The horror of living becomes too much for Boffo the Clown.
Smacked out on junk,
He plunges into a hellish nightmare world of
Pointy hats,
Seltzer bottles,
And furious addiction.

Children sense the clown's smoldering despair;
They are bold with unkind remarks,
And stomp on his toes,
But his enormous footwear stands him in good stead.

People seem bizarre and frightening to Boffo,
Groaning under the weight of their stupid pretensions,
Stuffing their phony, painted-on smiles
With inedible gobs of sickening cotton candy.

Boffo's life becomes a dull round of farce and fixes.
He is so sick of balloons!
Twisting them, nearly strangling them,
He makes another dog,
Another horse;
Once, he made a balloon that looked like a Cass Corridor whore,
The very image of his faded and vacant Linda.
The child threw it down, screeching ear-splittingly for Boffo to "do it right".

Another night, sitting in front of his mirror,
Boffo carefully places a neon green fright wig on his head,
And adjusts his bulbous, bright red nose.
He wonders,
"Are we really beautiful to God, as some say?
And if so, why then does He toy with us,
Setting us down in a chaotic and violent world?"

During the performance that evening,
Another clown, Bird Brain, trips Boffo while they are chasing the clowns' fire wagon with leaky, polka dot hoses.
Boffo falls.
The crowd guffaws.
Still face-planted, Boffo reflects upon the terrible schadenfreude that characterizes human struggle.

Back in his trailer,
The opiates sometimes make Boffo contemplate the Divine,
Though, just as often, he simply nods in front of some ridiculous infomercial,
Linda comatose and drooling at his side.
Occasionally, these ponderings stay with him into the next day.
Stepping into a pair of gigantic yellow pants,
Taking care to rig the suspenders so that the pants will fall down at the proper moment,
Boffo wants to know--
Is life just some sort of silly joke?
But then it is show time,
And he follows the plumed horses and the acrobats out into the lights.

linked to dverse OLN


hedgewitch said…
Laughin to keep from crying here--opiates make many contemplate the Divine, then throw up. The last lines hurt, though, and make all the preceding jokery that much darker. And that pic is just creepy. I feel I must quote an old proverb now--"We're all Bozos on this bus." Or Boffos, as the case may be.
TexWisGirl said…
sadly, some days i am boffo.
Brian Miller said…
ha fine bit of story telling this all there it all a cruel joke...i dunno but some poeple certainly act like clowns...
Mama Zen said…
I almost didn't make it past that picture!

This may just be the saddest, most hilarious thing I've ever read.
Cloudia said…
'The crowd guffaws.
Still face-planted, Boffo reflects upon the terrible schadenfreude that characterizes human struggle.'

Thank you for producing something I can be EXCITED about!!

I'm pretty bored by so many shallow folks showing how "delightfully quirky and unique" they are!

Those poseurs would give a hand or foot to be as authentic as you are, Shay.

This world celebrates the lowest common denominator and all the self promoters, but the real winners are those of us enjoying it like they never will.

You are an amazing personPoetFriend.

My life is richer cause I know
and read you.

Writing workshop?
No thanks, I'm too busy
trying to listen to the
voices in my own head!

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>
Unknown said…
Tears from a clown...she shakes head, takes a deep breath, and pretends this didn't disturb her as much as it did...wicked word weaving woman you are. This is SAD!
Boffo indeed! Ok, I know this Boffo from clown college days and he stole a girl that I'd poured three martinis and an expensive lobster dinner into, so I'm glad fate has caught up with him, the bastard. The only thing that gives me any satisfaction is I know the guy who deals to Bof, and he cuts the smack with roach powder and saltpeter. Is life some kind of silly joke, Boffo? Take a good look at yourself and you'll know the answer - signed Moskowitz, the Angriest Clown in the Circus....

Seriously in awe of your skill, Shaylareena. If you got any to spare, I'll buy it off ya. Love, your pal Muddah Boskowitz
Anonymous said…
People seem bizarre and frightening to me, too - especially myself. LOL!
Love this!
Lolamouse said…
That was scary good, Shay. And the picture is going to give me nightmares.
Anonymous said…
This is so incredibly powerful and sad, Shay. Although I've never had to walk that terrible road, you've propelled me right into what it feels like. Bravo!
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Incredible writing. I so loved him contemplating "the terrible shadenfreude that characterizes human struggle". How do you DO it???!!! AND the label: you cant get there in a clown car. So THAT'S what my problem is! Hilarious sad tale, told as only you can tell it.
Anonymous said…
This has the sadness (and dreariness) of make-up the next morning==make that afternoon--or even the day after. Fantastical in many ways but so many real touches--i.e. the child shrieking - do it right. K.
Margaret said…
"Are we really beautiful to God, as some say?
And if so, why then does He toy with us,

The ending "the show must go on" makes me want to stalk up to the stage, close the curtain and give Buffo a big hug and protect him.
Daryl said…
''but then its showtime'' .. I feel like that every Monday morning ...
Kerry O'Connor said…
This is a fearless look at the senselessness of life - we're all clowns performing to thankless audiences, really.
Helen said…
Send in the clowns .. no ~ make that Boffo the clown!
. said…
Good stuff:

"his enormous footwear stands him in good stead"

"Boffo's life becomes a dull round of farce and fixes"

"Taking care to rig the suspenders so that the pants will fall down at the proper moment"

Life is a series of showtimes, addictions, and moments of rest in the trailer. Enjoyed the tale, but the makeup sounds too familiar.

(What happened to allowing me anonymous commenting?! Loser.)
Lynn said…
Clowns are scary enough, but an abandoned clown train?
Anonymous said…
i never thought i could feel sorry for a clown....

{my theme song}

Unknown said…
Gotta love those Boffos in our lives, don't we? Amazing how far Boffo has fallen since his heyday in commedia dell'arte and Grand Guignol. I imagine Fellini might give a great cry of existential despair were he to see where his beloved clown archetype has fallen. Or perhaps he'd make a sequel, that pkays well in Hollywood, especially since he'd have to rise from the dead to do it. Now, that would sell tickets.
ellen abbott said…
yes, I think so. At least I have a cartoon that says so.

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