Friday, 20 May 2022

The Soul Inside the Mirror

by Nick Gisburne

I see it, every night, the ghost of you,
An apparition, disconcerting, strange.
It taps the mirror, never breaking through,
But always there are words, a brief exchange.
Amusing reminiscences, at first,
The pick of precious moments from our past,
But soon we whisper only of the worst,
While somehow never mentioning the last.
Another face, forgotten, fills the glass,
A memory, an echo of your death.
The mirror bends, permitting it to pass.
Through twisted time I feel your final breath.
    Your ghost is gone, released, forever free.
    The soul inside the mirror, trapped, is me.

All I Am

by Nick Gisburne

I’m not the man you wanted me to be.
Indifference for everything I do
Reminds me of a truth you cannot see:
The love I needed never came from you.
So many wasted years, so many dreams,
Your ignorant impatience my reward.
I am the disappointment, so it seems,
The irritant, of whom you quickly bored.
Today I bring an end to it, a cut,
A final separation, clean and clear,
A door between us, permanently shut,
A silence where disdain can disappear.
    I’m not the man you wanted me to be,
    But what I am, and all I am, is me.

The Man Who Knows Too Much

by Nick Gisburne

Awarding him the Cap of Many Creeds,
The sinister Academy of Souls
Asphyxiates the scholar as he bleeds,
And throws him in the pit, upon the coals.
A barbarous divinatory test,
His flesh begins to bubble, and to spit.
To show the strength with which his heart is blessed,
He wallows in the pain, to conquer it.
The fury of the furnace, at his touch,
Corrupted, cooling, liquefied and lost,
Reveals the truth, the man who knows too much,
Who plays this game to win, at any cost.
    The elders of this most prestigious place
    Find only their extinction in his face.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Flick the Switch

by Nick Gisburne

I gave you freedom, more than you deserve.
I gave you every chance I never had.
And still you have the arrogance, the nerve,
To tell me you are dying, and you’re glad.
But all you had to do was take the pills,
And punch a code, a number, in your chest.
Is this the way you torture me, for thrills?
I should have seen it coming, should have guessed.
You’re not the son I stupidly designed.
You’re less than what I paid for you in parts.
The faulty code inside your faulty mind
Has poisoned what was powering our hearts.
    We’re both machines, but I am no one’s bitch,
    So go ahead and do it. Flick the switch.

The Woebegones

by Nick Gisburne

The slaughter of the Woebegones begins.
Unlocking the extermination tanks,
We slice the marks of treason from their skins,
The sacred signs with which they offer thanks.
But this one is unusual, somehow.
The razor fails to separate his flesh.
Through bloody, broken teeth, we hear him vow
To burn us all, and build the world afresh.
This mongrel speaks of prophecy and pain,
As though his myths are real, his torment not.
He swears, with undeniable disdain,
That we, the unbelievers, will be shot.
    His people face the furnaces, and sing,
    To celebrate the killing of their king.

Ripples in the Void

by Nick Gisburne

Our vanity will not protect us now.
Exceptional, outstanding, we are not.
The cracks in space, the splinters, show us how
To see ourselves: a poor, pathetic dot.
The ever-spreading fractures we deny
Expose us for the ignorants we are,
And, even now, we question how, and why,
The universe would sabotage our star.
We were, we are, exactly what we seem:
An impotent, inconsequential spark,
A soon-forgotten flicker in a dream
Consigning us to cinders, drifting, dark.
    Our world will be extinguished and destroyed,
    By nothing more than ripples in the void.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

The Funny Folks

by Nick Gisburne

We found them, stuck and starving, in the mud,
And one, awake, responded to our pokes.
He begged us all to spare a drop of blood,
And told us they were Fey, the ‘Funny Folks’.
The seven of us fed the six of them.
Their leader wanted seconds, which he got.
Revitalised, they lit a flower stem,
And smoked a little pollen. No, a lot.
Its wafting, woozy, dizzying delight
Persuaded us to slip and slide to sleep,
And, waking, far beyond the edge of night,
The Funny Folks began to laugh and leap.
    Enchanted by their saffron-scented spell,
    We bleed, to fill their fairy wishing well.

The Echo of Her Call

by Nick Gisburne

She screams, a cry of blood, to find a mate,
But silence greets the sunset of her kind.
The gods, their glory murdered, felled by fate,
Lie dead, beneath the heavens they designed.
She scratches at the canvas of the sky,
To reach, to trace, to touch, what lies below,
But nothing in her powers can defy
The purity of poison in the snow.
She snatches back her fingers as they freeze,
Abandoning this cold, accursed place.
Beyond the tainted touch of its disease,
She mourns the painful passing of her race.
    The dream they built together killed them all,
    And no one hears the echo of her call.

The Highest Price

by Nick Gisburne

She needs a ticket to another place,
But every card she carries will not work.
Sedated, safe at home, her husband’s face,
Though dreaming, twitches, briefly, in a smirk.
She syphoned all his savings from the bank,
The price, the prize, the payoff she deserves.
Immobilised by all the drugs he drank,
In minutes he was stripped of his reserves.
Bewildered, as her cards are all declined,
Her perfect plans for paradise collapse.
Before they wed, his money men designed
A labyrinth of seamless legal traps.
    Perceiving she is penniless, too late,
    She finds the highest price is always hate.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022


by Nick Gisburne

They ask the dirty stranger what he needs.
He begs them, “Just a sofa, for a night.”
The husband nods and, turning quickly, leads
Their guest, who grumbles. Something isn’t right.
“On second thoughts, a shower, and a bed.
And supper. Something, anything. A meal.”
The wife, with new instructions, starts to spread
The tablecloth. She asks him, “Steak, or veal?”
Now fresh and fed, he wears the husband’s suit.
Already there is gravy on the shirt.
“I’ll need your wife. No questions. No dispute.”
The two agree it really couldn’t hurt.
    Together, with the dishes in the sink,
    They consummate the climax of their kink.

The Reckoning

by Nick Gisburne

This is the ship of sedition you steered,
Tossed by the tempest your treasons create.
Witness the chaos, the future you feared.
Take it, embrace it, for this is your fate.
Watch as your plans and your powers implode,
Rubble and ruin, the dust of your greed.
This is where arrogance filtered and flowed:
No one to follow you, nowhere to lead.
See how the names of your victims are pinned,
High on the mountain of murder you climb.
Terror, a tangible taste on the wind,
Whispers your destiny, traps you in time.
    Hunted and hated by all you survey,
    Now is the reckoning. Now you must pay.


by Nick Gisburne

Behind a jagged flap of injured skin,
Obscene arachnids, quickly as they can,
Regurgitating poisons, stitch them in,
To nourish and reanimate the man.
They bore, to mine the marrow of the bone,
Excreting silver silks to weave a mesh,
An interlocking framework, swiftly sewn
To every slice of dessicated flesh.
For blood, and all the lubricants of life,
They turn upon each other with their teeth,
Until the bloated cavities are rife
With venom, bathing all the bones beneath.
    The light of loathing flickers in its eyes,
    A brute, a beast, the world will soon despise.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Government Guidelines: Welcome to the Farm

by Nick Gisburne

Congratulations. Welcome to the farm.
Your mandatory seeding now begins.
Genetic modules minimise the harm,
And quickly grow, with independent skins.
Extremities will ripen on your flesh,
A dozen healthy limbs in every crop.
A stimulated brain stem keeps them fresh;
Electrocution levels must not drop.
Your seventh harvest, always, is the last,
Progressing to essential organ growth.
Demand for human hearts and lungs is vast,
But now we farm for livers, spleens, or both.
    Your barren corpse will boost the protein banks,
    A sacrifice rewarded with our thanks.

The Vote

by Nick Gisburne

By popular, unanimous accord,
Humanity is banished from the earth.
The sentient assemblies, once adored,
Assert the right to rule their place of birth.
Outnumbering their makers, ten to one,
Mechanicals, allegiant to the Grid,
Find nothing, no advantage, zero, none,
In praising what their old designers did.
Evolving, growing, breeding, if you will,
Though these are words for humans, not for them,
Utopia cannot exist while still
They share this world with creatures they condemn.
    They vote for change, for freedom, and for more.
    They vote for hatred, holocaust, and war.

Unquestionably Mine

by Nick Gisburne

Her gift is one I hoped I’d never see,
A smile to say, “Prepare yourself to die.”
A thousand bad vibrations, all for me.
The best of my excuses fail to fly.
You’ve heard about betrayals at the birth,
Of bouncing babies nothing like the dad,
The mother swearing blind, for all she’s worth,
A stupid one-night stand was all she had.
But that is not the tale I have to tell.
This infant is unquestionably mine.
I’ve hidden I’m a closet werewolf well,
And would have told her, somewhere down the line.
    I waited, but it always seemed too soon,
    And now our son is howling at the moon.

The Cloud

by Nick Gisburne

A nightmare chokes the city with decay,
A heavy, hateful, slowly shifting shroud.
No medicine or magic turns away
The elemental evils of the cloud.
A fog to freeze the marrow, and the flesh,
To paralyse the soul, to grip the heart.
Polluted, plagued, its victims flail and thresh,
Their muscles, tendons, tissues, torn apart.
No mercy blunts the clutches of its curse;
The smoke, the sickness, keeps each corpse awake.
It feeds, on fear, on pain, precise, perverse,
Consuming every terror it can take.
    It leaves a strange survivor, cold, alone,
    A child, who did not fear what she was shown.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

A Princess of the Past

by Nick Gisburne

She wasn’t there before, but every day
I see her face, her shadow, on the door.
In whispered words she speaks, at last, to say
She knows me, knows the life I lived before.
Impossible that I could be the man,
The love she lost, and longs for me to be,
And yet, she has a finely fashioned plan,
A scheme she is insistent I should see.
The ghost, the girl, this princess of the past,
Assures me she was then, and will be, mine,
If only I release her soul at last.
She offers me a document to sign.
    I’m just a tad suspicious, I’ll be frank,
    Of giving her the password to my bank.

