Bad Clown by Tom Bland


BAD CLOWN

Amy was a clown,
describing herself as an acid maverick pioneering
the eye in the triangle she wore around her neck
falling onto the bright green t-shirt. ‘Clowning’s
a cult,’ she said, opening
an empty
envelope sitting between her almost finished espresso
and her latex red nose. ‘Some
people think the clown is a performance I put on
and take off, but no, I must be a clown
at all times. I can’t stand slipping back
into that thing…’

HUMAN.

I met
Amy on a three-week clown retreat in
the cider brewing region
of Hertfordshire, surrounded by trees and red noses,
crisscrossing between technical mime exercises
and the spontaneous scream
from the bowels upward.
‘Don’t be afraid to scream, Tom,’
she said/I said to myself.
She reminded me too much of myself,
that made me scream,
seeing myself as a blond-haired woman with
the perfect pear-shaped figure 

standing in front of me
wearing her red nose,
laughing
poking me
hitting me (with a rubber machete)
telling me
to wake up!
she,
an acidic
Osho
in a polka dot outfit 
screaming,

THE
GOLDEN
REALITY
WILL
DAWN
IN
YOU
MOTHER
FUCKER.

*


There was a clown
who was also a serial killer,
but he never killed as a clown.

When he scrubbed away the makeup,
bits of his stubble came out;
his teeth gripped,
trying to hold in the impulse
to kill.

He stared at himself in the mirror,
at the face
he was born with. 

In his red book, he wrote,
‘Sadness,
that feeling in
me
terrifies me, only stripping it away
in the bodies of others –
the cute young men in Converse
trainers –
makes the void something I can step into again.’
I imagined
being killed by him.

Amy took on his role
slicing away the sadness in me until my face shone so wide,
she could see my teeth in the sunshine
awkwardly appearing between the beech trees,
squirting ketchup on me
to make it all seem
real.

We decided to swap clothes,
to be each other, at dinner in front of all the other clowns.
She ate steak
and I ate potatoes and both of us had onion sauce
on silver plates, and some clowns thought we
had been fucking
but I shouted, ‘She was killing me for my own good!’

The next day
she looked at me
and said, ‘Darling, don’t
you wanna kill me?’
Straight of nowhere,
I slammed the rubber machete
into her heart, whispering in her ear,
‘I too dream of love.’ 

But
we
both
just
laughed.




Tom Bland has a book out, The Death of a Clown, with Bad Betty Press. 

Buy the book - The Death of a Clown

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