[Columnist with a View received the following set of pictures with commentary from a friend through Facebook. We are assuming they are in the public domain, coming as they did and being shared over social media. We do appreciate the origin (we suppose), which is the only source attribution:  www.yesemails.com]











LOVING MY ENEMIES by Judson Jerome

LOVING MY ENEMIES by Judson Jerome


I must love my enemies: I have made

so many of them. Whether I, drowning, flailed

rescuers, or, terrier-nervous, yapped.

defending God knows what from God knows whom,

or thought I was the jester, licensed to wound,

I drove you all away. I wanted room

to grow my crooked stem, so sprouted thorns.

or, as self-consuming candle, blindly burned

in guttering isolation, or vacuum-drained–

as a black hole does the sky–all warmth and light.

Emperor of sunny nursery play.

I took all as due, nor wondered how or why.

Pursuit of justice was a good excuse

to wear the jackboots of some public cause

and stab a friend for a stranger’s brief applause.

It simplified affection’s murky snarl

to make such clean incisions. I have hurled

babies and bathwater out for a better world.

But mostly I won your enmity with love

too fast too soon, my overwhelming wave

of self too bountiful, too gladly given.

To save yourselves from my self you were driven

if not to anger to politic escape.

I said I love you:  you foresaw a rape.

You must have loved me, enemies, to have left.

dreading the waste and smother of my gift.

sensing my naked need to be received.

Hard love withholds indulgence:  you withheld.

Such closeness both of us would soon have scalded.

You could avoid what could not be repelled.

Safer, of course, to love thus at a distance–

a dream of faces gone, but nearly kissed–

blending across the years without resistance.

yin lost in yang, and none knows when or how.

But there is safety even in my bower.

for I love you still–but do not need you now.




[Judson Jerome, born in 1927, grew up in Oklahoma and Texas. He taught at Antioch College from 1953-1973. His dozen books include volumes of poetry, books about poetry, a novel, a collection of verse plays, and works of social criticism, and hundreds of his poems, stories, essays, plays and articles have appeared in dozens of popular and literary magazines since 1955. Jerome wrote a monthly poetry column in Writer’s Digest, pointing out the frustrations of the market and the vanity of vanity publishing. “It was later that I remembered that self-publication is an ancient and honorable alternative. It won’t assure one of readers, but it at least scatters a few copies around for the ages to find.”]




On the far side of the multiverse, near the living lava balloons and the carrot water bottle world, on the far side of another galaxy on the edge of space with positive matter lies a black and white world quite like our own. The aliens are controlled by the rich. Starvation, disease, and planetary warming is killing off the people of Sparklevania. Within the city lies two separate warring species, the worshipers of GOLD, and the worshipers of PURPLE. They bombard each other with glitter day and night. Drive by glittering, ruining their otherwise black and white world.

In the center of it all lives an earthling who escaped our universe for their’s. Shawn despised glitter so much that he decided to leave the human race completely for the all-male world, but he didn’t expect to be stranded on THIS world. Everyday he awakened, ate, talked to men from both sects on his communication device and then cleaned the sparkles from his surroundings–vacuuming them up so that his black and white plants could thrive.

He lived out his life loving and being loved by many, and having even more lovers. As Shawn aged he fought more and more for peace. He designed great machines to bring more colors to the world, and by the time he died, the rainbow spectrum existed on their world. On his death bed glitter bombs were launched and everyone suffocated from the beautiful sparkles they unleashed.

After this, peace reigned for 300 years before war once again broke out.



Little Jane Sanders is a wonderful witch. She was born with grey hair, marble white skin, and freckles covered her nose. Her eyes split into threes: red, blue, and green. She needed not friends, as the ghosts, spirits and animals would speak to her. At school she would often find herself in trouble when she saved the frogs from being dissected and turned her teacher into a toad for a week to teach him a lesson. Once, she had her ghost friend Seymour possess the gelatin in the lunch room so everyone’s jello danced away from the children’s forks.

Of course being human they all denied and refused to see the magic happening all around them. The other children refused to play on the playground with Little Jane Sanders and her spider pals, who discussed with her the best ways to catch flies. On Sundays when other boys and girls would go to Sunday school, Little Jane Sanders would study her herbs and potions, learning how to heal and help those who mistreated and mistrusted her. many of them would die younger than they should have as they refused to accept her help.

