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.