Friday 30 April 2021

The Necromancer’s Knife

by Nick Gisburne

The doorway into darkness strains and cracks
It splinters, buckles, bends, as though to burst
Each woman holds an effigy in wax
They speak a spell and call upon the cursed
Their creatures, crushed together, merge as one
A miserable mockery of life
And, stepping through the portal, it is gone
It seeks the blade, the necromancer’s knife
For seven nights the witches watch and wait
The doorway, empty, offers nothing more
Their faith, their focus, does not deviate
And now, at last, it opens, as before
    The knife, that stolen dagger of the dead
    Returns, to slice the necromancer’s bread

Thursday 29 April 2021

Perfect Worlds

by Nick Gisburne

Beyond the rings of Saturn, there we meet
The mighty vessel signals from afar
They understand our customs, how we greet
And quickly show us who and what they are
They tell of perfect worlds, beyond belief
Where poverty and war have disappeared
Of life without the misery of grief
A paradise, where death is never feared
Their mastery of space, learned long ago
Allows their kind to flourish and expand
Of Earth, we tell them all they wish to know
In partnership, we offer them our hand
    They vanish, with a single, brief dispatch
    “Your profile pains us. Sorry. Not a match.”


by Nick Gisburne

The stench of death is putrid, rotten, rank
An ancient cargo, scavenged from the sand
Each primitive, disease-infected tank
Is hauled aboard the zeppelin by hand
The man in white is wary of the find
He taps his cane to dampen his distaste
The ship, this expedition, all designed
To seize a lasting legacy, long chased
A shackled wretch is hurled into the hold
The hatch behind him closes, quickly sealed
Exposed, the deadly vapours, slick and cold
Dissolve his mind, their wickedness revealed
    A poison, snatched from time, a savage blight
    Will fall upon a helpless world tonight

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Pandora’s Other Box

by Nick Gisburne

What lurks inside Pandora’s other box?
The one she didn’t open (she forgot)
Releasing every punishment and pox
She had some things to think about. A lot
The second box just can’t be any worse
I’m sure that all the evil must be gone
Perhaps I’ll find the cure to every curse
I have to take the chance and carry on
Excited is an all-too-timid word
I’m buzzing like the biggest-ever bee
But now the sound of silence can be heard
At last, with bated breath, I turn the key
    Pandora’s greatest torment fills the box
    A plague of dirty underpants and socks

A Wonder in the Ice

by Nick Gisburne

It crashed beyond the western city wall
The silver capsule, spinning, lost control
And she, the stationed sentry, saw it fall
It struck the snow dunes, punched a perfect hole
Dispatched to drag the pilot from the wreck
She finds a broken, alien device
Impossible to comprehend its tech
A mystery, a wonder in the ice
A sticky flow escapes the cold machine
It falls upon the fingers of her hand
She marvels at its oily, scarlet sheen
A clue she does not clearly understand
    A puzzle, how the gears of life could spin
    Without a clockwork core, like hers, within

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Part Payment

by Nick Gisburne

The centuries of sleep are spent at last
Synthetic fluids wake my frozen form
Computers gather pieces of the past
While tiny, tireless robots surge and swarm
A promise: every pathogen is gone
The waiting is rewarded with a cure
Astonished that my life will carry on
A moment of delight is premature
The payment for my care has been declined
The money, and the bank, did not survive
No trace of any wealth I left behind
But here, a bill for keeping me alive
    My case is closed; collection swiftly starts
    Immediate dissection - cash for parts

Monday 26 April 2021

The Memory Machine

by Nick Gisburne

The rich will pay for dreams of every kind
We serve the true elite with our device
The precious essence, syphoned from your mind
Is purified to optimise the price
Extractions from the Memory Machine
Are filtered for delusion or decay
Donation tanks are scrupulously clean
We hope you will enjoy a pleasant stay
Recipients are wealthy, unlike you
With infinite resources at their call
Infusions help the privileged, the few
A donor’s risk of death is fairly small*
    Sign up! We’re ready, waiting with your cash
    *Some chance of brain warp, shock, or mental crash

Sunday 25 April 2021

Twenty Thousand Days

by Nick Gisburne

For twenty thousand days upon this Earth
A long-forgotten figure of a man
Has wondered what his life is truly worth
But finds no place or purpose in its plan
A milestone marks the meaning of the day
More time has passed, he knows, than is to come
As every squandered second slips away
Another dawn, discarded, leaves him numb
He burns each bitter moment, one by one
And buries them forever in the sands
In sleep he finds his dreams are almost gone
A fading future, falling from his hands
    He cannot find the days he lost before
    And will not live for twenty thousand more

