Tears of a Clown

by Brianna Jo Hobson

Eyelash curl, the insect lipstick is wet.
Heartstrings cut, the eyeshadow castrate.

My smile, a deep segmented crack—foundation coils to jack in the box my neck.
No matter how much I stroke, the painting won’t dry on its own
The vanity brush is artifice down my throat.

My eyesight bloodshot, the tile beneath my feet, solidified pus
Conditioning at its finest, the mirror tells me;
“I’m prettier in folds of hemorrhage eyelids.”

Hidden behind bile eyeliner, the tears of the clown have now widened
Nosebleeds run thin and stain the inside of my bra lining
“Did you hear she hides her flaws with blush and highlighter?”

They say you can’t be proud if you choose to play your face
Feminism is not about what they give you—it’s about what’s taken

When beauty is at stake, makeup becomes the knife on your plate.


Brianna Jo Hobson is a poet, essayist, and short fiction writer from the Bronx. Her work skews more towards horror as she is heavily inspired by folklore, surrealism, dark fairytales, and the gothic subculture. She was one of the recipients of The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Writing in 2020 and is a part of LaGuardia’s graduating class of 2021. She aspires to have a career in book publishing and will be attending Baruch College in Fall 2021, pursuing her Bachelor’s in English. You can find her blog here and find her on Instagram @m0thluv.

Image credit: “Palette,” Toshiyuki IMAI. Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.