Angelic Knight Press: William Cook

Angelic Knight Press: William Cook: " William Cook has a wonderful way with descriptive words, planting a tried and true visual in ones mind, c..."

Dark World Tirade


It is a hostile & balmy atmosphere everywhere injustice reigns.  There is violence on every street-corner, in every home, in every heart & mind. People split into packs like wild dogs & lions, armed with knives, guns, clubs. Cults recruit vast armies who are searching for the right belief the salvation but all the while, famine, disease, & confusion reign the streets, roaming & slaying like huge black worms of energy, effusing the city in rising tides of blood.
Today has become a sick & diseased perversion of a body that once burned with life instead of death. Scenes from all parts of the world flood the TV screens with death & carnage, sickness, cruelty; sinful flesh eating orgies of hate & greed . . .  & so we were warned with our eyes, many years ago. The city begins to crumble & suck us into its vortex in a divine lesson of justice & revenge.
We have joined hands with death & sin, never now to let go, while beyond the burning rubble & decay, the black clouds part for an instant & a blinding light emanates in throbbing rings of energy. A beautiful woman cloaked in sun smiles softly & wipes a crystal tear from her fair cheek, turning back into the shimmering phosphorescence. There is an impression of great purity, yet great evil beyond comprehension. Emancipation somehow seems so far from this place & time, yet I have seen a tree on a mountaintop that is so large & green, that I can think or see of nothing else.


I stand at a filthy shop window, looking through the smeared & murky glass, I see a frame & in that frame I see life trapped, in a dirty glass soul-box. I see liberty coveting oppression, hate, greed, violence, control. I see the whole of humankind linking arms in abandonment & themselves. I see them with bared teeth, lips curled back, eyes burning blood red, face-to-face killing, raping, hating, each other. They cannot talk, nor hear, nor see their own reflections.
Behind me a flash of light & above the noise of the hungry city streets I hear the low belly thunder pushing out the clouds. The rain starts pelting the cars & newspaper shields of citizens, swearing, cursing, heads down some fall in the slippery litter-blocked gutters, cracking their heads on the pavement as they exclaim Jesus!
I watch them fall, like burst balloons they crumple & spread their blood across the dirty asphalt. I look into one mans eyes as he rolls over, his black hair stuck wetly to his chalk forehead, dark blood spread like chocolate across his face, his white teeth glistening, chattering. His eyes fill with rain like pools of crimson tears, glazed like cherries, he jerks & slumps, staring up at the churning sky. 
I begin to walk, the air being sucked from my chest, all around I see trees sprouting from drains, from cracks in the footpath, from balcony windowsills plants, moss, ivy, vines, leaves, grass burst across the street in front of me, scurrying up grey concrete & red brick walls  .  .  .  as the people continue to drop, scratching at bleeding throats, & weeping blisters, broken bones peeking through skin, black-rimmed eyes with no pupils, falling, falling, fallen, like mange-ridden dogs on all fours yelping, barking in pain & contortion. The green blanket of vegetation covers everything for an instant like a shroud, enveloping their writhing forms, constricting, devouring, renewing, living. Oily silver minnows begin to rain from the sky, bouncing off the street like taut pieces of thin chrome the green vines twist through & under their pelting brilliance as if hungry for some feast of fish the clattering of flopping fish & the rustle of procreation is almost deafening I close my eyes, hands over ears . . .  