Little Jane’s Guardian was Mr. Guiermo, a most grotesque funeral home director who was secretly a poltergeist with magical powers to hold a corporeal form. He would feed off the grief of the living, making them lose their grief whether they wanted to hold onto it or not.

Guiermo took Little Jane in as an infant when, after her mother’s funeral, she was deserted. Oh, actually, her family brought her to the funeral but forgot her because they wanted to hurry home to watch television. They meant to go back for her but just never did.

Little Jane’s homeroom teacher, Mrs. Bea Elgavitch, was half blind and three-quarters deaf; so when her lights flickered, her desks walked around and the boys and girls hair would stand on end, changing to blue and green. Of course when they went home their parents would never believe their audacious tales. They spanked their children, put them early and hungry to bed, after which they would call Mr. Guiermo to complain. He would feed on their grief and anger and soon they would only have their happy feelings left, forgetting why they had called in the first place.

Little Jane Sanders was a brilliant child, and I cannot wait to share with you more about her. Be wary, though, that you not mistreat or feel ill of her because he or she who mocks a witch, treats them as if they and their magics are fiction, or treats them as a lesser person for their beliefs will be accursed.

Such people have been known to find themselves without a voice to spread their poison!



His mother told him since he was young that he was unlovable. In college he sought therapy and found love for himself. Finishing college, and his dreams, he sought love in a woman’s arms. Sadly, he chose wrongly. He got a step-daughter a wife, and a shitload of debt all in the name of love.

When his step-daughter grew up she got married, took her step-father’s money and treated him like garbage…as did her mother.

Tired of heartache and pain, he sought a companion he could never love…a woman named Juliet who was one of the most ghastly humans alive with a height of 4’10”, a weight of 414 lbs, and an eyebrow that reached across her forehead and around her mouth. He remarried and lived in a cabin with her writing for the rest of his days. Neither loved each other; neither ever felt pain again.

[James Merritt is a companion, raconteur, writer and teacher who lives in Maryland. He has a vivid imagination and is a master at short, short fiction, crafting stories often highlighted with the macabre.  Merritt’s well-received work has appeared several times in our webzine.]






Shortly after our third child arrived, I needed housecleaning help. So we hired a woman noted for her efficiency and energy. As her recommendations promised, Jane (pseudonym) cleaned wonderfully well. Maury met her one evening, looked at her bulging eyes and insisted she see a doctor immediately.

President Trump’s behaviors are worrying mental health professionals in the same way that Jane’s eyes indicated that something was wrong. The president’s tweets and comments and his vacillating moods and positions, sometimes even undercutting his own party, are scary.


Mental health professionals have expressed concerns about the president’s functioning, but cannot diagnose any individual they have not professionally evaluated.

True, I never thought President Trump would be the right person to lead our country. While some attributed Trump’s obnoxious comments about women, the physically impaired or Senator McCain’s prisoner of war status as simply “campaign rhetoric,” my feeling was that these comments were unfortunately a measure of the man.

I don’t think Vice President Pence’s goals and political positions are any more acceptable to most liberals or even some moderates than are Trump’s, but Pence’s demeanor, speech and personal interactions make him a much more desirable person to be leading our nation. At least, he would not insult our longtime allies, tweet incessantly or make impossible promises.

In February 2016, my column in this newspaper [Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch], “Narcissist as president would be dreadful,” identified some of the problematic characteristics of a narcissist. I noted that such personalities are often attractive because they ooze confidence and offer simplistic answers to difficult problems, such as the president’s promise to easily repeal and replace Obamacare with something much better. Finding that about 22 million Americans would be hurt by the proposed changes, while a small number of really rich folks will get a bonus, wasn’t what was promised.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 (DSM-5) is the accepted guideline that mental health professionals use for identifying and diagnosing mental health disorders. There are nine specific items that are linked to narcissistic personality disorder behaviors.