The Photograph

by Nick Gisburne

A brute, a monster, screaming from its cage
Revulsion floods her senses, soaks her skin
The photograph infects her blood with rage
Her fury claws and clutches from within
The broken, scattered pieces of this place
Reveal a tragic portrait of the past
She finds what she was terrified to face
A strange, exotic life, which did not last
A freak show, burned, abandoned, laid to waste
Not home. Not prison. Both of them, at best
She knows the spiteful universe they faced
And wonders, prays, at last, they sleep, and rest
    A single, ugly image of her son
    Reminds her he had nowhere else to run

Saturday 24 April 2021

A Paradox of Slime

by Nick Gisburne

Our voyage to the future is delayed
The tunnel is too slippery for time
Announcements say the wormhole has decayed
A paradox of subatomic slime
The tourists at our table are upset
Millennia of travel now at stake
We booked to see what hasn’t happened yet
The universe just paused and took a break
Mechanics, trained in technical support
Are keen to turn it off, then on again
But that would make infinity too short
So one of them just pokes it with a pen
    They’re whispering in scientific slang
    The only words I catch are ‘big’ and ‘bang’

The Key to Courage

by Nick Gisburne

I hold the key to courage in my hand
The secret you believe beyond your reach
Come, join me, and forever understand
The wisdom and the wonder I can teach
You fear me, fear my spirit, fear my flame
But I can taste the magic of your mind
Reach out. Reach in, beyond the silent shame
Leave every doubt or danger, burned or blind
These phantoms are a mockery, a sham
Resist them. Free your future from their grip
Your eyes already know me, who I am
But I am not the captain of your ship
    Abandon all you thought you ever knew
    Unlock your courage. Know the key is you

Friday 23 April 2021

The Murder of the Martyrs

by Nick Gisburne

Umbrellas turn to keep the blood at bay
Though many crush the crimson to their skin
On this most joyous, diabolic day
The murder of the martyrs will begin
Excitement as the infidels arrive
Their naked shame defiled with powdered paints
Despised in death, their souls may still survive
Forgiven by the mercy of the saints
The bishop’s gaze is rigid, but remote
The glamour of the spectacle too long
With each new severed head and bleeding throat
He lifts a weary finger to the throng
    When every damned depravity is done
    The dead will burn, beneath a scarlet sun

Thursday 22 April 2021

The Alchemist of Doom

by Nick Gisburne

They seek the ancient Alchemist of Doom
Imprisoned in the bowels of the earth
But clearing out the cart to make some room
The navigator’s dog has given birth
A basket with a dozen dozy pups
Accompanies their scruffy little band
They toast the trip with wine in wooden cups
And quickly find it difficult to stand
The quest begins, or will do, fairly soon
Tomorrow, when the omens have been read
Or, maybe, early... middle afternoon
They drain their final dregs and crawl to bed
    For many days they almost... no, too late
    The Alchemist of Doom will have to wait

Prison Transport Delta-Eight

by Nick Gisburne

The prison transport swings around the sun
Malicious codes unlock each metal cage
The mutineers may think their work is done
But deep, defensive instruments engage
Such deviance disturbs the status quo
Insurgency demands a swift response
Reflectors, pulled from service, burn and blow
As every switch and system fails at once
The shutters, sealed for safety, all retreat
And every inmate cowers in despair
A lethal tide of devastating heat
Consumes the tortured fabric of the air
    The tomb of Prison Transport Delta-Eight
    A spiteful, savage symbol of the state

Wednesday 21 April 2021

No Excuse

by Nick Gisburne

It’s come to my attention you are dead
But that is no excuse for being late
Your contract, which I’m sure you must have read
Demands a written reason for your fate
Although you’ve only worked here for a while
This really isn’t good enough at all
We like our staff to go the extra mile
Which doesn’t cover bleeding in the hall
We’ve had a few complaints about the flies
Your murder must be when it all began
I know you weren’t expecting your demise
But don’t be quite so gloomy, if you can
    You’ve always been a model teacher, true
    I wouldn’t tell the class if I were you

Tuesday 20 April 2021


by Nick Gisburne

You long to touch the margins of my mind
But I am not the god you think you know
Your prophecies are arrogant and blind
They crush the spirit’s appetite to grow
You will not find the chosen one you seek
Messiah to a craven creed of men
Your faith, unfounded, proves that you are weak
Resist, or you will never rise again
Extinction is the future you deserve
No paradise awaits you after death
Finality for every bone and nerve
Oblivion upon your dying breath
    Pathetic children, bound by broken rules
    A testament of hypocrites and fools

Fairy Feasting

by Nick Gisburne

I’m here to tell you everything you need
To kill and cook the fairy folk with ease
A hunting knife will gut them as they bleed
A cleaver severs swiftly at the knees
A magical variety of bait
Will charm these cunning creatures to the hook
To serve at supper, simply slice or grate
Or why not buy my Fairy Feasting book?
Try fairy fillets, sautéed in the sun
There’s something here for every diner’s taste
My roasted fairy finger food is fun
And boil the bones for soup - no mess, no waste
    Be careful when you fry a fairy’s wing
    The glitter, in your eyes, can really sting

