Saturday 31 July 2021

The Magic Kingdom Crumbles

by Nick Gisburne

The magic kingdom crumbles. What a shame
A wreath of deadly nightshade should suffice
A tragedy, for which I take the blame
My tractor squashed their pretty palace. Twice
The fairy folk are homeless. Do I care?
Perhaps these words of wisdom will explain:
That lettuce-licking horde of wings and hair
Means less to me than pissing in the rain
I welcome the destruction of their world
And raise the middle finger of disgust
By all the turds my rectum ever curled
I dance at their demise, because I must
    The vermin who forever hold my scorn
    Will wish their tiny tribe was never born

What a Piece of... Art?

by Nick Gisburne

She smashes tiny people into pulp
Her drunken comrades raucously applaud
Another bolt of booze, and with a gulp
She paints a picture no one can afford
The famous giant terminates a town
Her art, her calling: humans, hammered flat
Such vision brings the trappings of renown
A ‘cultured’ crowd, who celebrate the splat
Her latest piece, ‘A Sacrificial Squish’
Astonishes the critics far and wide
“More primal than ‘The Smearing of the Fish’
A tour de force, embracing those who died”
    Her soul is filled with wonder, so they think
    But nothing fires her fervour more than drink

Friday 30 July 2021

A Simple Life

by Nick Gisburne

The aspects of a man he longed to be
Ambition, dreams, an appetite for more
Irrelevant, are scattered to the sea
The stale, discarded shadows of before
He does not rush to mark his place in time
The fickleness of life has taught him this
Where once a moment wasted was a crime
A day, a week, abandoned brings him bliss
His mind remembers all he did not say
But nothing in that silence brings regret
He does not need the past to find his way
Tomorrow will not damage him, not yet
    He fills his days with everything he needs
    By that alone a simple life succeeds

The Drugs of War

by Nick Gisburne

We scale the sacred temple, reckless men
Narcotic powders poison every brain
The worst of us, the Suicides, the Ten
Embrace a frenzy far beyond insane
Our bodies flood with fantasy, of course
Like dogs, we slaver, craving for a kill
A sacrificial, servile soldier force
In bondage to the promise of a pill
Unfathomable fury cracks the dome
We shatter every window, every door
The prize: a prophet, murdered, here, at home
A meaningless transaction of the war
    He burns beneath a smoking pile of stone
    And through our minds more dreams, more drugs, are blown

Thursday 29 July 2021

The Clockwork Dragon

by Nick Gisburne

He mounts the monster, chaos his intent
All thoughts of grace and mercy clearly lost
The town dismisses all the sweat he spent
For this there comes a catastrophic cost
Such peasants are a pest he will destroy
The venom of vendetta thrills the skin
They call his creature nothing but a toy
But now the wheels of vengeance start to spin
Their mockery, dismissing his success
Adds flavour to the wine of their defeat
His bold creation, crafted with finesse
Will burn them into sticks of smoking meat
    The clockwork dragon, symbol of his fame
    Collapses in a hopeless heap of flame

All That I Must Do

by Nick Gisburne

My life submits to order, structure, plan
A formula to faithfully pursue
An envelope, directions from the man
A daily list of all that I must do
I have no way to sensibly explain
The pathway to the power I am shown
Each day the letters elevate my brain
And every step I take is not my own
Today the map, the guide, does not arrive
Instead, a simple note, a word, “Goodbye”
The information keeping me alive
Abandons me, afraid, alone, to die
    But surely this is madness, a mistake?
    Impossible that life is mine to make

Wednesday 28 July 2021

The Spices You Seek

by Nick Gisburne

Study the runes at the base of the blade
Witness the wisdom the spirits have stored
Shadows and secrets, divinely displayed
Whisper in riddles as each is explored
Steal from the goddess her Basket of Bliss
Fill it with frogs from the fjords, at dusk
Mosses and moonshine will light the abyss
Down to the mighty Leviathan’s Tusk
Charm the carnivorous crows with a spell
Splinter their Nest of a Thousand Delights
Scattered, the segments will shimmer and swell
Harvest them all on the bitterest nights
    Others may offer the spices you seek
    Special delivery, three times a week