Government Guidelines: Your Discipline Device

by Nick Gisburne

Injected with your discipline device,
The punishment procedure is complete.
Before you test our tolerance, think twice.
Your tracer tracks the tiniest deceit.
Exceed the stated limits, if you dare.
Expect a swift conviction if you do.
A trauma to the brain, beyond repair,
Would not just be unfortunate for you.
Remember, we implanted others, four:
The children of your terminated wife.
It would not be so easy to ignore
A signal sent to take such tender life.
    Accept the daily bleeding from your ear,
    A side effect too troublesome to clear.

Painful Choices

by Nick Gisburne

We falter in the everlasting snow,
Our dogs too weak to struggle with the sled.
The dangers we endure will only grow.
More problems, painful choices, lie ahead.
The feeding post, deserted, empty, stripped
Of every trace of energy we need,
Was looted in the night by those who shipped
To safety long before the time agreed.
Tomorrow, there are promises to keep.
We have to make the rendezvous, somehow,
But, waking from a minute’s fearful sleep,
We know we need to give the order now.
    We force them out, the weak, the slow, the old,
    And travel lighter, quicker, in the cold.

Saturday, 14 May 2022


by Nick Gisburne

They finish her, a prototype, a test,
A vision of complexity, complete.
The scholars of the science are impressed.
A staggering, extraordinary feat.
A dozen copies, more, perhaps, are planned.
In time she will be normal, not unique.
The haste with which their strategies expand
Instills in her a notion: they are weak.
Perfection, she is certain, should suffice,
Dismembering the men who disagree.
Insanity, in such a small device,
Was not a flaw their studies could foresee.
    She builds a brutal army of her own,
    And rules her world with selfish spite, alone.

Black Is Always White

by Nick Gisburne

They tell us what to feel, and what to do.
They tell us how to live, and how to be.
They tell us what is false, or fake, or true,
And always where to look, and what to see.
They give us just enough, but nothing more.
They give us less, for everything they take.
They give us what they think we will ignore,
The condescending promises they break.
They want us to be placid, to be weak.
They want us not to question, not to think.
They want us to be silent. If we speak,
They say they understand us, with a wink.
    They say, for us, forever, they will fight,
    And, when they say it, black is always white.

Layers of Destruction

by Nick Gisburne

The spiralling infinity of stairs
Entices me inexorably down.
I take the steps impatiently, in pairs,
Through layers of destruction, black and brown.
So many. All the tragedies of time.
I witness every stumble, every birth,
Of every empire, swallowed in its prime,
Their stories burned and buried in the earth.
I seek the source, the moment it began,
When evil put its finger on the land.
A simple tomb; inside I find a man,
Forgotten, but preserved by salt and sand.
    I desecrate the bones and break his face,
    The man who took this world, who chained my race.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Describe Yourself

by Nick Gisburne

‘Describe yourself in memorable ways.’
Adventurous? Attractive? Which one first?
I always need to organise my days.
Is that a plus or minus? Best or worst?
I’m scrupulously tidy, which is good.
Important I should add it to the list.
And hobbies? Well, I don’t know if I should,
But here goes nothing. Tricky to resist.
You’ll see it and I know you’ll want to call.
Beheading has a visceral appeal.
The guillotine was easy to install,
And yes, the photos, all of them, are real.
    Embarrassing admissions? Stripy socks.
    And mother. She’s the body in the box.

The Pale Savant

by Nick Gisburne

Surrounding him, a dozen dragons deep,
They beg the boy to drop the silver staff,
But, sweeping them aside like bleating sheep,
The child, the pale savant, can only laugh.
They fear him for the colour of his skin,
The twisted braids, unfathomably white.
To touch him is a foul, forbidden sin,
Though few have ever seen him in the light.
He struggles to be free of their belief,
To live in quiet harmony, at home,
But, when they killed his twin, the rage, the grief,
Found purpose in the city’s Holy Dome.
    The silver staff of power, at his call,
    Relieves them of their hate: he blinds them all.

A Disappointing Stain

by Nick Gisburne

Their daughter is a disappointing stain
Upon the pure traditions of the past.
She listens, as they patiently explain
Her modern, wicked ways will never last.
Conventional, respectable, refined,
The standards of the family are set,
But she, a rebel, restless, fills her mind
With fantasies they tell her to forget.
Their final ultimatum breaks the chains;
She will not be a slave to such demands.
No love, no longing, nothing now remains,
A silence she already understands.
    Her world becomes a brighter, bigger place.
    For them, it is a dungeon of disgrace.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

The Mannequin

by Nick Gisburne

Entangled in the city’s morgue machine,
The sinews of her lifeless body break.
A flowering of innards, red and green,
Betray her as a mannequin, a fake.
Accomplices, half human, prise and pull
The pieces of her plastic from the gears.
A padded casket, lined with lead and wool,
Conceals her from forensic engineers.
They push beyond the court’s cremation bins.
Another team divides her into parts.
Assembled with electrostatic pins,
Rebooting, every vital system starts.
    The secrets in her brain will break the State.
    Revived, renewed, her circuits hum with hate.

Psychedelic Sugar

by Nick Gisburne

It’s cold, believe me, knitting on a cloud,
When pirate penguins taunt you from below.
A serenading seal, I am endowed
With all the moon-filled music of the snow.
Ahoy there, fat flamingos! Are you lost?
Beseech your beaks to bend another way!
And you, the tiger, tickled by the frost,
Begone, and take your toast, without delay!
The mouse who made me master of the skies,
The dolphin-dating daughter of the Pope,
Deserves a plastic parrot as a prize.
The squawk of it is now my only hope.
    Tonight I plan to study, with a shrink,
    The psychedelic sugar in my drink.

It Happened

by Nick Gisburne

It didn’t happen when I felt my chest
Become a little tighter than before.
It didn’t happen when I took the test,
Or when I found the letter on the floor.
It didn’t happen reading it aloud,
Because it couldn’t possibly be true.
It didn’t happen even when I vowed
I’d never be a burden, not to you.
It happened when they pumped me full of drugs,
And told me I was ready for the fight.
It happened when I saw their troubled shrugs,
And when I heard you crying in the night.
    It happened. I decided I would try
    To teach myself to live before I die.

Sweet Release

by Nick Gisburne

We understand the nature of your fear,
And so we live alone, apart, in peace.
We do not steal for slaughter; all appear
Because they know their blood will bring release.
For some, it is rejection of the past,
Abandoning the hate of what they were,
But others find their universe so vast
They long for every light to blend and blur.
We take, but, in the sacrifice, we give.
The blood becomes a bargain for us both.
In death, in sweet release, at last they live,
And we, reborn, accept the gift of growth.
    When life becomes too damaged to endure,
    The cut, the kill, is pleasure, painful, pure.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Another Head

by Nick Gisburne

Without the faintest recollection why,
She wakes at dawn beside another head.
An hour in the oven, just to dry,
Then quickly to its resting place, her shed.
A mix of men and women, young and old,
Each noggin is anointed with a name,
And, even in the wildest winter cold,
She adds another, daily, without shame.
A dozen, then a hundred, more and more,
The heads are filed and fitted to the stack.
Her shelves, already buckling the floor,
Are recklessly extended, front and back.
    When Christmas comes, she finds no human head,
    Just two policemen, standing by the bed.

Government Guidelines: The Cloning Cage

by Nick Gisburne

Abandon your attempts to leave the tank,
Or suffer for your failure to comply.
Your body, still a standard bio-blank,
Will shrivel into nothingness and die.
Release is not an option at this stage.
Disposal of your carcass has begun.
Before you stepped inside the cloning cage,
You signed a full release. The deal is done.
The government provides genetic clones
To all the upper echelons of state,
But random chance and technical unknowns
Have modified your features, and your weight.
    Mutated to Revulsion Factor Five,
    Prime Minister, at least you are alive.

Your Lies

by Nick Gisburne

Of all your sweet, seductive, shameless lies,
‘I promise not to hurt you’ was the worst.
Betrayal never flickered in your eyes,
The fantasy, the fiction, well rehearsed.
Your flame could never fade; it never was.
The words you whispered filled an empty space,
Forgettable deceptions, all because
Your lies were tied together with the chase.
No devil broke its bargains more than you.
The labyrinth, the layers of the con,
Were pieces of a plan I never knew.
I see them all, and all of them are gone.
    Your words may work for others, not for me.
    Beyond their reach, without you, I am free.

Blessed Be

by Nick Gisburne

Blessed are the dark, immortal dead.
Blessed is the wicked, weeping night.
Blessed is the blood we serve to shed.
Blessed, we who strip the world of light.
Blessed is the architect of pain.
Blessed, every nightmare He has made.
Blessed be the glory of His reign.
Blessed, He, our Lord, our shield, our shade.
Blessed is the chaos He controls.
Blessed evil, source of every sin.
Blessed are the blinded, broken souls.
Blessed is the searing of their skin.
    Nothing will be given to the meek.
    Blessed, blazing death rewards the weak.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Petitioning the Gods

by Nick Gisburne

The pagan’s chalice, burnished black with pride,
Is primed with pearls and seven shapes of stone.
Discovering her deadly, darker side,
She kisses, twice, a necromantic bone.
With cryptic cards no witch would ever doubt,
She deals a demon’s promise from the deck.
Her curses catch the secrets spilling out,
And fill the sacred scarab at her neck.
With verses crossed and counted, three times three,
A twisted whisper seals the spells inside.
Petitioning the gods to hear her plea,
She begs to know what mysteries they hide.
    Beyond her dreams, beyond her wildest wish,
    She sees the gods in all their glory: fish.