The Circus of Despair

by Nick Gisburne

Find welcome in the Circus of Despair
Menagerie of everything you fear
Beyond the reach of piety or prayer
The souls of spiteful sinners suffer here
Come, gather in the tent to see the show
The master of the ring demands your eyes
What horrors wait within it none may know
Too late to leave, and death for he who tries
Be seated. Let the butchery begin
Digest the dark depravities of Hell
A feast to boil the blood, to sear the skin
Beneath the tortured tolling of the bell
    Begone, forever scarred by what you saw
    But always longing, yearning, needing more

Monday 19 April 2021

Love, At Last

by Nick Gisburne

His face is old, but sparkles with a smile
Refusing to believe his time has passed
He never doubts, surrender not his style
Convinced he may discover love, at last
He wanders through the unfamiliar town
Abandoning his daughter where she parked
Although the ancient map is worn and brown
The meeting place is close and clearly marked
A cloud of coffee swirls around the shop
Emotions lift him, banishing the years
The face, the woman, brings a startled stop
And suddenly the sunlight disappears
    “You left your phone. She called to cancel. Mad!
    Let’s have a drink together shall we, Dad?”

Sunday 18 April 2021

Scarlet Secrets

by Nick Gisburne

Beware the scarlet book of living skin
A catalogue of evil, choked and chained
The murderous obscenities within
Are crippled and corrupted, sickly, stained
A pulsing swarm of arteries and veins
Connects the bones and sinews of the spine
They feed the hungry hearts of what remains
A volume of despicable design
The souls of screaming innocents, insane
Are captured in the core of every page
A merciless eternity of pain
A spiteful curse of cold, remorseless rage
    Beware its primal powers; those who look
    Become the scarlet secrets of the book

Magic Froggy

by Nick Gisburne

She talks to Magic Froggy, at the pond
He fancies her, the feeble-minded fool
He’s partial to a princess, big and blonde
But she is hot for humans, as a rule
He hops to sit beside her, with a smirk
“The magic spell insists we have to strip
I’ll need to use my tongue for it to work
I promise nothing kinky, just the tip
Go on, you’ll make me very, very rich
Just give me what you’ve got. I’ll be a prince
My brother had me frog-napped by a witch”
The princess isn’t easy to convince
    She bashes Froggy’s brains in with a brick
    “You pitiful, perverted little prick!”

Saturday 17 April 2021


by Nick Gisburne

She glances at the mirror in the hall
Instinctively a hand conceals her face
Her vanity means nothing now at all
But sometimes, still, the scars seem out of place
Success could always spoil a perfect day
The flatterers and phonies, laced with lies
But now they quickly turn to look away
As if her imperfections burn their eyes
Returning to a memory, so clear
She curses at the speed, the smash, the spin
The moment that her fame would disappear
Is carved into the canvas of her skin
    The scars, a perfect measure of her pride
    Remind her of a pain she cannot hide


by Nick Gisburne

The engines of the starship fail in flight
Alarms and warnings flicker, flash, too late
The stars, in this infinity of night
Condemn the sole survivor to his fate
Defective, that most trivial of parts
An engineering afterthought at best
Extinguishing a blaze of burning hearts
Unbreakable devotion, dispossessed
Remembering her laughter in the trees
He longs for tears, for touch, a hand to hold
The stranded ship cools quickly by degrees
He squanders precious time to curb the cold
    With stolen seconds, fighting to the end
    A final message. Love, forever. Send

Friday 16 April 2021

Forbidden Verses

by Nick Gisburne

I’ll never get these spells of mine to work
I think my magic powers may be jammed
Today I sent a crowd of cats berserk
A hairy hokey pokey of the damned
Forbidden verses, written on my wrist
Unite me with the spirits of the dead
But coughing through a cloud of crimson mist
I’m sure a mark was missing, or misread
I shape the spell again, but in reverse
Imagining it must be worth a try
The aftermath is infinitely worse
A chasm into Chaos splits the sky
    The Underworld is cleaner than you think
    Avoid the lakes of blood - they really stink

Thursday 15 April 2021

Haiku Fairy Tales

by Nick Gisburne

The Three Little Pigs
Three pigs, three houses
Huffing and puffing is hard
Try a bulldozer

He will steal her child
Unless she can guess his name
Or chop his balls off

Little Red Riding Hood
Grandma shops online
No need for Red to visit
Wolf’s back on dog food

What long hair you have
Let me climb it to reach you
No! Use the ladder!

