Monday, May 21, 2012


painting by john wayne gacy

regardless of regality, the royals,
the philosopher kings must have their fools,
so woody became emmett causing
coulrophobia to rage rampant as everyone’s
children tasted terror when confronted
with those big floppy shoes,
that pinkish-green brillo hair,
capped by the bulbous rouge proboscis,
like bart simpson who feared Krusty so much
he suffered from insomnia, chanting, 
“can’t sleep, can’t sleep, for the clown will eat me”;
like slim pickens as clete the rodeo clown, in
the honkers, gored by the brahma 
inches short of the barrel;
like richard basehart as il matto taunting zampano
dangerously in la strada;
like jimmy stewart as buttons in de mille’s epic,
never seen without his make up on;
like lon chaney, sr, the killer clown, whose silent
placard read, laugh, clown, laugh;
like red skelton as dodo delwyn, his character
a hiding place from his own fears, letting
clowns become his personal obsession, 
peopling his paintings garishly; 
like stephen king’s demon clown in it,
the child slayer, the muse for 
the rock group fear the clown, 
boldly clogging our ear buds,
a reflection of the real terror, portrayed
fearlessly by brian dennehy as
john wayne gacy, cataloging the images 
of gacy’s prison clown paintings,
and trying to stifle the stench 
of the all those young boys 
strangled and buried
under his innocent-looking house,
so even though the famous federico
loved his clowns from an early age,
there is nothing remotely dulcet
about a child’s dark nightmares--
do us all a large and pack away
the commedia masks, recycle
the halloween rubber smiles,
wipe off that pound of pancake,
tear off and feed the noses
to the rottweilers,
and as for the clowns,
just don’t send them in.
Glenn Buttkus
May 2012.
Posted over on Magpie Tales 118

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


Berowne said...

Remarkably thorough, complete and uncompromising examination of "clown," the word and the person. Very well done.

Helen said...

... then there was Clarabell, Howdy's clown .. my all time fave. Great writing, Glenn.

Trellissimo said...

Films are sure full of clowns...

David Gilmour said...

Like jimmie stewart's misery murder mask in demille's TGSOE. Mmmm! Gacy and his smelly boys. Did you remember Capturing the Friedman s. Saddest folk on the face of the earth, those terror-inspiring clowns. -- David

Brian Miller said...

it def might be better not to send them in...we have def twisted what joy a clown could bring for sure...

Brian Miller said...

i am the one that deleted the link to this at link per author please sir

Tess Kincaid said...

Nice wrap at the end Glenn...strong always...