Introduction to Clowning
I was distracted. I had little to offer. I knew nothing about the art of inducing laughter. Facing me, three clowns on a stone bench: two from Mexico, one from France. Beside me, one friend: an aspiring clown. Something about accessing one’s vulnerability: the French clown said that caught my attention, and I tried to imagine her spotless-smooth cheeks painted white, her perfect nose a red blob; tried to find that funny. I could smell pot—wafting towards us in waves from the cashew farm that lined the edge of the theatre. Dogs suddenly spurred into howling in the distance. All the while, I’m thinking of our bike abandoned on the side of the road after it ran out of petrol; how we had to hitch separate rides to get here. I’m thinking of how long it might take for us to hitch another ride, bring back fuel, head back home. Then, suddenly—something about authentic presence: the Mexican clown said that brought me back—stained glass lantern dangling above our heads, the pattern of rainbows it made of the waterglass in my hands.
VISMAI RAO’s poems have appeared in several journals. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Orison Anthology. She serves as Poetry Editor for The Night Heron Barks.