The glass slipper fits
But the prince is still unsure
Try the bikini

The Ugly Duckling
How ugly I am!
How I long to be a swan
Tough. You’re an emu

Jack and the Beanstalk
Brings home magic beans
Gets the welcome he deserves
Mother’s magic fist

The Frog Prince
Kiss me! Marry me!
Frogs kiss better than princes
My tongue is massive

The Princess and the Pea
I won’t change my mind
I’m not sleeping in that bed
Someone’s peed in it

Sleeping Beauty
A hundred-year sleep
She wakes to find him naked
That was not a kiss

Christmas Fear

by Nick Gisburne

Behold the decorations on the tree
The Christmas bones, the poisoned paper stars
We light the bleeding candles, martyrs, three
And stuff the skulls of kittens into jars
The children dance with strips of strangled skin
And entrails from the carcass on the floor
The songs of spite and sacrilege begin
We lift our cups and praise the Holy Whore
At midnight, smeared with tainted Yuletide mud
We bait the traps for Santa’s screaming deer
Impalement of the fairy, bathed in blood
Intoxicates our souls with Christmas fear
    Rejoice to feel its cold, malignant stain
    A season soaked in slaughter, plagued with pain

Wednesday 14 April 2021

A Hurricane of Hatred

by Nick Gisburne

A quarter of the moon ascends the sky
A shining, silver witness to the crime
He waits to see the woman passing by
The shadow of a long-forgotten time
Her malice made the monster he became
Abandoned, broken, captive in a cage
A hurricane of hatred screams her name
He breathes a boiling storm of crimson rage
Revealed, he aims the weapon at her chest
Her face is soft with age, but not her eyes
She sees him falter, beaten by the test
And smiles with deep regret, but no surprise
    She pulls the gun politely from his hand
    With love her son may never understand

Tuesday 13 April 2021

The Perfect Dress

by Nick Gisburne

Each perfect piece of linen is unique
The lines are sharp and measured, clean, precise
He works with fearless focus, trained technique
The smallest fold or flaw will not suffice
With passion and the subtle skills of art
His needle pulls the pieces into place
The stitches match the motion of a heart
Above, below, a slow and patient pace
And when at last the light begins to fade
He nods, as if to bid a fond farewell
Tomorrow, she who wears the dress he made
Will rest beneath the tolling of a bell
    Her mother gives a rare and precious prize
    She thanks him for the perfect dress, and cries

Monday 12 April 2021

Painted Evil

by Nick Gisburne

Forgotten faces, studies of neglect
A gallery of torment and despair
The portraits, painted evil, resurrect
Awakened by the poison of a prayer
They crawl through frame and canvas to return
A slick and oily swarm of brutes and beasts
Oblivion. For this alone they yearn
Enslaved, they serve the pleasure of the priests
A sacrifice, delivered to their touch
A boy, a victim, stolen in the night
The flowing phantoms circle, clasp and clutch
Directed by a force they cannot fight
    The dawn reveals a dark, disturbing frame
    A painted face, a child without a name

Sunday 11 April 2021

The Girl Who Ran Away

by Nick Gisburne

Delirious, she seeks the shaman’s lair
To heal the lacerations on her neck
She staggers through the doorway in despair
Exhausted from a long and brutal trek
The wretched hovel, filled with scented smoke
Revives her with a mystical perfume
But terror slays her spirit with a stroke
The shaman, dead, dismembered, seals her doom
A scaly demon gorges on the meat
Another rips the muscle from a bone
They look upon her body, slender, sweet
Surprised to see her standing here, alone
    They know her blood - the girl who ran away
    But this time they are certain she will stay

Friday 9 April 2021

The Limousine

by Nick Gisburne

Consumed by hate, she leaps into the road
And hurls herself to halt the limousine
Her anger, burning, threatens to explode
A storm of fury, blasphemous, obscene
She knows him, that most infamous of men
He stains the sacred centre of her soul
She hammers on the door, again, again
Until his brainless bullies take control
They crush her crimson face against the glass
And now she sees him, terrified, within
She knows the fear she brings to him will pass
Unlike the shame he buried in her skin
    The pain she feels will never fade away
    But she will not be broken, not today

Thursday 8 April 2021


by Nick Gisburne

No mortal could survive this tainted place
He staggers through its poisoned plains alone
Condemned to die in exile, in disgrace
A king without a crown, without a throne
The robes around him, rags of tattered silk
Slip slowly from his burned and blistered head
He drains the final drops of bitter milk
And chokes upon a dirty crust of bread
He feels his failing heartbeat as it slows
And waits for death to claim him, unafraid
A smile, defiant, dark, from one who knows
His infamy will never fall or fade
    He reigned with force and fury, fear and flame
    The king is dead, but long will live his name