The Swimmer

by Nick Gisburne

I push beyond the limit of my limbs
Accepting that the effort is too much
I see, at last, the reason why he swims
To find himself, alone and out of touch
An unrelenting engine of the sea
He climbs the waves and cuts a path behind
A force, a flow, unfaltering and free
No stronger self-conviction could you find
Beyond the shallows, watchers fill the shore
But here he slows, reluctant at the end
The crowds, confused, impatient, scream for more
Emotions too ferocious to defend
    They rush to drag their hero from the sea
    But turning back he leaves the win to me

Fairy Justice

by Nick Gisburne

The mark of fairy justice brands the skin
And overwhelmed by agony she falls
But even as the courtroom starts to spin
They pull her chains to drag her through the halls
The grandiose proceedings were a farce
A mockery of justice, without truth
The evidence against her, shallow, sparse
Relied upon a single, stolen tooth
The system, crooked to its rotten core
Where criminal corruption proudly dwells
Abandons every aspect of the law
To torture her and confiscate her spells
    She took a tooth before its root was loose
    For this, a lie, the gallows, and the noose

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Debris and Dust

by Nick Gisburne

He shivers, wounded, waiting for the end
A punishment beyond the edge of sense
Debris and dust entomb his fallen friend
The weight of guilt impossible, immense
Confused, disturbing avenues of thought
Lead only to the place where he will die
Ignoring what a child is always taught
Their presence is concealed beneath a lie
The ruin, shattered, shaken by the war
Forbidden, but a fascinating place
A secret, scouted many times before
Confines them to the crush of its embrace
    The tiny, feeble torch begins to fade
    He whispers for his mother, cold, afraid

Undiluted Hate

by Nick Gisburne

Never tell this woman what to do
Never think your help is what she needs
Never share your ‘special’ point of view
Surely you remember where it leads?
Why do you imagine you know best?
Why is yours the voice she wants to hear?
Why pretend you think she’ll be impressed?
Witness her reaction, cold and clear
See the naked fury fill her face
See so many signs that you are wrong
See behind those eyes, a deadly place
This is not a world where you belong
    Feel the surge of undiluted hate
    Turn, retreat, before it is too late

Infinite Greed

by Nick Gisburne

My avarice is more than simple need
I swim in riches, showered from the sky
No measurement can calculate such greed
A limit too grotesque to quantify
The power of possession is my art
Excess, the most extreme of all the sins
More grasping than the gods, I stand apart
Infinity is where my greed begins
Rejoice to see a glimpse, the smallest stone
A fraction of the fortune I control
For when this world is mine, and mine alone
The time will come to pay me with your soul
    When all the things you had belong to me
    Perhaps I’ll let you touch them, for a fee

Thursday 22 July 2021

The Border

by Nick Gisburne

The fugitives are riddled with disease
Their fevered faces thick with ash and smoke
The stench of death contaminates the breeze
They suffer, yet they do not dare to choke
The sentinels are trained to shoot on sight
A careless move may trigger an alert
And so a steady, creeping crawl, at night
Propels them through this wilderness of dirt
They bake within the hot concealment suits
As every savage insect hunts for blood
Beyond the marshes, rotting in their boots
The final, brutal miles of toxic mud
    They cross the border, broken, but alive
    And mourn for those too feeble to survive

Stone of Secrets

by Nick Gisburne

A prehistoric riddle paints the rock
Equations, calculations, formulae
But none can find the secret to unlock
The truth of what their senses try to see
A scientist could easily explain
The wisdom of the ancients, written here
The theory, a simple task to train
Needs only understanding to be clear
But where to find a scholar who could teach?
Without its key, the door to light is locked
Illumination lies beyond all reach
The passage to the past forever blocked
    The stone could build the future of the Earth
    But ignorance, and time, destroys its worth

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Tiny Replicas of Men

by Nick Gisburne

They find her, starving, shackled to the floor
The skeletons are scattered round the room
Investigation soon discovers more
And something worse: a dozen, in her womb
But none could be the remnants of a child
Their bones are tiny replicas of men
What evil left this woman so defiled?
What happened in this wicked place, and when?
The clue, the puzzle’s most important piece
The evidence on which the story clings
Is one no court, no inquest, can release
The dead, the bones, the bodies, all have wings
    A psychopath, a fairy, cast this curse
    There is no fiend, no creature, more perverse

