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Upside down on couch’s edge
the teak chairs above me hang
empty. Memories form of times since
past – childhood days in funhouse play,
jumping carefree upon the ceiling.

Crystal chandeliers stand up
beside me, sparkling flowers sprouting
where I stand, with feasts above spread
like a twelve-course meal across the table
while grandma rocks in her chair, leaning
back and forth but never falling.
The tilted room is down
the hall, a winding maze, steep,
angled for climbing, the red rails
the only possible grip on
escape. The hall of mirrors next
in line, distorts forms, bends shapes
fat is skinny, slender is tall, smiles
are wide, eyes are huge.

The final rooms are best of all –
walking like a toddler through rolling tunnels,
stumbling, the floor rotating rapidly,
feet moving out from below on sparkling
surfaces suffused with reds
and blues like being inside something
alive, and escape releases a smoking gush
of air, blasting from the floor in gray
haze amid the black-lit room –
then spiraling slides are out of control,
the twists and turns unbalancing,
sending me racing
out to the light.

Blood fills my head and my temples throb;
the dreams of the past are soon gone.


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Funhouse, by Paul Cales, © August 2004