Christmas Day I’ll eat mangled offal. The disembowelled harp strings of a once effulgent heart, thrumming with noble intent. Now but a shoddy dishevelled instrument to be played upon by my dinner guest. Any verve long since beaten into submission, withered and died, in the face of insurmountable odds.



My soundtrack: not Bing Crosby or Michael Bublé but blowflies, humming en-masse: elated from laying eggs in the bloated corpse of my previous version. I water myself with acidic poison. ‘What is this?’ I ask my visitor, as he has yet to step from the shadows. ‘Oh that,’ he refers to the wine set before me. ‘Distilled from tears you’ve cried for unworthy cunts,’ he whispers matter-of-factly, while I chew another mouthful of faked orgasms.

Rhythmic panting of wolves, with copper on their breath, sounds like a fitting accompaniment. The wretched iron tiller of my life weighs heavy. Sisyphean by virtue of aching bones, keeping my jaundiced meat fresh a little longer…

The Many-Faced God taps me gently on the shoulder, holding his hour glass; speaking at inaudible decibels. He tells me how long I have, but he knows I can’t hear. He’s sadistic like that. Then he takes a seat as we watch the ash fall, cloaking us in altered carbon confetti. Off-white flakes from a distance look almost beautiful.

Unlike his plus-one. Staring blankly at me from petechial haemorrhages that used to be his eyes. He points at me with a lime rotting hand, laughing silently from an oily maw with brown teeth.

The flies swarm and hover, awaiting me.


© Steve Naisbitt

image: Death Comes to Dinner


Without a Rope

Nocturnal Aesthetic Death Card.JPG

Have another cold slice of heart disease, Dad.
Only make sure to smother it in enough butter to see teeth.
Partly Hydrogenated milk fat laid like mortar on starchy carb bricks.
Cement for suffering arteries:
Failing blood tunnels on the verve of collapse,
Holding tsunami’s tide at bay with a broom.
You tiny, weak-willed, stupid greedy man.
You’ll never learn, until the Many-Faced God’s bleached bone hands are finally around
that thick neck, struggling under the weight of such hardheadedness.
Death hands me his card, perched upon your seat back, hunched over you, smirking.
His spirit horse is already pregnant, with another glutton for punishment
waiting to take your place, as it tramples you.
Not-so-Long-John’s parrot
Charon’s raven
cawing raucously, as he stands at the prow
Heralding the arrival of another fucking idiot
A few more years with family
less important
than another blissful taste of processed sugar and rendered fat?
Since I’ve been unable to get through
Since I failed to reach inside a loved one,
But no, you go ahead!
I’ll pass you off to my God.
‘A man presents his Father:’
Hell-bent and unbowed
Who bungee-jumped from this wretched mortal coil
without a rope…
© Steve Naisbitt/Blackwater Ink
image: Nocturnal Aesthetic Death Card

Great White Wing


I sense your presence best in the dark,

impalpable; when eyes, mine

cannot see,

but I can smell the sweet milk

cleaving to your breath


And hearken—

your lungs speak in tongues, tailored

for my despairing


I build fortresses formed from

unbleached bones of so many

rib cages

made unnecessary by

Death and his scythe


And hearken—

your lungs speak in tongues, tailored

for my despairing


I sense your presence best in the dark;

great white wing of hope,

alive inside my rib cage

still necessary,

you carry me to the sun


And gather

golden fire to raze my

lifeless despairing

time and time again

© Kindra M. Austin

Photosynthesis-Jimmi Campkin


I cannot fly but your words whip the wind under my arms.  Just a smile and wink, just a poke in the ribs and a kick in the shins, and I am no ones.  We stare at the dead brown leaves stuck to my shoes as we kick through the dead drifts, and I wait for something profound.  You are too busy staring at the end of a bottle, pointed towards the sky, as a telescope for the stars.

I get it.  You aren’t scared by thunder anymore it makes you feel alive.  You’re strapped to a table, waiting for the electricity to hit.  I made sure the knots were tight around your wrists and ankles, as I tied you to the bed and opened the window to the storm, but you still insisted on more.  More!  I Want More!!  I am no weatherman.  I am no God.  So I filled pint glasses with water as you screamed up at a disappointing belt of nondescript cloud, threw them across your writhing torso, and wondered when I might see the calm eye of this storm.

I remember when you pushed a sewing needle between the webs of my fingers and you told me; we can’t be calm and safe…we are the autumn leaves that cling to the branches and turn green again.  I have no idea what this means.

Probably it doesn’t matter; but it does.  I am directionless and you offer me a path…the wrong one, but a path nonetheless.

© Jimmi Campkin