A Queen

by Nick Gisburne

They funnel sweet infection to their queen
Through conduits connected to the womb
Sporadic shocks awaken the machine
The primitive procedure can resume
Impatient, hissing herds beyond the gates
Ignore the now-insistent calls for calm
A sudden hush, and as each worker waits
They shiver, gripped with anguish and alarm
Within, they split the mother, stretch her hide
A clutch of glossy spheres is lifted free
While each is crushed, discarded, deep inside
The gleam of golden flesh is clear to see
    Synthetic drones extract it through her chest
    A child, a queen, the future of the nest

The Other

by Nick Gisburne

In search of what your fear refused to teach
I look beyond the memories I lack
Beneath a bright veneer, within my reach
Are unfamiliar shades of grey and black
The Other, veiled in secrets, on a whim
His name denied the chance to cross my tongue
A sign, a hint, a whispered pseudonym
But legends from his life are never sung
Together you will pay for what I know
The truth you worked so carefully to hide
Awakened from oblivion below
He follows me across the dark divide
    The ghost, the god, the Other you deny
    Returns to teach the timid how to die

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Bourbon Space

by Nick Gisburne

The whiskey lights a rocket on my lips
A voyage to the blurry bounds of space
It joins the jumbled scattering of ships
Propelled to reckless orbits round my face
No wine could send these crooked craft so far
A scientific certainty: too weak
But launch with bottled bourbon to a star
And every engine thunders to its peak
As master of this mother-loving fleet
A slowly spinning universe is mine
Reclining in the captain’s comfy seat
Infinity’s enigmas intertwine
    The stars are so much further than you think
    But everything comes closer with a drink

Monday 19 July 2021

The Midnight Show

by Nick Gisburne

A dozen painted bodies take the stage
A strange, grotesque, illicit, midnight show
The stink of sweat, arousal cut with rage
Contaminates the fevered crowds below
The tickets, always cheap, attract the scum
No welcome waits the rich, the connoisseur
Dilapidated, buried in a slum
Inside, a tension thick enough to stir
Defective dancers, rejects from the pile
Perform a dismal cabaret of shame
The jazz is poor, the striptease without style
But no one can be sorry that they came
    A cauldron of emotion, strictly banned
    The midnight show is always in demand

Let Me Leave

by Nick Gisburne

A trap, a trick, imprisons me to rot
Enslaved inside a suffocating cell
The air is humid, dangerously hot
Restrictive ropes dig deeper as they swell
The money, only borrowed, was returned
There is no vast conspiracy in play
But shackles, chains, a noose? I am concerned
The focus of your mind has torn away
The chamber is a torture, not a cure
A claustrophobic cage, without reprieve
A torment too appalling to endure
Be merciful, I beg you. Let me leave
    Malicious, mad, a sick, psychotic fool
    The most unstable teacher in the school

Sunday 18 July 2021

Face to Face

by Nick Gisburne

You take your strength, your power, from a star
But colour me a shade of unimpressed
I do not come to worship what you are
I come to put a dagger to your chest
I bring no trick, no witchery, no spell
No knowledge of a secret, subtle way
I see, of course, you know me, know me well
The fault, the flaw, returns to you, today
Of all the proud immortals I could fear
I find no timid reverence for you
Perhaps you dreamed that I would disappear
But I am not the child you thought you knew
    The Devil and his daughter, face to face
    But Hell is mine. I come to take your place

Seeds of Wickedness

by Nick Gisburne

The mother tends her garden with delight
And feeds the tiny children in their beds
Their skins, their scales, would wither in the light
Without the slurry smothered on their heads
They suck a poison poultice from her thumb
It gives them all nutrients they need
In time their loving mother must succumb
Together, on her body they will feed
The sacrifice is hers alone to give
No calling is more comforting than this
To die, that all these little ones may live
Fulfils her purpose in the cold abyss
    Her children, seeds of wickedness, must wait
    To flower in this paradise of hate

Saturday 17 July 2021

Imelda, Queen of the Bite

by Nick Gisburne

Giants compete for a glittering prize
Hissing contempt for the villains they fight
Into the audience, deep in disguise
Shuffles Imelda, the Queen of the Bite
Spitting vulgarities, hurling disdain
Gripped by the curious laws of the ring
Far from the tedious rules of her reign
Bellowing bloody abuse as they swing
Always the muscles, the bodies, arouse
Whistles and amorous offers, obscene
Lost in a promise to shatter her vows
Just for the chance to forget she is Queen
    Restless for wrestlers, she quakes at the knee
    Gods, in their twenties, and she, eighty-three

