As the crowd
at the circus main tent stage
still cheers his act,
the joker walks back
He has a white plastered face,
a giant painted mouth
wearing a perpetual smile,
a tiny perfectly round nose,
both painted in red.
He wears a tall, floppy
covering his crown
of shoulder length
bright orange strands of hair.
His loose clothes
on one side
resemble those of a harlequin,
with polka dots of white
imbedded on the other.
His humongous shoes
are like two flapping tongues,
impossible wide at the front,
unbelievable narrow at the back.
His nonchalant antics,
are often shockingly outrageous;
everyone and everything
are subjects of his jest;
all of his actions
seem like a parody of reality,
a mime’s journey
into the lighter side of life.
In our existence
not all is as it appears to be
or is it?
The diminutive voce
interrupts his stride
Pleads de young juvenile
in the alley along the “camerino.”
The clown turns and stares
with his penetrating green eyes
at the young teenager.
“Isn’t this a bit too far off the beaten path,
for a young man like you,
to be wandering around?”
The impatient clown asks.
“My parents are just behind the curtains
with my little brother
feeding the giraffes.
They know I am here,”
the young man replies with confidence.
“Fair enough,” says the clown in resignation.
Pensively the youngster crosses both arms
while raising one hand to his chin.
“Joker, do you make people laugh
for a living?” Looking stern,
the young man asks.
“Isn’t causing laughter what clowns do?”
The clown replies in the form of a riddle.
Unfazed, the young man quizzes him further.
“You make people happy Jester.
Are you a happiness maker?”
The clown relaxes
as he leans of his camerino’s door.
“After all, isn’t that
what those that visit the circus seek?”
The clown replies yet with another question,
while still giving close to nothing.
“Now, if you will excuse me,”
the clown says as he steps into his dressing room.
“Joker, joker,” the young man pleads
before the door closes.
The startled clown pauses. The young man presses forward.
“I don’t find you very funny in person, Sir!
Your face wears a painted smile
but up close, it doesn’t feel genuine.
Your eyes exude sadness
specifically annoyance or anger,
perhaps directed at me,”
the young man blurts out on impulse.
The clown first reaction is to pull away,
but to his great surprise,
he hesitates and reverses himself.
“You’re a very good observer, little man.
Come over and have a seat,”
the jester offers unexpectedly.
the clown leaves the door wide open.
Once seated, he offers the young man,
a box full of chocolates,
letting select whichever he wants.
“Joker, you make others happy,
but not yourself, why?”
The young man asks.
“Isn’t it, by the way, how many live,
just keeping appearances in public,
but guarding their darker inner realities
close to their vests?”
Replies the joker, once more,
with another question.
“Jester, when l looked at you from afar,
while doing what you love and do best,
making others laugh,
being lauded by everyone,
for an instant,
your life seemed like a fairy tale,
but now being next to you,
I ponder and puzzle,
how is it that you are not happy?”
The opinionated young man asks.
isn’t it true that in life,
there’s always something missing
that we covet the most,
but we don’t have it or it’s unreachable?”
The jester reasons.
“Or is it that we are always on the way,
and when we finally reach them,
we find that the goal post
has already moved,
most of the time by us
and a new pursuit has replaced it all?”
states the jester full or sarcasm.
“Joker, but what you have at the present
is fulfilling enough isn’t it?
The pursuit of your goals
what is often called “the chase,”
is loaded with mementos
and all of those that love your act.
You have to celebrate
the journey of life as it happens,”
the youngster wisely declares.
Once more, the clown
counters back in contempt,
“There are no fairy tales in life kid,
those only reside in children’s books
and in the world of fantasy.”
“Jester my life is a fairy tale,”
the young man states in joy.
“I’m sure it is,” the joker responds.
“You are surely born in a privileged home,
enjoying all the trappings
of wealth and success;
happily married parents,
of course you see life as a fairy tale.”
“Be ready though,
the moment will come,
you won’t see it that way anymore,
when it dissipates like a mirage,”
emphasizes the clown with poignant criticism.
“Joker, I am an orphan,
those are my adoptive parents,
until recently we were homeless.
My father just got a job as a janitor.
My youngest brother walks in crutches
because he contracted polio when we was five,”
declares the young man,
his words filled with deep emotions.
In shock and shame the clowns covers his mouth.
“I’m so, so…” he starts to apologize,
only to be interrupted by the youngster.
“Jester, you are a privileged man.
Take stock of all you have going for yourself,
realize your source of happiness
in and around you,” adds a smiling youngster.
“Tap your daily access to joy and laughter,
for what they are,
celebrations of life.
You fairy tale resides in you.
You do what you love,
people love what you do.
Is there more to be asked from life?
Fact is, that if you wished to,
you could make out of any circumstance,
place and people around you,
participants in your life’s fairy tales,”
the young man adds with profound words.
“I understand now
the source of your wisdom;
your words reflect experience
way beyond your years,”
seemingly thinking aloud
the clown declares.
“And what would that be, Sir?”
The young man quizzes.
“The challenges of hardship
are what made you who you are,”
the jester replies.
“Life is a fairy tale
that resides inside all of us.
It is there to be tapped,
regardless of place or circumstances.
It only requires
ingenuity and candor of the soul
and a true desire of the spirit
to participate throughout
in the journey of life,”
are the youngster’s parting words.
His parents and brother
approach through the corridor.
“Time to go,” they announce.
The young man walks out
with a big broad smile.
“Joker, it was very kind of you
to spend time with me,
it was a truly magical moment,”
he declares, his face radiating joy.
it was magical for me as well,
it was like a…”
he says spontaneously
while stopping short, filled with emotion…
“A fairy tale?”
The young man asks smiling even more.
as well as, a life lesson well learned,”
says the clown
with sparkling eyes
that finally show for once,
his face painted smile,
real and genuine,
and perhaps everlasting.