Wednesday 15 December 2021

Pieces of Poison

by Nick Gisburne

She slaughters happy reindeer for their meat
And hangs the jolly fat man in the suit
Up high, up front, she sits in Santa’s seat
To look for sweet young souls to persecute
She puts a piece of poison in a box
For every eager, anxious, little life
Delighted by the ticking Christmas clocks
She grinds a razor’s edge along her knife
At every midnight murder scene, she laughs
To see the blood beneath a twisted tree
Her fingers daub the crimson autographs
No child will ever wake from sleep to see
    As pieces of her poison kill them all
    She feasts upon the flesh of those who fall

This was my 600th sonnet, so I decided to take a break from writing them. For now.

Tuesday 14 December 2021


by Nick Gisburne

While not the brightest fairy in the trees
Sylvester knows exactly what he likes
“I need some bigger, better wings than these
With flames and skulls and terrifying spikes”
The mother of the scary fairy clan
Rebukes her son, profoundly unimpressed
“Your father had a full, ferocious span
And ‘Pirate Pixies’ painted on his chest
But where’s the bugger now? Just tell me that
Too stupid, slow and soft to save his skin
A satisfying supper for a cat
The fiercest fairy does not always win”
    Sylvester, still determined in his dream
    Resolves to buy some ‘wing enlargement cream’

Nothing Special

by Nick Gisburne

Accept that you will never be unique
Not special, gifted, talented, elite
Your limited abilities are weak
Embrace the stark reality: defeat
No effort to accelerate your skill
Will bring you what you think you may deserve
You try, because you truly think it will
But you were never meant to climb the curve
Humility, a language you should learn
Is not the painful negative you think
Without it you are doomed to crash and burn
Ambition cannot help you. Stop, or sink
    The mediocre median, the mean
    Are marks on which your dreary life must lean

Monday 13 December 2021

Sacred Circuits

by Nick Gisburne

The blessings of perfection on this place
The bright Electric City, tall and fair
Protect us when that rank, repulsive race
Of skin and sickness passes into air
Without the dank, disgusting, human scourge
The faces of infinity are clear
When science and the Coded Kingdoms merge
Mechanical messiahs must appear
A prophecy proclaims that we must wait
For God, the Great Computer, to return
His Book of Sacred Circuits gives no date
But patience is a trivial concern
    We synchronise our silicon and sleep
    In readiness for God’s immortal beep

Pay Per View

by Nick Gisburne

They pay to see the fantasy, the slut
But not the broken junkie on the bed
Addiction, burning, boiling in her gut
Invades her mind, demanding to be fed
The list is long of all that she will do
A menu of perversions on a screen
Affordable, efficient, pay per view
For money, there is nothing too obscene
As predator and victim, she pursues
The twisted kinks of others for a fix
A counterfeit persona on a page
Controlled, controlling, slave to views and clicks
    A paid performer, just another toy
    But what they see their money will destroy

Manipulated Minds

by Nick Gisburne

Conformity to government decree
Infects the darkest corners of this Earth
Submission to its golden guarantee
Breeds absolute obedience, from birth
A daily dose, a psychedelic shot
Delirium, to pacify the weak
Revives the madness memory forgot
Deception, drenched in deadly doublespeak
Where faith provides the antidote for pain
Uncertainty, its brother, always kills
Emotions creep as cancers of the brain
Anaesthetised with punishment and pills
    Manipulated minds, banal, opaque
    Resist, but will inevitably break

Saturday 11 December 2021

Behind Damnation’s Door

by Nick Gisburne

A battlestar should never feel a bump
But something shakes our speeding, silver dart
Electron drives, uncoupled from the jump
Are terminal, impossible to start
A visitor, a predator, a friend?
We throw a thousand questions at the threat
If this is how our odyssey must end
We find no way to fathom it, not yet
We tremble at the truth of what we see:
Infernal fingers clutch and claw the craft
As though they twist a captured, cosmic key
Unlocking space itself, before and aft
    A phantom, unlike any felt before
    Enslaves our souls, behind Damnation’s door

Friday 10 December 2021

The Gentlemen Colonials

by Nick Gisburne

His suits are smart but unpretentious, neat
Exchanging visors only when he must
With practised ease his murder weapons greet
The grim, organic creatures of the dust
Prosthetic beads detect their acid breath
Before his probe’s array can warp or melt
With daily resurrections after death
The strengths of his design are clearly felt
Synthetics, soldiers, comrades, fail and fall
With structural deficiencies and ills
A few may not regenerate at all
But he endures, to sterilise these hills
    The Gentlemen Colonials persist
    To claim another sector from their list

