Treasure Island

Charles Bukowski

(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994 / Andernach)

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.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Edited: Friday, July 08, 2011

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Comments about this poem (2 Flies by Charles Bukowski )

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  • Tim Roesch (3/23/2014 8:15:00 AM)

    This is not a poem. This is a decent short story masquerading as a poem.

    Allow me to write a more poem like representation:

    two flies buzzing, circling, Rest!
    while Two Eye reads a page
    Two Wings hum and do their best
    to avoid sudden squalls of rage
    a rhythmic circling of restless souls
    locked in an eternal buzzing gyre
    falling, kicking, to the bottom of the Well
    seeking solace sought in something higher?
    Each carefully bereft of a story to s(t) ell (Report) Reply

  • Karen Sinclair (11/6/2012 4:43:00 AM)

    I for one really enjoyed the microscopic reality of this and the unique angles suggested... (Report) Reply

  • Stan Petrovich (7/7/2011 2:04:00 PM)

    Who rates the top 500? Bukowski ahead of Yeats is nonsense. He just got drunk and ran from the mouth (pen) ! (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »

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