Painted Faces

Smiling clowns' painted faces,
concealing pain in subtle places--
joyfully along we sing and dance,
to the bountiful delight of the director's glance,
and to thee, surface niceties through clenched teeth.

Explain to me, can you not perceive
simple, sly, sarcastic ambiguities?
But the tears of a clown
do not exist, the irony.

His ruby-smeared grin and big bright eyes
could only be truthful bliss without guise.
Onto Heaven we pray, for this burden we bear;
Seen is the world's reality that is not there.
None other need they know
but the painted faces we show.

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