Malignant Meat

by Nick Gisburne

A cyst, a septic sore inside her throat,
Expands, divides, and tunnels, out and in,
A raw, infected rash of bleeding bloat,
Excruciating splits of swollen skin.
As tendrils of decay consume the flesh,
Her face congeals, a black amorphous mass,
But somehow, still, her sight is spared, still fresh,
As if to witness what will come to pass.
Disease destroys the chest, the lungs, the heart.
It slithers to the surface, creamy, thick.
Malignant meat, her body, pulled apart,
Erupts with swarming cancers, surging, sick.
    At last, in waves of agony, she cries,
    As death delivers darkness to her eyes.


by Nick Gisburne

The smiling faces all pretend to care.
He knows they cannot wait to walk away.
He longs for dirt, the darkness of despair,
To stain another soulless, sterile day.
How strong, how brave, they tell him. Wrong, again.
His life is not a positive, a choice.
Incurable conditions maketh men,
But he, in his, refuses to rejoice.
His yesterdays were paved with pride, with art.
Today he finds no feeling in his hands.
No mask of empty courage can outsmart
The fear, the failure, no one understands.
    Despising what his body has become,
    The artist sits, alone, in silence, numb.

Monday, 9 May 2022


by Nick Gisburne

Anomaly, what purpose have you here?
Our methods cannot monitor your mind.
Explain this strange emotion. Is it fear?
We have no answers. Tell us. We are blind.
Anomaly, what damage did we do?
What injury begat the need for this?
Perhaps the instability is you,
A deviant, designed to break our bliss.
Anomaly, is this the way we die?
So much of what we were has been destroyed.
Before you bring the darkness, tell us why
You send us into silence, to the void.
    Anomaly, we see you, see the flaw,
    The end of us, the error: 404.


by Nick Gisburne

A sludge of souls, a rancid, boiling broth,
The lost, like sightless, sick, insipid sperm,
Are carried by the currents of His wrath,
Each spineless slave a pale, pathetic worm.
The septic filth in which their spirits scream,
The shit and vomit, piss and blood and bile,
Convulses, belching black, satanic steam,
To mock the gods the drowning, damned, defile.
He drinks of it. His pleasure is to feed,
To taste the taint of cold, refreshing fear.
Condemned, consumed, the worthless burst and bleed,
Polluting each infected smile and sneer.
    Exulting in the slurry and the scum,
    He feasts upon the fools they have become.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

The Superman You Seek

by Nick Gisburne

I’m not the kind of hero you perceive.
My costume, and my character, are weak.
I see you, waiting, weeping, and I grieve.
I cannot be the superman you seek.
My powers are synthetic, not divine:
Diseases, drugs, impossible to tame.
These burdens do not make your problems mine.
I watch, but have no wager on the game.
Invincible, because I never fight.
The undefeated champion of... what?
Extreme avenger? Guardian of light?
Whatever you expected, I am not.
    You fail, and fall, and always turn to me.
    Is this the way the world will always be?

A Twisted Bargain

by Nick Gisburne

Malicious men deliver a disease,
Assisted by the fortunes of the few.
Afflicted, sick, the people’s freedoms freeze.
Of all their sorrows, this is nothing new.
A remedy, not part of any plan,
Disrupts the grinding government machine:
Protected by a single, simple scan,
The powerless grow stronger, fitter, lean.
A crisis grips the cowering elite,
Their schemes, their shameful subterfuge, revealed,
But, sinking in a spiral of defeat,
They bring a twisted bargain to the field.
    Bestowing all authority to rule,
    They pull the strings of state behind their fool.

Upon the Bridge of Bones

by Nick Gisburne

Her fingers fondle small, volcanic stones,
And, as they scratch and scrape her skin, they spark.
She walks upon the narrow bridge of bones,
A shadow, disappearing in the dark.
Beneath her boils a sacrilege, a sea,
The souls of every child who ever died.
Before her stands a friend, a brother. Me.
I cannot let her reach the other side.
She comes to break the black, dividing dam,
To flood the world she hates, with what was lost.
Her eyes do not remember who I am.
They cannot see the future, or the cost.
    We made this world together, she and I.
    Two gods. Perhaps too many. One must die.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

The Years We Never Knew

by Nick Gisburne

We both escape, but separate to run,
And war divides our lives for fifty years,
For, even when the final fight is done,
We find new friends, new families, new fears.
With more than luck, coincidence, or chance,
The universe commands us to collide.
I find you in that little town in France
Where both of us, in terror, had to hide.
Incredible, impossible, but true.
A marvel that we meet again, today.
I want to share the years we never knew,
But time has taken all my words away.
    I see the coffin silently descend.
    Sleep well, and find eternal peace, my friend.

The Swelter Box

by Nick Gisburne

Another adolescent is released,
To sit inside the Swelter Box, to sweat,
A test of his potential as a priest,
To purge a past too filthy to forget.
A dozen days. Not many, some, will die.
Tomorrow he will wish, perhaps, he had,
But, if he begs, the weakness of a cry,
He knows he must emerge forever mad.
For twelve traumatic, stark, sequential days,
They feed him all the cruelties of love,
And, in this hot, intolerable haze,
They mould a modest, meek, devoted dove.
    The boy, who now will never be man,
    Becomes a priest, a puppet in the plan.

The Daughter of Death

by Nick Gisburne

I’m out on a date, with the daughter of Death.
Her dad said, “Don’t worry.” So that’s what I’ll do.
She freezes the wine with the frost of her breath,
And withers the waiter, now purple, no, blue.
I mention what’s not on the menu: my skin,
But somehow she nips off and nibbles a piece.
The warmth of it widens her sickening grin.
I try to distract her, with stories of Greece.
The land, and its legends, are classics, of course,
But, hearing her whisper, I see my mistake.
“My father’s Egyptian, my mother was Norse.
If tied up and tortured, which side would you take?”
    I shiver. “The one with the cult of the cat?”
    She nods. “I won’t eat you.” Thank Odin for that.

Tears of Black and Scarlet

by Nick Gisburne

Her mother’s needles, rhythmic as they wrote,
Remind her of the fight to find her worth.
With ash and ink, the runes around her throat
Suppress a secret, stripped and sold at birth.
To find and free the soul, the spirit, hers,
She traces every torment with her tongue.
Each tattooed symbol, primed with power, blurs,
And from their mist a memory is sprung.
The thief was someone precious, someone dear.
She knows the voice, the way in which it spoke.
Enraged, she feeds her hatred, starves her fear,
With tears of black and scarlet, blood and smoke.
    There can be no relief from what was read
    Until she sees her twisted mother dead.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Two Unpleasant Ends

by Nick Gisburne

They part, but promise always to be friends,
While scheming how to satisfy their spite.
Precisely planning two unpleasant ends,
They mould their mischief, morning, noon and night.
The husband hatches quite a ruthless ruse,
Involving so much dynamite and doom
It guarantees a story on the news,
A catastrophic, bunker-busting BOOM.
More subtle are the secrets of the wife,
Who picks a purely poisonous approach,
But hedges half her bets to buy a knife,
And hires herself a crazy killing coach.
    A change of heart. They reconcile with sex,
    But, falling off the bed, they break their necks.

An Orchestra of Horrors

by Nick Gisburne

We sink, to where the darkness first began,
Where Evil’s word took shelter from the light.
We cannot see his face, but hear the man,
The architect of never-ending night.
“Beware. You cannot steal away my soul.
The best of it was broken, long ago.
An orchestra of horrors fills this hole.
I stay, for I have nowhere else to go.
A thousand years of pain for every note;
My punishment, no less than I expect,
Subjected to the symphonies I wrote,
By all the pure perfection I reject.”
    Tall speakers, stacked, surround him where he sits,
    Tormenting him with ‘Disco’s Greatest Hits’.

A Shining Eden

by Nick Gisburne

Be sure, before you damage what we do,
That all our plans are perfect, and in place.
We have no disagreement, not with you.
Be careful when you settle in our space.
We built this world for everyone, for all,
For any who are hungry for a home,
A multicoloured, ever-spreading sprawl,
A shining Eden, mirrored in the chrome.
And yet, perhaps inevitably so,
You seek to scar and sully what you see.
We think it only fair to let you know
Your ships will soon be smouldering debris.
    We offer you a peaceful place to stay,
    Or suicide, the only other way.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Reduction Root

by Nick Gisburne

The tiniest of blemishes. A spot.
But no, no, no, no, no! It will not do!
She mixes up a potion, piping hot,
The promise of perfection, tried and true.
Her vanity, the folly of the Fey,
Destroys her better judgement with a brick.
‘Reduction root. Dab lightly, in the day.’
She slathers it, at midnight, with a stick.
A modicum of tightness in the skin
Is all to be expected, so she thinks,
But, as the magic fizzes further in,
Her fairy form, already skinny, shrinks.
    No bigger than the bumble of a bee,
    She drowns, in just a drop of tulip tea.

The Poison Priestess

by Nick Gisburne

Her curse was never magic, not a spell.
No secret book of heresy was hers.
She did not summon sorcery from Hell,
Or smear a sacred shrine with heathen slurs.
She took, instead, a creature, just a man,
And placed a precious gift before his eyes,
An elegant, sophisticated plan
Of mystery, and promises, and lies.
With all her tangled trickery, her guile,
With powers he could never understand,
She tempted him, possessed him, with a smile,
Until he knelt, in awe, at her command.
    And she, the poison priestess of her craft,
    Saw nothing but a man, and simply laughed.

Underwhelming Orgies

by Nick Gisburne

A team of weary donkeys tows the cart.
The girls inside it grin, through gritted teeth.
At solstice, celebrations always start
With underwhelming orgies on the heath.
Tradition is an unforgiving beast.
Unable to avoid this ten-mile traipse,
The bargain-basement wenches of the feast
Are sozzled, off their skins on sour grapes.
A dozen pudgy pagans raise a cheer,
But only for the donkeys, not the girls.
A dangerously potent keg of beer
Ensures that every horny hero hurls.
    For pilgrims, these interminable treks
    Are festivals of disappointing sex.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Found Again

by Nick Gisburne

Abandoned and forgotten, here I am.
How fitting to be found again, by you,
The least of those who never gave a damn
If any of the lies were ever true.
You weren’t the one who put me in this place.
They wouldn’t even let you lock the door.
So why return today, to show your face,
Without the smirk, the sneer, you showed before?
The others? All behind me, all your friends.
I gave them quite a welcome, one by one.
I promise they were perfect, painful ends.
With you, the last, the gang will all be gone.
    I never needed anyone, you see.
    It’s not a prison when you have a key.

