axe
Her degree is in pillage and slaughter

I was trying to polish my dragon
Round the back of the medicine wagon
When the doctor walked in
He said, “Don’t use the bin!
Here’s a sterile emergency flagon”

When I dream, I see visions of you
They are moments so precious, so few
But you’re frying a cat
In a whirlpool of fat
While an octopus paints a canoe

As I strap the device to my head
And the coils of the vortex burn red
I have summoned a gate
To a power so great
It will shatter the sunrise with dread

Monday 15 February 2021

A Legion of Limericks: Twelfth Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

I can sing with incredible force
And my pets have to listen of course
But the notes were so flat
That they clobbered the cat
And I’ve twisted the teeth of my horse

Tell me, why are you looking so sad?
You have killed your own mother - be glad
She spent all of her life
As a tormented wife
And she’s finally free of your dad

Giant eagles are filling the skies
Swooping low as they strike for the eyes
But their bloodthirsty lust
Will ignore me I trust
I am wearing my chicken disguise

There is moonlight and music and bliss
As the lovers lean closer to kiss
Their melodious hearts
Play a fanfare of farts
And they both need to go for a piss

As the vampires return to the hive
Every victim is barely alive
One can never be sure
If the prey is impure
But on virgins it’s hard to survive

The celestial kingdom is lost
Overcome by a murderous frost
Lying silent and cold
Stripped of all of its gold
It’s a crime how much heating can cost

She is trapped in a circle of time
And returns to the scene of the crime
As she waits for the knife
To extinguish her life
Father’s footsteps continue to climb

Sailing hard through the storm and the snow
Through the seas of the siren they go
As she beckons the ship
She has started to slip
Falling flat on her face, far below

Mighty demon, before thee I bow
To thy shadow I shackle my vow
By this powerful hex
Bring me seafood and sex
But I’d settle for strippers, for now

She would never have smiled if she knew
What the fairies intended to do
As they pulled out her teeth
And they tunnelled beneath
They were stripping her skin for a stew

A Legion of Limericks: Eleventh Cohort

by Nick Gisburne

I’m a Viking, ferocious and strong
But my pillaging doesn’t take long
When the peasants are dead
And the rivers run red
I wear dresses and break into song

I am drilling a hole in my head
And my brains on the carpet are spread
When it’s empty in there
I am fully aware
I will need to recover in bed

I can still see the look in your eyes
At your Valentine dinner surprise
I remember the meat
So deliciously sweet
There were pieces of you in the pies

No suspicion was put on the bride
When he jumped from the window and died
But the body was found
Strangled, poisoned and drowned
So perhaps he just couldn't decide

There are llamas all over the road
And they’re speaking in Spanish, in code
Argentina is full
Of combustible wool
And I think it’s about to explode

They had buried him ages ago
Yet his body survived in the snow
He was legally dead
And still missing the head
So success as a singer was slow

There’s an angel too clumsy to fly
And I think I’ve identified why
When he severed a wing
He attached it with string
And the glue is refusing to dry

From the alien milkmen in space
Came a force no defences could chase
Now the cities all scream
As the skies fill with cream
And there’s yogurt all over the place

He has fallen to ruin and rust
And his body decays in the dust
As an army of ants
Finds a home in his pants
He decides that a cleaner’s a must

It was tragic how Santa Claus died
From a diet of reindeer, deep fried
When no coffin would fit
He was thrown in a pit
In a shiny red box, wrapped and tied

Sunday 14 February 2021

Government Guidelines: Vacation Protocol

by Nick Gisburne

The sickness has infected sector nine
Possessions will be sterilised and burned
All passengers must strip and face the line
Approval for the shelter must be earned
Protection will be rendered by the spray
Do not inhale until you reach your mark
For those who wish to urinate or pray
Please use the hole provided after dark
A lethal strain, detected in the camp
Determines that we scan you for disease
A mandatory radiation lamp
Will enter as you bend and touch your knees
    A pill will be provided every day
    Without it you will die. Enjoy your stay

The Legend of Dána Nocht

    (dor-nah nokt)

by Nick Gisburne

The dangerous enchantments of the Fey
Within their darkest catacombs were locked
But then a spiteful spirit stole away
The foul, forbidden book of Dána Nocht
The fairy king sent goblin scouts to hunt
And anxiously awaited their return
The spirit, soon besieged on every front
Disguised the book with roots and leaves and fern
The king, without his magic, died, alone
No seekers found the secret, though they tried
By moonlight you can hear the spirit moan
Corrupted by the wickedness inside
    The pages, frail and faded, warped and worn
    Are filled with scary, hairy, fairy porn

The Irish words Dána Nocht can be read as ‘dor-nah nokt’, but you’ll need someone more fluent than I to tell you exactly how to pronounce them.

