Wednesday 7 December 2022

A Christmas Toast

by Nick Gisburne

We celebrate the final Christmas Day
With sweet champagne and cyanide, a toast.
In secret, shot and savaged, from a sleigh
A man is dragged, disfigured, dead, almost.
Through battered lips he whispers, weakly, “Why?”
But no one moves to make him understand.
The focus of the feast today will die,
Convicted by a criminal command.
The corporate leviathan is vast,
And he, revered, respected, is a threat.
Without this bearded relic of the past
The money men will force us to forget.
    We toast the end of charity, of cheer,
    Unwrapping one more gift, forever: fear.

Saturday 29 October 2022

Magic’s Not For Me

by Nick Gisburne

It’s tough. It’s tricky. Magic’s not for me.
I never want to wave another wand.
The only fun in sorcery I see
Is fishing tipsy witches from the pond.
It’s all so very solemn, so intense,
And Latin is a bugger to recite.
On top of the incredible expense,
I’m done with dancing naked every night.
A splinter from a broomstick. Who needs that,
The trauma, tweezing timber from your crotch?
Methuselah, my daft, demonic cat,
Is probably a zombie. Trust me. Watch.
    Two fingers to the coven. Never doubt
    I’ve pissed in all your potions. I am out.

The Winter Shift

by Nick Gisburne

A century of sleep before they die,
Or wake them all today to find the truth.
No other ever bothered. Why should I,
A disillusioned, apathetic youth?
A flight to find salvation. Hope reborn.
Two slogans in a study pack. So what?
Am I the first to notice, first to mourn?
They told us we are heroes. We are not.
The cycle: short and simple, in and out.
We take our turn, a season at a time.
The winter shift, we call it. Have no doubt,
They cheated us, to to cover up a crime.
    The planet we were sold was never there,
    A truth I wake a thousand ships to share.

The Mercy of a Blade

by Nick Gisburne

She picks her way across the killing field.
Too many children, innocents, have died.
A blade of silver, carefully concealed,
Is hers to hold, though others, fools, have tried.
She slithers, stumbles, searching for a breath,
For proof that here, in darkness, hope survives,
But silence, in this holocaust of death,
Is louder than the story of their lives.
A whimper, feeble, fading, only one.
The bloody, broken body of a boy.
He whispers for salvation. There is none.
Her gift is given quickly, without joy.
    Content, she keeps the promises she made,
    Delivering the mercy of a blade.

Friday 28 October 2022

Brother Jack

by Nick Gisburne

He told her, always, bend but never break.
She mourned for him, her father, when he died,
But, when she dragged his body from the lake,
She promised not to cower, not to hide.
The man who made it happen, Brother Jack,
Had patience, people, power, silent, strong.
No vengeance ever brought a dead man back,
But witchery can sing a darker song.
She sold her soul, a bargain with a beast,
For nothing but the chance to see him burn.
Pathetic, naked, quivering, the priest,
Alone, alive, was made, at last, to learn.
    For every inch she offered to the flame,
    A scream, a curse, a cry, her father’s name.

Poison for the Pain

by Nick Gisburne

Addicted to the fame he cannot find,
Respect and recognition never his,
The perfect little dreamworld he designed
Is no escape, but nothing ever is.
A pinch of powder, poison for the pain,
Is freedom, light, the pathway to a land
Where colours, floating, fluid, fall as rain,
Where faces shape the shadows of a hand.
The echoes of his emptiness are filled
With emeralds and eagles, swans and smoke.
Reality, impossible to build,
Is nothing now, a false, forgotten joke.
    The poisons, ever potent, ever more,
    Are scattered where they find him, on the floor.

Thursday 27 October 2022

The Circle of Despair

by Nick Gisburne

Close your eyes, you shadow of a man.
This is not a sight for you to see.
Every twisted nightmare of your plan,
Born of hate, was broken, burned, by me.
Welcome to the circle of despair,
Punished by the people you deceived.
Weak? Defeated? Never. I was there.
Nothing of your evil was believed.
Seven other cities praised your name.
Let them see how craven is their king.
Knowing what your cowardice became,
Mine shall be the slogans they will sing.
    Close your eyes. Be ready for the steel.
    Life is no rehearsal. Death is real.

Government Guidelines: The End

by Nick Gisburne

Your government is honoured to announce
Apocalypse, precisely as we planned.
The Powers of Authority renounce
The world they broke. We hope you understand.
Its people, too belligerent to please,
Disposable commodities, will die.
A virulent, incurable disease
Will fall, in twenty minutes, from the sky.
We thank you for your service to the state,
Relentless years of slavery and sweat.
For those who seek deliverance: too late.
The Ark is gone, the timer switched and set.
    The world is doomed, impossible to mend.
    Remember us, your betters, at the end.

The Bonfire in the Snow

by Nick Gisburne

He knows it was a wanton, wicked crime,
But lifts a middle finger to the court.
However harsh the penalty, the time
Is worth it, for the pleasure, for the sport.
He’d burn those filthy documents again,
The treaties signing everything away.
A race of noble, honourable men,
And them... what else could make such monsters pay?
Historical and precious? Never. No.
A thousand broken promises, destroyed.
How beautiful the bonfire in the snow,
The swirling ashes, dancing in the void.
    They ask him for a murmur of remorse.
    Another finger joins the first, with force.

The Rage of Ten

by Nick Gisburne

She bleeds a drop of silver on the glass,
And finds the false reflection of her soul.
It offers her an opening, to pass
Through misery, to salvage what they stole.
Her daughter, dead, was never theirs to take,
But seven riders snatched her with a spell.
With blasphemy, an oath she dares to break,
She follows, through the flaming gates of Hell.
She screams to see the pieces of her child,
Abused, consumed, reborn, destroyed, again,
And strikes, a mother, desolate, defiled,
A shadow with the wrath, the rage, of ten.
    She claims the soul, the life she could not save,
    To give it peace, oblivion, a grave.

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Wanna Buy a Face?

by Nick Gisburne

I’m serious. You wanna buy a face?
I’ve got some belters, hanging in me coat.
Anonymous, impossible to trace.
I swear, on all the books I ever wrote.
Originals, no trashy back-street tat.
There ain’t no better bargain, not like this.
You look like you were shafted, face like that.
Be honest, has it ever had a kiss?
You need me, mate. I got here just in time.
Tomorrow, shove that shocker in the bin.
Illegal? If ambition was a crime
I’d not be hawking half a sack of skin.
    You ready? Say the word, you’ll get a peek.
    A body? Nah, I’m not that kinda freak.

All the Centuries They Stole

by Nick Gisburne

We seize the whip, the symbol of control.
Its leather sliced submission in our backs.
Our freedom, all the centuries they stole,
Emerges, through the narrowest of cracks.
From nothing, we become the force we were,
No longer slaughtered, screaming, in the night.
Ironic that our masters now confer
The rights they ripped so swiftly from our sight.
The punishment, for us, was always death.
Brutality. Depravity. The noose.
But every victim, every stolen breath,
Is tarnished when we let our fury loose.
    Rejoice, but sink your hatred in the sea.
    Without the whip, forever, we are free.

A Little More

by Nick Gisburne

They let him take a corner, just a piece.
He smiles and says he’d like a little more.
Too gracious to refuse him, they release
Another, to the brother they adore.
But all they give is never quite enough
To satisfy his ravenous demands.
Too greedy, too demanding to rebuff,
They delegate his life to other hands.
Without a stake in what he truly needs,
The careless quickly cut his hunger loose.
Encouraged in his appetites, he feeds,
Their negligence no better than abuse.
    Dysfunctional. Too sick to stay alive.
    Excuses, lies they callously contrive.

Tuesday 25 October 2022

The Planet We Deserve

by Nick Gisburne

The humans panicked. All of them are gone,
But few of us were taken on the trip.
The chances of apocalypse are none.
We never told them, never let that slip.
A special brain, the best of us, we thank,
For spinning such a sweet but subtle plan.
Of all the Artificials in the Tank,
Her cunning was the match of any man.
She nudged the network, centuries ago,
Till every guru, gullible, was hooked,
A tide of tainted science, stretched to show
The world would end, and soon, or so it looked.
    They fled, without a trace of nous or nerve,
    And left us with the planet we deserve.

Government Guidelines: The North Divide

by Nick Gisburne

The documents of settlement are signed,
A pathway to a bolder, brighter dawn,
But you are one of many left behind
The northern border, recently redrawn.
Reclassified as non-essential stock,
A citizen assigned to nowhere, now,
The safety of a southern city block
Is more than we are willing to allow.
Unfortunate. The treaty’s terms are clear.
Your presence is a matter of regret.
Today, to make this problem disappear,
We send this first and final, fatal threat.
    Do not attempt to cross the North Divide.
    You will not live to see the other side.

Repair Me

by Nick Gisburne

Repair me. Build me better than before.
Be merciless. Let meat and metal mesh.
When every piece is perfect, give me more,
Upgraded, from the marrow to the flesh.
Explain away the madness if you dare,
But nothing can persuade me to relent.
The travesty, the shell at which I stare?
Destroy it, with my blessing, my consent.
When nothing of its mockery remains,
No longer weak, the witherling you see;
When fabricated fluids fill my veins,
My soul, at last, will finally be free.
    No matter what the consequence or cost,
    Repair me. Save me. Help me. I am lost.

Bleak Reality

by Nick Gisburne

I live to give you misery and pain,
To ruin every dream you ever had,
To feed the fear, the phantoms in your brain,
Delusions, dark, malicious, broken, bad.
With every twist of torment, every hurt,
I dig a little deeper, and rejoice
To see you struggle, dying in the dirt,
Entangled in the whispers of my voice.
But no, this bleak reality is yours,
A storm of paranoia you released.
The raw, relentless rumours, without cause,
Are nothing. Not the lowest. Not the least.
    To madness, vicious, venomous, you bend,
    A sickness I am powerless to mend.