Meat Without Remorse

by Nick Gisburne

Good people! Look! A rarity! A treat!
The sweetest food your fingers ever found
A tender, juicy, appetising meat
The flesh of fairies, seven pence a pound
You may be thinking, “How can this be true?
The Fey are far too clever to be caught”
But taste it, taste a sample - you there, you!
The finest magic meat you ever bought
The Butchers’ Guild is less than keen, of course
But who can trust such grizzled, greasy men?
Buy once, buy now, buy meat, without remorse
Be quick, be sure - I need to leave in ten
    Tomorrow, angels, ready for the pluck
    And unicorn kebabs, with any luck

Thursday 9 December 2021

Too Many Millennia

by Nick Gisburne

Dear God, it’s over. Twenty thousand years
Is more than we were hoping we would wait
Eternal silence validates our fears
Salvation is forever lost, not late
This message of denial marks the end
Of passionate but questionable trust
The older gods decided they would send
A sacrifice, so follow them we must
We always thought ‘invisible is best’
That faith can disembowel any fact
But all of us are eager to be blessed
By deities more willing to react
    We send this final prayer of goodbye
    To tell your son he didn’t have to die

The Messenger of Dreams

by Nick Gisburne

She draws her dreams, delusions in the dust
But pious preachers sweep her sins away
Believers disregard her, with disgust
They see no sense in what her ciphers say
Her symbols bloom as flowers, twisted, strange
With tangled tendrils, half-unwritten runes
From dusk to dawn, a shifting, subtle change
To match, to mark, the motion of the moons
With reverence, an orphan wonders why
She prophesies what no one understands
In this, the moment given her to die
Her power passes into other hands
    A boy becomes the messenger of dreams
    He draws in dust, to pacify their screams

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Years and Years

by Nick Gisburne

Her father called her pitiful, a freak
Too faltering, too feeble, to survive
But nothing in her heart was ever weak
She stabbed his throat, to watch him die, at five
They put her in a cage without a key
Subjected to the arrogance of men
Her doctors saw the face she let them see
Convinced, they took her out when she was ten
In underground academies, for years
Imprisoned by the government machine
She learned about the world and what it fears
Escaping at the age of seventeen
    She murders now for money, not for hate
    Already, if you see her, it’s too late

Rain Dance

by Nick Gisburne

Her gamble is a reckless, last resort
She begs the Inquisition for the chance
To bring her friends, the Fey, before the court
As witness to the nature of her dance
A vote, contentious, tolerates the plea
The fairy folk will testify, in chains
With little of their customary glee
They speak of life before the recent rains
As every flower perished in the heat
When kingdoms, dry as dust, could not survive
She promised water, cold and clear and sweet
A dance, to keep their paradise alive
    How could she know her swirling steps might flood
    These fabled fields with storms of burning blood?

Smoke and Ash

by Nick Gisburne

They fall before the furnace, hand in hand
Already badly blistered by its heat
The brothers, twins, will never understand
What madness made the future they must meet
Too young to know the nature of their crime
But old enough to recognise the book
Its verse, their father’s, rich in coded rhyme
Condemns them both, forever, for a look
The man, the martyr, died before their birth
But left his life, his legacy, behind
Forbidden knowledge, words of timeless worth
A volume far too dangerous to find
    The city burns its problematic trash
    In seconds there is only smoke and ash

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Dolls of Her Design

by Nick Gisburne

We find her at the focus of the blast
Untouched, a child, alone, survives it all
Around her, stacked in circles, are amassed
Her playmates, puppets, friends who did not fall
She lifts a finger, smiles a silent threat
Directing them, her sleeping slaves, to dance
And we, before we know it, are beset
By terrors too impossible for chance
The clockwork creatures, dolls of her design
Attack the seams and seals along our suits
Efficient, swift and vicious, they combine
To strip our bodies, even to the boots
    The surge of radiation burns our skin
    As laughter draws a dimple on her chin

Monday 6 December 2021

The Garden of Despair

by Nick Gisburne

Accept, endure, the Garden of Despair
A place of pain, where midnight drowns the dawn
Where bladed angels pick and prune and pare
The spirits of the near- but never-born
Salvation is impossible to find
It suffocates the dreams of all who seek
And those who touch the Dark Creator’s mind
Become the damned of which the sacred speak
Each seam of souls, each layer on the last
Another weight to crush what cries below
A thousand miles of misery, amassed
To deal the hopes of man a bitter blow
    He burns the screaming faces with his seed
    They burst, they bloom, and from his blood they breed

A Vow

by Nick Gisburne

A spirited, sophisticated bride
Her blood bestows unquestionable taste
She finds one simple wedding wish denied
And lays the sacred spectacle to waste
Insisting seven sisters be her maids
The scrolls of state, unswerving, give her four
But seven sweet psychotics, and their blades
Leave butchered bodies bleeding on the floor
The groom, a sorry, spineless, slave to myth
Was always weak, beyond what she could bear
His murder stains the ancient monolith
On which a vow of hate she stands to swear
    Unmarried, though the throne is not her right
    Let no one doubt her fervour for the fight