To find a translation of Dána Nocht from the Irish, first read the poem, then click here.
You’ll be glad you did.

Saturday 13 February 2021

The Queen of Old

by Nick Gisburne

Her robes of golden silk are drab today
The armour chafes the creases of her skin
Will nothing turn these enemies away?
She does not want the battle to begin
The memory of war soon folds and fades
And peace is rarely found, though long pursued
The crown of serpents coiled around her braids
Proclaims her strength, or is it servitude?
The armies gather, angry dolls and toys
New blades of steel oppose her velvet hands
To fight, to die, her every word destroys
A future she no longer understands
    She longs to leave the field, to leave the light
    The Queen of Old, too weary for the fight

Catching Fairies

by Nick Gisburne

I’m certain that this plan will make me rich
There’s nothing here I cannot understand
I’ve heard that catching fairies needs a witch
But in the 1930s that was banned
The traps, so very simple and unique
Are baited with a pair of screaming kids
The blueprints mention how to make them shriek
Just bash their little heads with saucepan lids
The fairy folk will flap here in a fit
Addicted, like a duckling to a quack
And then I’ll use the mallet, just a bit
And bag the little buggers in a sack
    Well, sadly, this was not the perfect day
    The fairies ate the kids and got away

A Caravan of Sorrows

by Nick Gisburne

They stagger through the desert in their droves
A caravan of sorrows, raw and red
At last they fall, to rest and light the stoves
To cook a meagre meal of scraps and bread
The smugglers work for money, nothing more
And yet, at night, another debt is due
Collected in the shadows, on the floor
The lonely, bitter burden of the few
Allowed no word of protest, no dissent
The desert gives them nowhere else to go
Their money, and their freedom, stolen, spent
What life, or death, awaits, they do not know
    The daylight drags them on, towards their dreams
    But darkness brings the sorrow of their screams

The End

by Nick Gisburne

The stranger draws the rifle from his coat
His fingers twist a broken poker chip
He throws another whiskey down his throat
And leaves a silver dollar for the tip
The faces at the tables turn away
A sign they see, but do not disapprove
The rhythmic rattle-tapping of his prey
A trail towards the man he must remove
The writer feels the presence of a friend
He hurries now to type the final word
And as his fingers finish with ‘The End’
A single, deadly rifle shot is heard
    The stranger pulls the story from his hand
    A ruthless tale, exactly as they planned

Friday 12 February 2021

Fallen Flowers

by Nick Gisburne

A dagger splits the ceiling of the sky
The ship, a spinning blade of fractured light
A strangled thought, a question: “Will I die?”
Defiance, somehow, orders me to fight
We spiral through the atmosphere at speed
A single symbol penetrates my skull
Bewildered, as my eyes begin to bleed
I punch it, hard, to break apart the hull
The pieces fall like petals from a rose
But now another flower bursts to bloom
A canopy of shadow spreads and grows
And slowly I am lowered to my tomb
    The ship, the chute, and I, reveal our worth
    But all are fallen flowers, far from Earth

Walter the Warlock

by Nick Gisburne

Last of an infamous sorcerer line
Proud in the purple of wizards and kings
Scholar of spellwork to slay the divine
Drainer of demons, and sometimes he sings
Walter’s a wonder at working a spell
Mixes elixirs with nauseous names
Three of his wives were eternals from Hell
All of their children just burst into flames
Watch as he braces to battle the gods
Summons a salvo of furious force
Spies his opponents and ponders the odds
Greeks he can do, but don’t fuck with the Norse
    Sundays, when gods are too lazy to fight
    Waxes his wand till his whiskers turn white

Thursday 11 February 2021

Selling Secrets

by Nick Gisburne

The sisters of the coven hear her scream
Convulsing since the punishment began
The penalty is harrowing, extreme
For one who sells her secrets to a man
The shadows binding body, soul, and art
Give warning of temptation and excess
Unlocking hidden doorways to the heart
She sold what only witches may possess
Her treason, her betrayal, brought her this
Vitality and magic torn away
A diabolic metamorphosis
Transforms her flesh to ugly, crippled clay
    They bind her to the stake and curse her name
    The faithless traitor, burning in the flame

