“MR. BIG STUFF”

GF1 Thanksgiving Nov 25 2010 216

photo by Mark S. Greenberg

 

by Joseph Reich

 

There’s a clown who lives in my armoire

not sure what he’s doing in there but he is

and don’t mind it at all as the armoire we

purchased when we first moved out here

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire  

who leans back disheveled and uninspired

and don’t care if he refuses to get out

and just reads too much and devours  

just as valid as anything else in the world

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire 

drained and who’s given up on the world

as this is what they do to you in the long

run to make you feel like you don’t belong

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

with a black cat and monkey on his back

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

with a history of choreographed heart attacks

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

under the influence of brainwash (and

narcissism and munchausen) playing

itself out in a series of false alarms

and strums spanish guitar taught to

him by the brothers up in harlem

only place he feels comfortable

finally out to do him no harm

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who just sits there like buddha with

no need to know the recent half-

crazed violent craze of the day

like karate or kung fu while in

deep contemplation or for that

matter shallow and instinctive

and couldn’t care less if you

knew him or if he knew you

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

with mad heart who no one will get

to know and their tough luck

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

with a pacemaker and stethoscope

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

with one of those thing-a-ma-bobs to

help keep the pace and rhthym bobbing

back and forth like a jew at the wailing

wall to my man mister madman fyodor

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

the result of no returned phone calls

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

with a union card and library card and that’s

the nature of his life frontwards and backwards

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he’s got a drinking/drug problem 

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire 

don’t care if he’s got a betting problem

or impulse or eating or mood disorder

for in truth and reality who doesn’t?

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he’s got tourette’s d/o

or if he was just born that way

or just picked it up somewhere

along the way from severe

and spiritual neglect

as at least he’s fucken fluent

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

stuck somewhere between being

a saint and a delinquent

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

stuck between displaced love and self-hatred

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he brings another female 

clown in there to knock the boots

or of course her gigantic clown shoes

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t come a knockin if you hear it a rockin

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he cheats on this one

to go with another who is a little

more open and willing to take chances 

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

with a twin locket of diametrically opposite

girlfriends mirror images of themselves 

who hate each other and vying for his love

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he’s something of a wise

ass and always snaps back as sure

a million and a half reasons for that

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he does really bad impersonations

even worse than andy kaufman as will support

him like an overbearing unrealistic jewish mother

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he loves to belt out rock

& roll solos like roger daltry–“only love!”

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he goes in our refrigerator

to steal our leftover tortellini and 

cheap sangria from price chopper

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if i can hear him whispering

with his pals mickey mouse and pinnochio

to overthrow the government or just to cope 

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he tries to scare us with

that silly haunting laughter or talks

to himself with schizophrenic banter

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who dreams of werewolves

and the werewolves dream of him

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who coils up in the fetal position when

the moon is ripe and seasons changing

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who orders in medium-rare as misses

those young pretty gorgeous

portuguese girls who show

up like gypsies to his door

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who survives off chicken

bones and corn dogs

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

with just razorblades and lit candles

to have something to look back on

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

somewhere between the crash of waves

against the rocks and ticking of a clock

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

with a panoramic view of the apocalypse

turned inside-out swinging nimbly on the line

somewhere between the tenements and stars

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

somewhere in the heart of jesus and the virgin

camped out inside chicken wire to keep away

the delinquents and gigolos and old cursing

merchant marines with drinking problems

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he’s got attitude and issues

with anger ‘cause who the hell doesn’t?

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

with his bouquet of paper flowers

and toy gun that goes–powww!

depending on the mood he’s in

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

don’t care if he’s got generalized anxiety

d/o as there’s so much in general to worry

about and so little to really give a shit about

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who’s got bad etiquette and poor 

manners and loves to chew with

his mouth open and spit out tobacco

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who loves to listen to the oldies station

and staticky sports radio and always

just leaves one of them leftover

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who leaves the place smelling like tuna

fish and matzoh but very much

appreciate the blend and aroma

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

as always welcome when i’m just feeling

down in the dumps and damn lonesome

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire 

who is empty and hollow but am able

to really relate to his vacant thought

pattern and reasons why he wallows

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who refuses to leave his domicile

but can you really blame him?

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who’s barely hanging on between

a thread and high wire cracking

punch lines somewhere between

denial and survival which 

is the baseline and fate of

his nihilism and mortality

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who thinks of suicide on a daily basis

but is also a stoic and diehard romantic

and sometimes finds ways to rise above it 

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

who feels his whole life cheated and

taken advantage but know he’s gonna

land a comeback when they aint

looking and taking him for granted

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

and has as much right as anyone

as was there when we first purchased it

like a dead fly in the medicine cabinet

or graceful family of deer who sweep

past the window every night at sundown

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

so ashes to ashes and dust to dust…

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

so hallelujah and amen…

there’s a clown who lives in my armoire

hey has anyone seen my mandolin?

ancient bones? squeezy nose? my

joy buzzer? my bible? my soul?

 

Joseph Reich has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals
both here and abroad and been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize.
His most recent books include A Different Sort of Distance (Skive Magazine
Press), If I Told You to Jump Off the Brooklyn Bridge (Flutter Press), Pain
Diary: Working Methadone & The Life & Times of the Man Sawed In Half
(Brick Road Poetry Press), Drugstore Sushi (Thunderclap Press), The Derivation
of Cowboys & Indians (Fomite Press), The Housing Market: A Comfortable Place
to Jump Off the End of the World (Fomite Press), and The Hole That Runs Through Utopia
(Fomite Press).

Mark S. Greenberg is a writer/photographer who lives in the Bronx and has been taking pictures for over 60 years. He was a fellow of the George Eastman House in 1968, studied people photography with Ruth Orkin in 1976, and has curated and participated in many group shows.