Charles Bukowski “2 Flies”

The flies are angry bits of life;
why are they so angry?
it seems they want more,
it seems almost as if they
are angry
that they are flies;
it is not my fault;
I sit in the room
with them
and they taunt me
with their agony;
it is as if they were
loose chunks of soul
left out of somewhere;
I try to read a paper
but they will not let me
be;
one seems to go in half-circles
high along the wall,
throwing a miserable sound
upon my head;
the other one, the smaller one
stays near and teases my hand,
saying nothing,
rising, dropping
crawling near;
what god puts these
lost things upon me?
other men suffer dictates of
empire, tragic love…
I suffer
insects…
I wave at the little one
which only seems to revive
his impulse to challenge:
he circles swifter,
nearer, even making
a fly-sound,
and one above
catching a sense of the new
whirling, he too, in excitement,
speeds his flight,
drops down suddenly
in a cuff of noise
and they join
in circling my hand,
strumming the base
of the lampshade
until some man-thing
in me
will take no more
unholiness
and I strike
with the rolled-up-paper –
missing! –
striking,
striking,
they break in discord,
some message lost between them,
and I get the big one
first, and he kicks on his back
flicking his legs
like an angry whore,
and I come down again
with my paper club
and he is a smear
of fly-ugliness;
the little one circles high
now, quiet and swift,
almost invisible;
he does not come near
my hand again;
he is tamed and
inaccessible; I leave
him be, he leaves me
be;
the paper, of course,
is ruined;
something has happened,
something has soiled my
day,
sometimes it does not
take man
or a woman,
only something alive;
I sit and watch
the small one;
we are woven together
in the air
and the living;
it is late
for both of us.

Charles Bukowski

One comment

  1. Cindy · August 15, 2010

    I am so grateful for your daily choice of poetry. Rather than a continuous dirge of soppy romance, poorly crafted and full of overused metaphors, the work you post is human, thought provoking, funny, deep, and always worth reading. I enjoy feeding my brain with the language of your poetry choices – it helps me to grow as a writer. Who ever thought that the merciless aggravations of two flies – such a common experience that one rarely bothers to think about or discuss, let alone create poetry with – would make such a funny yet philosophical study of the human condition and the psyche of a man. So much of the poet is revealed in this piece: “flicking his legs like an angry whore” and “something has soiled my day” and that it takes less than a human, but only something alive to do so, and even then, there is a connection between him and the remaining fly who has learned to respect his space.
    Wonderful piece!!

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