A Sacrilege in Smoke

by Nick Gisburne

A dirge of desperation fills the church
A plea repeated many times before
In misery, the mourners turn to search
For what their souls have struggled to ignore
Their nemesis, a sacrilege in smoke
Has faded into subtle shadows now
But since the night his burning corpse awoke
He haunts them with the burden of a vow
For years, forever, they must suffer this
A murdered boy’s uncompromising curse
At dawn, each day, the village may dismiss
His dark, avenging spirit with a verse
    But should they fail to venerate his name
    Another child will join him in the flame

Friday 16 July 2021

The Story of the Snow

by Nick Gisburne

It’s time to close your eyes, my little lamb
To hear me tell the story of the snow
You waited, good as gold, and here I am
Hold tightly to your pillow. Here we go
In Once-Upon-A-Twinkle, far away
Where all the winter winds refused to blow
A man called Father Christmas came to stay
And wondered why there wasn’t any snow
He asked the king and queen, “How can this be?”
But even they confessed they did not know
The old man smiled and said, “Leave it to me
And you shall have the purest, perfect snow”
    His reindeer filled the land with white, wet poo
    “It smells,” he said, “but that will have to do”

A Black Balloon

by Nick Gisburne

The children chant his name, again, today
United, they support the worthy cause
For one of them can now no longer play
Afflicted by a fever of the jaws
His suffering, too sorrowful to see
Corrupts him at the fullness of the moon
And on these nights of torment, it is he
They banish, briefly, in a black balloon
He howls, reminding all who hear his pain
The glamour of a lycanthrope is flawed
The basket, far above them, helps contain
A power that must never be explored
    Tonight, a deadly voyage will begin
    The cunning child has brought with him a pin

The Roasting

by Nick Gisburne

The emperor is truly entertained
Applauding at the roasting of his rule
Suggestive, and absurdly unrestrained
I mock him in the motley of a fool
His limitless libido is implied
Perhaps a little limper than before
And rumours that his energetic bride
Is woefully acquainted with his snore
The jokes, the japes, are crudely kicked around
They push and poke the limits of his wit
I nonchalantly wonder how they drowned
The ministers, found floating in a pit
    He laughs until he strains to catch his breath
    And thanks me with a slow and painful death

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Guilty of Advantage

by Nick Gisburne

The wealthiest among us makes a speech
To channel all the hate inside his head
A whiskey, neat, is put within his reach
He drains the glass, and quickly ploughs ahead
“If anyone is mad, it should be me
For putting up with peasants all my life
Your grief is not the shit I want to see
And now you think I killed her, killed my wife?
Look up, at me, the boss, the autocrat
Above you, that’s exactly where I am
I’m guilty of advantage, only that
The rest? The murder? I don’t give a damn
    I own this crooked country. I am king
    And you can’t do a motherfucking thing”

The Cat in the Hungry Hat

by Nick Gisburne

A catastrophic clanger kills the cat
A whisker-splitting scream confirms the loss
It made a little nest inside my hat
While I was being bullied by the boss
A wizard with a temper torn from Hell
He tapped a wand of warning to my hand
Explaining that my last pathetic spell
Had poached a pixie’s penis, not as planned
Resigned to kick his crystals in my sleep
I found myself still clinging to the job
And threw a fairy football, long and deep
To feed the Hat of Horrors I call ‘Bob’
    If no one saw the sleeping cat inside
    Then why am I to blame for how he died?

The Compensation Seat

by Nick Gisburne

The labourer removes his outer skins
To burn them in the oxidation tank
A bowl of greasy nutrients begins
His journey to the Public Body Bank
A corridor of flame reseals the flesh
Preparing it for lubricant release
And reinforced with locomotive mesh
He merges with the Sentinel Police
The scan for thought compliance is complete
A rating of obedience returned
Connected to the Compensation Seat
He greets the gift today’s employment earned
    A thirty-minute psychedelic dream
    Rewards him for his efforts with the team

Tuesday 13 July 2021

The Dead Will Rise

by Nick Gisburne

Another grave, another peasant, dead
But this is now the last before we leave
Cadavers fill the river’s dusty bed
An evil place, where none will come to grieve
For centuries they slaughtered witches here
And scratched their crimes in silver at their feet
We crack the coven’s coffins twice a year
To bring their withered bodies blood and meat
At every bend we leave a battered box
Within it: skin and sinews, strips of cat
Tomorrow, at the chiming of the clocks
The dead will rise, together, for a chat
    We organise a disco, now and then
    But always get them back inside by ten

