Heath Ledger’s Joker

By | 1 May 2019

A caked face crumbles
with aimless cruelty. Eyes
stare from charcoal sockets,
damply disguising how he
came to be. Then a voice
curls at the corners,
billows out like a speech

balloon. Flames are
preferable to money, death
more desirable than status.
We hear the ever-changing
history of his scars,
how deformity

defiles a character.
Beneath a lick of the lips,
yellow teeth bleed
from the inside. Gummy
stigmata of a psychopath.
To be an agent of chaos,

one must sustain the
democracy of random
destruction. Empathy is for
another type of fool, and he
makes us all ridiculous,
satirises virtue in a facial twitch,
the perverse tricks.

He laughs, but is he happy?
Waddling down hospital
steps, havoc biting his
heels. He just does things – the
actions void of volition – while
you remain a reluctant witness

to this macabre magic.
If you’re not careful, he’ll
cut a new smile for you,
carve it clean from your jowls
so you can beam hate,
so you can work the wound
of your mouth
bright as a gunshot.

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