I keep walking, vaguely bemused; is this a dream? Am I alive? Naked couples copulate in doorway shadows, screaming, snorting, convulsing, singing strange songs of joyful celebration in their unhappy bonds of coitus, tearing flesh as they break their desperate bones against each other. I turn away in time to see a nude man, pale, skinny, dishevelled, climb the steel back of a neon sign buzzing in the rain. He stands on top of the sign; it advertises some product in the shape of a cross. He climbs down on to its face & drops onto the small platform in front of it. It has white lights that pop & switch on & off around its ϯ shape. He unscrews the bulbs, throwing each one in an arc over his left shoulder, bouncing them off the side of the office building & smashing down on the slick street.
A small crowd has gathered below, staring expressionlessly, blankly, up at the naked man. Black, white, brown, blue, pink, mustard, coloured faces melt together as they begin a slow clapping chant:  --- Mary! Mary! quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Mary! Mary! quite contrary .  .  . The pitiful man has now turned to look down on the crowd; his ribs cast shadows in the sickly light of the remaining neon bulbs. He looks to the sky, silhouette framed in light & the signs red background. Looks at the crowd blankly, his toothless, sunken skinny face, smiles. Thumbs up, arms out stretched, he starts singing along with the crowds new hymn Mary! Mary! quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Mary! Mary! quite contrary .  .  .   then he thrusts his bony thumbs into the crackling black sockets of the neon sign . . .
Fire incinerates his jumping form, like a thin tree he crackled, sending sparkling showers of sparks & ash up & out across the crowd, twisting & turning, then burning out in the whirling wind & rain. I looked at their blank faces; they were covered in a sooty mask of what looked like mud or clay. They continued to clap, now humming, quietly.
I climbed down from my vantage point & walked to the next block, stepping across bodies, clambering across car bonnets, over steaming man-hole covers. The sky was growing dark; all the lights dully gleamed like pearls of oil, a long straight street with black doorways spilling filth into the light of city night. Nude women, naked men, fondling, groping, leering, prancing, grinding each other against graffiti covered walls of peeling newsprint & brick, amidst twitching piles of trash & broken glass, dead rats & cats, stumbling blind dogs with three legs urinating everywhere, a man dressed in a silver suit made from broken mirrors, smiles at me his face is greasy with perspiration his mirror hat tilted toward my face so my eyes are sitting above his A girl, a guy, a thing, a thang, an it, a bitch, a child, a frog, a toy, a gun, a hook .  .  . he paused for a second, looking this way & that, his eyeballs swivelling madly in his dripping skull, reaching behind the face on his lapel & pulling out a cross? he asked. I turned on my heel & walked deliberately, slowly, languidly, down the hall of ancient mirrors on deaths dark boulevard plucking a green bottle, from the grimy hands of a broken-down bum propped up against a rotting mule – drinking deep of that refreshing draught that was poison.


I looked at the passing forms & they too were lost in consumption, swigging from dark bottles of jolly-roger juice, smiling at the city with lust in their eyes & happiness in their wayward hearts. The night took over, I smashed my bottle against the gutter, its foul liquid evaporating in a steaming pool of nothing, all lights went out & I found myself on the other side of morning. On the side of the highway, the red sun bleeding through the cobalt dawn, the brown aura of loss concealed the dying breed of flesh-eaters & saints.
Cars droned past while I sat & looked back on whence I had come. Faces pressed against the glass of their windows, naked, staring straight ahead gunning their engines across the swaying steel bridge that leaves this place. Grasping clubs, machetes, rocks   smeared with blood, war paint their exodus determined by the liquid fuel of self-determination. Dragging broken, scraped, grated, bodies on lengths of steel rope & chains behind their wagons. The dismembered bodies of castrated males wearing rosary beads some strangled with them leaving a bloody trail like engine oil behind their sputtering, speeding, steeds.
The people were revolting against polarities of power that kept the barking dogs of apocalypse at bay in fear. A great evil had burnt itself into the minds of those with the means to end it all. Empires crumbled under the weight of a new morality of survival & insanity. Dichotomous choice became ingrained in the perception of the masses: things were black or white, give or take, live or die, hell or heaven. A juxtaposition of sanity, a great meddling of the senses bred tiny monsters that gnawed at the soul & the very essence of humanitys last ounce of self-control. A moral was a badge you wore, a uniform of dissent, a rifle or pipe bomb in your clenched fist a thumping in the chest. 

What do you reckon, take it fu/arther?


