Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Bad Clown by Michael Earl Craig

The Bad Clown

I was at the acupuncturist's.
It was my first time.
She put the needles in as I told jokes
to the ceiling. She put more needles in.
I tensed up and let out a demented clown laugh.
It made her stop for a second.
There was a gentle gong-and-bell track
piped in via hidden speakers.
"The speakers are in the jade plant," she said.
I tensed up again. I was golden brown.
I felt like one of those bad clowns.
The kind that hide in the sewers.
The acupuncturist was trying to help me.

Craig uses simple language to describe a single moment that seems to speak of something more poignant. What I really find beautiful is Craig's ability to use a seemingly vague phrase such as "bad clowns" to create an image and feeling that connects with readers. The description of "the kind that hide in the sewers" is enough to create a picture of the "demented clown laugh" and the awkward moment created in the situation. Craig's ability to say so much in such few words adds to the beauty of the poem. 

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