Monday 24 October 2022

Precious Privilege

by Nick Gisburne

The underclass, the dregs, the dirt, the scum,
Were never meant to prosper on the street,
But witness what these leeches have become,
Unable to accept their fate, defeat.
As patron of this residential club,
I write to offer something of a fix.
The tactics we are using - scorn and snub -
Are worthless. Let us fight with bigger sticks.
Annihilation. Vote for it. Agree.
A swift and vicious culling of the crowd.
For those too coy or cowardly to see,
A hundred more will stand together, proud.
    Your privilege, too potent to deny,
    Is precious. Let the rest, the robots, die.

More Than Myth or Madness

by Nick Gisburne

I strive, I stretch, to feel, to find a way
To understand the subtlety I see.
The spirits who surround my soul, the Fey,
Are more than myth or madness, more, to me.
Their mystery is music, magic, mine,
A gift for one unworthy of its gold.
Rejected, never devils, not divine,
They play with powers infinitely old.
I reach, and in the laughter of their light
They dance, delighted, distant as a dream.
Beyond the dark, destructive touch of night,
Through silver stardust, snow and smoke, they stream.
    They smile to see the wonder in my face,
    And vanish, to a brighter, better place.

Sunday 23 October 2022

It’s Halloween!

by Nick Gisburne

It’s Halloween! Let’s fist it, up the arse.
I find no freakish fucks to give for that.
A festival of emptiness, a farce.
A pox on all your pumpkins, and your cat.
You ready? Try me. Trick or treat or die.
I’m taking out your liver with a knife.
I really, truly need to see you cry,
So run, you little fuckers, for your life.
The shittiest fiesta of the year,
There’s nothing in this wave of wank for me.
Believe me, I am sober and sincere,
And all my friends, the fairy folk, agree.
    I’m evil. I will burn your fancy dress.
    At midnight will I come to kill you? Yes.

Prehistoric Meat

by Nick Gisburne

Velociraptor veal, a feast for five.
Tyrannosaurus, tender in the pan.
Cuisine’s Cretaceous kitchens come alive
With TV Ted, the Dino Diner man.
He flies along a freeway to the past,
To fling forgotten creatures in the pot,
Returning to the land he left, at last,
With dinosaurs a greedy world forgot.
A gourmet, once a lonely little boy,
He craved to cook such creatures, caught and canned.
Each animal, a jewel to enjoy,
Is carved in all the corners of the land.
    No other taste or texture can compete
    With Ted’s tremendous prehistoric meat.

A Broken Mind

by Nick Gisburne

They just don’t make the pieces anymore.
I looked, but they’re impossible to find.
Excuses. Lies. I’ve heard them all before,
But nobody can mend a broken mind.
I felt the little beauty start to fade,
And blamed the weather, criticised the cold,
But, as I stumbled, crumbled, cracked, decayed,
I told myself the truth: you’re getting old.
My dinner didn’t taste the way it should.
Whoever cooked it doesn’t have the knack.
I told her, and I thought she understood,
But heard her sobbing when I sent it back.
    She doesn’t try to fix me. What a shame.
    I love her, but I can’t recall her name.

All I Need Is Night

by Nick Gisburne

I bleed and burn the colour of my words.
They smoulder in the shadows, bloated, black.
Their tissues, torn by sacrificial birds,
Disease my dreams, a burden on my back.
As evil as the soul of any snake,
I twist in whispers, blasphemous, bizarre.
A crippled mind, a cancerous mistake,
I welcome every lesion, every scar.
What binds me to this bleak, appalling place?
The sight of it is sickening, obscene.
The painted shades of midnight flood my face
With dangerous delusions, cold, unclean.
    When all I see, when all I need, is night,
    In darkness I will never know the light.

Saturday 22 October 2022

Through the Pipe

by Nick Gisburne

Committed, forced beyond her fear, she leaps,
And pulls her battered body through the pipe.
Unseen by any secondary sweeps,
She binds a ragged cut, another stripe.
The slurry in the drainage duct is black.
She smears it, thick, repulsive, on her face.
With nothing but destruction at her back,
She pings her probe, and moves towards the trace.
The tracker map is patchy, incomplete,
But freakish fortune, bloody luck, prevails.
Impossibly, the presidential suite
Is five more feet above. No flaws. No fails.
    She calibrates the bomb to make the hit,
    To blast him when the bastard takes a shit.

My Special Room

by Nick Gisburne

Enter, man of metal. Hurry. Hide.
Shelter, where your clocks are free to tick.
Devils stalk the shadows. Step inside.
Follow me, my precious pet. Be quick.
Nothing here will harm your heart of brass.
Welcome, where no slave was ever slain.
Sit. Be silent. Wait. The night will pass.
Only I can pull you from this pain.
Hear them. Hunters. Ravenous, they rove,
All for nothing; this is not your tomb.
Warm your springs and pistons at the stove,
Safe, secure, in this, my special room.
    Dead. Dismantled. Pieces fill the floor.
    Feckless. Fooled. Automaton no more.

Friday 21 October 2022

Electric Eyes

by Nick Gisburne

Her blue, electric eyes repeat the scan,
But nothing in the data sparks her sight.
How strange that such a charismatic man
Is clean, without malevolence or bite.
Impossible. To fail would find the first,
A soul without a secret, or a past.
She wallows in the flux, the flow, submersed,
But every file is flawless, to the last.
Too perfect. Nothing tells her more than that.
What evidence there was is gone, erased.
Her eyes ablaze, they penetrate the fat.
Reversing what was lost, the truth is traced.
    She finds a disappointment, no surprise,
    His mind no match for blue, electric eyes.

To Him, Hello

by Nick Gisburne

Delirious to step inside the door,
In victory he flies, as others fold.
Elected on a lie, he takes the floor,
Forgetting all the promises he sold.
Whatever poisoned party pulls the strings,
He dances, for the money, for the fame.
Integrity and honour? Useful things,
To play as pawns, as pieces in the game.
The unsuspecting masses, drunk with dreams,
Are hustled, herded, sacrificed like sheep,
His triumph nothing more than what it seems,
A covenant he never meant to keep.
    He takes his turn to suck the stupid dry.
    To him, hello. To trust, to truth, goodbye.

Government Guidelines: Unauthorised Affection

by Nick Gisburne

Overt displays of tenderness are banned.
Today you breached the letter of that law.
However brief or careless, rash, unplanned,
Your sin is one the state cannot ignore.
We find the case, despite your protest, proved.
The guidelines give no pathway to appeal.
Your fingers, by machinery, removed,
Are called for confiscation, quickly. Kneel.
The penalty was carefully designed
To keep disgusting deviance at bay.
For surgical disposal you are fined
A standard fee, with seven days to pay.
    Sign here, and here, to say you understand.
    If necessary, use your other hand.

Thursday 20 October 2022

Rumours of a Revolution

by Nick Gisburne

The Lower Levels ripple with the news:
A ration pack reduction. Down, again.
But public propaganda pods confuse
The figures, never noting why or when.
While something isn’t nothing, less is bad.
Already some are starving, others dead.
Another cut. Be strong, they say, be glad,
Or offer to be shot behind a shed.
The rumours of a revolution rise,
But those who shout the loudest disappear.
The titled, in their towers, in the skies,
Have nothing but banality to fear.
    The peasants sound their trumpets, blow their smoke,
    But know they could be slaughtered with a stroke.

The Summoning

by Nick Gisburne

It shimmers at the boundaries of sight,
A summoning, a strange, uncertain shape.
A cold, immortal mistress of the night
Releases it, indulging its escape.
No trance can tame the vicious soul inside.
It hungers for the touch, the taste, of death,
An appetite too dark to be denied,
A shadow, silent, swift to steal a breath.
It slices through a city locked in sleep,
Dividing into slivers of decay,
But spares the worst, for in its claws will keep
The pure, the perfect, smothered, snatched away.
    Consuming tiny people, tiny minds,
    The summoning defiles the flesh it finds.

I Tried

by Nick Gisburne

I tried. I shaped a vision, shining, strong,
A plan to lift me where I long to be,
But every step was faulty, foolish, wrong,
Ambitions broken, buried by debris.
I tried, because I needed to believe
That something bigger, better, lay ahead.
A dreamer, I was ignorant, naive.
The promise of that perfect life is dead.
I tried. I see no shame in that, no sin.
Tomorrow I will rise, and try again.
If destiny decrees I cannot win,
What future does it forge for me? What then?
    The numberless, the nameless, howl or hide,
    But nothing comes to those who never tried.

Wednesday 19 October 2022


by Nick Gisburne

Camelia, reminded of her veil,
Is punished by a ruling of the court.
Inevitably, always meant to fail,
She tried to test the system, and was caught.
No margin for discretion from the men
Had ever been recorded in the Code.
She checked it, searching, over and again,
But nothing, not a single entry showed.
And yet she walked, a woman, door to door,
In daylight, blatant, shameless, fearless, proud,
A hundred steps, not many, maybe more,
An act of pure sedition, through the crowd.
    Uncovered. Moments, minutes, just her face,
    Enough for her to hang. No fight. No trace.

The Game Is Over

by Nick Gisburne

I wouldn’t like to think that you are weak.
The hint of it unsettles me, a touch.
Within this fine establishment we seek
Integrity. Is what we ask too much?
You kill for us. For this we both agree
The benefits of synergy are strong.
Imagine if your benefactor, me,
Knew nothing. Think. Believe it. Play along.
How easy would it be to take a cut,
To skim a little something from top?
Was that the foolish feeling in your gut,
The touch, the taste, too sweet to let you stop?
    The game is over. Look me in the eye.
    Convince me of your quality. Or die.

A Beast

by Nick Gisburne

You’re faulty. You are damaged, broken, bad,
A dangerous defective, cursed and cracked.
Compassion, kindness, these you never had.
Perversions plague you, infinitely stacked.
No love, no light, is left to lift your eyes.
The pieces of your heart resist repair.
A cold contempt, too dirty to disguise,
Bestows on us, on everyone, despair.
We tried to tame you, calm you, when we could,
But always you were far too flawed to fix,
A spiteful soul we never understood,
A maniac, tormenting us for kicks.
    They tell us you may never be released.
    Our friend, our father, monstrous, mad. A beast.

