my soul is dressed in motley

Clown akzhana abdali

with blasphemy of thought inside to out
I shall wear motley on my soul to hide fool
there in my brain, where absorbed in vanity
it is a clown…my soul…a jester…marionette
or a mime awareness hiding there…intangible

my soul is acrobat through air caparisoned
in skin-tight diamante…soft leather shoes
to better grip the line…hands limed to grasp
a constant swinging bar

my soul is tissue white…as pierrot pirouette,
its friend the moon, it pines for solitude…or as
marionette attached to life, it mimics amplitude,
though sometimes it fades diaphanous to smoke

my soul is mime…its whiteface mirrors moment me
in living archetype, and I sense poseur mystery in
the knowing there behind its stoic mask

my soul is clown…floppy shoes and baggy pants
as immature it pedals circles on a tiny trike
playing slapstick to the crowd…it is costumed
yellow black orange white…big red nose and
smiling mouth kept simple by design all for
distance viewing…not to be seen up close
as that might frighten children

though…perhaps my soul is merely scabbed birth
tear…and such memory itches to be scratched…yet
I’ll not peel the motley, for scarring might take place


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Akzhana Abdali

15 thoughts on “my soul is dressed in motley

  1. little Billie he just frowns
    when the circus comes to town
    he can see right through the clowns’
    painted smiles …
    (Billie’s Blues ~V.Alarcón-Córdoba 1990)

    Amazing imagery, on your part. The idea of children being frightened by the false smiles of clowns has always fascinated me.

  2. Bonnie, this is exquisite! The imagery is some of the most powerful and compelling I have ever read. Honestly, stunning!

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