mime with open mouth
Screaming Mime
by Mark Blickley

I should speak out when they abuse
This pasty-faced artist who decided to choose
Being trapped in silence with make up queer
I may not speak, but I can hear.

The taunts, the insults, and the hate
Towards street performers who refuse the bait
Of ridiculed anger through vulgar gestures
Believing performance is a continuing semester

Of learning to grow within painted smile
Ignore the assholes, concentrate on the child.
Who laughs with joy or open-mouthed wonder
Yet tosses no coins as my stomach thunders

Breaking the silence, begging for bread
My intestinal rumblings plead to be fed
A steady diet of human compassion
Through the clinking of coins in an appreciative reaction

To my ancient art and enduring hunger
Selling myself like a common whoremonger
Hoping to satisfy an insatiable crowd
In tight fitting Spandex, a seductive shroud

Ignoring lewd sneers at my exposed anatomy
That I’ve twisted and stretched in hopes it would flatter me
As my muscles contort and my body sings
A silent song that once entertained kings

PHOTO: “Screaming mime” by Korionov, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote “Screaming Mime” because I always thought mimes were so amazingly creative and like to imagine being one, but I’m also aware at how poorly they are treated as butt of jokes and ridiculed. I imagined myself as a street performing mime thinking these thoughts while I am entertaining a crowd.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Blickley is a widely published author of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. His most recent book is the story collection Sacred Misfits (Red Hen Press) and his most recent produced play, Beauty Knows No Pain, was produced this past Fall at NYC’s 13th Street Rep Theater. Blickley’s text-based art collaboration with photographer Amy Bassin, Dream Streams, was featured an art installation for the 5th Annual NYC Poetry Festival held at Governors Island and published in Columbia Journal of Literature and Art, among other venues. His new play, Valadon: Reclining Nude, premieres this October in NYC. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center.