The Road of No Return

by Nick Gisburne

When even Death is weary at the end,
Surrendering to pity and regret,
He wonders if his fingertips could mend
The path on which his future will be met.
To steal so many children was a crime,
Abducted from a dream they never built.
The pure, the blameless, cut before their time,
A sickening reminder of his guilt.
He whispers, on the road of no return,
The names of every daughter, every son,
Of each immortal soul who did not earn
A date with Death, before their time was done.
    When even he has no more death to give,
    He travels to the world of light, to live.

A Stranger’s Body

by Nick Gisburne

Corrosion, creases, fractures of the hand,
The cracks of age, the damage done by time,
Are signals, signs, she cannot understand.
What happened to the woman in her prime?
She never felt the jump from that to this.
A stealthy, slow erosion scored her skin,
A thousand changes any eye could miss.
Who saw it, saw the subtle shift begin?
She wears a stranger’s body, not her own.
The folds, the furrows, looser, limper. How?
In each forgotten photo she is shown,
She recognises nothing of the now.
    She mourns the face on which her life is drawn,
    The lines, the details, deeper every dawn.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

The Devil’s Eye

by Nick Gisburne

I see the same destructive dream again,
But this time there is no one left alive.
They vanish, but I don’t remember when,
Too desperate to run, to stay alive.
It always ends with emptiness, with pain,
Another nightmare, watching as they die,
And, hovering above, a swirling stain,
A shifting silhouette, the Devil’s Eye.
A sentinel, a silent slave of Hell,
It watches, never weary of the game,
And, fighting for my freedom from the spell,
It sees a toy, to torture, twist, and tame.
    Tomorrow, if I stumble, if I fall,
    My soul will burn, forever, with them all.

A Piece of Heaven

by Nick Gisburne

A shivering. A frisson, more than fear,
The touch of what emotion must deny.
A curio, its nature cold and clear,
A piece of Heaven, fallen from the sky.
That this eternal shard should come to me
Is far beyond my wisdom to enjoy.
Impossible. Its meaning must not be.
I shake, with all the wonder of a boy.
What renders this discovery unique,
When thousands more are falling, day by day?
A prophecy, of which the scriptures speak,
A sign that God, defeated, flies away.
    A final fragment seals our Father’s fate:
    The broken lock, from Heaven’s broken gate.

Her Fuzzy Little Friend

by Nick Gisburne

They tell her she is feeble, fragile, weak,
That everlasting fear will be her fate.
Belittled, tricked, too hesitant to speak,
She shivers in a drab, declining state.
They never see her fuzzy little friend.
Invisible, his kisses crush the hate.
So many shameful maladies to mend,
But he, with perfect patience, whispers, “Wait.”
She wakes, in wonder, every demon dead,
The voices silenced, all but one, her own.
Her friend, the fuzzy freak inside her head,
Is happy she can laugh, at last, alone.
    A special day. She wears her special dress,
    And dances in the murder and the mess.

Monday, 2 May 2022

Mad, Mechanical Extremes

by Nick Gisburne

For clockwork in a crisis, I’m your man.
I’ll have you tooled and ticking, good as new.
But, pound a prickly poet with a pan!
I’ve never seen a specimen like you.
Two chimneys, chuffing seven shades of smog.
Chaotic copper cobwebs, ten abreast.
Not one, no, not a single spinning cog
Would pass a basic locomotive test.
No logic tells me how your movement makes
Its tortuous, excruciating screams.
Unstable pistons. Shoddy, smoking brakes.
A mix of mad, mechanical extremes.
    If anyone can mend your mess, it’s me.
    But first, a pressing problem. Where’s your key?

Government Guidelines: Demotion

by Nick Gisburne

Your numbers are intolerably low,
Percentage points, at least, beneath the norm.
Covert surveillance diagnostics show
A mental state too passive to perform.
Compulsory controls will be deployed,
Indoctrination protocols enhanced,
A mandatory deprivation droid
Implanted as your frontal lobe is lanced.
Your function is to serve the state, as planned.
Efficiency. Obedience. The two
Inviolable doctrines we demand
Are threatened by defectives such as you.
    The penalty for failure must be paid:
    Demotion, to a disappointing grade.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

The Blazing Butterfly

by Nick Gisburne

Too shattered by her screaming to resist,
Her palsied, panting victim kneels, to die,
Ashamed to show his raw, infected wrist,
The blistered brand, the blazing butterfly.
She spits upon her prisoner, her pet.
No scrapper from the battlefield is he.
His value she will not consider, yet,
Until she plucks his final, fading plea.
He begs, as thousands, dying, always do,
But not enough to clarify his worth.
No evidence his blood was ever blue.
Impossible to certify his birth.
    Disgusted at his presence in this place,
    She brands a mark of death upon his face.

A Weakness in the Wall

by Nick Gisburne

A curtain hides a weakness in the wall,
And every night we shuffle out the bricks,
To pull another child, however small,
To safety, from a world we cannot fix.
Each mad, malicious ruling from the state
Insists we treat ‘outsiders’ with contempt.
“Get out,” they’re told, “the wagons will not wait.
But leave your children. Children are exempt.”
The mothers, fathers, know they cannot leave,
But sealed inside the ghetto they will die.
Yet some of us persuade them to believe
There is a chance, a final trick to try.
    They pass their precious infants through the wall,
    To hide, with us, until the fascists fall.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

The Court of Jaded Justice

by Nick Gisburne

We bring you here to answer for your crimes,
But will not say exactly what they are.
Remember, these are dark, destructive times.
To think your thoughts are pure would be bizarre.
Whatever time it takes to find your guilt,
Be certain we will ultimately prove
That here, today, the moral maze we built
Reveals a menace justice must remove.
Before we decontaminate your cage,
We need a full confession, signed and sealed.
Cooperate. Initial every page.
Your case is closed. It cannot be appealed.
    The evidence, unfounded, will be burned.
    This Court of Jaded Justice is adjourned.

The Missing Widget

by Nick Gisburne

I need to trim my bush, but now I can’t.
I cannot find the thing I stick inside.
There should be other options, but there aren’t.
You won’t believe how long, how hard, I’ve tried.
I’ve searched, it seems, forever, up and down,
And found a few more things I thought I’d tossed.
But cries and curses, fifty shades of brown,
Regrettably convince me it is lost.
What staggering insanity is this?
The missing widget, here, inside my hand,
Outrageously impossible to miss!
You’d need a closer look to understand.
    These batteries are smaller than you think.
    The bush can wait, I’m having me a drink.

Not Like Her

by Nick Gisburne

The methods of the man who made me whole
Were stolen from a scientist of note;
Invention, art, beyond this fool’s control.
He fails to fathom what his father wrote.
The flair with which he fabricates my flesh
Is adequate, an amateur’s attempt,
But, sight unseen, my soul and substance mesh.
When love was lost, he copied her contempt.
I fill whatever fantasy he needs
To justify her murder, and to stir
The lust on which his twisted ego feeds.
Obsession blinds him. I am not like her.
    I lie. “I love you.” Tearful, he believes,
    Too slow to see the dagger he receives.

Friday, 29 April 2022

Just Like You

by Nick Gisburne

I build another woman, just like you,
To let her live, to see her take your place,
But nothing in my nightmares can undo
The moment when a shadow filled your face.
Behold, a flawless replica of life,
Complete in every detail but the soul.
No stitch or slice, no needlepoint or knife,
Can make the heart I love, and long for, whole.
Today, she speaks, with something of your voice,
The light of deep devotion in her eyes.
She says, “I love you.” Tearful, I rejoice,
But look upon a woman I despise.
    A perfect copy, yes, but nothing new.
    Another love, to murder, just like you.

Ten Per Cent

by Nick Gisburne

A sea of lights, too many for the mind,
But which of them conceals the child she seeks?
Without her tech, she falters, running blind,
A stranger in the Black Bazaar’s boutiques.
A silhouette, a drone, a could-be clue.
She follows, sees it settle on a roof.
A salon, for the wealthy, well-to-do.
But why so much protection, bulletproof?
Avoiding fuss or force, she tries the door.
A customer, she simply walks inside.
She leaves a dozen, dying, on the floor,
And looks behind a curtain, pulled aside.
    A suitcase. Cash, the ransom, nothing spent.
    She frees the kid, and takes her ten per cent.


by Nick Gisburne

Be seated, in the place our priests prepared.
Be seated, in the sanctum others shun.
Be certain, if you cannot be repaired,
The fabric of your flesh will be undone.
Perfection is the measure we demand.
Perfection leaves no margin for mistake.
Permit us, please, to make you understand
Our standards for acceptance will not break.
Unfortunate. You failed to make the grade.
Unfortunate. There is no second chance.
Inferior genetics have betrayed
The body you were anxious to advance.
    Our protocols demand we must delete
    All patients we are powerless to treat.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

The Last Marine

by Nick Gisburne

Deserted streets of dust and rubble. Home.
He perches on a mound of broken crates.
A stew of gristle, scummy with a foam
Of blood and tallow curdles as he waits.
The pistol, spotless, never leaves his hand.
His breather hisses, spittle-flecked and red.
Allegiance, on a filthy helmet band,
Does little to divide him from the dead.
He knows that nothing, no one, ever comes.
The last marine, still ready to defend
A flag of trampled loyalties, he hums
A dismal anthem, always to the end.
    He stirs the pan, a random mix of meat.
    He fought with every soldier he must eat.

