Polish Day Parade

By Jerome Berglund

Poet’s Note:


These selections comprise part of a cycle of pieces

examining the life and crimes of serial killer John Wayne

Gacy in 33 different poetic forms, and invariably include

some graphic and disturbing content.

English Ode

The trick is, you need the key.”

– John Wayne Gacy

Polish Day Parade

Romeo in Joliet, joined scouts to fit in.

       Launched ‘Painting, Decorating, Maintenance’ business,

Board of directors, vice-president did win.

       Badges merit surviving wilderness;

Loved card games, red carpets, playing ponies.

       Stocked candy dish for chronically sore nosed —

              Excelled campfire cooking, all parts bison.

                     Waved flag proud ceremonies;

       Baited hook: open bar, screening pornos.

              Operated cemetery without license…

Tiki-style bar, basement Seventies show.

       They got so sloppy were helpless feeble;

Playing pool, would run table down below.

       “If Were Animal…” “…I’d be bear or eagle.”

Vigilant in no pay-phones dropped any dimes…

       Research program, Saturday night fever;

              Democratic functions, cultural artistic.

                     “Nobody Knows That I’m…

       Soda can-top picks cuff’s inner lever,

              Sudden attacks beastly and sadistic.

 “Childhood Hero?” “Friends Like Me Because…?

       In Order Form a More Perfect Union…

Trapdoor affects courtly, medieval jaws.

       ‘Cross sun as nipple, geese flock communion;

Insure Domestic Tranquility, up-pent.

       Establish Justice, alpha/omega;

              Pointy beak hummingbird sups cups’ interior.

                     Gave at charitable events.

       Bright red cardinal, all the lights from Vegas!

              …Blessings of Liberty, our Posterior…

Cous’ raked two hundo per trick with body…

       Papa said blue jeans implied flamboyance.

New house, topless Caddie, maid it bought she…

       Traded shoes for the best clothes, crème buoyance!

White shirts with French cuffs, cotton finest wear;

       Brown not his color; shark skins, wool from bin?

              She got up noon, had a breakfast splashy.

                     So many motels there…

       Collect stones of the world, swanky tie pins,

              Preferred his cuff-links be large and flashy

Orphanage, clinic: cheer discarded, infirm.

       Product Catholic upbringing, professed faith.

Loved ‘Send in the Clowns’, how sweet that earworm. 

       Mulled becoming priest, sang ‘Amazing Grace’.

Nights said Hail Mary, Our Father ‘fore bed.

       Surveilled holding rosary as he drove.

              Trial portrayed altar boys, he as Krampus.

                     Prayed with, then off was led.

       Read 23rd Psalm as he deeper dove.

              Webelo timepiece with attached compass.

Guard held canvas at Fair: “Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho”.

       Squat, bearded, way to dig along flowered road.

Shovels, pickaxes, Doc smiles leading row.

       Felled stump bottom right, trunk out of frame flowed.

Happy euphoric, all hang-ups at bay.

       Grumpy’s ready to snap, too far, back can’t turn.

              Sleepy strays from path, cat-nap shade of heath. 

                     Stopped at caves along way…

       Dopey stands in mineshaft with a lantern

              To illuminate subterranean dim beneath

Rest area pulled in, slept vehicle.

       Reached Hoover Dam and took the final tour…

Appendix at last burst, organ fickle.

       Some pockets need rip, illogical inure.

Picked up at the Loop, on one-way bus fare?

       Dehydrated, heat stroke on vacation…

              Dumped first through large hole in his closet floor

                     Coincidentally there.

       Stain beneath Persian of bedroom, by door.              

Serendipity, met carcass transportation

Gangland, the Pit is famous for being.

       Pogo and Patches, new duo on scene…

Chicken school graduate, franchisee far-seeing –

       Unstoppable apex predators mean.

Both frequently booked as registered clowns.

       Through Moose membership learn comedy clubs of sorts.

              Sidekick purchased meds at the same landing?

                     Helped fooling around town:

       Animal kingdom behooves safari cohorts.

              Confided in partner what been planting…

Much to be said for harm reduction…

       Inquired if associates in custody?

…In mutually assured destruction.

       Stated participated directly.

Scuttlebutt of underage trafficking…

       Keys to, when on trips, twelve different on list.

              Drug deals gone wrong, threats to probations;

                     Silenced trying to leave ring.

       Snuff films of slaughters purported exist,

              And are still somewhere in circulation.

Accomplices, ‘overwhelming evidence’…

       Victim states youth watched torment, adamant?

Complicated narrative, take credulous,

       Can of worms might introduce contaminant.

Observed lights turn on other part of home —

       Links to nationwide Chicago collective,

              Established locus near one quarry known.

                     Follow lead when in Rome…

       Troubling strands of tissue connective,

              Realize project this scale all alone?

Judge from the courtroom barred any minors…

       Mixed several grain alcohol cocktails;

Flashed sheriff’s shield, credentials designer?

       Tried run over when things went off the rails!

Black Olds spotlights sold it well as 5-0.

       No scruples about expired takeout.

              Like preserved Walleye, in bathtub they soaked

                     To have another go.

       Disco night club, swinging teenage hangout.

              Stuffed mouths like luau, fit necks with tight yokes.

Got blown while wife was going through labor.

      Thanksgiving had cranberry bonanza –

Loose interprets love your neighbors.

       Mounts donkey, corpulent Sancho Panza. 

Wage disputes, provides way not to atone…

       Arrival, got juice, fruit, sandwich refuel.

              Gagged with underwear, socks like pinned corsage.

                     Once excused, answered phone

       Asserted sentence was unusual, cruel.

              Some before before buried, embalmed in garage.

Minor accident way to questioning

       After disposing body slept beside.

Last known Bughouse Square, suitcase carrying.

       I-55 bridge Billy-Joe did stride.

Lost control sliding across icy road

       A banquet of chestnuts kind of papist.

              Of river six, one remained still at large

                     Needed to get car towed.

       Under ‘Roman Catholics’, ‘American Rapists’

              …Which he claimed – as passed – got onto a barge.

Bio: Jerome Berglund 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. Berglund has exhibited many styles of writing online and in print, most recently in Vermillion, Hey I’m Alive Magazine, and Fauxmoir. He is furthermore an established, award-winning fine art photographer, whose black and white pictures have been shown in galleries across New York, Minneapolis, and Santa Monica. You can read Jerome’s earlier published works collected in Bindle Bum and Paint Chips, available through Amazon. He has also previously published poetry at The Yard: Crime Blog.




Published by .

Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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