I’m Rapunzel, Get Me Out of Here

by Nick Gisburne

The rescue was a nightmare from the start
Without a proper plan it turned to farce
Whoever thought it wouldn’t fall apart
Should stick another blueprint up his arse
Rapunzel found a prince to lend a hand
But government officials stood their ground
A bylaw meant that ropes of hair were banned
A regulation scaffolding was found
In seven days the platform was complete
Certificates of safety duly signed
But victory was short and bittersweet
The bloody thing collapsed and they were fined
    Rapunzel could have let down all her hair
    But not before the paperwork was there

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Hate Mail

by Nick Gisburne

I write to say you’re getting on my nerves
The more I think of you, the more I hate
Your twisted mind will get what it deserves
And even if you’re sorry, it’s too late
The lies will crash and burn and bring you down
Remember what you are, a waste of space
Perhaps you think you’re funny? You’re a clown
But all the world is laughing in your face
You need to know the simple truth at last
So let me be the one to tell you first
The time when I believed in you has passed
May all your days be wretched, short, and cursed
    The letter, sealed, is waiting on the shelf
    Tomorrow I will post it, to myself

Dancing Puppets

by Nick Gisburne

The afternoon amusements have arrived
The thrill of expectation is divine
The members gather, restless and revived
An educated audience of nine
The club was categoric in its choice
No preference was ever made so clear
Descending from above, our hearts rejoice
To see the dancing puppet show appear
The ignorant know nothing of the art
A secretive tradition from the past
They dangle and they dance and then depart
We hear the chimes - the meal is served at last
    The puppets, human, dainty on their feet
    The dancing adds such flavour to their meat

Defending the Dream

by Nick Gisburne

Robotic legions gather in the storm
They feed upon its elemental force
Electric armies separate and swarm
They kill without emotion or remorse
Fanatical defenders meet the strike
Kinetic giants, equal to the task
Immense, opposing armies, both alike
Machines which go to war when others ask
The remnants of humanity are trapped
They cower in the ruins, gripped by fear
Synthetic soldiers endlessly adapt
Yet why they fight is now no longer clear
    While Armageddon rages overhead
    The dream they once defended, hope, is dead

A Poisonous Procedure

by Nick Gisburne

His potion sears the surface of my throat
Malignant toxins twist like coiling steam
The necromancer’s eyes are dark, remote
They scan the sacred runes as though they dream
A nest of squirming vipers fills my jaw
Voracious serpents, ravenous for flesh
The spell’s elixir animates them more
They burrow deep, in search of food more fresh
The narrow span of time before I die
Can yet be lengthened with an ancient drug
Injected with a bodkin through the eye
His pincers reach within my throat and tug
    The snakes are shrivelled, impotent, and dead
    This dentist is the one I always dread

Tuesday 9 February 2021

Churchwarden Chores

by Nick Gisburne

I’m weary of this aspect of my work
The blood of slaughter sticking to my boots
Another pagan party gone berserk
Those cannibals - voracious little brutes
More chunky lumps of flesh to sweep away
And kidneys from a corpse without a head
I long to take a break, for just a day
To please myself, and not the living dead
But sunset comes to haunt me with its bite
My gruesome list of chores begins again
Proceeding to the crypt by candlelight
I serve my Lord his breakfast blood at ten
    Before we host the Tea and Torture Club
    I think I’ll give the altar boys a scrub

Sealed Inside

by Nick Gisburne

They sealed her in the dark to rot away
No mercy, no release, will ever come
How fragile seems her sanity today
How long before her spirit will succumb?
They gave her little time to plead her case
Pretending that they listened, they did not
The bruises on her body, on her face
Reflections of their fury, high and hot
The only thing she wanted was respect
Acknowledging her struggle to survive
But everything she honours they reject
She wonders why they keep her here, alive
    The daughter they despise was once their son
    A truth from which their minds can never run