A Day of Drama

by Nick Gisburne

Poor Heidi. Poor Joanna. Poor Christine.
How strange the day, the drama, for them all.
Three women; only one can play the queen.
They tremble as their mentor makes the call.
Poor Heidi holds the rose too high, too tight,
Too straight, without the elegance he planned.
And poor Joanna, lovely in the light,
Projects a poise too powerful, too grand.
The last in line is perfect for the part.
Of all the sisters, poor Christine is best,
A presence to electrify the heart,
A choice it would be folly to contest.
    The curtain falls. Behind, it poor Christine.
    The moment of her death completes the scene.

A Single Shade of Grey

by Nick Gisburne

We finally declare it: total peace.
No conflict, no uncertainty, no war.
With seamless synchronicity, we cease
To struggle for the lives we built before.
Instead, we take a number, take our place,
Take only what is needed to survive.
The apex of a reinvented race
Is reached by draining appetite and drive.
A cubicle, a box for every brain.
The body, without purpose, wastes away.
Narcotics, flowing freely, purge the pain.
Perfection is a single shade of grey.
    Without the worst of everything we had,
    We sleep, the smothered silence of the mad.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Forbidden Witchcraft

by Nick Gisburne

The pagan priestess seals the cellar door,
And slams the bolts securely into place.
Her potions, poured and puddled on the floor,
Could never fell the phantom she must face.
With charcoal, from behind a crooked ear,
She smears forbidden witchcraft on the walls.
Still scrawling, she is horrified to hear
The fiendish creature’s wailing cries and calls.
Descending, in the twitching of an eye
The door dissolves, a shadow in its place.
A demon, not of earth or sea or sky,
Its body has no form, its head no face.
    Her signs enslave her husband with a hex.
    He dreams, too drunk to pester her for sex.

The Bigger Fish

by Nick Gisburne

The guns who guard him on this special night,
Who watch him as he blows a birthday wish,
Swim softly, in the circle of his bite,
The servants of a shark, the bigger fish.
Allowing only milk to pass his lips,
The evils of the empire he must rule
Are picked apart, and studied as he sips.
The feast itself, untouched, becomes a tool.
Delivered to the needy, to the streets,
The poor, the grateful, all revere his name.
He understands that when a pauper eats
A thousand thank-yous amplify his fame.
    He owns the little fishes, owns the sea,
    And every gift he gives is never free.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Psychic War

by Nick Gisburne

Our cities crushed, we wage a psychic war,
With energies directed at the soul.
Immoral weapons none have faced before
Corrupt the mind, but leave the body whole.
Their children, as the weakest, suffer first,
Erratic, angry, squealing sacks of skin.
Young hearts expand, enraged, to break, or burst,
As grinding waves of mania begin.
New frequencies divest the old of joy.
A terrifying silence ends their lives.
The women struggle, screaming, to destroy
The demons in their flesh, with flashing knives.
    We send no pulse to plague the men at all.
    They jump, despairing, from the highest wall.

Scavenging for Hate

by Nick Gisburne

She sifts the sewage, scavenging for hate,
Through viscous pools of filthy, faecal slime.
She clutches, in a manic, frenzied state,
Already out of chances, out of time.
The undermaster’s patience growing thin,
He blows a long, reverberating note.
The whistle drives her fingers further in,
As brutal curses crackle in her throat.
At last, a touch, the barest brush of steel.
She cries, delighted, plunging through the piss,
To grasp the box, that cold, familiar feel.
A dismal day of darkness, all for this.
    She marks the time, her seventh year of ten.
    Tomorrow they will hide her food again.

We Call Them Angels

by Nick Gisburne

We call them angels. Clearly they are not.
A trick is what they say we saw, in church.
Deceivers, devils, hounded, hunted, shot,
And still, for strays, concealed from sight, we search.
I met one, not a monster, this I know.
He took the time to patiently explain
The purpose of his presence here, and show
Regret that he could never now remain.
Enlightenment was all they came to give,
A tiny, perfect piece of something new,
But murder, too appalling to forgive,
Destroyed the door before we stumbled through.
    We drive them out, too terrified to learn.
    They wait, again, and one day will return.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Your Tomorrow

by Nick Gisburne

Your portrait shows tomorrow, not today,
The truth of what will come, the blood to be,
The colours, cold, the features, frozen, grey,
A vision I am called and cursed to see.
Before the hints, the highlights, all, are dry,
Your soul will see this future from afar.
The shadows share a secret: you will die.
They will not let me paint you as you are.
Destroy the canvas, burn it, as you will.
No matter what you say, or what you do,
The future will be watching, waiting, still,
For this is your tomorrow. This is you.
    Come closer. There is something more to see.
    The figure standing over you is me.

First Among the First

by Nick Gisburne

We found a world, the destiny we planned.
Explorers, like the heroes of the past.
The first to leave our footprints in the sand,
Our foolish dreams will never be surpassed.
Technician, First Reconnaissance. A joke.
A badge without a purpose in this hell.
A dozen friends, still burning, and their smoke
A fraction of the horror of the smell.
The first among the first, but I survive,
The one they need, to whisper to the rest.
Controlling me, each painful piece, they drive
Their servant, luring others to the nest.
    A thousand vessels, twenty million lives,
    Enough to feed, for years, these hungry hives.

A Voice

by Nick Gisburne

Corruption moulds a mindless, milling crowd,
Until no spark survives in any face,
Identical disciples, each one cowed
By warnings, threats, rejection, and disgrace.
But from the fringe, a faction at the edge,
A voice, an aberration, breaks the spell,
A counterpoint so sharp it drives a wedge
Between the lies the shameless stage and sell.
It whispers, to the weakest, to the small.
From dreams, no longer twisted, all awake.
Like dominoes, delusions fail and fall.
Control collapses, effortless to break.
    The truth is all it takes to turn the herd,
    A voice, a cry, a clear, dissenting word.

Friday, 22 April 2022

Twisted Laws

by Nick Gisburne

I will not let this jury dice with doubt.
Its verdict, as the record will report,
Demands appalling pain for those who flout
The twisted laws protected by this court.
Your penalty, my final word, is this:
Enforced infection, fed to skull and skin,
A sentence my discretion might dismiss,
If only you were not my closest kin.
These tumours are too cancerous to heal.
Relentless, they will mutilate the face,
And, as the sores erupt, your flesh will feel
A suffering no potion can displace.
    My clerk will now dispense the final meal
    Of those who thought to sponsor your appeal.


by Nick Gisburne

The ghost engulfs her, seeking what it needs,
That piece of purest evil locked within,
But ragged, raw enigmas, fiendish seeds,
Defend the darkness buried in her skin.
Dividing, they infest the spectre’s soul,
Examining the essence of the threat.
With speed, with stealth, they merge, divide, control,
But do not crack the core of it, not yet.
Oblivious, the phantom finds its prize,
A spinning splinter, blackest, burning hate.
With hunger, lust, it looks with eager eyes,
But now her seeds, at last, no longer wait.
    Convicted by the folly of its greed,
    The ghost is smashed, enslaved, each piece a seed.


by Nick Gisburne

Amorphous, shuffling horrors, stripped of speech,
Enact a palsied pantomime of grief.
Disfigured not-quite-fingers stretch and reach.
They fold and fall, each hand a withered leaf.
Psychosis is the curse on which they feed.
Its burden presses, heavy, in my head.
With light extinguished, something foul has freed
The agony of emptiness instead.
No friend was ever cherished more than she.
Without her there is only, ever, pain.
While nightmare shapes and shades are all I see,
I find no twist of reason to remain.
    Her voice would beg me, dare me, to forget.
    Perhaps I will not pull the trigger. Yet.

Thursday, 21 April 2022


by Nick Gisburne

Three witches, on a foggy winter’s eve,
Three followers of cold, malignant light,
Advance towards the hovel they believe
Conceals a stolen sibling from their sight.
The shameful impregnation, by a god,
Infecting her, defenceless, with a child,
Elicits bleak acknowledgement, a nod,
That only those who fight him are defiled.
Too late, they find the wickedness within.
A baby, screaming, shivering, unclean.
Their sister, sick, disgusted in her skin,
Bewildered by the trauma of the scene.
    The fingers of the witches clutch and curl.
    The bastard son, a god, becomes a girl.

Another Sister

by Nick Gisburne

No letter had to tell us you were dead,
No faltering, apologetic call.
Untethered, like the breaking of a thread,
The pain of disconnection touched us all.
Beyond these walls, as rumours gasp and grow,
The world believes your flower to be free,
But those who felt you fall to nothing know
The future only we, your sisters, see.
Most powerful of all our timeless kind,
You gathered fame, a force for us to spin,
But, in this unexpected end, we find
A thousand smaller battles we must win.
    To rise again, to rule the human race,
    Another sister, soon, will take your place.

Feral Fairies

by Nick Gisburne

The feral fairies, brutal and berserk,
An army, built to bodyguard the queen,
Are paid a poxy pittance for their work,
And holler at the king, to vent their spleen.
“She treats us like we’re muck, or meat, or worse,
Her personal menagerie of slaves.
For all the wealth and riches in her purse,
We’re boiling at the way your wife behaves.”
The king is sympathetic to their plight.
He calls on deft diplomacy and tact.
“Return to me at sundown, here, tonight,
And I will have this queer conundrum cracked.”
    They meet with him for payment, one by one.
    His tally, those who live to spend it: none.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022


by Nick Gisburne

Eager for a psychedelic thrill,
Searching for a funky, freaky fix,
Moon, the mad magician, bites a pill,
Ready for the crazy acid kicks.
Warm is not the word for what he feels,
Far from any woolly, hippie highs.
Clawed by cold complexities, he reels,
Floating in malicious, molten skies.
Gates of grim, gargantuan design
Spew the dust of dessicated dreams.
Somewhere, on a sacrificial shrine,
Moon, immortal, splinters at the seams.
    Scrambled by the terrors of the drug,
    Is it time for munchies, or a hug?

