Poetry Thursday: Ridonkulous

caricature of the author by the artist Walt Taylor

Call me a clown
or a loser,
a cheat or a louse,
a hack or a snob
or a “poet” (in quotes).

Call me crazy! (You’re on safe ground, there,
as it runs in the family).
Call me clueless
or craven,
bobble-headed/bow-legged
chickenshit-selfish-shortsighted
(three times fast).

Call me the doormat of true genius,
pretender to the nearest available throne,
World’s Weakest Brownnose
or the Leading Asshole in the State.

I won’t stop you.
I won’t even pause to correct you.

You can call me nothing
I haven’t labeled myself
years before,
and with far more venom
and bite,
quietly at first,
hoping no one would notice,
out loud later on,
when I learned
the value
of getting there first.

After all, let’s be honest:
there are more things wrong with me
than there are sticks to shake at them,
than there is tea in China,
than there are fleas
on a dead horse.
More things
than I can hope to correct
in a thousand lifetimes,
and as far as I know,
I just have the one.

And yet,
here I am, imperfect, ungainly,
exuberant, beloved,
ridiculous, sublime,
occasionally loathed,
absolutely breathing
and utterly human.

Every day is a gift
to the clown
who knows it.
Every busted, hateful, glorious,
broken-down day
is one more chance
to turn dross into gold,
to let go of a lump of awful
or maybe
if you’re really lucky
and patient
and strong,
to sque-e-e-eze it into
something brilliant
you can actually see through.

And so I awaken
and shake off the night,
apply my greasepaint
don my red nose,
pull on my bloomers
and Bozo shoes
and do the work
I am here to do.

xxx
c

Magnificent drawing of yours truly, the clown, © Wally Torta, gentleman and scholar.