Feeling- The poem describes an encounter with the eponymous ‘Clown Punk’, a tattooed, slightly tragic character who presses his face against the windscreen of the narrator’s car when it stops at traffic lights, frightening the ‘children sitting at the back seat’, however give is about homelessness and the way in which society reacts to beggars. The poet has adopted the persona of a homeless person to challenge the reader directly, although initially there is some ambiguity about the speaker: in the first stanza the word "dear" suggests an intimate connection between the speaker and audience. Later it becomes clear that the speaker is creating a "scene" by asking for money.
Imagery- The clown punk is a strong visual poem. Vocabulary to do with art or painting –ink, dyed – permeates the poem in the same way the tattoos puncture the man’s skin, so that the ‘ink’ has sunk even into his ‘brain’. It is striking that although the ‘tattoo ink’ in ‘indelible’, the image of the ‘Clown Punk’ can be washed away with windscreen wipers and rain in the minds of the ‘children on the back seat’, Armitage uses words and phrases that suggest a relationship between the speaker and his audience, like "dear", the romantic image of "under the stars" becomes ironic (conflicting) when compared with being "on the street", but that contributes to the ambiguous tone of the poem, and its attempts to challenge our preconceptions of homelessness.
Language- The poem has giving us a strong visual image of what might the Clown Punk might or will look like such as ‘a basket of washing that got up and walked, towing a dog on a rope’, this suggests to us that he is a shambolic person. The structure of the sentence mirrors the way the dog walks behind the clown punk, the phrases also suggest the discomfort of that relationship: "to make a scene" has negative connotations, as does the idea of someone begging on their knees. The words "frankincense" and "myrrh" link to the "gold" in the stanza before: they are references to gifts brought by the three Wise Men to the newborn Jesus.
Message- Armitage makes the reader re-imagine a heavily tattooed body. The