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Funhouse 1.jpg

Flavored Blend of 5 Juices

Entrance to the funhouse may not be purchased with cashola, instead requires tickets which can be bought at different costs. Depending on value of a dollar and the prevailing minimum wage, the vendor will be counted upon to charge exactly what a rube is willing to shell out, not a shilling more and certainly no less.


potus thanks

good lord

neglects to specify which one 


Your maze can now be navigated step by step.  There is the barrel of fun you must fall down in, try as you might to maintain balance. The floor tricks pulling rugs out, causing one stumble after another. Those bursts of compressed air exposing undergarments, precipitating seven-year-scratchings, against strategically placed rotating striped poles which hypnotize. The ball pit’s unhygienic squalor you cannot escape passing through. You leave with friction scrapes, riding steep slide out without benefit of a burlap sack to protect against the rubbing. But it is the hall of distortions that truly will remain etched on your mind for the rest of your lifetime… Viewing every imperfection and defect from the broadest assortment of perspectives, each more hideous than the last, containing an infuriating authenticity, that painful ring of truth if they are obviously the worst facets magnified and exaggerated. There is no time limit, riders are at liberty to spend as long as they require, take in every nuance and unsavory detail.  Still, fairgoers never linger, indeed clear this section faster then any other. 


leaning against wall

the humo’s flimsy shadow

last cigarettes 

Image by guille pozzi

To the Curb

Dirk was not cut out for this couch surfing.  He had taken up the sport too late in life, no longer possessed the stamina its activities required, discovered that the hard way.  His starts were not terrible; he could get up on the board briefly, but legs never managed to stay planted, wobbled so that after a moment or two of glorious posing, feeling the wind for a delicious second sweep back his thinning hair, the pedestal shot out from under him, and Dirk would tumble ass-over teakettle into bungling wipe-outs, be flailing around spitting out sea water, feebly trying to stay afloat, blinking tearfully to expel the salt from reddening eyes. 


goldenrods oozing

over edges of dish

tourists at the hot spring


No, this pastime did not suit Dirk at all.  He couldn’t recall what inspired him to take it up, but once committed had become a challenging habit to break, filled with creeping commitments and increasingly gummy obligations difficult to disentangle oneself from.  The couch was tethered to him by a leash, he could cling to it desperately like a piece of flotsam, life preserver or buoy in the middle of the ocean.  But what Dirk really desired was his return to dry land, standing without the pitches and vertigo.  Yet each moment grappling to master the settee he drifted further from shore.  His most ferocious dog-paddling proved useless getting him closer from whence he came… Dirk would have to master this quarrelsome couch should he ever hope to ride successfully back to shelter.  To make matters worse, storm clouds were brewing on the horizon, moving in at a speedy clip, and squinting he could see lifeguards calling swimmers out of the water for their safety, blowing shrill whistles in warning.  Dirk considered his options with surprising composure, steeled himself and tried another time ascending.  Swaying, he stretched upward into an erect position, half-discerned a distant thundering while concentrating hard on maintaining an advantageous posture.  The surfboard rocked beneath him against choppy currents.  A breeze was intoxicating, terror exhilarated.  Dirk stood tall, smelling the sand and seaweed, beseeching the universe to just let him stay this way a few moments longer…


fresh out of bath

nekked swooshing

so many windows

Image by Álvaro Serrano

Jerome Berglund, recently nominated for the 2022 Touchstone awards, graduated from the University of Southern California’s Cinema-Television Production program and spent a picaresque decade in the entertainment industry before returning to the midwest where he was born and raised. Since then he has worked as everything from dishwasher to paralegal, night watchman to assembler of heart valves.  Jerome has many haiku, senryu and tanka exhibited and forthcoming online and in print in many leading journals.

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