by Sara Bess
Sara Bess grew up in the rural mid-south but she doesn't live there anymore. She was a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow in poetry and a recipient of the Bryn Kelly Scholarship. Her poems have appeared in Nat. Brut, Witch Craft Magazine, Plenitude Magazine, and elsewhere. She's a co-editor at The Wanderer.
This poem was awarded the 2019 Peach Gold in Poetry by guest judge Dorothea Lasky.
"This poem was such a standout from the bunch. I thought to myself while reading it: wow, this poet is an expert! This poem is the winner! There is such elegance here and expertise in terms of pacing, form, imagery, and feeling—all the things you need in a great poem. I loved how the poem started with the clown, coming out of the frame, or more so 'wandering' out of it (the careless way it wanders is terrifying) and then by the middle we are all wearing the 'red nose from time to time,' i.e,. can’t we all be the clown sometimes? Oh yes, I certainly do agree, but to what end? Also, who is this cute boy in the poem? I didn’t really want him to die but I was glad the poem did as it made me feel like I was in the presence of something infinitely strong. Also, poor Corbière publishing only one poem, only a 'single' poem (that 'single' is so fancy), before he died so young was so sad. This poem made me think of so many things and it did so so utterly gracefully. I love it!"
Elegy for L’homme
After Jean Rollin
Se mourant en someil, il se vivait en rêve.
Somewhere in the middle a clown
wanders through the frame, no real
motivation. At the end of the night,
do you really need a reason to
bury some cute boy in a turtleneck
in a moldering sepulchre? Corbière
died of tuberculosis at the age
of twenty-nine, having only
published a single poem. We all have
our cemeteries. We all wear
the red nose from time to time,
by which I mean a plaid skirt
can hide grave dirt pretty well,
by which I mean sometimes
it’s better not to speak at all, feign
the inability or just smile
for the crowd, There are
different kinds of clowns
but only one kind of cute boy
in a turtleneck: they all read the same
poem at different parties
and they all want the same thing,
which is to be buried
alive by a beautiful woman.