blackmail press 20
William Cook
New Zealand

Featured Artist Amanda Kemp
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of her outstanding works
William Cook's work has previously appeared in Canta, Zephyr, Poetry NZ, Southern Ocean Review & Remark (US).

Evil Speaks

evil speaks to me
like a mother fucker
spitting words into my ear
like a dirty punk
hell-bent on scalping me
of my last twenty dollars
for nothing
i couldn't give myself
like a cop with an attitude
hell-bent on half measures
& beating the difference
out of some poor sap

violence with words
stabbed me to near death

i'm speaking good stuff
to myself
but i ain't listening
and you keep talking, evil
i can smell your breath on my neck
as you fuck me again
i can feel your sweet fluid
drowning my lungs
with your malt whisky love

i listen to your music
& it ain't mine
but the beat goes on
& glasses clink & clank together
in this slow motion murder show
played out before my tired eyes
it reminds me of a dark night under a damp jetty
the cold ocean
lapping at my soaked shoes
dead again to the world
survived again
another night alive again
evil speaking
clichés & come ons
into the dawn

Love Is For Suckers

immortality is bullshit
the only thing that lives forever
is the night

love is bullshit
imagination breeds disease
the heart is hung up
on blood
& cigarettes
& cholesterol-free cutovers
but not love

love is for suckers
who think the heart feels sick
because of love gone lost

love is just dumb
human desire
for something we can't have
like immortality
or the night's

who knows
what love is?

Past Midnight

past midnight
tired as hell
eyes cracked/crapped
blood bulbs/egg shells
& the fingers click
on the keyboard, arthritic
& it's medicinal heaven - eyes zoom in
eyes zoom out
u tripping
or just flippin'
me the bird?

yeah, me the bird
& i'm flying home to you
that's right
if your looks could kill
i'd be cut up
mutha . . . .

o, never mind then
just go.

you better call the shots
see the arrows for
where they lay & cast your gaze
'cross that beautiful smile
in the mirror
of my heart

& then he wakes up

from his vaselined dream
& his bed's still single
& he's still stoned
thinking about that other one
you know the one
the brunette one that lives
down memory lane
at number 2
it's a split life
so just obey
the hunger of your heart
dear one.


some say it takes a lot of things
to break you down
but when it is given from above
one time - without justification
is all it takes to break
your world
when above
is where you only look

& more times
are sure to follow
as the hunter stalks prey
& this one time
is all it takes
to allow more of the same

the chocks beneath the wheels
have been removed
have disappeared, like so much dust
to set in motion
this caboose of pain
       careening down your life
       a drunken master steering

these are the cards
we're dealt
objectively, almost

like so much propagation
in a petrii dish of sorts
      a la bacterium
      this roll of the dice.

Observations In a Den of Inequity

went to the casino the other night
sitting there

pumping coins into a punk of a machine
& she wasn't giving me anything
in return

in this Mickey-mouse
neon tragedy
with all its banal bells & whistles
I looked around
at the dead flowers
being ground, into the putrid colours
of the casino carpet

& everyone looks like they're going down
on this sinking ship
& everyone looks like me
Christ! even forty years