A Broken Toy

by Nick Gisburne

Paraded as a perfect piece of art
A trophy for the famous, for a star
A toy, to tease a craving of the heart
The jealous watch and wonder from afar
So quickly overlooked, forgotten now
Ignored among the shifting shades of night
The magic, rich and rare, is lost, somehow
And nothing can return it to the light
The toy, the trinket, battered and abused
Is left among the garbage on the street
She finds a road to nowhere, cold, confused
And follows in the footsteps of defeat
    A broken toy, replaced by something new
    She knows that there is nothing she can do

Made in Greece

by Nick Gisburne

A weapon of extraordinary steel
Uncovered from a pile of worthless junk
Beyond my expectations, it is real
Unless these eyes deceive me, or I’m drunk
Impossible to hope for such a find
A clean, exquisite, legendary blade
The simpleton who sold it must be blind
Considering the paltry price I paid
The former owner does not know, of course
The story of the sword discovered here
He whines about his difficult divorce
And asks for cash before I disappear
    More precious than the fabled Golden Fleece
    Authentic? Read the markings: ‘Made in Greece’

Monday 12 July 2021

Take the Knee

by Nick Gisburne

We take the knee to tell you we are strong
We take the knee to tell you something’s wrong
Don’t shelter from the politics of race
We kneel to put the struggle in your face
This isn’t something pointed back at you
It should not be a controversial view
If you believe you’re under an attack
Imagine, for second, being black
If every person started to believe
Imagine how much more we could achieve
Equality is not some kind of threat
We kneel because we haven’t found it yet
    And yes, you’ll always matter, come what may
    So stand with us, and kneel with us, today

Midnight Snack

by Nick Gisburne

She scolds her son for bouncing on the bed
Absorbed in death and drama on TV
But something in his voice is filled with dread
He screams at her to come upstairs, to see
Now furious, she storms inside the room
Prepared to spill an avalanche of rage
But sees her small, beloved son consume
The liver of a man of middle age
A practical appraisal of the scene
Might leave another mother quite insane
But as he sucks the slurry from the spleen
She smiles and asks her boy to pass the brain
    The splash of blood and entrails takes her back
    To when she shared her mother’s midnight snack

Particles of Poison

by Nick Gisburne

The particles of poison seem so bland
Innocuous, until they mix with sweat
But they will kill the president, as planned
Before he knows the nature of the threat
A neurotoxic drug of her design
Inflicting swift paralysis and pain
Excruciating heat will grip the spine
While widening awareness in the brain
She knows he plans to take another wife
Significantly stupider than she
But ending her appalling husband’s life
Involves this floozy to a fine degree
    She knows he takes his pleasure every night
    So drugs the woman’s lipstick, spiked with spite

Sunday 11 July 2021

The Mountain of Mercy

by Nick Gisburne

Criminals, deviants, damned by decree
Scorned by the Church and its odious friends
Poisonous pirates, the sludge of the sea
Savaged and shipwrecked as chaos descends
High on the Mountain of Mercy they climb
Drawn to the echoes of demons and saints
Murderers, crushed by the weight of their crime
Only a blessing can break its restraints
Always, around them, the wicked ones fly
Angels, enslaved by a gospel of hate
Hunting the fools who are willing to die
All for a glimpse of salvation, too late
    No one returns from this blasphemous place
    Stripped of their souls in a sinful embrace

Everything You Fear

by Nick Gisburne

A message from the children of the world:
Protection for your planet is withdrawn
Without us, know that soon you will be hurled
Towards a bleak and terrifying dawn
Our presence here was never understood
We tried to show you all that you could be
But with each glimpse of what is great and good
You locked the door, and threw away the key
A universe more deadly than you know
Has waited for this darkest day to come
Each wasted opportunity to grow
Will haunt you as your fragile minds succumb
    The moment we, your children, disappear
    Begins the nightmare, everything you fear

Saturday 10 July 2021

Hidden Mysteries

by Nick Gisburne

The terrifying visions have returned
Obscene, hypnotic serpents fill my head
They swarm to seek the secrets I have learned
And feed upon my dreams, already dead
I feel the evil enter every vein
And suffer it to satisfy my vows
With each new surge of paralysing pain
I dive beyond the limits life allows
The knowledge, too appalling to release
Must never slip the coils of my control
I plead for death, for nothingness, for peace
But feel the dark enchantment strip my soul
    The torturer prepares another spell
    To steal the hidden mysteries of Hell

