I am interested in marrying clowning with poetry, to articulate experience through the eyes of a clown.
From performing poetry as a clown, to writing about clowns, I think there is much room for play between the clown and the poet.
Part of the reason why I love clowning is because of the vulnerability that comes with the task of making an audience laugh, and how clowning teaches the performer to own that vulnerability. Performing poetry creates a similar state of vulnerability, but the difference is the clown engages the audience without words. What if the silence of clowning was married with the eloquence of poetry? What strange language would be born ...
I wrote the following poem for a wonderful group of clowns called Clowns Without Borders, who offer humor as a means of psychological support to communities that have suffered trauma.
Clowns Without Borders
Cheeks creased like babies feet,
eyes weeping warmth, belly shaking
choral laughing, showing teeth the sun.
Snorting, sputtering, crescent moon lips,
heart red noses, ocean blue hair,
unicycle races, upside down dances,
juggling for freedom, spreading smiles
on bullet ridden ground.Teaching children,
who have forgotten how to party,
the language of playgrounds,
birthdays, finding blue sky in explosive
clouds, healing barbed wire cuts
with custard pies, somersaults, trumpets
Some clowns eat jelly and ice cream
in quiet suburban gardens, others
wear fake blood, screaming in teenage
dreams but we cross borders
reminding families torn apart
of the warmth a laugh can bring.
When all roads are thin and fading,
borders are concrete walls,
and the air within our lungs
is our only source of gratitude,
we have to laugh, hold hands and laugh,
even when home is a place
we used to know, national flags blow up
archaic stone, and tanks roll over buses;
we have to laugh, hold hands and laugh;
if we cannot laugh, why are we surviving?