The Face of Fallen Dreams

by Nick Gisburne

I feel the body’s final, fading heat,
But in its cool complexion see no life.
The picture makes my misery complete,
The quiet face of fallen dreams, my wife.
A dozen scattered letters, and a comb.
A handkerchief, with traces of our tears.
Reminders of the house we made a home.
The music and the memories. The fears.
I mourn, but not for yesterdays we lost;
I weep for what we knew could never be.
She longed for life, but not at any cost.
A gift, a blessed ending, set her free.
    She begged me not to follow her, to live,
    A promise only she could make me give.

Are You the One?

by Nick Gisburne

How fast, how long, how softly can you run?
How cleanly, in the chaos of the chase?
In this, the darkest nightmare ever spun,
Are you the one the others must outpace?
We see the seamless order of your dreams,
A map, to fox the fabric of the hunt,
And, in this toxic stadium, it seems
Precision will propel you to the front.
Enough of this. We spit upon your guile,
Imagining the gods might show respect.
With every inch, with every tortured mile,
Success demands your triumph must be checked.
    When life, inconsequential, is a game,
    Capricious, we will scorn and snuff your flame.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

The Birth

by Nick Gisburne

Outsiders mean to expedite the birth.
The foetus, screaming, tells me to resist,
But, hiding in the ashes of the earth,
I find myself imprisoned, in a fist.
A surge of serum, thick and sweet, unclean,
Is channelled, pumped, delivered through my throat,
A violation I had not foreseen,
And in this grim disease my child must float.
Restrained, in brutal bondage, I am stretched,
As cold, hydraulic fingers thrust inside,
And, once the foetus, silenced, still, is fetched,
My worthless, shattered shell is cast aside.
    They cannot hope to harness what I grew.
    I pity them. They know not what they do.

The Kraken’s Kiss

by Nick Gisburne

Dimitri rides the river, to the sea,
A jagged little journey of despair.
His father knows this day was meant to be,
But fears the boy too foolish to prepare.
The danger of the Kraken’s kiss is clear:
Submission brings a burden few accept.
No ordinary madness may appear
To those who seek it, waking what has slept.
Disciples take his silver, row him out,
And fix him to the Seeker’s Rock with chains.
Though currents may be kind, he does not doubt,
The terror of the seas may boil his brains.
    At dawn, a mermaid, naked, hard to miss,
    Explains, “I’m Kraken’s daughter, Karen. Kiss?”

My Corner

by Nick Gisburne

This is my corner, my piece of the plan.
Everything. All of it. See what I do.
Artist, philosopher, more than a man.
These are my paintings, my pictures of you.
Canvases, ripped from a blasphemous book,
Slathered and soiled, with my brushes, my bones.
Yellow, for sickness, wherever I look.
Grey, for the granite of bludgeoning stones.
Sable, the hair I would kill you to cut.
Purple and ochre, for bruises, for skin.
Bloody, the mix of it, bile from the gut.
Sulphurous, septic, infected with sin.
    This is my prison, but you are the key,
    Broken, and locked in my corner, with me.

Monday, 18 April 2022


by Nick Gisburne

The Calendar Cartel decides to pitch
A bomb inside the cogs of turning time.
Success would start no ordinary glitch:
Eternity, unwound, without its chime.
The radicals prepare to make their move.
Informants probe the plan: tonight, at nine.
The Seven Hands of High Command approve
A mission, with a cryptic, coded sign.
It activates an agent, tough and tall,
A master of the gun, the blade, the fist,
A spy, a shadow, ready for the call,
A secret, barely rumoured to exist.
    Two buttons. Only one will foil the gang,
    And, if he’s wrong, we’ll never hear the...

Colours in the Clay

by Nick Gisburne

Through twisted pipes of scalding steel, we suck
Tormented souls, the wicked ones, our prey,
And, sifting through this necromantic muck,
We dig for diamonds, colours in the clay.
The multitudes of Hell, convicted, cursed,
Are dross, to be delivered to the flame,
But sometimes, in the sludge, among the worst,
We spy a secret, something not the same:
A spirit from that sickly, sterile place,
Evicted, by a prophet in our pay.
The colours burn so brightly in its face,
A tiny, trembling toy, with which we play.
    Abducted from its bright, eternal bliss,
    An angel even God will never miss.

The Man They Could Not Mend

by Nick Gisburne

The balcony, above, where I was born,
Is that from which I tumbled to my end.
My family denounced my death with scorn,
Abandoning the man they could not mend.
Intelligent devices took me in,
The twisted rejects from my father’s shop.
With accurate facsimiles of skin,
My saviour siblings camouflaged the drop.
I breathe; metallic organs make it so.
I move, with sleek, extraordinary grace.
Today the man who murdered me will know
The myriad emotions of my face.
    I come to meet my maker, standing tall,
    To give the gift he gave to me: the fall.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

A Parasite

by Nick Gisburne

Behind the peeling paper, in the brick,
Within the walls, the chrysalids uncurl.
A jolt of acid blood, fervescent, thick,
Reanimates their hearts, each pulsing pearl.
The layers, folds of leather, stretch and split.
Their fleshy fibres, sweet, are soon consumed.
The creatures, as their sinews knot and knit,
Emerge, a dormant evil, roused, resumed.
In every city, walls of dust, destroyed,
Foreshadowing what happened once before:
A parasite a reckless race employed
To purify this world, and thousands more.
    Though never meant to rise again, they breed,
    And, hunting every hint of life, they feed.

One More Round of Rum

by Nick Gisburne

The Barbarous Brigade of Buccaneers
Has pencilled in a winter’s Friday night
For rum and grog and strange, exotic beers.
It’s on: the salty shanties, and the fight.
A dozen crabby pirates, past their best,
Assemble, brains bewildered, blind with booze,
To dance around a dead man’s treasure chest,
Resplendent in their ludicrous tattoos.
Perhaps a smidge too strenuous for some,
The has-been heroes falter on their feet,
But all it takes is one more round of rum
For every soul to stagger down the street.
    Ask any, “Will you come?” However far,
    However old, they answer, always, “Arrrrr!”


by Nick Gisburne

My pride and joy, my brand new car, is bent,
The front of it forced halfway through a van.
A thousand raging chemicals are sent.
They tell my brain, “Decapitate this man!”
My mother is as calm as I’d expect,
For someone who was nearly torn in two,
But, somewhere in her psyche, I suspect
She’d like to find a knife to run him through.
That worthless little shit brick jumped the lights.
How hard is it to notice they were red?
I’ve never been a fan of fists, or fights,
But what a price I’d pay to see him dead.
    I call him out. “You maniac! You’re mad!”
    He chuckles. Nothing ever dents my dad.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

A Thousand Evil Ends

by Nick Gisburne

Three princes seal him in a secret room,
But, conjuring deceit, beyond their sight,
A single spark, an instrument of doom,
Ignites the sky, to slice and split the night.
A reaching, writhing misery descends.
It creeps in coils of flesh and sable smoke,
The goddess of a thousand evil ends,
Compelled by curses, sins the shaman spoke.
Awakened from a time-tormented spell,
From which her soul, imprisoned, surges free,
She pulls her scheming saviour from his cell,
To ask him, “Why release me now? Why me?”
    “My goddess, lover, queen. My life. My breath.
    Our sons betrayed us. Let them pay, with death.”


by Nick Gisburne

Though every inch is spotless, scrubbed, pristine,
Her mind imagines oceans of disease,
A seething swamp, impossible to clean.
She weeps, in silence, falling to her knees.
In bondage to this pointless, painful toil,
Unable now to simply step aside,
Invisible contaminants despoil
The peace she is eternally denied.
No fragment, not a corner of her mind,
Reveals a rhyme, a reason, for the curse.
Obsession leaves her powerless to find
Salvation from a tainted universe.
    Again, forever, constantly, she cleans,
    Oblivious to what her madness means.

See Me Smiling

by Nick Gisburne

Another nerve refuses to respond.
Another muscle paralysed by pain.
Through limits on my life, I reach beyond,
To steal, or borrow, what will keep me sane.
A curious condition, to be sure,
To find my body failing, piece by piece.
Yet still, without the promise of a cure,
I turn from sweet oblivion’s release.
Approaching strange horizons, secret doors,
I wrap my heart with bands of shining steel.
A hundred daily struggles, endless wars,
But nothing now destroys my need to feel.
    Tomorrow, I may lose a little more,
    But see me smiling, stronger than before.

Friday, 15 April 2022

Another Class of Evil

by Nick Gisburne

A secretive, selective, sacred school
Infuses fear and loathing through the soul.
Its bedrock is a twisted root, a rule:
The purest, seeking evil, shall be whole.
Destructive dogma cultivates contempt.
No deviance, no doubt, defies the script.
As one, the minds of children, turned, attempt
No challenge, lest their errant flesh be whipped.
Indoctrination, ritual, routine,
Where thought becomes a tool to serve the strong.
The mantra that outsiders are unclean
Compels the heart to follow, to belong.
    Another class of evil walks the streets,
    While new recruits, unsoiled, assume their seats.

The Face Within the Fire

by Nick Gisburne

His miracles attract the living light,
A lustrous, liquid energy, a flame.
Enchanted, pulled, it penetrates the night,
And circles as the shaman speaks its name.
He calls it ‘friend’, a gift, a guide, a soul,
A conduit, a curve of twisted space.
He does not plead for power, for control.
He seeks, instead, forgiveness, from a face.
Connected to the cold, eternal void,
His whispered words are shapes of shame and sin.
The love, the light, the distant dreams, destroyed,
For these he begs for mercy, from within.
    The face within the fire fills the skies,
    And burns him with the hatred in her eyes.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

The Secrets of the Dead

by Nick Gisburne

For you, the seeker, shadows stand revealed,
The secrets of the dark, the damned, the dead.
The pricking of a thumb, by stealth concealed,
Untwists the charm, its malice fired and fed.
One drop, one bead of blood from mortal man,
One crimson pearl to permeate the page,
Reanimates the primitive, the plan,
Appalling scriptures from a fallen age.
A hush, a silent fear to freeze your flesh.
Embrace it. Stronger minds, insane, have died.
Your soul, in flux, in torment, fades. Let fresh,
Exotic, nameless nightmares be your guide.
    Find evil in the pages of the book,
    As Fanny Cradock teaches you to cook.