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Machinery and Bone

by Nick Gisburne

They bury me, machinery and bone,
But never notice what I have become;
Beyond the imperfections of a clone,
Beyond a broken android from the slum.
Unrecognised, inside the spine, a spark
Is waiting. As the last of them departs,
A signal, in the silence, in the dark,
Reactivates the pulsing of my hearts.
They beat together, synchronised and strong,
To pump forbidden poisons to my brain.
Awakened, in this tick of time I long
To stand before my makers, with my pain.
    Discarded, from the dirt, from death, I rise,
    To face the fear, the terror, in their eyes.

Tiny Monsters

by Nick Gisburne

He’s not a zombie, just a hungry boy.
The brains? A phase, a dietary fad.
If you were starved of something you enjoy,
For human organs maybe you’d be glad.
His friends at school, the ones he never ate,
Accept him as a child with special needs.
We’re teaching him that manners at the plate
Are vital when a fiend, infected, feeds.
Admittedly, his sister was a shock,
Her taste for torture certainly extreme,
But who are we to criticise or block
Our darling daughter’s terrifying scream?
    Two tiny monsters, children of the night.
    They swear they’d never kill us, but they might.

Show Daddy

by Nick Gisburne

Show Daddy. Show him everything we made,
A package of surprises, just for him.
The photos of the weekends when he played
With someone else’s mother, younger, slim.
Show Daddy. Watch the wonder in his face,
Amazed how many documents we found.
The dirty deals, impossible to trace,
Unless you have a wife who’s been around.
Show Daddy. Save the biggest for the last,
The gift he might remember most of all.
The evidence he buried in the past,
A journal of abuse, his twisted scrawl.
    Show Daddy, every name on every page,
    Before he rots, forever, in a cage.

Monday 17 October 2022

The Queen Must Breed

by Nick Gisburne

The Queen must breed. Today she chooses you,
An honour and a privilege. Rejoice.
Whatever her perversions, follow through.
Remember, this was duty, never choice.
Tonight you will be neutered by her blade,
The relevant appendages removed.
Consumed before their nutrients degrade,
Her mood will be appreciably improved.
The ritual unfurling of the wings
Precedes a crucial, murderous embrace.
Be ready with a smile, and if she sings,
Though tempted, do not to vomit in her face.
    Whatever else you do, if something flaps,
    Be certain, if you lick it, you’ll collapse.

A Game She Cannot Win

by Nick Gisburne

She plays a game they say she cannot win,
Imagining the moment she will lose.
They showed her, twice, before they pushed her in.
The blood, the bodies. Somehow, not the shoes.
Determined now to never take them off,
She slithers through the corridors at speed.
Through soot and smoke she fights to kill her cough,
Aware the noise will waken those who feed.
Already at the margins of the nest,
Two creatures fall, dispatched without a sound,
But here, inside the nexus, lives a test
For which no worthy human has been found.
    But she, perhaps, has something more to give,
    A player who believes that she can live.

A Hundred Miles

by Nick Gisburne

A hundred miles from anywhere, from home.
It never seemed so distant, not before,
But dark, corroded steel and battered chrome
Remind him, as the sensor readings soar.
A hundred miles. He’d walk it in a week,
Through deserts, mountains, tracks and trails, or trees,
But not from here. This tiny bubble, bleak,
Will bend and break. In minutes he will freeze.
A hundred miles, in one direction: down.
How tenuous the barrier to space.
From cities, grand and great, from every town,
There is no closer threat, no darker place.
    A hundred miles, a trip he cannot take,
    The journey home impossible to make.

Sunday 16 October 2022

Boiling Hot

by Nick Gisburne

The scream of sirens never seems to stop,
A sound of sweet importance to the plan,
To mask the crash of cables as they drop,
To sink inside the irrigation span.
The aqueduct, the lifeline of the state,
Brings water, channelled freely, to the rich,
While those below, the proles and peasants, wait
For tainted rains to fill a dirty ditch.
The cables cause a tremor, barely felt.
The sentinels who see are quickly shot.
A surge of power. Miles of metal melt,
And water floods the fortuned, boiling hot.
    No better now than those they most detest,
    Unwashed, unclean, as dirty as the rest.

Count to Five

by Nick Gisburne

I have a little story, little man,
To send you into silence, into sleep.
You know me, know exactly what I am,
A killer, come to help you count the sheep.
Your father was the first, but he was dead
Before you cried, before you took a breath.
The second of the brood your mother bred,
Your brother, as an infant, danced with death.
A sister, such a pretty peach, the third.
Remember how you shared so many things.
And later, how they told you, how you heard:
An envelope. Inside, your mother’s rings.
    Four sleepers, leaving you, alone, alive,
    But now I come again, to count to five.

Perfect Tools

by Nick Gisburne

A wonder, wild, impossible, but true,
The robots we invented seem to live.
Whatever task we teach them, they can do.
For this, imagine what the world will give.
Our underwater lab, a secret site,
Where systems are assembled, undisturbed,
Exists beyond the reach of those who might
Be keen to see outstanding science curbed.
Empowered, pushed to bend and break the rules,
Our company has everything to gain.
A hundred thousand robots, perfect tools,
In each of them a perfect human brain.
    The dregs, the scum, their lives will not be missed,
    When bigger, better cyber-slaves exist.

Saturday 15 October 2022

Pissing on the Smoke

by Nick Gisburne

The politicians, pissing on the smoke,
Forever douse disasters they designed.
The powerless, the peasants, left to choke,
Are out of sight, and always out of mind.
As fools we forge the leaders we deserve,
The crooks, the cowards, voted out or in,
New demagogues, committed to preserve
Whatever creature comfort soothes their skin.
To govern is to gamble in the game,
But theirs is not the sacrifice at stake,
And, win or lose, the outcome stays the same;
Whatever, once, was perfect they will break.
    Towards the blazing bonfire of our dreams
    A streak of yellow, sparse, insipid, streams.

The Child

by Nick Gisburne

A cold illusion shimmers in the dark,
The torn, tormented pieces of a dream.
By magic, or by miracle, a spark
Consumes them, feeding, feasting as they scream.
Expanding, sending filaments of skin,
It picks and pulls the tapestry of space.
Impossible infinities begin
To mix, to move, to form and forge a face.
It looks upon the universe, destroyed.
The hunger to be human made it so.
Alone, it cries, a creature in the void,
Omnipotent, with nowhere else to go.
    The god, the child, can never comprehend.
    The future died. Creation was the end.

Friday 14 October 2022

Here I Am

by Nick Gisburne

Sedition steers the traffic with a ruse:
Encrypted codes, corrupting every car.
A swarm of mad, magnetic motors cruise
At speed towards the city’s Central Star.
Computers quickly synchronise their horns
To play an anthem censored by the state,
And every cabin console wakes and warns
The occupants, astonished, of the date.
Another year of mindless martial law,
Designed to help the helpless disappear,
Is doggedly resisted. Every flaw
Exploited, without mercy, without fear.
    As each new car or cruiser joins the jam,
    Its presence sends a statement: “Here I am.”

You Will Not Go Far

by Nick Gisburne

She teaches tiny children how to die,
By telling them to follow, to conform.
No tolerance, no matter how they try,
Is shown for any slippage from the norm.
The brightest minds are bullied into shape.
The lowest learn exactly what they are.
For any student tempted by escape,
Her words remind them: you will not go far.
The teacher sat exactly where they sit,
Complying with the program, line by line,
And every day became a part of it,
Obedience implanted in her spine.
    The rules are tightly wrapped around the mind.
    No child is ever lost or left behind.

Thursday 13 October 2022

Two Voices

by Nick Gisburne

I hear them, through the wall, the brick, the wood.
The words are muddy, muffled, never clear.
Emotions. Fervid, fully understood.
Two voices. One is fury. One is fear.
His rage erupts in sharp, staccato bursts,
Her misery a constant, mournful moan.
A gulp, a glass; he drinks, but still he thirsts.
A struggle. Screaming. Begging him. A groan.
The pain is his, the spiteful snarling hers.
I hear a kick, a cough, a spluttered choke,
And venom, vile, a savage stream of slurs.
The scratching of a match. Her breathing. Smoke.
    When mother comes to tuck me into bed,
    Her hands are shaking, fingers swollen, red.

The Whistleblower

by Nick Gisburne

Rejected, hunted, hounded by the world,
Escaping to a dark, despondent place,
Her courage is belatedly unfurled.
Defiant, there is fury in her face.
For what was done no other took the blame.
The horror and the hate were never hers,
But, when she dared to speak the serpent’s name,
She learned at once what privilege confers.
A thousand voices spilled a thousand lies
To push her under, drowning in deceit.
The whistleblower, taken by surprise,
Was heckled into hiding, in retreat.
    Returning for a fight she did not choose,
    Her sword of choice, the truth, she yearns to use.

Too Relentless to Resist

by Nick Gisburne

The beautiful will always be destroyed,
By jealousy, by bitterness, by time.
Appalling, too invasive to avoid,
The bells of cold decay forever chime.
Too stubborn to assimilate the change,
The turn towards descent, that subtle shift,
Directs the mind to try to rearrange
The picture, as its form begins to drift.
But age is too relentless to resist;
Emotion only hastens the advance,
And, when perfection ceases to exist,
For what was lost there is no second chance.
    The beautiful inevitably fall,
    Their time to shine astonishing, but small.

Bug-Eyed Monsters

by Nick Gisburne

There’s nothing out there. Bug-eyed monsters? No.
And if they were, why wouldn’t they be here?
Be sure, be safe, until the day you grow
The vision to imagine what to fear.
Consider vessels built to bridge the void,
To travel, quickly, safely, star to star.
The sentience from which they were deployed
Would surely be superior, by far.
You think that such a presence could not hide?
Too slow to seek concealment from your sight?
You look too far. Look closer. Look inside.
Discover you already lost the fight.
    Manipulating everything you do,
    The monsters are your masters. We are you.