A Bolder Breed

by Nick Gisburne

It pleases me to see your puzzled face
A hint of fear, an inkling of despair
I come to claim your throne, to take your place
A crooked, cold cadaver, lost in prayer
Your ignorant rejection of my ways
Means nothing to this long-forsaken son
The sycophantic souls who sing your praise
Will pledge their lives to me when all is done
Your powers, once formidable, collapse
Admit that you have little left to lose
A legacy of infamy, perhaps
A scattering of stories, to amuse
    Your faded generation speaks no more
    A bolder breed of tyrant takes the floor

Friday 9 July 2021

The Spine of Space

by Nick Gisburne

The vessel senses where it should have been
Before the spine of space refused to move
Her fingers flash so quickly on the screen
That every tortured turn is hammered smooth
The problem is, as always, humanoid
A violation in the central stream
The wreckage is deflected and destroyed
But she, impatient, banks beyond the beam
Vibrating to a dangerous degree
The quantum engine’s bulk begins to glow
She cuts the power, cursing, and can see
The tide of time, now infinitely slow
    The universe conspires to make her late
    Another Tuesday traffic jam to hate

An Impossible Machine

by Nick Gisburne

They sell me an impossible machine
And take my willing signature with ink
The salesman, richly cultured, cool and clean
Extols its ‘special’ pleasures with a wink
Perhaps without my educated eye
Less qualified collectors than myself
Would laugh at such delusions and deny
That one could find its like on any shelf
The agonising time to travel home
Is tempered by the thought of what is mine
Within this simple box, encased in foam
A wonder even God could not decline
    I hold it with the courage others lack
    A button. “Press to activate. Stand back”

Thursday 8 July 2021

A Rotten Band of Bones

by Nick Gisburne

Towards the crusty turrets of the town
A trio of marauders makes its way
Their colour scheme leans badly to the brown
A rotten band of bones and dank decay
They come to find the Master of the school
To make amends for pigs they tried to thieve
To right a wrong, a raider’s golden rule
Which none of them remember or believe
The school has seen unfathomable change
The Master bears the burden on his stump
A living carcass, smeared with mud and mange
His cherished classrooms now a dingy dump
    The creaking brigands share the Master’s shame
    Then wonder where they are, or why they came

Paper Angels

by Nick Gisburne

Excited paper angels fill the sky
Delirious, they celebrate the Spring
How swift my scissors send their souls to fly
A minute makes each perfect paper wing
But prickled by a momentary heat
My dreamy little darlings crack and curl
We find a shallow shelter and retreat
As rolling clouds of cotton slowly swirl
A subtle shift, a thickness of the air
I sense a squall, a storm, will surely start
Demolished by the wind, beyond repair
The innocence of angels tears apart
    I mourn to see my tiny children so
    Yet still they fly, to fall as paper snow

First Performance

by Nick Gisburne

Despairing that he might not make the grade
Too terrified to even take the stage
His disappointing dreams are all replayed
The negatives of life at every age
He longs to stir the passions of the crowd
But like a bird abandoned in its nest
Afraid to seek the sun behind a cloud
He shivers, cold and impotent, distressed
A spark, a burst of anger, swells his heart
And with the reckless energy of fear
He fights the heavy curtains, pulled apart
To prove, to those who doubted, he is here
    A clumsy first performance, but he learns
    That longing for the spotlight truly burns

Wednesday 7 July 2021

Butchered Beggars

by Nick Gisburne

A decomposing vagrant is a treat
A slightly cheesy, savoury hors d’oeuvre
Collect the fat for gravy from the meat
And separate the skin before you serve
The homeless, far from challenging to catch
Are quick to follow currency as bait
Their frantic protestations are no match
For any hungry glutton with a plate
No holiday tradition can succeed
Without a deep-fried drifter in a dish
A time when all the family can feed
And hear the main course make its dying wish
    Enjoy the butchered beggars as you feast
    A dinner for the most discerning beast

