Monday, October 1, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Thirty-One (Cisneros)

Painting: The Clown and the Tightrope Walker by Herbert Schondelmaier
Little Clown, My Heart

Tonight Sandra Cisneros is reading in Houston, and though I intended to go, it turns out I cannot make it after all. So here's my consolation to myself: I get to memorize "Little Clown, My Heart." I only discovered and read this poem a week ago, and I fell instantly in love with its rollicking stunts and jumps--with the humor, the sorrow, and the joy--the amazing imagery and energy--the eyes-closed leaps of creativity. I would have loved it no matter what, but I loved it even more due to the fact that it came to me in a serendipitous way: Just two days before I found Cisneros' book, I'd written a poem about death in which the predominant metaphors and images were circus and carnival related. So, as soon as I saw this poem, I knew I was meant to buy the book and share the poem here. I hope some of you will join me in memorizing this one. 

The Ever Beautiful Cisneros

Little Clown, My Heart

Little clown, my heart,
Spangled again and lopsided,
Handstands and Peking pirouettes,
Back flips snapping open like
A carpenter's hinged ruler,

Little gimp-footed hurray,
Paper parasol of pleasures,
Fleshy undertongue of sorrows,
Sweet potato plant of my addictions,

Acapulco cliff-diver corazón,
Fine as an obsidian dagger,
Alley-oop and here we go
Into the froth, my life,
Into the flames!

"Little Clown, My Heart" is the first 
poem in the collection Loose Woman.


  1. Oh such a fitting poem, with its bull-eye descriptions of the carnival games the heart loves to play! Thank you Melissa for this week's selection.


  2. You are most welcome. I love, love, love this poem!