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Do you need a balloon dog or

giraffe or snake? Silly joke, honk,

please, he is a professional.

Would you like some dubious jokes

that will ruin yet another

family party? If bad taste

is a red flag, then string up the

bunting, make your grandfather proud.

Follow him not to the empty

Toys R Us, where lights still flicker

but shelves are bare. Forgotten, he

squats by a camping stove, stirring

solemnly until you enter –

he stumbles and swears and mutters

oh shit oh damn oh fuck my soup

eyes wide, he stares, then looks away.

Hiding his face behind soup-stained

fingers, he weeps into endless

handkerchiefs – now look what you’ve done.

No one should see a silly man

without his silly makeup, please,

don’t make him beg, and don’t tell the

other clowns. It’s against the rules,

he says, and Ronald is a snitch.


Rowan Smith (he/they) is a working class, queer writer and artist from Northern England. He enjoys writing strange, spooky poems and short stories, and is currently studying to become a librarian. Twitter: @scatter_bones.

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