Tom Berry had the best vegetables on the estate. He kept a quiet garden, buried under a shady tree that hid it from the neighbours’ view. Raised bed with solid Oregon timber beams: turnips, sweet potato, prize-winning-sized carrots and pumpkin in the winter [?] months. Folks on the impoverished housing estate called him Old Tom. No-one really knew him as Tom Berry, Retired & disgraced Dr. Tom Berry. But there he was, Dr. Tom Berry, retired Head of the Research Dept at the University of Anatomy in the Deep South. Old little bent scarecrow of a man in his grey Anorak and Black Rubber Boots, looking like a Nazi War Criminal. He would sit perched in his window seat and scan the street below, writing descriptions of the local thugs as they sold their wares and loitered in the trash-filled gutter. He was given a wide berth by the mostly-black residents who dividedly thought he was either a child-molester, or someone on the witness-protection- programme. So he kept to himself and pretty soon became part of the grey concrete surroundings. As far as anyone knew nobody had a garden or had attempted to grow one on the estate, apart from a few trees and shrubs at the rear of people’s properties that existed without human help, everything was concrete. But Tom had silently broken up the concrete patch of yard at the rear of his house, under the cover of a ragged hedge-of-a plant that grew in the alley that ran parallel to Tom’s high fence. He drove to the outskirts of town in a hired small covered-truck. He returned in the middle of the night and parked under the smashed streetlight outside the entrance to his apartment on the ground floor. If anyone had seen him they would have been surprised at the old man’s strength, as he lugged the retaining beams for the vege-garden down the side of the two-storey unit, stacking them neatly under a black tarpaulin. He later used the black tarpaulin to cover the garden from the elements and neighbours prying eyes. After a while, word got out amongst his neighbours that he had a pretty successful vege-patch right under their noses. Dr. Berry saw this coming and appeared within a matter of minutes on each doorstep within the visible vicinity and presented them with a shopping bag full of fresh vegetables. His plan seemed to have backfired as pretty soon every mother’s son was queuing up for Old Tom’s fresh ‘organic’ vegetables.

The Consumption of Katherine Mansfield - William Cook

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I. Dragging Mansfield Out of the Closet

The varied critical debate about Katherine Mansfield’s sexuality seems more of a biographically inclined criticism about her lifestyle, rather than her literature. Such criticism also tends to construct a reflection of the various political agendas of the critics, who carry out these treatments. Therefore, I will try to refrain from making any judgements about Mansfield’s sexual preference/s, and look at some select examples of the type of criticism that focuses more on Mansfield the ‘lesbian’, or ‘bisexual’, than on Mansfield the ‘writer’. I will treat these issues alongside relevant aspects of Mansfield’s life and literature.

A little ditty about the Spring Wind.

The sun casts mercurial shadows
across the yard:
green yellow grass
dirt path
silvered timber porch

like black ink blots
the shadows slowly roll

the gray weatherboard
at the back of the house
still cold with morning
despite the bright glare of the sun

I remember summer
halcyon memories
childhood romances
with the senses

the blue sky
long crisp grass of summer
cool rivers filled with swimming
bush clad adventures
hot sweat tiredness
contented hunger
the death of youth

I remember summer

halcyon memories
shed with each chilled gust
of spring wind
now rising coldly
against the past.

An old poem I found

The Road Less Travelled

We traveled to Mapua
through Nelson from the Sounds
in the hot afternoon sun
between colonnades
of scruffy apple trees,
their burden of fruit ready to shed
sparkling balls of blood
dancing in the breeze 

& the road rides on
to Mapua wharf & over there
is Rabbit island, framing
the river mouth with a slab of dark pine
& on the other side
— the motor-camp, nestled between
huge trees, not meant for harvest
just shelter & ‘clothing optional’
the café now spawns delicacies
a small restaurant behind smokes
fish & oysters & makes the best
burgers around, yet here it was
that another world existed

& brave men ferried cargo
across the teeming strait
on timber boats the size of small trucks
— even using sails & oars
& people were withdrawn or deposited
on these planks long-gone replaced,
to make way for the new, repair the past
from Mapua to Nelson . . .

still in the sun
the bay sparkles & a bright sea mist
covers the horizon — the blue sky,
faultless — the fields flicking by
like cubist paint effects in drought
but still lots of green to lead us
into night & the broken white line
of winding black roads
littered with carrion & daylight
memories, meanders us back toward
the Sounds.

Tired but good.
Somehow released, 
it begins to rain.

Not sure about this one! What do you think . . .?

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