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The Flies of the Moochkap Teahouse

ISSUE:  Autumn 1978

Your eyebrows, carved, glower on one sweaty forehead. Does that mean I should go, criminal that I am?

There’s more to stare at in the teahouse, where black cherries peer out of eyeballs, out of bowls, upon a bridal shower of branches.

The sun’s like some blood on a knife. It glows strangely again when washed. Black tea floods the room in the heat of transgression.

A dog collapses, a poppy wilts in the dust—each petal thirsting for a day that seethes in its heart, for one of God’s cool and bitter thickets.

You call me a saint, you think of me as wild and strange. How do you regard the flowers on the clock, or on the china?

It’s unknown on which page of earth’s sphere a river of heat’s imprinted with the barking of sheepdogs,

and oak, and enameled billboards, crazed by heat, collapse, and hurl themselves into the jaspered pond.

But even after dark, flies flow by the dozen, from steaming portions, from the “twisted lord” and the poet’s muddy book.

It’s as though a delirious pen had squirted out of control, locusts blotting the windows, crowding the wallpaper.

It’s time for all springs to leap from their hinges, for the whirring spiral of storm to spin around the poplar.


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