The Whisper in the Frost

by Nick Gisburne

They say she is the Whisper in the Frost
A succubus behind a frozen veil
She lures the ghosts of angels who have crossed
And hurls them down from Heaven with her tail
The dreams of men are deep before the dawn
At night she takes her pleasure from their skin
Forever to her whispers they are drawn
Forever are their souls consumed by sin
But death is swift for those who hear her speak
For they shall know the whisper of her name
The body, drained of passion, barren, bleak
The heart, forever frozen, stained by shame
    With every stolen dream there comes a cost
    No soul survives the Whisper in the Frost

Monday 8 February 2021

The Centre of the Wall

by Nick Gisburne

She finds the perfect centre of the wall
The keystone of her courage, worn and grey
The ocean, far below, won’t break the fall
Perhaps the waves will wash her pain away
Confusing as her life has now become
She hesitates to jump, to seek its end
This place, the wall, the centre, leaves her numb
The symmetry, the focus, is her friend
The burdens of her mind mean nothing here
The glory of the ocean makes them small
The world has always magnified her fear
But now she does not see its face at all
    And yet, beyond the centre of her mind
    Such peace may be impossible to find

Sunday 7 February 2021

Government Guidelines: Child Delivery

by Nick Gisburne

Your allocated infant has emerged
Internal organs fitted and dewormed
The antenatal cylinder was purged
Dispatch, by basic birth crate, is confirmed
The child should never deviate in thought
Effective isolation is the key
Submission, duty, service, must be taught
Authority and order set us free
Permit no interaction with its peers
Contaminated contact breeds mistakes
Control the mind with standard primal fears
Free will must be suppressed until it breaks
    Correction. Quota limits now apply
    Your infant will be vaporised. Goodbye

Ball Problems

by Nick Gisburne

The Dying, Dead and Undead Winter Ball
Its decadence deflated after dark
The worst satanic orgy of them all
Pathetic as a werewolf baby’s bark
The walkers of the night are frosty folk
A holy water fountain caused a stir
But crosses in the cocktails, just a joke
Were blasted as a vampire racial slur
The sacrifice, supposed to clear the air
Was smothered in a garlic butter paste
The pentagram turned out to be a square
And all the virgin brides were far from chaste
    The reason for the treason and the shame?
    The caterer, Van Helsing, was to blame

Saturday 6 February 2021

Morgue Report

by Nick Gisburne

The subject is deceased, Caucasian, male
Uncertain lifespan, tall and heavy, strong
All teeth are brown and crooked, thick with scale
Hair curly, greasy, reddish-brown, and long
Bizarre, abnormal markings mask the eyes
Their lids enhanced and darkened, vivid black
Large, pallid circles, lined to emphasise
The brows have been removed, but painted back
Distorted mouth, grotesquely modified
The colour of the lips: a shade of rose
Remaining skin shows body paint applied
A spongy, crimson ball obscures the nose
    You’ll find a thousand suspects in this town
    And all of them would kill a killer clown

Friday 5 February 2021


by Nick Gisburne

I’m Peter, your imaginary friend
I’ve come to change your life and free your soul
Your mind is what deceives you in the end
But I will take the lies and leave you whole
The old ones tried to frighten me away
But children, on their birthdays, need me most
Let’s go up to the rooftop. We can play
Perhaps we’ll see an angel, or a ghost
Up here, this little stairway to the sky
Put on these special wings. That’s good. That’s right
I know that you can do it. You can fly
Just one more step, then jump towards the light
    I’m Peter. I’m so happy we could meet
    And look, that’s you, below us, on the street

Tina, The Wobblier Princess

by Nick Gisburne

She breaks their balls in battle, it’s her way
The pagan princess, Tina, reigns supreme
And when she’s high on sugar, so they say
She’ll fight until the cakes run out of cream
Her dragon armour shows a lot of skin
But touch it and she’ll rip your face in two
She staggers round the tavern, drinking gin
Her diva dreams are faded, failed, and few
She worries that her fists won’t pack a punch
And what will fall out first if she should trip
She longs to find a sea of skulls to crunch
Her arms can snap the biggest battleship
    She’s cranky and she’s old, but not quite dead
    She’ll fight you, but she’d rather stay in bed

Thursday 4 February 2021


by Nick Gisburne

They slice another stripe across my back
Professionals, they use the surgeon’s tools
His mind machine is still inside the sack
A thief who’s caught is punished - not my rules
Perception blurs, untethered from my head
Distorted by the smell of burning meat
I wonder if I’ll know when I am dead
How long until the flesh admits defeat?
They know their business, disciplined, extreme
The boss man waits and watches, sips his tea
He nods with every whimper, every scream
Perhaps one day he’ll know: that isn’t me
    The mind machine - I’m in his brother’s brain
    But he’s in mine, and feeling all the pain

