Monday 20 February 2023

You’re On My List

by Nick Gisburne

I promise, when I can, I’ll take a look,
A glimpse, a glance, at everything you’ve done,
But all of it, the toil, the time you took,
With absolute indifference I shun.
It’s on my list of things I’ll never do.
The words are smoke, illusory, a lie.
Whatever guarantee I give to you,
I’ll never make the effort, never try.
Although I claim to care, to give a damn,
What matters most to you is mud to me.
Each reassurance, rotten, is a sham.
Excuses fly forever, fast and free.
    Bewildered by the ways I weasel out,
    You’re on my list, forgotten. Never doubt.

Monday 6 February 2023

The Bleakest Show on Earth - FINAL version

by Nick Gisburne | The Book | V1 | V2 | How I Wrote It

I was born to bid you welcome to the bleakest show on earth,
Where your mind will make you wonder what a human soul is worth.
Buy a ticket to the terrors of this carnival of sin
With a simple, swift transaction: prick your finger with a pin.

See the priest, whose robes of piety hide all the hope he stole.
See the orphan, served a stinking stew, betrayal in a bowl.
See the bride, forgotten, waiting for the man who won’t return.
See the books of love and tolerance the true believers burn.

See the murderer. Aroused, he breathes his victim’s final fears.
See the winter goddess, frozen in the trauma of her tears.
See the deviants, the self-inflicted stories of their flesh.
See the banquet of cadavers, bodies fat and firm and fresh.

See the widow, slowly smothered by the cinders of her life.
See the nuisance of a noisy neighbour, silenced with a knife.
See the crimson clown, confessing every nightmare in a note.
See the stockings of a mistress choke her cheating lover’s throat.

See the clerics cross the devil’s bridge to sell their slain as meat.
See the tangled twins, born back to back, imperfect, incomplete.
See the mystic mix her venom, spiced with tongue and tooth and rib.
See the nursery, the broken toys, the bloodstains in the crib.

See the stricken soldier whisper to a fallen brother’s bones.
See the false messiah, promising a lie to clueless clones.
See the vicious ballerina dance to mutilate her prey.
See the lonely girl, defiled, decide to end her life today.

See the wealthy woman, sipping someone else’s cheap champagne.
See the scars he sliced across her skin, the patterns of her pain.
See the spider sisters, butchering their badly mangled mates.
See the thieving heathen, sealed inside the tomb she desecrates.

See the guardians, whose mighty eyes are blinded by debris.
See the doorway to a better world, but no one has the key.
See the sorceress who saves her coldest cruelties for men.
See the dreams too deep to surface from insanity again.

See the toxic flowers, poisoning a long-forsaken lake.
See the witches, damned, defiant, curse their captors at the stake.
See the monument remembering a treacherous attack.
See the diva, given all she ever wanted, give it back.

See the tree of sacred skulls, the wicked ignorant its fruit.
See the prince of peace, who crushed a hundred nations with his boot.
See the waif who wants to feed herself, but cannot feel her face.
See the everlasting road to ruin, dark as death’s embrace.

See the demon vomit virgin blood, excited by the smell.
See the beast who blows the horn to summon all the hordes of Hell.
See the moment when a tainted angel screams her final breath.
See the boat, the hope of helpless misfits, sinking. See their death.

See the backstreet babies no one planned, abandoned in the snow.
See the roots of evil, buried, but forever sure to grow.
See the blazing prison, locked so none inside it can survive.
See the instruments of torture when a friend is flayed alive.

See the giant, last of all of them, with nowhere left to hide.
See the spiteful sons feel nothing for their mother’s suicide.
See the father find his daughters dead, the joy they gave him drain.
See the overdose, the only way, the grief he can’t contain.

See the coward of the classroom fear the teacher’s tender touch.
See the witness, who will never speak, because she saw too much.
See the mermaid rip a monster from her violated womb.
See the heaving horror boiling in the black abyss of doom.

See the spirit, sick, bewildered by the garlands on her grave.
See the hypocrite, who cries for help, but no one comes to save.
See the prodigy, tormented by the masterpiece he plays.
See the misery of madness haunt a hero’s dying days.

See the crooked crown, too heavy for the head of any king.
See the man without a voice, who mourns the songs he cannot sing.
See the great dictator, holding all the hate of those he rules.
See the mirror. See yourself, inside a maze of mindless fools.

You have bargained with your blood, to feed a hunger of the head,
But a one-way ticket only lets you leave us when you’re dead.
You will never need to wonder what a human soul is worth.
See the secret. Stay forever, in the bleakest show on earth.

I wrote the original version of this poem three years ago, and this year decide to create an illustrated version of it, published as a book. The use of AI art, specifically MidJourney, means that I have the ability to produce art of incredible quality, to my own specifications, without the prohibitively expense of employing a ‘real’ artist. It was certainly no trivial task, and took me around 30 days to create a whole 80-page book (including covers). The results are... well, see for yourself...

Flipbook of The Bleakest Show on Earth