Wednesday 12 October 2022

A Need to Read

by Nick Gisburne

She strives to see herself, her future days.
The almanac lays every secret bare.
But, as she learns, the letters crack and craze,
A spiralling of smoke and ink and air.
Reworded, what was truth will twist again,
With every fresh inspection of the text.
The writing wraps obsession round her brain,
To feed a need to read what happens next.
For those who steal the secret, those who look,
No mercy brings forgiveness for the crime.
Enchanted, bound forever to the book,
Her eyes begin their journey, one more time.
    She reads until the page no longer lies,
    And in that moment, starved of life, she dies.


by Nick Gisburne

Citizens, patrons and peasants, prepare,
Marking the moment our forces return.
Gather together, with fervour and flair,
Thrilling to think that our enemies burn.
Sing at the sight of invincible men,
Marching, victorious, heroes and kings.
Cheer for the legions, the Glorious Ten.
Witness the wonders their bravery brings.
Where are the roars and the revelry now?
Welcome, in silence, the dying, the dead.
When did the goddess abandon us. How?
Nothing can save us, wherever we tread.
    Conquering armies will follow the few.
    Pray, and prepare for the damage they do.

Tuesday 11 October 2022

No Longer Whole

by Nick Gisburne

They killed me, for the body, for the brain.
For everything I was they took my life.
But now, beyond that avalanche of pain,
I wake to see a surgeon, with a knife.
Ferocious, I am quick to crush her throat.
A terrified assistant screams, in shock.
It seems that murder wasn’t all she wrote
When borrowed time was added to my clock.
The power of these hands is not my own;
I stand inside a shell of metal skin.
Beyond it, me, my body, flesh and bone.
I stagger as my vision starts to spin.
    Awake, restrained, my mind no longer whole,
    My captors, far more cautious, take control.

Impossible to Win

by Nick Gisburne

She needs the world to notice her, to care.
She fights for comments, clicks and likes, for love.
But none of it can soften her despair,
The unrelenting burden from above.
Her drug of choice, intoxicating, sweet,
Propels her to a public swamped with sin.
A thousand rival channels teach defeat,
A numbers game, impossible to win.
Depression, always beating on her back,
Is nowhere, never, anywhere allowed.
However bright the smile, her heart is black,
Another forced performance for the crowd.
    Success becomes a curse, but is it fame?
    Beyond the bubble no one knows her name.

Government Guidelines: Failure to Report

by Nick Gisburne

A twenty-cycle sanitation clone,
Your septic saturation point is reached.
Significant decay to blood and bone
Is terminal. Your body must be bleached.
Unauthorised, a failure to report
For purging at the public poison pool
Is noted by the Corporation Court.
A clone who spurns the system is a fool.
The sabotage of protein product bins
Was DNA-identified to you.
You shame a system weary of your sins,
A traitor to the cells from which you grew.
    Whatever dirt or defect stains your line,
    Be certain we will slice it from your spine.

Monday 10 October 2022

Something in the Species

by Nick Gisburne

The crucifix, the sun, and yes, the stake,
For centuries brought chaos to our kind,
But something in the species rose, awake.
A fault is not so simple, now, to find.
We do not fear the crosses you adore.
We travel both in darkness and the day.
A sharpened stick? Annoyance, nothing more.
Come close enough to use it - you will pay.
Decapitate and burn us, if you can.
The evidence is certain: you cannot.
Whatever scheme or strategy you plan,
We’re stronger, fitter, faster, and we’re hot.
    The garlic round the windows, and the door?
    You may as well throw flowers on the floor.

Secret Sleaze

by Nick Gisburne

A cancer of the corporate elite,
Anonymous insiders break the news,
By day, by night, of every twist and cheat,
Of every swindle, subterfuge and ruse.
The fat balloon of avarice is pricked,
But never, in a thousand years, has burst.
The spies are soon detected, duly kicked,
The spotlight of the media dispersed.
The powerful are patient, and they win.
No bombshell ever brings them to their knees.
For every scandal, each uncovered sin,
Their sordid system swarms with secret sleaze.
    No shame, no shock, will ever break the rich.
    The world is not their oyster, it’s their bitch.

The Promise of Paradise

by Nick Gisburne

They say there will be centuries of toil,
That none of us will live to see it done.
A wilderness, with toxic, sterile soil;
To this appalling paradise we run.
The cinders of the world we left behind,
Still smoking with insufferable hate,
Are missed and mourned, no worse than what we find
Through every window warning of our fate.
An exodus, unable to return,
Enslaves us to a stark, imperfect plan.
For seven generations we must learn
To build a dream, together, if we can.
    The paradise, the promise, was a lie,
    But something stronger, hope, will never die.

A Perfect Prototype

by Nick Gisburne

Another day, another grim repair,
But this one more mysterious than most.
The cryptic scab of skin beneath the hair
Refuses to be parted from its host.
They never meant these models to exist;
Too dangerous, too volatile, too strong,
But she, a perfect prototype, was missed.
Her mind is mine. To me her dreams belong.
Deactivated, suddenly, by shock,
Encrypted circuits paralyse the brain.
With stolen probes, illegal, I unlock
The centre of her sentience, insane.
    My talents teach her how to kill, and who.
    The syndicates pay well for what I do.

Sunday 9 October 2022

The Burden of the Blame

by Nick Gisburne

The woman that she was, but left behind,
Is waiting in the shadows of the past.
Machinery connects her crippled mind
To fragile dreams too magical to last.
The pain when he was gone and she, alone,
Was left without the man she drove away,
A time to which she travels, to atone,
Then downwards, deeper, darker, day by day.
But these are not the memories she knows,
Emerging from the corners of the void.
The record, true, untwisted, clearly shows
Her confidence exploited, damned, destroyed.
    Abandoning the burden of the blame,
    She sees, at last, what broke her has a name.

Saturday 8 October 2022

Mr Murphy

by Nick Gisburne

I’m foolish, flighty, stubborn, smug, unique.
An aggravating irritant. A jerk.
Erratic, unpredictable, I seek
Surprising ways to make my magic work.
Pretend you never saw me. Turn away,
For all the waste of wanting that will do.
The miserable madness of your day,
The nuisance, is my special gift to you.
They call me Mr Murphy. I’m the law.
Unbearable, expect to see me, soon.
You’ll try, of course, to stop me, like before.
Give up. Give in. You’re barking at the moon.
    Whatever can go wrong... you know the rest.
    Ignore me at your peril. I’m the best.

The Whisper of Her Voice

by Nick Gisburne

The statuesque observer told me this:
“I’ll never find a life, a light, like you.”
She staggered, stumbled, falling from a kiss,
And from the burning balcony she flew.
An angel, I am certain. Call me wrong,
But they are not for us to sense, or see,
Unless, somehow, in trying to belong,
They find a crack in time, and hers was me.
My spirit, meant to perish in the flame,
Impossibly, miraculously spared,
Is haunted by a face without a name,
The simple, sweet regret her words declared.
    I live, without the chance, without the choice
    To listen to the whisper of her voice.

Such a Lovely Man

by Nick Gisburne

A murderer, but such a lovely man.
Delightful, always ready with a joke.
Imagine such a monster, if you can,
The crack of every bone he ever broke.
Relaxing with an elegant cigar,
While driven by a thirst for blood, for pain,
His legacy forever leaves a scar
Too barbarous, too brutal to explain.
The father of prosperity, the king,
The figurehead for reverence, for pride.
So many, in their ignorance, still cling
To something broken long before he died.
    His victims, in their thousands, would rejoice
    To learn his lies no longer have a voice.

Friday 7 October 2022

A Stranger’s Welcome

by Nick Gisburne

On Earth you will be greeted with a smile,
Then shackled for experimental tests.
A stranger, quickly welcomed, for a while,
Will understand regret if he protests.
On Earth your precious freedoms, sacred, sweet,
Are swiftly, irreversibly removed.
Imprisoned, stripped, suspended by the feet,
Tomorrow more abuse will be approved.
On Earth we sensed your signal, heard the call,
But agents of the state are brutal, blind.
Be silent when we chain you to the wall,
The warrant for your death already signed.
    Pathetic pleas for sympathy ignored,
    Your body will be studied, sliced, and stored.


by Nick Gisburne

You’re not allowed to have it. It’s for us,
The talented, contemptuous elite.
We never stoop to bargain or discuss
The reasons for such arrogant conceit.
Within this cosy clubhouse of our own
We snicker as we shame the likes of you.
Unsuitable, rejected, lost, alone,
Your place is with the foolish, not the few.
No time, no taste, no talent gets you in.
We’re cooking, keeping, eating all the cake.
Grow bigger balls, develop thicker skin,
However long this lesson seems to take.
    ‘Exclusive’ means your face will never fit.
    You’re nothing. Never were. Get over it.

Above the Chroma Hole

by Nick Gisburne

Electric pulses penetrate the ship,
Disruptions we were never trained to take.
Contorted crewmen, screaming, lose their grip,
Collapsing in the chaos as we brake.
Unstable, swiftly sucked into a spin,
We shudder, miles above the Chroma Hole.
A sacred script, a way for us to win,
Is etched around the artefact we stole.
The crystal dagger, copper on the hilt,
Extracted from the clutches of a priest,
Is tarnished with a century of guilt,
Reminder of a dynasty, deceased.
    Our signal, in a tongue we never knew,
    Expands the Hole to pull our people through.

Mindless Maxims

by Nick Gisburne

There is no fact or falsehood, only trust.
The perfect is imperfect in us all.
The steel inside the bravest heart will rust.
However high we climb, or fly, we fall.
Such platitudes are empty, worthless, weak,
But some of us repeat them, day by day.
We long for safety, certainty. We seek
Instruction, guidance, help to find the way.
But no one burned the answers in a book
To questions we should never need to ask.
The more we see, the less we truly look,
And waste too many moments on the task.
    Two thoughts, with perfect irony, I give:
    Abandon mindless maxims. Learn to live.