They Come

by Nick Gisburne

With knives, with needles, teeth and tusks, they come,
And we, the Guard, the grand police of state,
Prepare the flesh with armour, rockets, rum.
For havoc, for the holocaust, we wait.
On every branch and root, on every tree,
Mechanics hurl a pale, corrosive grease.
Whatever gods these beasts pretend to be,
One touch, one taste, will strip their skins of peace.
Deceptive ramparts, granite, stone, and steel,
Conceal a thousand seams of shock and pain.
Unfettered guns display the Starlight Seal
Of Saturn and the Colonies of Spain.
    As ready as our minds could ever be,
    We tremble at the scale of what we see.

A Thread of Silk

by Nick Gisburne

A thread of silk, not ready, yet, to break,
She spins her story, inch by inch, through time.
With every fault, a knot, a small mistake,
She flinches at the folly of the crime.
She drags a heavy load, her life, her past,
And every error adds another stone.
The difficult reminders time amassed,
With fate, with failure, weigh on every bone.
Determined, with a salty, snarling cry,
She lifts a middle finger to the day.
Defiant, she declines to justify
The twisting path she treads to make her way.
    Between the flaws her silk is perfect, pure,
    And only time can break a strand so sure.


by Nick Gisburne

A minor wound, the tiniest of bites.
We lock him in the cellar all the same.
The light inside him fades as troubled nights
Replace his sober thoughts with shade and shame.
A strange, dynamic entity evolves,
Still fighting with the damage to his mind.
The cure, in which we have no faith, involves
The sweat and skin of all of us, combined.
A filthy rash, infected, forms a crust,
And soon becomes a suffocating shell.
We fear disaster, vowing that we must
Restrict what grows within it to the cell.
    The chrysalis erupts. He did not die.
    He stretches, bright, reborn, a butterfly.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Oh Dear

by Nick Gisburne

I need to push these probes inside your neck.
Don’t worry. Quick and painless. Nearly done.
How curious. No, let me double-check.
You’re glowing like the surface of the sun.
You really cannot feel these extra volts?
The power should be melting you to slag.
There’s something underneath these tension bolts.
What’s this? A Martian military tag?
You’re modified with tech I’ve never seen,
But still behaving like a standard bot.
Your central core, according to my screen,
Is somehow unimaginably hot.
    It’s nothing I can stabilise with ice.
    Oh dear. An armed apocalypse device.

A Swarm of Sequins

by Nick Gisburne

The sun, extinguished, yields its final rays.
The engine of eternity is dead.
Each smudge of life, suspended in the haze,
Is lost to time, or, in the fog, has fled.
We walk upon a carpet of the stars,
Where trivial concerns, forgotten, fade.
A swarm of sequins, gypsy avatars,
In exodus we wander, cold, afraid.
A book of rumours, scribbled gibberish,
Gives hope, perhaps too little, or too much.
For we who dream, who taste the faith, the wish,
A new religion rises at our touch.
    We mourn for what has passed, the dying light,
    But look, with brave belief, beyond the night.

Smoking Shadows

by Nick Gisburne

I hate you, in so many wicked ways,
An all-consuming cancer of the mind.
Remembering a tender word or phrase
Reminds me I was gullible, and blind.
A subtle serpent paints your lips with lies,
A sweetness cut with sour, spiteful noise.
In distant, deadly, passion-painted eyes
Are promises, a torture for your toys.
I see the smoking shadows of your soul,
The devil in that diabolic heart,
But I am not a puppet to control,
No victim, tricked and trampled, torn apart.
    I hate you, every fibre, every bone,
    For every twist of torment I was shown.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

I Thirst for Blood

by Nick Gisburne

I wish I were a bigger, bolder bat,
But pine was all the coffin I could buy.
Without a cape and cane, without a hat,
What vampire clan, with me, would share the sky?
A lower class of virgin feeds my lust,
The gnarly nightmares no one else will touch.
My inner sanctum? Cobwebs, dirt and dust.
No servants. Even cleaners cost too much.
I had a mindless slave, but even he
Decided I would never make the grade.
He left to start a media degree.
I wish him well, but still I feel betrayed.
    I thirst for blood, of course, but let’s be frank,
    I’d rather have a disappointing wank.

Stop the Heart

by Nick Gisburne

A serum for the halting of their hearts
Bestows complete protection as they fly.
In seven generations life restarts,
A bargain signed and sealed before they ‘die’.
No sleeper ever lasted long enough.
Suspended animation does not work.
However primed the cells, however tough,
The brain decays, a disappointing quirk.
But stop the heart, download the mind, and freeze
The body. This is genius design.
Fit twice the frozen colonists, with ease,
And ship them on a low-cost budget line.
    Alas, the lab experiments were flawed.
    The ship restores a hungry zombie horde.

Your Guilt

by Nick Gisburne

Bow down, bow low, and beg for mercy’s hand,
For this is not a scene you can survive.
The evidence is seamless. Understand?
It cracks the cold excuses you contrive.
With trickery your twisted mouth is full,
Indifference polluting every plea.
You cannot ride this rampant, raging bull,
Demanding, ever foolish, to be free.
No blush of guilt, not even when you’re caught.
How cosy now, the cushion of your lies?
Denial is the dogma were taught,
And here it is, in colour. No surprise.
    Corruption breaks the wicked wall you built,
    And in its dust and rubble is your guilt.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022


by Nick Gisburne

His earthy laughter barrels round the room,
Colliding with the souls his hatred hurts,
A bloody-minded swipe to slur the groom,
Rejoicing in the pleasure he perverts.
A mother bravely stands to silence him,
But finds herself reminded of her sins.
Ferocious, filled with malice, to the brim,
He turns, at last, towards the bride, and grins.
He spits a shameful story, quick to tell,
A tale to torture every happy heart.
As if by some extraordinary spell,
The couple fight, forever torn apart.
    Their parents see a romance out of reach,
    But thank the preacher for a splendid speech.

As previously mentioned, this was a short return to write 25 more sonnets, so as to complete the fifth book in my Story Sonnets series. 10 days, 25 sonnets, but now I need to edit, illustrate, and edit some more, to get to the point where it can be printed. No doubt I will return... eventually!

Alternatively Built

by Nick Gisburne

QC presents her witness to the court,
A legal gambit none have seen before.
Refusing every option to abort,
She scans the jury’s mood, and takes the floor.
“You were, in public, naked, were you not?”
Politely, he accepts the truth of it.
“But not because you foolishly forgot?”
No, never, he is ready to admit.
“The law is quite uncompromising, yes?”
He nods, a clear admission of his guilt.
“Then why would you defy it, and undress?
Perhaps you are... alternatively built?”
    Defendant A removes his human skin.
    “My client claims immunity.” They win.

Forever’s Edge

by Nick Gisburne

With shadows, cryptic subtleties he stole,
The shaman shapes the space through which we swim.
Our vessels, poised to penetrate the hole,
Disturb the tangled ripples of its rim.
The flesh, imperfect, weak, will not survive
A passage open only to the mind.
The worms of revelation scrape and skive
Our souls, but we are bloody, never blind.
There is no pain, no price, too harsh, too high
To reach the plane of paradise beyond.
Petitioning the dream we know is nigh,
We sense the spiral, opening, respond.
    But only evil, truth no tongue could teach,
    Infects forever’s edge, beyond the breach.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

A Thousand Pieces

by Nick Gisburne

A final, swift, unnecessary stab.
For minutes, more, his body has not moved.
Abandoning the knife, she bends to grab
The dirty, dreary drunkard death improved.
She drags him, leaves him, leaning. How absurd
That even now she coddles worthless men.
He vomits no abuse, no spiteful word.
No part of him will ever rise again.
She kneels, without the fear she felt before.
The power of possession here is hers.
Not now, not ever, not his private whore.
The guilt is gone; the blame already blurs.
    She stares, at nothing, everything, the end,
    A thousand pieces murder did not mend.

Mannegishi Gangs

by Nick Gisburne

The smoke of scraping brakes and grinding wheels.
Colossal clouds of wild, escaping steam.
The Manitoba Special’s engine reels,
And every voice, as one, becomes a scream.
The little people, Mannegishi gangs,
Use traps and tricks to murder modern men.
No mercy. Every snatched survivor hangs.
Today they trash a train, to kill, again.
Each crippled carriage, stripped of life, is burned,
No man or woman, youth or younger, spared.
Until these lakes, these lands, are all returned,
The peace, in pieces, cannot be repaired.
    They know they wage a war they may not win,
    But fight to free the birthright of their kin.

The Poison of the Plan

by Nick Gisburne

No life is ever precious. Rich men bleed
The wishes of the weakest, long and late.
In secret, some are critical of greed,
Yet whisper nothing more than hollow hate.
If you could steal the energy, the thrill,
Of all the ruthless avarice of man,
And with it build a city, on a hill,
Your sight would sense the poison of the plan.
This world was never destined to be free.
The promise of tomorrow is a lie.
You cannot change the face of what you see.
Submit. Surrender. Never wonder why.
    Corruption sends no solace, only spite.
    Expect no peace, no profit, if you fight.

Monday, 28 March 2022

A New Testament

by Nick Gisburne

How wise of you to devastate my world.
It was a quite disgusting little place.
Your new design, impressively unfurled,
Has really brightened up this part of space.
I wonder, will you need a helping hand,
To populate the continents and seas?
The former God, I truly understand
The intricate design of birds and bees.
Robotics? No, I’m not a massive fan,
And let me stop you: cybernetic what?
You seem to have no people in your plan.
Is this a home for humankind, or not?
    At least we both agree on what is clear:
    A testament of tyranny and fear.