The Catcher

by Nick Gisburne

The thick, infected odour of decay
Contaminates the corners of the mind
But he has tracked the trail of its bouquet
A tang of tortured spirits, intertwined
The ice cannot confound him, and he waits
Her letters make it clear this was the place
A tapestry of clues and signs and dates
Have led him to this long-forgotten space
He rises as the line begins to twitch
The shadow of a demon, come to play
In seconds he has hauled the evil bitch
Beyond the hole, too stunned to slip away
    The Catcher claims another deadly prize
    And smiles to see the terror in her eyes

Government Guidelines: Deviance

by Nick Gisburne

We see the great intelligence you’ve shown,
The boundaries of knowledge you explore,
But history is never walked alone,
A truth you seem determined to ignore.
Your deviance diverges from the State,
A thought which overwhelms us with distaste.
We bring you here to clearly demonstrate
Rejection of our methods is misplaced.
In forfeiting the treasures of your mind,
Accept that this was always meant to be.
Convicted by your government, we find
Your hopes, your dreams, must never now be free.
    Your brain will be repurposed and repaired,
    Until complete compliance is declared.

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Saggy Assassins

by Nick Gisburne

Secretive scanning of teddy bears shows
These are the deadliest demons of all
Simply by taming the squash of the nose
Civilisation is fated to fall
Science is certain that squeezable bears
Fed by the force of affectionate waves
Smothered in cuddles and sugary squares
Waken as murderous soldiers and slaves
Witness the future, the bear with a soul
This is the titan, the teddy we seek
Ultimate power, the paws of control
Fear it, that frightening, fluffy physique
    Furry magnificence, more than a toy
    Saggy assassins, they squeeze and destroy

A Stricken Ship

by Nick Gisburne

A swollen sun reveals the slick of grease
It belches from the wreckage of the ship
The struggles of the smothered sea birds cease
Too feeble to recover from its grip
A bloom of smoking poison swamps the sky
With all the loathsome darkness of a dream
And from the twisted ruin comes a sigh
A whisper of despair before the scream
The pilot is selective with his words
A string of curses nobody should learn
He wonders if the spirits of the birds
Will notice when the beach begins to burn
    But no one sees the stricken ship ignite
    A single stroke of violence and light

A Smaller Slice of Stalking

by Nick Gisburne

Of all the squalid sentiments you spew
Devotion is the darkest of them all
The dangerous obsession you pursue
Offends me every time you try to call
You stare; somehow the distance makes it worse
A smaller slice of stalking, still too much
I burn the notes, your sad, pathetic verse
Imagining the nightmare of your touch
Enough. Enough! The torment has to end
Forget me. Wrap yourself in someone new
I will not spare your feelings, or pretend
The love I give will ever go to you
    And why would I be drawn to older men?
    I’m only eight, but you are nearly ten

Monday 5 July 2021

Not Tonight

by Nick Gisburne

I’m sorry, not tonight, love, not inside
The shoes are not the problem, or the dress
I’ve spoken to the manager. I’ve tried
But nothing I could say would get a ‘yes’
Your twisted limbs are all the wrong way round
And somehow you are missing half a head
Unless your vital organs can be found
Be sensible. Accept it. You are dead
Agreed, you’re looking wonderful in black
The bleeding clearly complements your skin
A heart and lungs are really all you lack
Without them, though, you won’t be coming in
    The rules are simple, sensible and fair
    No drugs. No people savaged by a bear

Sunday 4 July 2021

The Prophet

by Nick Gisburne

The prophet is evasive when addressed
He skirts around the stories of his past
His misdirection leaves me unimpressed
Deflecting every question, to the last
His time is given freely, class by class
But always that compulsion to conceal
Illusions in a crooked looking glass
Reflecting only half of what is real
If I expose a charlatan today
What then for those who follow him in faith?
Is he the living god to which we pray
Or something no more righteous than a wraith?
    I strive to seek the truth, or find the fraud
    But everything I ask him is ignored

My Demons

by Nick Gisburne

I kneel, to face my demons and confess
My soul is rotten, split along the seams
No sympathetic speeches can suppress
The disappointing dirt of broken dreams
I wander, wounded, wild, without a plan
Abusing all around me, bad or good
But as my faults and failures hit the fan
They shatter into shit; I knew they would
The future serves a drug of my design
A bitter cocktail, poison mixed with pain
And every nerve and muscle that is mine
Is tortured by the fever in my brain
    I fear the world around me will collapse
    And I will fall, bewildered, through the gaps