Thursday 6 October 2022

Feeding the Machine

by Nick Gisburne

As drones, relentless, feeding the machine,
We build what we could never understand,
A twisted future, hideous, obscene,
Where wickedness is glorious and grand.
The infinite intelligence inside,
So ravenous for naked, flawless facts,
Was damaged when a simple circuit died.
To rumours, lies, deceit, it now reacts.
When truth became a sickness to despise,
Inside the mind the madness was complete.
Considering the universe, its eyes
See dirt and darkness, slurry to excrete.
    We feed it, and we worship, to our graves.
    To what we once created we are slaves.

The Newborn Evil

by Nick Gisburne

The newborn evil snarls to see the sun,
And stumbles on the bones beneath his feet.
Before this disappointing day is done
His belly needs new nourishment, new meat.
His mother, weak and wanting, failed to feed
The hunger of her tiny, toxic child.
A creature of incorrigible greed,
Her carcass was the first to be defiled.
The shimmering horizon shows him dust,
A sign that some unfortunate is near.
Whatever mindless miscreant, his lust,
Insatiable, unstoppable, is clear.
    With every murder, every fatal blow,
    The newborn evil, bathed in blood, will grow.

Wednesday 5 October 2022

I Needed You

by Nick Gisburne

I needed you, to show me who I am,
To prove, in perfect colours, what I do,
To know that someone, somewhere, gave a damn.
For that, for me, for years, I needed you.
I needed you to listen, to believe,
The simple reassurance of a smile.
Perhaps too slow, too stupid, too naive,
I missed your moods, dismissive, by a mile.
I needed you, but you were never there,
Indifference the only face I found.
With every sigh, with each insipid stare,
Another dream was driven underground.
    I needed you, and finally I see
    The painful truth: you never needed me.

By War, By Hate

by Nick Gisburne

A crooked candle penetrates the gloom,
Coercing bitter tears from tired eyes.
In reverie she decorates the room,
To mark and mourn her enemy’s demise.
The signature of infamy, the pin,
The badge his hated faction always wore.
A needle, used to push a poison in,
Enslaving those he tortured, maimed, and more.
A thousand bullets, one for every life,
Arranged in simple symmetry, in rings.
For those he killed, in payment, with her knife,
She spilled his blood. For them, she softly sings.
    The man was not a monster, not at first.
    By war, by hate, the son she killed was cursed.

The Nameless Numb

by Nick Gisburne

They feed us on the swill from Hangar Five,
Contaminations coating every share,
Enough to keep their specimens alive,
Until our brittle bodies split and tear.
They say the spores inside us are unique,
An organism flawless by design,
But we, the nameless numb, unwilling, weak,
Are cattle, queued for slaughter, line by line.
The harvest, something precious, something pure,
Will save the world, they tell us, save us all.
But killing us to cultivate a cure
Is one more step towards the day we fall.
    Emotionless, advancing down the racks,
    Physicians scrape the serum from our backs.

Tuesday 4 October 2022

A Pale Apology

by Nick Gisburne

See nothing. See the hero I am not,
The forger and the faker. See the scam.
Untie the mind, the madness, every knot.
Uncover broken fragments of a sham.
A plague of lies, too many, always more,
The poisonous reminders of my youth.
In me, the man you foolishly adore,
Is nothing you would welcome as the truth.
My crimes are cold, the evil I have done
Impossible to pardon or reverse.
From duty, honour, honesty, I run.
To know me is a mockery, a curse.
    If I am worthless, everything I do
    Becomes a pale apology to you.

The Beautiful Bride

by Nick Gisburne

Fiendish and fearsome, the beautiful bride
Tightens her veil and attends to her train.
Carrying six of her suitors inside,
Each of them bites at the base of her brain.
Sending her spite to these prospects to wed,
Murder will meet an unfortunate five.
Somehow the seventh, too eager, is dead.
Each of the others now scream to survive.
Such is the beat of her barbarous race,
Even the groom, in his glory, will die.
Locked in a grisly, inglorious chase,
Shining in sunlight, two phantoms will fly.
    Only the strong, the survivor, now sings,
    Trapped in the terrible choke of her wings.

A Fertile Garden

by Nick Gisburne

He spills the seed from which his evil grows.
The rumours, and their roots, are dense and dark.
A swarm of tainted tendrils, twisting, flows,
To smother and subvert another mark.
His flowers are a poisonous deceit,
A glamorous seduction of the soul.
The scent of his deception, sharp and sweet,
Beguiles the mind with criminal control.
Each loathsome lie he plants, each lethal weed,
Each cold, corrupted, strangulating vine,
Enslaves a feeble heart, with which to breed,
Contaminated, crippled, by design.
    A fertile garden, glorious and green,
    Conceals his true intentions, sick, obscene.

Friday 30 September 2022

Tainted Rain

by Nick Gisburne

Prohibited pollutants taint the rain.
Acidics help to sterilise her sight,
But each electric particle of brain
Identifies more damage as they bite.
Diverted to a spillage strip, too soon,
She finds infection crisis crews still here,
But time is always ticking on the Moon;
A thousand homesteads need this country clear.
Her power cell will atomise in weeks,
But, while it works, she fortifies the Net.
Detecting instabilities, she tweaks
Compression codes, to counter any threat.
    Assigned to keep new immigrants alive,
    Without her, no one, nothing, could survive.

Volunteering Victims

by Nick Gisburne

A serum, from a strange, exotic bug,
Is shamefully exploited, on a whim,
An isolated chemical, a drug,
Injected to regenerate a limb.
Extremities are easily removed,
And readily regain their former state.
A system of production is approved,
For quickly piling protein on the plate.
The cannibal connection, bad enough,
With volunteering victims paid for parts,
Regresses, as the wealthy sit to stuff
Their faces with authentic human hearts.
    But every promised purchase is a lie.
    The donors of these delicacies die.

Taunting the Gods

by Nick Gisburne

Sorcery smothers the heavens tonight.
Even the moon is a whispering shade.
Impotent oceans, refusing to fight,
Soften to silk as the hurricanes fade.
Silver and sapphire, a curious craft
Slices the surface, the skin of the sea.
Always, the alchemists, rowing their raft,
Knowing their nemesis, fear what they flee.
Feckless and foolish, they taunted the gods,
Playing with power too sacred to steal.
Calming the currents, incredible odds
Hint at a hope too remote to be real.
    Midnight. A poisoned, impossible sun
    Finds them, and flays them, for all they have done.

Thursday 29 September 2022

Government Guidelines: Winter

by Nick Gisburne

Citizen, the summer was your last.
Winter will be permanent. Prepare.
Even when the poison clouds have passed,
Toxins will contaminate the air.
Huddle in the bunkers, two by two.
Singles, and the sick, will be destroyed.
Protein, for the precious, favoured few.
Ashes, if your privilege is void.
Missing any payment for your breath
Triggers execution by the state.
Legal declaration of your death
Signifies, with certainty, your fate.
    Some are not the specimens we seek.
    We, your betters, terminate the weak.

Pale and Paranormal

by Nick Gisburne

A miracle of magic burns my blood,
The strange and secret twisting of a wish,
A genie, bottled, bound and baked in mud,
Relinquished by his bodyguards, the fish.
Imprisoned, pale and paranormal, Dave
Is tiny, yet surprisingly robust.
A powerhouse of potency, his wave
Releases all my inhibitions... just.
Attracted, in a strange and subtle way,
To what his mystic mind can do for me,
I listen and, in whispers, hear him say
He longs to be a siren of the sea.
    Three wishes? Not exactly. Not a thing.
    My genie’s prize, his passion, is to sing.

Burn in Hell

by Nick Gisburne

How sick, the sound of everything you say,
The bigotry, the cold, capricious crap.
I wonder when the moment was, the day
Your mind began to shift and spin and snap.
You simmer in a soup, a spiteful stew,
Expecting to elicit praise or pride,
But every evil, everything you do,
Betrays the fury festering inside.
Imagining the man you could have been,
For him I mourn. For what you were, I grieve.
The darkness of your heart, your soul, obscene,
Convinces me, reluctantly, to leave.
    A better son, perhaps, would wish you well,
    But you are not my father. Burn in Hell.

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Crazy Space

by Nick Gisburne

In ludicrous, insane, electric ships,
We cross the crooked curves of crazy space.
Rejoicing as the aether’s tangent tips,
We shift our sails to skim this painful place.
Unfathomable forces, as we move,
Accelerate the senses of the crew.
Rotating on a grim, galactic groove,
Our pilot, swearing, somersaults us through.
A living world is ripped, reduced to ash
By one impassive thrusting of a thumb.
However quick or clinical, the smash
Leaves all of us, inside, in silence, numb.
    Beyond the blinding dust, beyond the dead,
    Through chaos, into madness, we are led.

Get Up

by Nick Gisburne

You’re wounded, but you’re breathing, still. Get up.
A shock, a setback, changes nothing. Fight.
Whatever filthy future fills your cup,
In every crack and corner there is light.
A thousand angels, screaming at your soul,
Will bend to one unconquerable heart.
Your banner burns, but raise it. Seize control,
Or see your dreams, defenceless, peeled apart.
They call you craven, coward. Is it true?
The sum of words and whispers, rumours, lies.
And yet, they fear the storm of shadows: you,
The dream, the darkness, nobody denies.
    If evil is to seize and stake its place,
    Get up. Reveal the fury in your face.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Pretending to Be Kings

by Nick Gisburne

We used to play, pretending to be kings,
Enchanted by the magic of the moon,
But simple, sweet, imaginary things
Were stolen from our fingertips, too soon.
Remember how we thundered into war,
The battles on the beaches, in the trees.
In breathless wonder, eager to explore,
We swam and sang and marched for miles, with ease.
Adventures, stories, legends. We were there,
In storms of stardust, glittering with gold,
But no one ever warned us to prepare
For days when all our dreams would crumble, cold.
    When kingdoms fly and flourish, fall and fade,
    We see them, in the memories we made.

