Joseph Rios – Fresno Ars Poetica

Joseph Rios

Fresno Ars Poetica

I see a clown juggling rings on H 
and Divisadero and there’s enough time 
at the red light for me to see him switch 
to bowling pins. We are outside Julia’s 
where my grandpa used to drink burnt coffee 
and eat slabs of ham shaped like the can. 
The clown is only wearing the nose and gets 
his props from a late nineties lowered Honda.
Nothing about this scene feels normal and 
it’s still the most Fresno thing I’ve seen all year. 
I lower the window to hear the boombox 
playing Zapp and Roger’s Computer Love
Of course he’s playing that song. I can smell 
the smoldering tortilla factory off of Belmont. 
It’s like a few thousand people turned away 
from the stove too long and everybody’s 
breakfast went up in smoke. We got the same
radio station on. The Lincoln does too. 
At every stop light there’s another clown,
another car bumping Zapp and Roger
and it seems like nobody can escape the smoke. 

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