Everyday in town we would see him
on the overpass, his thick cucumber lips,
screaming wings of red hair billowing
in the breeze, as he entertained a crowd
above a river of traffic. As far we knew,
he was not paid for any performances.
He represented no company or corporation.
It was, I suppose, simply a way of living.
Like the Tibetan monks who prostrate
themselves for hours each day, living
on rice, water and prayer. Most people
will not think it's faith, but even a self-
employed clown must have a God,
a higher power which compels him
by some inner fire, to share his world.
Why else dodge the convertibles of spoiled
punks who swerve the curbside, trying to
flatten the big yellow shoes that hangover
the sidewalk like hapless emissaries of comedy?
Why else suffer daily threats, the middle fingers
poised as primitive weapons? Once,
I saw him step into traffic to stop a Buick,
turn around and pretend to pull it. Walking
slowly, the car appeared to follow,
as if it were attached by an invisible rope.
For one moment, just before the car honked,
then cut around him like a dented fish,
he had made us believe--like children-
he was the only one strong enough,
to pull the dead weight of this world.