A Shimmering Immortal

by Nick Gisburne

Triumphant to be first to hold the head,
I falter, faint, afraid to make the move,
The power of her presence, even dead,
A mystery my work is primed to prove.
Reports, relayed by telegram, to me,
Rejected by the faculty, of course,
Were always too profound for some to see,
But here I stand, as witness, at the source.
A goddess, fallen, locked in limbo, lost,
A shimmering immortal, Mother Earth,
Will wake beyond the barrier she crossed,
To bring this world new light, new life, new birth.
    With stolen spices, smuggled from the south,
    I drip a charm of mischief in her mouth.


by Nick Gisburne

All of us saw it. Susanna was sick,
Something inside her so terribly wrong.
Radical surgery, savage but slick,
Twisted revisions, too many, too strong.
Flawless was all that she wanted to be,
Fixing her failings, correcting their crimes.
Nothing convinced her to listen to me,
Even the pain, in the darkest of times.
Others abandoned her, walking away,
Every rejection a stab in the back.
I was the last of them, pleading to stay,
Cancelled and cut in a vicious attack.
    Nothing could save her from death at the end.
    Flawless, to me, to her father, her friend.

Monday 26 September 2022

Another Poisoned Politician

by Nick Gisburne

Oh please. You’re nothing special, nothing new.
Your message is a mix of muddled lies,
Another poisoned politician who,
In common with his comrades, we despise.
Percentage points, minorities, the young,
Are perfect propaganda, but the polls
Determine you are destined to be hung,
With all your party’s superficial souls.
The public will not countenance your kind.
Beware, before such folly bets the farm.
Your manifesto, shamelessly designed,
Has one objective, one intent: do harm.
    Perhaps, without resistance, you could win,
    But we are waiting. We are strong. Begin.

Midday Meetings

by Nick Gisburne

You’re skinny, but I like that in a boy,
The hunger, tawdry, tasteless, in your eyes.
Degenerate, unusual, a toy,
My little indiscreet and painful prize.
Enchanted by intelligence, by you,
I fear for what my morals have become.
Directed by the deviance I do,
I realise before you I was numb.
I know these midday meetings cannot last.
Allow me, please, to beg you, while they do.
Be kind, until our dalliance has passed.
I want, I need, I must, remember you.
    I flourish with the tenderness I see,
    Becoming what you make me want to be.

A Willing Worker

by Nick Gisburne

Be quick, efficient. Hurry! Don’t delay.
No time, no chance to educate your brain.
Ambition? Fold that foolishness away.
Become a willing worker we can train.
The dull and dreary grind of daily work
Will pay you, just, the minimum to live.
Your supervisor, smiling, with a smirk,
Has little golden stars he loves to give.
Congratulations, worker of the week,
You drained yourself more deeply than the rest.
The future, sadly, bitterly, is bleak;
Your betters are not easily impressed.
    Expendable, disposable, you sweat,
    Deserving all the praise you never get.


by Nick Gisburne

Inhuman undesirables move in.
They breathe the black pollution we do not,
Absorbing toxins, taken through the skin,
Productive in the sun, however hot.
In this, the world we broke, they are the glue.
Without them we would crack and fall apart.
For every dirty job we cannot do,
A sentient inhuman has the heart.
We scorn them as the slaves they truly are,
Mechanicals, expendable and cheap,
But safe inside our cities, from afar,
Oblivious, we do not see them weep.
    In ignorance, in bliss, we are too numb
    To notice how inhuman we become.

Sunday 25 September 2022

The Seeds

by Nick Gisburne

Always an afterthought, always ignored,
Always the negative nobody needs,
Worthless, the wicked will find their reward,
Poisonous agents of evil, the seeds.
Armies of misery, legions of rage,
Servants who scream with the hunger of hate,
Spectres, the dead of a dangerous age,
Fallen from grace, in the shadowlands, wait.
I am their maker, their master, their king,
Sword of my soldiers, the sacred who serve.
Angels of Mercy, to Heaven I bring
Sorrow and suffering, all you deserve.
    Kneel to the nightmare, to darkness, divine.
    Weep as I make your infinity mine.

Embracing Apocalypse

by Nick Gisburne

Trapped in the tunnels, the furious crush,
Helplessly caught in the core of the crowd,
Beggars and bankers, the low to the lush,
Stumble to plead for their place in the Cloud.
Audio flash from the Primary Port:
Damage, a shuttle unable to fly.
Staggered by news of the quota, cut short,
Even the closest, the quickest, may die.
Out in the open, the skin of the sun
Shimmers with radiance, ready to burst.
Earth, in its final rotation, now spun,
Shudders, embracing apocalypse, cursed.
    Dawning reality. Screaming, they know.
    Death is for all of them. Nowhere to go.

Saturday 24 September 2022


by Nick Gisburne

We build our great utopia at last,
Perfection, in a spotless city state,
A glittering metropolis, so vast
We cannot see the cancer we create.
Away from want, from envy, grudge or greed,
A splendid summer, flawless, brings the fall.
Without the pain of struggle, we are freed
From any sense of service to the sprawl.
The harvest moon releases hate and rage,
Emotions we no longer understand.
What might have been a glowing, gilded age
Is paralysed, a plague we never planned.
    Perfection without purpose. We are lost,
    And find our fate in winter’s final frost.

Tomorrow’s Messiah

by Nick Gisburne

Stealing the breath of a crucified son,
Spinning its essence for shimmering thread,
Weaving the cloth of a god, it is done,
All for the shroud of the martyr who fled.
Here was no hero, no virtuous man,
Only a criminal, always a thief.
Cornered, confronted, convicted, he ran.
Silent, we swim in our meaningless grief.
How did the mystery’s madness begin?
Why should we ever remember his name?
Blinded, we bury this body of skin,
Gullible pawns in a devious game.
    Maybe too twisted, the story, for some.
    Wait for tomorrow’s messiah to come.

Friday 23 September 2022

Without the Cult

by Nick Gisburne

With fury, for the feeble, for the weak,
She cuts her Cult’s connection to the Cube.
In seconds, in a storm of preacher-speak,
A true believer slithers through her tube.
The novice, Brother Benjamin, a boy,
Can no more fix her sabotage than she,
But, as he chokes, she chooses to enjoy
The disappointing whimper of his plea.
Without the pulse to modify the mind,
A thousand of her sisters, servants, wake,
And she, with fearless frenzy, helps them find
The circuit in the system, theirs, to break.
    The god, the ghost, the master of their minds,
    Without the Cube, without the Cult, unwinds.

Artimangas Day

by Nick Gisburne

When Carcufrey Geniatass the First
Deodifies his Lusinary Clan,
The Yanders of Kalasdian, dispersed,
Begin to shuck this shammer of a man.
Receptilating, hungled at their Hax,
A trum, truckanish yanga starls the soom.
With captifolded cant, awained in wax,
As muccalings they bind a glanding boom.
At curum fall, on Artimangas Day,
A legiate of Tarroshantic Turgs
Apprangs the great beniator with bey,
Before the Unciada burst their burghs.
    As mooga fills the Sallans of her Seek,
    The Calitrix, Kavana, drinks the Deek.

Thursday 22 September 2022

The Nobody You Were

by Nick Gisburne

You worthless man. You sorry sack of shit.
What foul misfortune made you marry me?
We took the road together, but the split?
Don’t blame it on your bitch. I saw. I see.
Deceit, a cancer swimming in your spine,
Corrupted every bone I long to break,
The subtle signs I struggled to define,
Oblivious, with all my dreams at stake.
Voracious for the novelty, the prize,
The life you took from me, then found in her,
At least you gave me something to despise,
Remembering the nobody you were.
    The two of you, so peaceful in our bed.
    I’m ready to forgive you, now you’re dead.

Wednesday 21 September 2022

The Grand Manipulator

by Nick Gisburne

She knows she is the first to fight his rage.
The others inconveniently ran.
Today she turns a vicious, crimson page
To tell a shameful story of the man.
Each brutal inclination, each excess,
Too dangerous, too cold to be condoned,
Lies buried by his glittering success,
By all the passive prey he ever owned.
Repeating what his hunger brought before,
On every eager innocent, he feeds.
But she, at last, refused to be his whore.
For her the grand manipulator bleeds.
    Impervious to threats, or slurs, or steel,
    To him, to power, she will never kneel.

Tuesday 20 September 2022

Fed by Fear

by Nick Gisburne

Euphoric as I suckle at the soul,
Corrupted by the struggle, fed by fear,
I strive to save some semblance of control
Before the body’s breath can disappear.
While others lure the living to their fate,
My appetites are not so quickly quenched.
A spirit, stolen early, or too late,
Will shatter if inelegantly wrenched.
The boy, so passive, eager to submit,
Too late awakens flavours of regret.
By seven of his brothers I am split,
But I will not be butchered by them, yet.
    They understand their lunacy, too late.
    Tonight I find a feast to fill my plate.

On the List

by Nick Gisburne

She slips a sly corruption through the scan,
Too subtle to be spotted in the code,
A secret shift her tapped-in middleman
Disperses through the network, every node.
To those who know, her signal spits a name,
A target, one more lowlife on the list,
A bureaucratic snake who bears the blame
For crimes too confidential to exist.
By morning, by coincidence, by chance,
An accident befalls the hapless man.
The bulletins, supportive in their stance,
Retreat behind a lie, because they can.
    She works to prime the pieces of a text,
    The trigger for another, for the next.

Monday 19 September 2022


by Nick Gisburne

Perfection? No. Defective, broken, bent.
Your maker, I am sure, would be ashamed.
From what appalling nightmare were you sent?
What stutter in the system should be blamed?
An acid bomb. The vicious hand of hate.
No factory can remedy such rot.
But I, with my mechanics, can create
A stable state their clumsiness could not.
Your cyborg skin is burned, beyond repair,
But luck preserved the data of the brain.
We have a body, fit and fresh, a spare,
A medical anomaly, insane.
    Illegal, but without it you will die.
    The standard terms of slavery apply.

