The things I’d like to say to you but know I never can
Are all the gifts I burn to give rejected out of hand.
You think I’m daft and maybe fay, a grown-down Peter Pan
With all my winks & cheekiness as though from Neverland.
‘Cause like a clown who hates himself yet plays his opposite –
Which is my role, performed & plied to the caboodle’s kit,
Match wit for woe & tat for tit, collect my props & skit –
I could not be more serious, my love more requisite.
It you eludes, the man I am behind the mask & laughs,
The horns & honks & handkerchiefs, the lines I have to gaffe:
A lark like me so quaint & cute acts like a horse’s ass —
Look at that suit! Behold those shoes! He saws himself in half!
Do you not see there’s more to me than kitschy shtick & patchwork clothes,
A cracker-barrel-addled brain between this wig & bulbous nose?
(Because it droops, my held out rose, there’d be no passion-throes?)
It’s just a job, no need to sob — don’t think this life I chose.
I’m a tall glass of water, girl, a fetching catch & quite a fox.
(And just so that we’re clear on this, I don’t use stilts, don’t stuff no socks.)
I brush my teeth & trim my nails & comb my curly locks.
I drink good wine & do Fondue & fry my rice in woks.
I’d open up my heart to you and swallow all my pride,
Having heard the words of Women’s Lib & taken them in stride.
I listen & I’m sensitive — I’ve got nothing to hide
(Except, that is, this love of mine you make me keep inside).
I’m everything you’re looking for — the things you tell your friends,
Your family and your therapist — but that’s irrelevant:
For even though I’m scarcer than the teeth of precious hens,
The car I drive (seats sixteen clowns!) is not a Rolls or Benz.
You think you seek romance & love, but it’s a passing phase.
You want a man to read your mind, but it’s a minefield maze.
A coward to your heart, yet you expect exception’s gaze —
Projected films, Neruda poems, the songs of David Gray’s.
Say what you will, you tell yourself the same old tired lies,
When what you want (but won’t admit) is all those asshole guys.
See, what’s at stake is your bad faith, your “ooh la la”s & “my oh my”s
Who then is the fool: you that’s in a noose, or I and my loud ties?
You won’t think outside of the box, that home I call my place.
By order of this circus court I must back and forth pace
To dance my jigs & do my gags that plead my bleeding case;
No late night knocks upon my door or claps of claimed appraise.
Except for those inside my head, that cabaret bemused.
After which acts my only task is glow in good reviews…
Til I open my eyes again and face the hecklers’ boos.
The broken heart of harlequins is ruin just renewed.
Perhaps the thing that scares you most is not my gibberish,
But from my lips you fear to hear the things you’ve always wished
And face the fact it’s just an act that I’m here to kibitz.
For then you’d see after the show I’m not so hideous.
I’ll sit all night and sigh, my dressing room a lost & found,
Then pour myself another drink and let out little sounds,
Recalling why this line of work to which a mime like me is bound:
‘Cause when I dare open my mouth that’s when I start to drown.
Why girls like you can’t stand the truth of your guile renowned
Is my trial & exile; it’s why I clown around.
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