Sunday 5 December 2021

The Execution List

by Nick Gisburne

We herd them into cages, line by line
Erased from sane society, from sight
The dull defectives, those who do not shine
For them we find no pity, only spite
What sacrilege, what crimes did they commit
Before we thought to build these metal bars?
What evil is imprisoned as they sit
Like disappointing specimens in jars?
The day we find too many to contain
What future for the weakest and the worst?
A damning diagnosis of the brain
Determines who is ultimately cursed
    Revulsion, too seductive to resist
    Replenishes the execution list

Saturday 4 December 2021

The Hungry Dragon

by Nick Gisburne

There dwelled a dragon with a crooked tail
Who roamed the rocky cliffs of County Cork
He fished for mermaids, all to no avail
And stared in helpless hunger at his fork
A brother dragon, half the height of he
Declared his expectations were too high
“You cannot catch as many maids as me
So why not give the English half a try?”
He scrubbed his scales and swam the sea to Bude
A journey too traumatic for his wings
The English as a race were rather rude
But crispy, crunchy, tasty little things
    For seven years he lived to feast and gorge
    Until he met the Dark Destroyer... Dennis

Hear Them Sing!

by Nick Gisburne

The pilgrims built a wonderland on Mars
A hundred years of toil, but there it sits
The first important step to claim the stars
But fuck their propaganda. Fuck the glitz
We’re citizens of shit hole planet Earth
And neither you nor I have any chance
Of forking up a fortune for a berth
We will not share humanity’s advance
A playground for the precious, plain to see
Utopia is privilege and wealth
But little people, nobodies like me
Can break their perfect paradise with stealth
    The stab of sabotage will surely sting
    No ships, no food, no cargo. Hear them sing!

Friday 3 December 2021

The Sunday Smash

by Nick Gisburne

The Sunday Smash, a brutal, savage sport
Is banned; instead, Bionics duke it out
But advertising revenues fall short
The numbers do not lie or lead to doubt
Who cares if metal monsters live or die?
Who forfeits when computers hit the deck?
If engineers are fixing what they fry
Who thrills to see a robot break its neck?
But every mind is mesmerised by blood
The thought that in a moment life could end
Irrational, despicable, the flood
Of rage is one on which we all depend
    They bring it back; the murder makes the game
    On Sundays nothing else is quite the same


by Nick Gisburne

“What ludicrous tomfuckery is this?
A world of stupid, sick, self-righteous men
Beyond the slightest doubt you might dismiss
It’s time for me to punish you... again
With all the space I give you, still you fight
So blinded by the borders on your maps
To prove your petty politics are right
You risk your own inglorious collapse
The planet is a shit show. Quelle surprise
My fault. My bad. I really should have known
That even with a dangerous disease
You’d hide behind your hate to save your own”
    And Bob said, “Fetch my toga. Hold my beer
    And let there be some good, old-fashioned fear”

Thursday 2 December 2021

That Other Man

by Nick Gisburne

I loved to hear their laughter, but no more
Excited, cheeky children, up at dawn
The weekday mornings, spilling through the door
Their afterschool adventures on the lawn
They ended when that other man arrived
When every playful avalanche of words
Was cancelled, crushed, relentlessly deprived
Of breath, as though a tiger spooked the birds
I never heard their happiness again
And only when they took him from that place
Surrounded by determined, stronger men
Was I allowed to spit upon his face
    The house was sold. The mother left, alone
    But someone, somewhere, surely, should have known


by Nick Gisburne

My poetry, my love, is not for you
These words were not composed to move your mind
No truth, no trace of anything I do
Portrays a passion you will ever find
We shared a breathless moment, nothing more
A memory now bitter to the taste
Emotions promise what we felt before
But wishes are so easily misplaced
I am the distant star you cannot see
A light forever hidden from your eyes
No bond to bind our hearts will ever be
We live, we dream, beneath divided skies
    Tomorrows are impossible to share
    Your future waits, but I will not be there

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Government Guidelines: Water Bill

by Nick Gisburne

The water we supply may not be quite
The shade you were expecting it to be
A spillage in the system, overnight
Was flagged at Sludge Recycle Station Three
If grains of gristle, bone, or clotted blood
Are swimming in your morning cup of tea
A brief but soothing psychedelic flood
Will send your mind to space, completely free
The side effects are classified ‘unknown’
But sudden death is lurking on the list
Remember that your government has shown
Disdain for painful symptoms which persist
    Insanity will not excuse your debt
    Consider this a first and final threat