Going through some old posts and I came across this one.
I don’t usually write poems but I always thought
this was pretty good;
hope you think so, too.

Rumors the Clown is coming to town.
He’ll take your frown, turn it upside down.
Saturday night at Monument Park West.
Come see the joker who’s the best of the best.
Yes, Rumors the Clown is coming to visit
So run children, run, or you surely will miss it 

The circus wagon chugged through the streets
Extolling Rumors the Clown’s incredible feats.
The star of tv, the stage and the screen 
Would roll into town, a sight to be seen,
This violet-haired, bumbling, zoot-suited jester,
The idol of Harold and Mary and Lester 

The kids scampered home to ask mom and ask dad
“Can we go? Can we see him? We haven’t been bad.
It’s true! It’s true! We heard and we saw
Go look it up at the newspaper store!”
Nothing this special has happened before.
Rumors the Clown will be here for sure! 

The next day the newspaper store was a-buzz
As people poured in to make sure it was just
As their children had told them, their faces a-glow
Like the bright flaming torches at the juggling show.
Could it be? Was it true? Were their children mistaken?
Were dreams fed to them by somebody faking? 

The storekeeper shouted  “You all think you’re so clever!
Stop pushing and shoving! Such discourtesy – I never!
You’re all here in my store for the very same reason –
Are the Rumors rumors true or is somebody teasing?”
The children stood round with their eyes all a-gape
When a shout rang out “Here it is, right here on page eight!” 

“Make way! Let me through” the town librarian barked.
“I’ll take a close look with my assistant, Miss Lark.”
They put on their glasses and read every word.
Was the news printed here what the children had heard?
“Now quiet everyone while I read the whole story;
If you dare interrupt me you will surely be sorry!” 

Come one and come all to the best show in town!
We’re speaking of course of Rumors the Clown.
At Monument Park West on Saturday night.
The most splendid performance will thrill and delight!
Rumors will juggle, ride bareback and walk the high wire  
And perhaps – if you’re lucky – swallow a sword blazing with fire! 

The extravaganza is free of charge to all who attend,
Sponsored by philanthropists and the hospital band
For the benefit of sick children and orphans here and there
Who desperately need fun from some people who care.
Saturday at eight – write it down and be there!
Monument Park at the west wall – that’s where!  

“That’s tonight!” someone yelled and they ran home to dress
In their dandiest clothes so they’d all look their finest.
In dresses and new shoes and even a vest
They headed out laughing, not stopping to rest
They ran all the way to Monument Park West.
But when they arrived at the end of their quest
The west wall was locked, closed to all guests. 

“There’s nobody here! Where’s Rumors the Clown? 
The newspaper ad said the west side of town!” 
And everyone cried, even mean Mr. Brown. 
In his shop the printer wore a terrible frown. 
He’d made a mistake – he deserves a fool’s crown 
For the “WEST” – not the “EAST”–  is what he wrote down. 

At Monument Park East Rumors sat crying alone 
The east side was empty for no one had shown.  
“My days as a great clown are over and done; 
It’s time to retire, go live in the clown home.” 
Blowing his nose Rumors pulled out his phone. 
“Bozo? It’s Rumors. And I’m so very alone.”

NAR © 2023
Originally published 2020


While cradling my year old son in his bed after a bad dream, I sang softly to him my favorite Beatles song, In My Life. He stared up at me, his blue eyes moist with tears. Slowly his breathing became calm and his eyelids began to flutter. At last he was asleep and I kissed his eyes, removing the last traces of salty droplets as I pulled up his covers.

Closing the door gently behind me, I went back downstairs where my husband Bill was watching Monday Night Football. One look at Bill as he sat on the sofa, his head in his hands, told me his team was playing badly. I kidded him about being so serious about a game but he didn’t react. I softly called his name and when he looked up at me there were tears running down his face.

As I sat next to him he turned to me, took my hands and told me that John Lennon was dead, shot on the doorsteps of his home, The Dakota. I stared at him in shock. Why would he say such a horrible thing? Who would ever want to hurt John?

He turned the tv volume back on; the game had been interrupted by the report of an incident involving John. I fell to the floor sobbing as the reporter droned on about ‘rapid gun shots’ .. ‘police/John/hospital’ .. ‘dead on arrival’.

I cried uncontrollably and kept repeating no! no! no! as my husband held me in his arms and I wailed in unimaginable anguish and disbelief. We sat on the floor for a long time, clinging to each other, unable to stop my tears or unhear the words coming from the tv.

At one point my three year old son crept down the stairs, frightened and wondering what was wrong with mommy. My husband quickly scooped him up and returned him to his room, whispering that mommy was very sad about something she saw on tv and she would be ok tomorrow.

But I was not ok the next day. I was not ok the next week. I was never truly ok after that night. No living, loving soul in the world was ever ok again.

These days, almost 38 years later, as I cradle my son’s babies in my arms and rock them to sleep, I sing In My Life and I remember John. 

NAR © 2018