Government Guidelines: The Ruling

by Nick Gisburne

The Ruling is the destiny we dread
A designated future, one of three
Be Worthy, be Delightful, or be Dead
But which of them, for you, is it to be?
The Worthy, given duties they deserve
Rebuild the shining cities of the state
The majesty, the empire, they preserve
And from this labour do not deviate
Those classified Delightful are discrete
Such work demands a discipline of mind
Their bodies serve the privileged elite
A diary of vice shall be assigned
    The Ruling of this Board now follows: DEAD
    Please grip the metal bars and look ahead

Wednesday 3 February 2021

A Storm

by Nick Gisburne

A storm, a seething tempest, strikes the sky
Untamed annihilation fills the bay
The peasants, on their knees, prepare to die
Expecting this, for them, is Judgement Day
What miracle of man can turn aside
The surging storm of fury from this place?
No mercy, no escape, nowhere to hide
And all must meet their maker, face to face
But now, a silent, perfect point of peace
As if the sky itself is pulled apart
The wretched sinners, weeping for release
Believe the hand of God protects their heart
    In moments they are pounded into paste
    For this was Mother Nature that they faced

The Broker

by Nick Gisburne

He drags the cart along a filthy street
The remnants of a miserable life
He needs to find some cash; he needs to eat
He needs to buy a gun; he needs a knife
At last, the battered building that he seeks
He hauls his only assets through the door
The place is full of junkies, tramps and freaks
A trail of stinking piss divides the floor
The broker finds a room and waves him in
A sturdy, surly woman with a scar
Uncovering the cart, she strokes her chin
She smiles and taps the ash from her cigar
    “Good meat. I’ll take it. Fifty cents a pound
    Your wife is it? I’m guessing she was drowned”

Tuesday 2 February 2021

The Clan

by Nick Gisburne

She thunders through the everlasting mist
Afraid she may not reach her secret place
A finger stabs the scanner on her wrist
The subtle symbols register her face
The creatures catch her scent, but there is time
She doubles back, observant of the plan
Exhausted, she begins the final climb
Below, the streets are swarming with the Clan
The hatch spins open, ready for the bag
She slams the flashing panel on her arm
And blows the filthy crawlers into slag
Relieved, she seals the shelter, safe from harm
   Their leader’s heart will feed her for a week
   The Clan will never claim the soul they seek


by Nick Gisburne

Perspectives bounce like echoes out of key
They play and pulse with light around my bed
The visions shimmer, swirling with debris
A swarm of paper phantoms, drifting, dead
My body does not know if I’m awake
Or where the morphine locks my pain to sleep
The needles tell my sinews not to shake
I sometimes hear a troubled woman weep
Emerging from the mists, that cautious smile
Her eyes have known the best and worst of me
She fills the room with chatter for a while
But runs to find a cup of tasteless tea
    She knows. The pain has taken me again
    I press the button, breathe, and count to ten

Monday 1 February 2021

The Irish Luck

by Nick Gisburne

How magical, how devious the plan
Discovering the fabled pot of gold
That sinister and sneaky little man
Outwitted by the whiskey he was sold
The leprechaun revealed it, in a rhyme
I spied him, singing, drinking, up a tree
A perfect day, a priceless, perfect crime
The Irish luck has smiled, at last, on me
The hole is very dark and very deep
It’s raining, but of course that’s what I need
And as the rainbow touches down, I leap
Above, a voice commends me on my greed
    “You’ve found the pot, of that you can be sure
    You’re in my shit. That’s leprechaun manure”

The Two True Gods

by Nick Gisburne

The god who ruled the east was unimpressed
The number of his followers was down
A second omnipresence, in the west
Disputed the credentials of his crown
“I am the true creator!” he declared
“I challenge you to prove that you exist!”
A statement from his rival was prepared
“Reveal yourself, or have your claims dismissed!”
“We cannot both be right,” the gods agreed
“The proof should be unquestionably strong
It seems we lack the evidence we need
So both, it stands to reason, must be wrong”
    It came to pass, exactly as they feared
    And so the gods, forever, disappeared