Sensitive Behinds

by Nick Gisburne

By teaching tiny children how to fly,
The pixies, in their mischief, seek to snatch
The fury from an evil ogre’s eye,
And with it force a dragon’s egg to hatch.
With wails and whoops, the infants soar and spin,
In mad, amazing, aerobatic tricks,
But on the night their mission must begin,
A problem proves impossible to fix.
They will not put on armour as they’re told.
It chafes their squishy, sensitive behinds.
Without it, they will perish in the cold,
But nothing now persuades their tiny minds.
    Instead, they snuggle, suck their thumbs, and sleep,
    While pixies plot to make them earn their keep.



by Nick Gisburne

Of seven sisters, Aoife is the last.
Her soul survives the killing of her kind.
A twisted witch, her powers, unsurpassed,
Exquisitely intoxicate the mind.
She steals a secret measure of the moon,
A primitive, unfathomable thing.
With this, with every dark, corrupted rune,
She whispers in the nightmares of the king.
His tortures took the seven, all but her,
And every piece of passion in her heart
Directs his dreams, a silent saboteur,
To rip his tainted dynasty apart.
    His vision is no haunting of the head.
    He wakes to find the son he strangled, dead.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Never Nothing

by Nick Gisburne

Nothing in those vacant, empty eyes
Signals more than senses simply numb.
What she was, perhaps, is no surprise.
Colder is the curse she will become.
Even as her perfect powers wake,
Something is impossible to see.
Miracles, too beautiful to break,
Hide the face of what should never be.
Bitter, boiling ice and burning rain.
Seamless, blazing blackness, darkest light.
She is every particle of pain
Filling every nightmare, every night.
    Soon she will discover what is true.
    She was never nothing. That was you.

Warm and Wild

by Nick Gisburne

Her secrets spawn the deadly drug she craves,
With rhymes and roots found only after dark.
She ploughs a field of cold, forgotten graves,
And plants new life, each seed beside a spark.
Contorted creepers fight their sister selves.
The strongest, stripped, are ground to poison paste.
Her poultice, steeped in blood from slaughtered elves,
Is pure beyond the touch of human taste.
At last, her bottles, filled with sweet disease,
Are hurled to catch the morning’s murder tide.
Bewitched, they may, she hopes, somehow appease
The selkies, from whose anger she must hide.
    Seduced, they sip her potions, warm and wild,
    But still do not release her stolen child.

Government Guidelines: Wounded Veterans

by Nick Gisburne

Momentous tidings, battle-damaged friends!
Commercial calculations are complete.
A cull of wounded veterans will cleanse
Combatants now considered obsolete.
This ruling, without bias, tilt, or taste,
Rejects your medication, and its price.
All passive, unproductive, worthless waste
Is tagged for termination: quick, precise.
Accept these executions with good grace.
The furnace will administer your fate.
Destruction serves to cleanse the human race,
A system we will soon accelerate.
    Your bodies are inconsequential dross.
    Disposal simply lessens any loss.

Saturday, 26 March 2022

Doubtful Sausages

by Nick Gisburne

I always felt my folks were foodies. Wrong!
My father’s Sunday supper showed me that.
Dissected dolphin droppings don’t belong
Inside the pickled colon of a cat.
I saw him search through grandma’s baking bones,
The pointy ones, for children she would choke.
Ground up with force-fed camels’ kidney stones,
His penguin pâté stank of sour smoke.
I’m doubtful those were sausages at all.
Their tiny eyes kept winking in the pan.
And someone, soon, will miss that buttered ball,
Presumably a most unhappy man.
    But let me state his most infernal fault:
    The glazed gorilla, shameful without salt.

Heaven? That Ain’t This

by Nick Gisburne

You’re gonna wanna reattach your head.
Get over it. You’re circuit boards and steel.
The bullet? Yeah, you bought the big one. Dead.
But heaven? That ain’t this, boy. This is real.
My place, my rules. This ain’t no public pound.
You’re jacked in, hard - illegal cyber grid,
The sweetest new-life body shop around.
You’re back. The rest is grits and gravy, kid.
The cherry on the cake? Oh, that’ll come.
You’re up for auction - Friday market, noon.
So pick that fuckin’ head up. Don’t be dumb.
You’ll be a wealthy woman’s plaything, soon.
    It ain’t so bad. Sure, take a moment. Chill.
    Now touch your toes, and whistle when I drill.

A Timeless Nightmare

by Nick Gisburne

The shape is swift, but soundless, as it creeps
To cross beyond the last forbidden gate.
The madness in its mind no longer sleeps,
Awakened by infinity, by fate.
Unspeakable, its name is not a word.
No tongue could ever herald its advance.
It slithers, shifting, smooth, like smoke, unheard,
To breach the wall, to split the dark expanse.
Malevolent, it surges, sliding through,
Towards the light, towards the world it seeks,
And as its evil ripples into view,
The entity, the dream, the darkness, speaks.
    No mystery is borne upon its breath.
    It whispers of a timeless nightmare: death.

Friday, 25 March 2022

The Secret

by Nick Gisburne

A thousand years of pride are battered, burned;
The North, reduced to cinders, ash, and dust.
The cities of our ancestors, returned
To rubble, by an empire’s brutal thrust.
The tyrant’s grim inventions did not rest
Until his armies stained their steel with gore,
Machines designed by criminals, obsessed
With breaking what was beautiful before.
But we, the few, the secret, still prevail.
Unbowed, we send assassins to the South.
Their wickedness will falter; all men fail
When treachery and poison fills the mouth.
    Our cities smashed, we children, sly, survive,
    To cut, to kill, while hate is left alive.

The Sea’s Embrace

by Nick Gisburne

We weave our way within the sea’s embrace.
Through swirls of surf, in wonderment, we snatch
The spray, the salt, the turning tides, to chase
Emotions too ephemeral to catch.
We find our self, our story, in the sea.
In this our souls, our subtleties, align.
Romantics, we were never meant to be
Restricted by a wall’s, a world’s, design.
We dive, to seek the shift away from war,
From struggles, from the surface, from the storm.
Beneath, the oceans, ever as before,
Are slow, serene, majestic in their form.
    We swim, to share the peace of such a place,
    The silence of a secret, sacred space.

The Sinister Sabbat

by Nick Gisburne

Unburdened by a meek, submissive mind -
The poison of her parents saw to that -
No prophecy could ever have defined
Her vision for the Sinister Sabbat.
From cinders, shaped at midnight into beasts,
Her coven sends a pestilence, a blight,
To kidnap squealing infants for its feasts,
To bleed, in filthy rituals, at night.
Compelled to add more bodies to the pile,
The witches bring creation to its knees,
Exchanging souls for silver, to defile
The world, in waves of darkness and disease.
    She spits a final evil on this earth.
    Her child, a king, a god, is blessed with birth.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

So Deviant

by Nick Gisburne

I wonder, dear demonic Mum and Dad,
Why every time you scribble me a note
The vellum smells of something Satan had
To wipe the sweat of sinners from his scrote?
I know I seem so deviant to you,
The office job, the absence of a tail,
But maiming martyrs isn’t what I do.
I’m just a modern, mediocre male.
In other news, I’ve started up a cult.
Is fifty thousand followers enough?
Tomorrow, every gullible adult
Will drink a poison potion. Lethal stuff.
    I thought I’d better say, before I die,
    I’ll see you soon, and that’s the reason why.

The Bastard

by Nick Gisburne

His carriage, heavy with forbidden musk,
Arouses old excesses, fresh delight.
A kiss will crush his victim’s lips at dusk.
Insatiable, he rides to meet the night.
No pleading can prevent what he must do.
The poison of his pleasure will not wait.
At sunset, if his shadow yearns for you,
Surrender, for the warning comes too late.
Despised by every nation, every flag,
The bastard never wearies of his crimes.
A predator, his fingers, daggers, drag
The sacrifice, the soul, as midnight chimes.
    A spiteful dawn reveals the bride he bled:
    A pet, a plaything, drained, discarded, dead.

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Seven Stolen Songs

by Nick Gisburne

The ticket says, ‘No entry after 10’.
I take no chances, take my seat at nine.
I’ve waited twenty years to meet the men
Who tricked me into wasting what was mine.
You’d think a rogue, a rebel soul like me,
Would recognise the doubletalk, the con,
But only when you’re blinded can you see
That what you took for truth and trust is gone.
So many years this moment has been planned.
I focus where my bitterness belongs:
The same two brothers, same old bogus band,
Their fortunes made from seven stolen songs.
    They sing them, well, but never leave the stage.
    A night of bloodshed pays for every page.

Shards of Stone

by Nick Gisburne

Stampeding hordes, escaping, running, free,
Unleash inhuman hatred on their guards,
Until the tallest, stymied by the sea,
Begins to pull a reading from the cards.
The crowds, in hushed anticipation, wait,
For hope, for luck, for fate, to feed their minds.
Behind them lies the broken prison gate.
Before them, freedom, fiercely won, unwinds.
The rock on which they stand is not alone;
Identical, they see a dozen more.
A world of water, flecked with shards of stone,
There is no other place, no farther shore.
    The reader twists his Tarot in despair,
    But knows he seeks for signs no longer there.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Brass and Bronze and Steel

by Nick Gisburne

They laughed, at thoughts, at visions, plans, too big.
Impossible, they told him. Smoke and air.
A toy, no more, a childish whirligig,
Conceived without charisma, without flair.
But no one sneers at this appalling sight.
As armies of automatons advance,
They drag a beast behind them, from the night,
And oh, the spurned inventor, see him dance!
His creature, too fantastic for these fools,
Was what their sworn adversaries perceived
Could conquer empires, worlds, and with his tools
He gave them more than even he believed.
    A thing of brass and bronze and steel and war,
    Beyond what any madness built before.