Crying Clowns

I ride round-a-bouts on frozen stallions soaked in sweat. Looking out the windows of my eyes, I see carnival clowns, flooded tears up to thighs. Painted smiles stain faces, run races red, and stain shirts, skirts, and bow ties in lost memory. No words to describe, only echoes of past pleasures, colors mixed by sudden salt watered eyes.
Crying clowns.
What a funny sound they make.
He sits outside the spotlight and sets fire to fields of tobacco, dyed filters fall from grace and grimace, piled high, fighting Farris wheels for the best view of the sky. He no longer knows what it feels like to smile. In our line of work, we feed cotton candy to small towns, shove faces full of staged smiles with the hope to make callused hands feel soft and careless when our realities tie tightly to the tingles of pins and needles. How nothing hurts like your funny bone.
A 10-minute break he has to find himself in mirrored rooms.
The ringmaster looms.
So he walks, kicking beer cans that rattle and shake but don’t quite break the spell. Holding his cigarette like the first and last lover lungs will breathe in; sweet smells, he settles, for gasoline. With no kids of his own and no wife to call home the road whispers his name but no one hears. He no longer breathes life, and settles for smog, cause cotton candy may taste sweet, but mixed with brandy, black-labeled bottles and days numb hard the permanence of the smiles of living caricatures.
And he wants to feel something.
Not just Cherry Days with no pits.
The mirrored room is empty, ‘sept for reflections of himself. 1,000 crying clowns and no soul to be found. He looks harder trying to find himself in his reflections but sees only oceans of these foreign and curled lips. It has been years since he has washed his face of the paint; from fallen towns, he recounts drowning in the black hole of his smile. For too long he has filled his lungs with crescent mooned lips and smoking spliffs the smiles have dried in the moonlight and blown away like autumn leaves on empty highway streets. Because his scenery follows him.
Born a clown, fear gripped him growing so he prayed to paint pictures on himself, of himself. With no frown to be found he lived a dry dream, swimming pools of his soul became deserted and mean.
But
he had lips could be seen from far away places, over-stressed faces, graffitied latrines and red noses that screamed.
Everyone knows what this means.
It means happiness and laughter, riding rides that take you faster; People do tricks, taste treats as life fills with candied fruit and fun, into the night the people dance and run, drink and fuck atop truck beds, our worlds are spun till we no longer know what way is up or
done.
Which is all well and good.

But the clown must never frown. Catalyzing ecstasy with no yin to his yang he loses his sense of reality behind juggling balls and cold coffee, saturated sweetener that’s never tasted so bitter.
But his tears are bathing him now, a baptism. and the sugar runs red. 
Slowly the paint melts away and we find the cracks and crevasses of an old mans face, the wind wails in those deserted canyons and you hear the old clown weep like wind, like a newborn babies first breathe, seeing the world for the first time. And he speaks:
We are the good. We are the bad. We are the funny. We are the sad. We are men in masks with towered shackles to smash. Look at me. What do you see. My skin is worn, my face is torn. Whisper me your everything’s, I need to know what these choked words taste like. Let it flow like rivers. Bring a smile to my skin not just painted but within. Help me unlock the world behind pigments, and I’ll show you a smile worth crying for.

by Noah Kaplan on Saturday, June 25, 2011

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Posted by Shelly Peterson  on  10/13  at  10:05 AM
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