Richard Bronson


A long time ago there lived a king who was famed
for his wisdom…and it seemed as if news of the most secret things was brought to him through the air.
                           The White Snake, Jakob Grimm

At a hole in the wall near Mott Street,
the waiter said, “Try lang wah fu…
not on menu…special dish…only today.”
And I did. Taste and texture strange,
I wondered what I ate.
Then the little voice of a mouse squeaked
“Beware the cat!”

I left at a loss, entered a Babel
of pets telling tales,
walked the streets giddy.
Pigeons cooed the beauty of the heights.
Everywhere, rats whispered their sewer secrets.

But in days, dogs began to bark again and cats meowed.
I returned for a second course of lang wah fu.
Seated with a lean, feline man.
he told me of the White Snake League.
“There are those such as you
who imbibe its meat, hear animals speak.
For most, lang wha fu…a tasty meal, nothing more.
And what will you do with your gift?

Next day, I walked through Central Park Zoo.
Monkeys chattered the seven deadly sins,
and sea lions barked “Fool!”
The Delacorte Clock tolled its hours.
I thought, “At the stroke of twelve,
I’ll wake from this dream.”
Weeks went by and I craved the snake,
returned to Mott Street.
“No lang wah fu,” my waiter said.
“Not on menu.
“Try chicken chow mein or Hunan lamb.
I know…
For you, green jade delight!”


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