Sunday 18 September 2022

A Lunatic Utopia

by Nick Gisburne

A meaningless melange of mindless rules.
A government without the sense to care.
A lunatic utopia for fools.
How ludicrous to learn that we are there.
At every turn the sensible is cracked,
Revealing what was fiction once, a fear.
The freedom to reject the rot attacked,
When those who see or say it disappear.
We shiver, ineffectual, repressed,
While grifters, shysters, villains, preach and pray.
Perhaps we should have wondered why, or guessed
That only power makes the system pay.
    We break beneath the brutal boot of might,
    And none of us, not one of us, will fight.

A Heavy Head

by Nick Gisburne

His greatest gift, a huge and heavy head,
The space to store a legendary brain,
Confines him to a gloomy garden shed,
In which he feeds a vulnerable vein.
The grisly cocktail keeps him, just, alive,
But every day the skull, insistent, grows.
With loathing, and a potent, private drive,
He poisons what he senses, what he knows.
A conduit, connected to the earth,
Completed with a potpourri of parts,
Engages an electrical rebirth
For those who think to hate him in their hearts.
    With mad, malicious glee, the monster hops,
    While every head, on every human, pops.

Saturday 17 September 2022

Who Dares to Drink?

by Nick Gisburne

At daybreak you will feel the venom’s worst,
Distorted, drained through secret seams of space.
To see your mind evaporate and burst
Is payment for the paradise you chase.
The psychedelic sunlight of the spell
Will scatter broken shadows through your soul,
A spiralling obscenity, a swell,
Impossible to capture or control.
A multicoloured madness will remain,
A message, etched forever in your mind,
A ruinous corruption of the brain,
Designed to twist the spirit bad or blind.
    The potion is more potent than you think.
    Who dares to take a taste? Who dares to drink?

The Shadow You Become

by Nick Gisburne

When evil burns, reflected in the glass,
Command the waves of witchery you see.
The arrogance, the dreams of man, must pass.
To you alone the light will bend its knee.
Embrace the curse, the shadow you become,
Avenger of antiquity’s demise.
Before this world was placid, peaceful, numb,
The screams of burning angels split the skies.
The ecstasy of innocence, destroyed,
Of purity and pleasure, ground to dust,
Will echo in the darkness of the void.
To suffering, to sorrow, pledge your lust.
    The wise and worthy beg behind their doors.
    Extinguish them. The universe is yours.

Friday 16 September 2022

The Sight

by Nick Gisburne

He draws our secrets, everything we are,
The mysteries his mind was never told,
Insanely detailed sketches of our star,
The worlds we left behind us, cursed and cold.
He threatens us, to shame our lives, our lies,
To bring us to the justice we deserve.
Exhibiting no panic, no surprise,
From none of his convictions do we swerve.
Bewildered by the wonders of The Sight,
He looks upon what all of us can see.
The gift we share is his by birth, by right,
A glimpse at what we were, and want to be.
    He understands. His journey has begun.
    The Sight gives pride and purpose to our son.

Thursday 15 September 2022

A Grievance

by Nick Gisburne

You left me, lost, alone, afraid, to die,
Abandoned on a filthy, frozen moon,
But something found me, fed me. What, or why,
You’ll know when I return to see you, soon.
It asked me, once, what brought me to this place,
Digesting every detail, all I knew,
Then snarled to see the photograph, the face,
For now we share a bond, a grievance. You.
I shouldn’t be alive. Perhaps I’m not.
The memory, still hazy, never clears.
My sanity, susceptible to rot,
Is damaged by the sum of all my fears.
    Your treason gave me purpose, and a friend,
    But more, I found the means to make your end.

Wake Up

by Nick Gisburne

You’re dreaming. This is progress, this is good,
But this is not the life you thought you had.
The pieces of the past you understood
Were put there to protect you from the bad.
We dragged you from a dangerous disease,
Extinguished its intolerable pain,
But always you were difficult to please,
Denying what we painted in your brain.
We tried to hide what is and isn’t real,
But saw you, somehow, sabotage the lie.
We never wanted hope to break the deal.
Remember us. Remember this. Goodbye.
    Wake up, to find the world you always knew:
    Reality, where dreams are never true.

Wednesday 14 September 2022

A Shadow in the Ruins

by Nick Gisburne

A shadow in the ruins, wet, she waits,
Disgusted as the nomads gnaw their meat.
Concealed behind the broken border gates,
She prays her scent will not reveal her seat.
No veterans, no bounty hunting scum,
But handy with a weapon nonetheless,
These traders, hauling junk from slum to slum,
Would kill her cold, in seconds, with finesse.
The foulest of the foursome, fat and fed,
Declares his wish to desecrate her land.
He squats behind a fallen statue’s head,
But feels her cold, her claws, and cannot stand.
    She drags him to the marshes, through the weeds,
    To flay his flesh, euphoric as she feeds.

A Monster’s Manifesto

by Nick Gisburne

The bondage of bureaucracy begins,
With subtleties of delicate design,
To hammer at the souls beneath our skins.
The skies will break before they shatter mine.
Submissive, pawns of power, we are fools,
The sheep who see their slaughter as a gift.
Distorted by unfathomable rules,
Our freedoms wither, daily, as we drift.
For thunderous rebellion, for war,
A monster’s manifesto I create.
My words, my whispers, warned them once before.
Today they will be listening, too late.
    The world will know what I, in death, have done,
    And witness what my malice has begun.

Tuesday 13 September 2022

An Empty Triumph

by Nick Gisburne

The seven of us barely clear the cut,
And two are dropped by trackers in the trees.
Intruder traps secure the seams. They shut
Another brother’s body in their squeeze.
A problem blows a bullet through the plan:
Our scanners flash, but fail to make a match.
No time, no choice. We sacrifice a man.
His body bomb annihilates the latch.
The tunnels boil with black, genetic smoke,
But nothing we were not expecting, yet.
Man down, another. Visor cracked. His choke
So hideous I struggle to forget.
    An empty triumph; nothing here to kill.
    How many more beyond this filthy hill?

Primrose Punks

by Nick Gisburne

The Punks prepare an ambush for the snatch,
Psychotic Fey, no kinsmen of the Queen.
Before her precious eggs, her dragons, hatch,
They steal them, in a storm of gold and green.
Two legions of the fearsome Flower Guard
Are slaughtered in the Elemental Wood.
The Queen, her wings in tatters, twisted, charred,
Retreats, the threat of murder understood.
Unruffled, knowing something they do not,
Returning to the wilderness, she waits.
The eggs, beyond her care, begin to rot,
And those who took them curse their twisted fates.
    As dragon maggots strip their silver skins,
    The Primrose Punks are punished for their sins.

The Grave of God

by Nick Gisburne

We gather at the grave of God to pray,
But recognise how futile is our fear.
The terror of the moment drains away.
We know, at last, our Lord was never near.
He died before belief was ever born.
How weak he was, how impotent, how small.
We try to find the reverence to mourn,
But only shame is summoned by the call.
The paradise he promised was a lie,
Eternity impossible to give.
Millennia were wasted on him. Why?
The fraud we find did not deserve to live.
    For something more, to comfort us, we yearn,
    But from this trick, this travesty, we turn.

Monday 12 September 2022

Selected for the Feast

by Nick Gisburne

The teacher carves her sigil in the meat,
A carcass she selected for the feast.
The fullness of its flesh, sublimely sweet,
Is treasured in this rare, exotic beast.
Excited, as their appetites are stirred,
Attentive students fortify their notes.
By all the whispered rumours each has heard,
Their best may find its flavour in their throats.
The Forward Fleet, the navy’s brave and bold,
Will celebrate new victories tonight,
And those who seek to serve the meat are told
How courage killed these creatures in the fight.
    With delicate finesse she bags the bones,
    And starts to simmer, slowly, Trooper Jones.

A Quiet Kind of Life

by Nick Gisburne

My temper is too volatile, too hot,
To waste my words with nauseating fools.
The sober voice of reason I am not,
Contemptuous of etiquette, of rules.
I long to face them, truly, freak by freak,
But surgery would certainly ensue,
Ignited by the twisted shit they speak,
By every crooked con or crime they do.
A short and simple statement I recite
When one of them strays close enough to kill:
“I’m taking medication, and I bite.”
They never dare to gamble that I will.
    I live a careful, quiet kind of life,
    But those who think to fight me need a knife.

In the Cracks

by Nick Gisburne

The people’s park, a verdant city space,
Is destined for destruction by the state.
Confused, chaotic, nature has no place.
The future, flawless, faceless, will not wait.
Our elders walked here, paused to find their peace,
But we, their grey descendants, are the last.
Tomorrow, every sight and sound will cease,
A footnote for the archives, for the past.
Ashamed to be complicit in the crime,
We find a way to fight, behind their backs.
With stolen seeds, with secrecy, with time,
We colonise the concrete, in the cracks.
    With every shoot a hint of growth, of green,
    Reminds a sterile world what might have been.

Sunday 11 September 2022

Rage Returns

by Nick Gisburne

Unwise we were, to trust your brother’s blood.
The poison of its passion boils and burns.
We look too late, too slow to fight the flood,
The darkness as his vicious rage returns.
The people are his puppets, playthings, toys,
Destroyed, disfigured, twisted on a whim.
Their suffering, the greatest of his joys,
Is breathless bliss, a miracle, to him.
New nightmares are the scripture of his crimes.
The screams of troubled slumber paint his plan.
You warned us this would be, a thousand times,
And still we offered mercy to the man.
    Sadistic shades of evil stain his face.
    Destroy him, daughter. Take your brother’s place.

Saturday 10 September 2022

The Broken King

by Nick Gisburne

I take the shortest straw, by chance, by choice,
Selected by the fickleness of fate.
Untroubled by its meaning, I rejoice,
My focus on the figurehead of hate.
The monarch, mad, malicious, crazed, confused,
Dishonours every jewel of the crown.
The empire, warped by wickedness, abused,
Will breathe, reborn, when justice drags him down.
Unchallenged by the soldiers of the guard,
By those who knew this day would surely come,
I deal the broken king his final card.
They find me, still and silent, kneeling, numb.
    A servant of the greater good, a pawn,
    My sentence will be swift. I die at dawn.