These include a grandiose sense of self-importance, a preoccupation with fantasies of power, success, intelligence, etc., and a sense of entitlement. Additionally, seeing oneself as special and unique and only associated with high status individuals, needing constant admiration from others, exploiting people for personal gain, lacking empathy, envying others and believing that others envy them and demonstrating arrogant and haughty behaviors and attitudes are seen frequently. This is a long-term behavior usually established by the beginning of adulthood. Genetic and environmental issues reportedly may influence this functioning.

When I worked as a licensed psychologist, I rarely encountered clients with narcissistic personalities. While this diagnosis is not overly common, the real reason I did not see such clients was that they usually are not uncomfortable and believe any problems they have are caused by others. Expecting change from a mature adult whose behaviors have much in common with a narcissistic personality is folly.

Our twittering president’s comments are not only ridiculously “unpresidential,” but also cruel, inappropriate and sapping energy and progress from our government.


Following Trump’s recent irrational tweets regarding Mika and the “Morning Joe” show, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) chirped back, “Please just stop. This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office.”

“This isn’t normal” is the gist of President Trump’s behavior. While medication readily treated Jane’s medical condition, there’s no panacea for those who display characteristics of a personality disorder. It’s why many mental health professionals are worrying about the man leading our nation.

[Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist. Her e-mail is dwmufson@comcast.net.  Mufson regularly contributes to the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch editorial page and this article first appeared in the Herald-Dispatch on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Photographs by Pixabay.]




My residence is a funeral home in West Virginia. I live among the dead.

Night and day, I witness the arrival of dead West Virginians from my apartment atop the funeral home garage. I hear the sobs of loved ones who bid farewell in the chapel down below. Sad songs echo in my home place, Christian anthems once reserved mostly for natural deaths now performed often for the overdosed, the suicides and those killed by coal.

For me, death by misused drugs is not theoretical. Suicides are no rumor. And coalfield departures are not left to my imagination. The unnaturally deceased arrive, in mounting numbers, at my doorstep without fanfare on stretchers for me to see, firsthand. Such blatancy is injurious to my soul. Not to mention my civility.

Many of my neighbors are in disbelief when I tell them that deaths from cancer, black lung, suicide and drug addiction are outpacing natural causes for the first time in our written history. To them, such deaths are simply statistics to be denied. From my funereal vantage point, such deaths cannot be refuted.

How difficult must it be for someone not as profoundly acquainted with death as I am to understand what it means when I tell you that, in mountaintop removal mining counties in central Appalachia, an additional 60,000 cases of cancer are directly linked to federally sanctioned strip mining. Not until you see, personally, a withered body made so by deadly particulate blown by strip miners into our mountain air can you appreciate, fully, just how toxic and lethal our land has become.

I am dismayed by what I observe, constantly, in my house of horror. I stare at young faces frozen by death and wonder how it is that so many youngsters are being laid to rest. Once brimming with life and hope, they lie here motionless, without any expression. I want to grab them and shake them back to life. I want to erase the poisons that laid them low. I want their skin to be radiant, their eyes bright and sparkling and not dulled by the drugs that, finally, put out their lights. Then, I remember another statistic. Life expectancy for men in my sorry neck-of-the-woods is 18 years less than for men in affluent Northern Virginia.

I am saddened by how the perished here are blamed for their own demise. I rebel on behalf of the dead downstairs in the morgue when a coalfield politician proclaims that, save for President Obama and his so-called war on coal, these dead shall not have died. I know as surely as do the dead that Obama did not kill coal. Nor has he taken their jobs and, thus, in their despair, their lives. To say otherwise is a lie.

I hoped Obama’s recent visit here to help our state cope with its drug problem–number one in the nation–would mean, eventually, fewer bodies will be brought here to my place. But until we shift from the mono-economy that is killing us to sustainable economies that will save us, those dead of unnatural causes will be visiting me in numbers greater than ever before.

Ed Rabel is an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist and author who lives in Lincoln County, West Virginia. He has recently joined the Peace Corps for an assignment in Uganda, East Africa.  This article first appeared on December 30, 2015 in the Charleston WV Gazette-Mail and has been reprinted on-line. This editor, recalling Rabel from his early days in radio in Charleston, West Virginia, has followed his career through the years.