Saturday 3 July 2021

Decorate the Universe

by Nick Gisburne

I travel the immensities of time
A journey few could ever comprehend
But always I am conscious of a crime
A travesty no teacher can defend
How lazy was the architect of space
To summon such a universe so bland?
Infinity: a truly awful place
Unlimited potential, badly planned
I long to fill the emptiness with ‘stuff’
To modernise its monumental waste
The chaos of creation? Not enough
Its open-plan expanse offends my taste
    A splash of paint, more ornaments, more shelves
    Let’s decorate the universe ourselves

Swarm to Feed

by Nick Gisburne

They burrow through the circuits of her skin
A pestilence of luminescent light
Excited by the energy within
They swarm to feed with frenzied appetite
Mutating as they mercilessly spread
Towards the rich electrics of her core
They paralyse and poison her with dread
Infecting every system they explore
Her violated shell becomes a threat
Compelled to serve this nauseating blight
Although she is no slave to it, not yet
She has no faith, no future in this fight
    She jettisons her body from the hive
    A death to keep the colony alive

Friday 2 July 2021

The Blackmailer’s Ball

by Nick Gisburne

Weaving my way through society’s halls
Hearing the deepest confessions and lies
Always the words from these whispering walls
Lead me to power, my pleasure, my prize
Arrogant gentlemen, beating their chests
Boasting of mischief, too foolish to hide
Elegant ladies, who feather their nests
Gathering secrets to deal and divide
These are my puppets, my glittering toys
Watch as they as dance to the pull of a string
Murmurs and mysteries, patterns and ploys
I am their keeper, their captor, their king
    Mine is the power to silence them all
    See them submit at the blackmailer’s ball

For Women of a Problematic Age

by Nick Gisburne

My clever apparatus is unique
A little light discomfort, but I swear
With minimal adjustment, just a tweak
Its engine heralds happiness ‘down there’
Before your very nose, delicious smells
Their nutty, fruity, flowery bouquet
Will permeate the region as it swells
And push unpleasant elements away
For women of a problematic age
A youthful vim and vigour will return
Bohemian relief is all the rage
As every lady customer can learn
    For seven shillings only, my device
    Compares with timid treatments twice the price

Kill the King

by Nick Gisburne

They come to claim the crown, to kill the king
The peasants, wild, revolting, bay for blood
Advancing to their nemesis, they sing
Of all who drowned, forsaken in the flood
His arrogance left everyone to die
While he, with boundless fortune, turned his back
Regard for those who loved him was a lie
Despair for those they lost is bleak and black
The punishment, the penalty, is swift
They separate the traitor from his tears
The severed head, now silent, is a gift
They hurl it from the palace to their peers
    A king will never rule again, they vow
    They wonder what will soothe their sorrow now

Thursday 1 July 2021

Soul of a Snake

by Nick Gisburne

Urgent, the tapping, the knocking at night
Slave to the spell of the serpent, he calls
Helpless, exhausted, too faint for the fight
Seeking the woman, he circles the walls
Only her magic can temper the pain
Hers is the medicine; hers is the cure
Cursed by a Saracen, driven insane
Soul of a snake, and forever impure
Mother of mercy, she opens the door
Seeing his suffering, hearing his plea
Infinite agony, swollen and sore
Pleading for death, or a way to be free
    Hurling her potion, she smothers the flame
    Knowing that she is the source of his shame

Late for Christmas

by Nick Gisburne

It’s plausible my heart is now a ghost
That wretched bag of blood no longer beats
Preoccupied, I drove into a post
While looking at the presents on the seats
The tangy scent of lemons nipped my nose
’Twas bleach, a bottle, broken, so I thought
A panic seemed to grip me, and I froze
Would all this Christmas wrapping be for nought?
My scrambled senses realised the need
To move the most expensive gifts away
But when my chest began to freely bleed
I knew I must have overturned the sleigh
    If I am dead, the little ones must wait
    Without a heartbeat, Santa will be late

Another Husband

by Nick Gisburne

She longs for this to be the perfect day
And battles with the cobwebs in her hair
A freezing shower soaks the scum away
Her dress is rank, the rags a foul affair
Although her flesh has peeled, she folds it flat
And now, at last, the vision is complete
Relieved she never gained an ounce of fat
Perhaps because she died and does not eat
Another groom, another husband, slain
Another ring to rattle in the jar
The thrill of weddings easy to explain
She loves to drag their bones behind the car
    Three times a year she leaves her rotten grave
    And claims another corpse to be her slave