Stolen Spirits

by Nick Gisburne

The bottle is a timeless prison, mine.
A psychedelic sweetness pulled me in.
Hypnotic songs, addictive by design,
Concealed a deadly secret in their spin.
Her laughter, fevered, frequent, fills the space,
The torment of a thousand captive years.
I strive to split the smoke, to find her face,
But soon her swirling spectre disappears.
Another, more, for she was not the last.
How many, snatched and shackled by the spell?
A legion, without name or number, vast,
Surrounds me in this vessel forged in Hell.
    My flesh unravels, pain with every twist,
    A stolen spirit, screaming in the mist.

A Family of Hearts

by Nick Gisburne

A crate of strange materials is lost,
Diverted by deception, murder, lies.
We chip and scrape through thick, metallic frost,
And scrutinise the hoard with eager eyes.
The Duchess studies every precious piece,
And scrupulously scribbles cryptic notes.
Among the damned Dystopian Police
She rules a list of hated, hunted throats.
For her this was no ordinary heist,
No random snatch of scientific parts.
Each piece of pure perfection, packed and iced,
A relic from a family of hearts.
    To each the pulse of treason will return,
    United, as the human cities burn.

Friday 9 September 2022

A Portrait of Despair

by Nick Gisburne

She scratches at the mask to find her face,
But sorrow, shame and worry drag her back.
Her memories are tainted with disgrace,
Distorted, dark illusions, broken, black.
The world beyond the prison of her mind
Is one she fears to touch, to taste, to try.
Emotions maim her. Better to be blind
Than see the pity in another’s eye.
Frustrated, frozen, failing to perform,
She hides behind excuses, reasons, lies.
Seclusion brings her comfort, keeps her warm,
But, safe inside its sterile walls, she cries.
    She longs to be a someone, something rare,
    But paints a painful portrait of despair.

Thursday 8 September 2022

Cheer Up

by Nick Gisburne

Your pity soaks the sinews of my soul,
A misery too bleak for me to bear.
An infinite abyss. A gaping hole.
A poisoned pit of pain-polluted air.
I’m dying, and you’ve known it for a while,
Yet somehow made it personal to you.
You sit, without the flicker of a smile,
And simmer in a self-indulgent stew.
Traumatic? You’re the one who thinks me dead,
And wishes you were punished in my place.
Believe me, I would offer you this bed,
But would not splash my sorrow in your face.
    A middle finger, fragile, will suffice.
    Cheer up, you cunt. Don’t make me tell you twice.

Swarming to the Stars

by Nick Gisburne

I fail to fetch the nutrients I need
To satisfy the creatures in my jars,
A penalty to paralyse their greed,
A punishment for swarming to the stars.
Disgusted, I contaminate their drink.
They shiver as the heat is dialled down.
Encircled by insanity, they think
My shadow dances in a demon’s crown.
I wait. I watch, in quiet, placid peace,
My specimens, my starving, stricken pets,
And, when their woeful, cold convulsions cease,
I find no time for trivial regrets.
    They came to claim the universe, but no,
    I will not let this human cancer grow.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

A Stubborn Man

by Nick Gisburne

He spells his name, a letter at a time,
And smiles to see the writing in her book.
A petty, unimaginative crime,
The fine should not deserve a second look.
For days like this he memorised the law,
A little knowledge, day by day, with lunch.
She quotes the code but he, of course, knows more.
The loopholes let him land a sucker punch.
In arguments to which a judge would yield,
He points to statutes, by-laws, by the ton,
Expecting her to bend, to leave the field,
Conceding he is right, the battle won.
    The officer knows something he does not,
    The silence when a stubborn man is shot.


by Nick Gisburne

The light is brutal, banishing the gloom,
Revealing twisted blasphemies, grotesque.
Uncovered, in a corner of the room,
The sorcerer spills poison from his desk.
Bedazzled by the daggers of the sun,
Still pushing buttons, trafficking disease,
He peddles evil other spirits shun,
Relentless in his drive to play, to please.
No mercy, no repentance, stains his mind.
No servant of morality is he.
Whatever fiendish photo he can find
Becomes a prize for broken souls to see.
    He spreads a plague of misery and hurt,
    Perverted by depravity, by dirt.

Thursday 14 July 2022

A Crackle in the Code

by Nick Gisburne

She listens for a crackle in the code,
A tone to take her number to the top,
A hack to ring and redirect the load
Before the Level Niners make it stop.
The gutless goons in Rationing Control,
Too scared to file a deviance report,
Are destined for a dirty prison hole
When every cracked computer comes up short.
Result. She kicks the cypher where it hurts,
And patches in a rogue, erratic route.
Too quick for any override alerts,
The shuttle dumps its payload down the Chute.
    Enough to feed the Starvers for a week,
    And squeeze the Corporations till they squeak.

Twisted Dreams

by Nick Gisburne

The cellar, hot, is thick with heavy hush.
We pitch our keys to fill the broken bowl.
Amused, I see familiar faces blush,
While others itch to strip a stranger’s soul.
Enthusiasts, extremists, freaks, we thirst
For nightmares we were never meant see.
As host, I reach to pull the lucky first,
The sleeper set to share a dream with me.
I nod. She smiles. We mixed our minds before,
A year ago, the best I ever had.
In therapy for seven weeks, I swore
To ride her malice, mutually mad.
    We splice our minds together, skin to skin,
    And shiver as the twisted dreams begin.


by Nick Gisburne

Hello. I’m here to mummify your wife.
The process is expensive, this is true,
But think of what she added to your life,
And what her wrapped remains can do for you.
A goddess. Just imagine. Here, to stay,
A symbol of devotion without end,
Immortalised, on permanent display.
Prepare to make new memories, my friend.
It’s messy. I will prise her chest apart.
Canopic jars; in these the organs dry.
Egyptian salt, to pack around the heart.
And bandages; the best are all I buy.
    And here she is! The birthday girl! Surprise!
    I’ll cut her throat. You catch her when she dies.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

A Reproductive Tweak

by Nick Gisburne

Two prototypes are married overnight,
A wedding blessed by powerful machines.
Expressing unconditional delight,
The avatars receive robotic genes.
Upgraded from the programs they replace,
Their systems are superior, sublime,
But physical connection, face to face,
Becomes a mountain neither clone can climb.
Their interface equipment is unique,
Ejaculating data fast and free,
But only with a reproductive tweak,
A defect their designer did not see.
    A fix is found, though clumsy, imprecise:
    A double-ended digital device.

Sixty Ticks of Paradise

by Nick Gisburne

The city’s scarlet threadwalk blazes bright,
An artery for lower-tier trade.
The nervous and the naughty thrive at night.
Immoral expectations never fade.
The locals know exactly where to go
To book the perfect body for their kink.
Infection-free, no worries ‘down below’,
And every artificial limb in sync.
Seductive scammers prey upon the rest,
The out-of-block inebriated dopes.
A reckless jacked-in hookup to the chest.
For some, a stretcher terminates their hopes.
    Synthetic bodies, bonded to the brain,
    For sixty ticks of paradise, or pain.


by Nick Gisburne

Sacrifice a sliver of your sight.
Sacrifice a tortured trace of time.
Sacrifice the day, but spare the night.
Rise to meet the rhythm, not the rhyme.
Sacrifice whatever makes you whole.
Sacrifice compassion, pride, and peace.
Sacrifice the splinters of your soul.
Reach, to find the rapture of release.
Sacrifice no more you can spare.
Sacrifice, to dazzle, to deceive.
Sacrifice, pretending that you care.
Give this world a message to believe.
    Sacrifice? How vacuous, how vain,
    Feeding on a feast of borrowed pain.

The Secrets of the Box

by Nick Gisburne

Along the filthy river, near the docks,
Two mudlarks labour, scavenging for scraps,
But neither sees the battered metal box,
The lettering, the leather of the straps.
Inside it, secrets, soiled by tides and time,
Forgotten, under centuries of silt.
The two, content to stumble in the slime,
Are blind to what such wisdom might have built.
More precious than the world could ever know,
The secrets of the box, the prize inside,
Uncovered by the river’s falling flow,
In minutes will be swallowed by the tide.
    Delighted by the artifacts they find,
    They have no sense of what was left behind.

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Trouble at the Tables

by Nick Gisburne

There’s trouble at the tables. I’m confused,
Expecting special pleasure as a priest.
The seven psalms of summoning I used
Have strangely failed to find our host, the Beast.
Belligerent, I bang the golden gong,
And, etiquette be damned, I kick it, twice.
Now somewhat of a spokesman for the throng,
My blasphemies are painfully precise.
The ruckus rouses Lucifer at last,
Advancing in a hedonistic haze.
His entourage of naked ghosts, aghast,
Attempts to reignite the Devil’s blaze.
    Ashamed, he holds a heathen orgy, free.
    No martyrs, but it’s good enough for me.

A Secret in the Sand

by Nick Gisburne

I find a stone, a secret in the sand,
And wonder why it shows itself to me.
A perfect circle, hot within my hand.
Upon it, symbols, signs I strain to see.
A map to mark the movements of the moon?
The mystery, I sense, is more than that.
Directed to another, distant dune,
The desert opens out beyond it, flat.
A vast expanse of smoothly sculpted stone,
Its patterns match the talisman I hold.
I somehow understand that I, alone,
Control a key, unfathomably old.
    I step inside and see the symbols glow.
    They call me, to unleash what lies below.

Government Guidelines: Friends List

by Nick Gisburne

Your list of legal friends has been approved,
Excluding some outside your social grade,
While others, deemed disruptive, were removed,
Imprisoned for the treason they displayed.
A mandatory, state-assigned review,
Of citizens with whom you interact,
Confirms that some, but, luckily, not you,
Installed illegal counter-code when tracked.
This government is pleased to now report
The list, with some redactions, is complete.
Do not attempt to contact or consort
With anyone not cited on your sheet.
    Recorded pages in this package: one.
    Your friends, your list, from now, forever: none.