Tag Archives: peace

The eternal, ever-giving, fun loving clowns…..at the end of the show.


This is the final part of the clowns sequence, I think there is perhaps another segment or two to put into the body of the work, but, the ending has been floating in my head for a few days now, so it’s been written out of time, rather like the clowns themselves.

Out of sight of the children, away from the crowd, the curious onlookers, the clowns’ shoulders slump, the clown dog paws at the legs of the biggest clown, cocks his head and finally, pulling out the biggest crowd pleaser, sits and begs, waiting to be picked up and carried back to the buff coloured bell tent. The tent is dusty, leaning into another broken wall,another ruined space.

The smallest clown stretches to his full height, his upturned palms almost, but not quite reaching to the biggest clowns shoulders and then drops his arms, lets his palms hit the floor outside the tent.

Today, the ground is dusty, dry, a few yellow rocks, yesterday, they walked, trudged up to their knees in deep clay mud, the day before that, on feet that felt every mile of their journey, the stepped over poppies and the remainder of long ignored wheat fields.

Inside the tent, there are 3 steamer trunks, faded blue leather, scuffed brass clasps,

Biggest
Smaller
Smallest

The 3 clowns move in economic unison, balletic exhaustion and each sits on his steamer trunk, while the clown dog jumps or falls to the ground and lies, belly to the air, panting quietly to himself.

There is nothing to say, just the ritual of putting away, packing the tent and moving on.

The biggest clown opens his trunk, removes a tiny jar of cold cream, the packaging worn, letters faded,
P…..something ….D and begins to rub the white cream into his face.

The smaller clown leans down and pulls at his bright red clown shoes, the feet that come out are small, prehensile toes, suddenly released, scratching into the dust at his feet.
The shoes, abandoned, lie next to him, waiting to jump and swoop and cartwheel again……later.

The smallest clown, the junior clown, bustles around the space, still in his stage persona, a little irritating, a little too busy, a little too much.
He pulls off his clown nose, gives his clown bow tie a gentle spin,checks the bulb of the water spraying rose and then is still, finally quiet.

The biggest clown delves into the trunk and pulls out a once gaudy scrap of fabric, the hint of what is left of an over used silk scarf, demoted from juggling to neckerchief and now finally, a rag to remove cold cream.

As he rubs, his own skin, greying, tired begins to appear from behind the white greasepaint, his less than impressive eyebrows, sandy rather than the definition of those painted on with thick black lines, emerge and his nose, surprisingly retroussé under the bright red bulbous nose, is a daily surprise even to himself.

The smaller clown is more careful, more precise, he uses a small mirror, dabs cream onto his face in neat blobs, blends them together, ghost skin, paler even then the moon white, lead white clown finish.

The smallest clown, spits onto the hem on his shirt, notices a little more fraying, a little more fading and then uses the almost damp shirt to rub, rub hard against his skin,feels the pull of the fabric against his nearly beard and spits on the hem again.

The three clowns group together
Biggest
Smaller
Smallest

And stare into the tiny, chipped mirror, their faces distorted by dust and decades of wear and tear on the glass.

Their reflections stare back at them, faces cleaned, almost cleaned of clown makeup, except of course for the row of tears, roughly drawn in thick black line, tracing a path from eye to chin.

The clowns have long since given up trying to remove these tears, in truth they hardly notice them anymore.

And then, with an economy of movement based on long, long practise, they pack away the tent and walk away, down the ruined road.
Biggest
Smaller
Smallest

And a clown dog snapping at their heels.

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Tears


In my defence, I am struggling with another bout of chronic insomnia and am therefore experimenting, sadly unwillingly, with writing at very odd times of the day or when I am completely exhausted.
It has an odd effect on writing, I’m not convinced its really the way forward.

Tears…..

Her days have a new rhythm now
A recognise able tune, familiar, but with a new syncopation
Get in car…..familiar
Fingers fumble to find the measured tones of Radio 4…familiar
But the crying is new
And she has a new routine to manage this
Mirror
Signal
Manoeuvre
And then, head on steering wheel, salt tears mixing with that chemical
That spray the Kosovans on the corner squirt liberally over the dashboard when they swarm over the filthy car
That spray that makes old cars new

The tears are time limited
5 minutes and she is ready to go
Has become practised at emergency make up repairs
Stalled,stopped at the traffic lights, waiting to make that tricky right hand turn

But

The tears have become more frequent
No longer need the nudge of those other voices, other sounds
She carries them
Internal radio
Even in silence

She has become adept at dabbing, mopping
Crumpled tissue always at hand
Sometimes
She wakes at 3,4 am
And finds that her tears have begun before the day itself

Finally,
Tired
Embarrassed by her mute mourning
She takes herself to a doctor
He,
Shines lights, pokes and prods
Pronounces
She has blocked tear ducts
Her crying is a symptom, not of the world tearing itself apart, but her own physical malfunction

There is a pause

He

Scratches his nose

Rubs his own eyes

Says there seems to be a lot of blocked tear ducts

These days.

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