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Third Encore

by Jerome W. Berglund

The siren drowned the mariner, but that was only the beginning. For like all bodies pitching in the drink, after a certain amount of time his insides began to decompose, emitting various buoyant gasses, and before very long at all up he spring again from the briny deep, like some bloated mockery of Venus, with ravenous crabs standing in for his cherubim. The dame evinced abject displeasure upon catching sight of the old salt.  “Hiya sweetheart!” he catcalled jollily, spitting out foam, hocking a great gob of seaweed a good several meters.  “Ugh,” the siren pouted, twirling a strand of her radiant auburn hair around a dainty finger nimbly. “I thought I’d gotten rid of you.”

down boulder rolls

he hustles, then it’s creeping up again


“A bad copper, apparently I find myself,” the old privateer observed with some embarrassment. “What am I to do with you!” she cried in mawkish dismay, back of fair ashen hand thrust across forehead near swooning by all appearances, pantomiming great befuddlement in astonishingly moving fashion. The sailor found himself touched, despite the circumstances.  “Now now, there there my dear. I’m certain if we just cool our jets, hold our horses a spell, this will all sort itself out directly and you shall be right as rain, things will assume their natural order again before you know it, can say Jack Robinson presumably. How does that sound?” “Fine I guess,” the siren at last replied, her lip blubbering adorably, wiping a stray tear from the corner of an eye.  “Meanwhile I’ll just be hanging out here quietly minding my own business, respectful-like as a choirboy mind you, to be certain.” She nodded diffidently. “Say,” the mariner said as if it just came to him. “Perhaps we could move things along, pass the time a mite quicker, if you regaled us with a little song, like I heard on the way in?” She pretended to consider this thoughtfully for a few suspenseful moments, at last assumed an amenable expression. “Well, I guess if you insist…” She began warming up her pipes with some rudimentary vocal exercises. Through the surf, something nudged the sea captain. “Thank you for priming the pretty pump,” a weak voice gurgled from behind him, veritably oozing with gratitude. “Indeed, jolly good show old chap,” another person called from a different direction. “Hear hear!” a woman piped in from further away… The siren ahemmed for their attention, took a deep breath and began her aria. It was a real crowd-pleaser.

after it rains

doing the worm

mandatory mud

Also see:
Let them eat coral by Jerome W. Berglund

Minneapolis writer, poet, photographer Jerome William Berglund is a USC graduate in cinema production. His work has been featured in many journals, including the cover of pacificREVIEW. He staged a Twin Cities exhibition, which included a residency of several months. His photographs were showcased at Pause Gallery in New York; his fashion photography has been displayed at bG Gallery in Santa Monica.

Jerome chose Third Encore for Strangers & Karma’s Anthology I, identified as haibun (prose poems interspersed with verses). In addition to applying challenging styles throughout his extensive collections, Berglund has explored a variety of themes figuratively, centered upon subjects of addiction, recovery, alcoholism, mental illness, depression, anxiety, alienation, loss, heartbreak, gentrification, corruption, hope, and acceptance. Within his process, he follows a principle of fatalistic discovery within the chaos of natural elements to seek out and construct a series of allegorical tableaus to present his observations throughout such themes.