Suite Clownesque

I

Across the painted colonnades
Among the terra cotta fawns
Among the potted palms, the lawns,
The cigarettes and serenades
Here's the comedian again
With broad dogmatic vest, and nose
Nose that interrogates the stars,
Impressive, sceptic, scarlet nose;
The most expressive, real of men,
A jellyfish impertinent,
A jellyfish without repose.
Leaning across the orchestra
Just while he ponders, legs apart,
His belly sparkling and immense:
It's all philosophy and art.
Nose that interrogates the stars
Interrogates the audience
Who still continue in suspense.
Who are so many entities
Inside a ring of lights!
Here's one who has the world at rights
Here's one who gets away with it
By simple spreading of the toes,
A self-embodied rôle, his soul
Concentred in his vest and nose.

II

Each with a skirt just down to the ancle
Everybody is under age
Three on a side and one in the centre
(Who would venture to be a dissenter)
Hello people!
People, hello!
Just while they linger shaking a finger
Perched on stools in the middle of the stage:—
“We've started out to take a walk
Each in a simple hat and gown,
Seven little girls run away from school
Now for a peek about the town.
Here's a street car—let's jump in
Oh see the soldiers—let's descend.
When you're out for an afternoon
Find somebody with money to spend.
But we're perplexed
Hello people!
Yes indeed we're fearfully vexed;
People, hello!
In trying to construe this text:
‘Where shall we go to next?’”

III

If you're walking down the avenue,
Five o'clock in the afternoon,
I may meet you
Very likely greet you
Show you that I know you
If you're walking up Broadway
Under the light of the silvery moon,
You may find me
All the girls behind me,
Euphorion of the modern time
Improved and up to date—sublime
Quite at home in the universe
Shaking cocktails on a hearse.
It's Broadway after dark!
Here let a clownesque be sounded
on the sandboard and bones.
If you're walking on the beach
You hear everyone remark
Look at him!
You will find me looking them over
When the girls are ready for a swim
Just out of reach
First born child of the absolute
Neat, complete,
In the quintessential flannel suit.
I guess there's nothing the matter with us!
—But say, just be serious,
Do you think that I'm all right?

IV

In the last contortions of the dance
The milkmaids and the village girls incline
To the smiling boys with rattan canes
Withdraw, advance;
The hero captures the Columbine
The audience rises hat in hand
And disdains
To watch the final saraband
The discovered masquerades
And the cigarettes and compliments
But through the painted colonnades
There falls a shadow dense, immense
It's the comedian again
Explodes in laughter, spreads his toes
(The most expressive, real of men)
Concentred into vest and nose.
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