VIGNETTES by James Merritt

VIGNETTES by James Merritt

A man of thought and wit trudged ponderous halls. Every step lead him closer to finality; every movement made for those he loved, and those he hoped to save. Alas, he was only human. Thus he was forced to deny his inner peace for the cursedness of dealing with common man.

A quiet girl, with long-flowing hair whistled as she walked beside the creek. The monster did not know her true nature as it stalked her. Jovial and kind was she, until the beast showed its face. At that instant her kindness fled; her sword drawn, she sliced off its head…incapacitating it while she diced and chopped it to oblivion. Afterwards she sang while anonymously she left beast steaks around the kingdom. She fed all the poor children of the kingdom. Riches a great person does not make, but her heart and being were more precious than any stone the earth could ever give up.


Stacy was a happy child, loved; and though her parents were not rich, she wanted for nothing. As a teenager she struggled through, as all teenagers do. She never dated because she was preoccupied with being happy.

The years quickly passed and Stacy watched her friends date and marry and begin to raise families. Every guy and girl she dated ended things by telling her it wouldn’t work as she was too happy. She begin to wonder if she should try to be unhappy so she might not be so lonely. Finally, she gave up and embraced her happy loneliness.

Everything changed when she met Danger. Blonde hair, green eyes, and the magical ability to make her happy, sad, angry, and adored all at the same time. Danger dazzled her with praises, but Danger’s nature could not feel love. Stacy chose to love enough for both of them. Yearning for the day Danger returned her deeply-felt emotions. The days turned to weeks, to months, then years. She ignored her soulmate as she was strung along by the dazzling blindness of Danger. One day Danger disappeared. He left behind their twins–Regret and Loneliness. The day Danger disappeared their daughter Satisfaction disappeared as well. Stacy embraced her twins Regret and Loneliness and for the rest of her life searched for, but never found, her daughter Satisfaction.

At the end of Stacy’s life Danger, bringing their daughter, reappeared. Satisfaction was all grown up. At the last hour of her life Danger, Satisfaction, Regret, and Loneliness watched as Stacy took her final breath. Only then did she meet her life’s final companion, the one who had just been beyond her reach her whole life…Peace. Peace looked a lot like Danger, but took Stacy’s hand and brought her to the next adventure after this life.


The dead rise, the leaves fall, autumn on call

When life is about to end for all of mankind the minds of the billions are none to mind.

Work in the shops never end, not with a war, but with a bang.

A desolate rock is all that is left.

No one to bereave the dead. Humanities’ virus at an end. Everyone dead

No friend to lend a spade, or trowel the dead left unburied.

No wolf left to howl.

A coffee to blame just a tad bit much caffeine and the button pressed a nuclear war disarmed.

No hope for the billions; just a few left in space. All that is left of the human race.

The pachyderms, cats and kangaroos not but burned bones, and cooked animals in zoos.

The seeds in the poles all that is left, but no farmer to sow them,

so rot is all that is left.

Not enough time to evolve a new kangaroo, for the sun shall burn up the planet before life can renew.

All that shall happen I prophesied here.

All that I prophesy is down to a beer.


AN APOSTATE YOGI by Judson Jerome

AN APOSTATE YOGI by Judson Jerome

This yogi in his dhoti in Benares

stood on one leg.

One outstretched palm kept ice from melting

while the other fried an egg

Wearing nothing but a turban and a mandala

he dwelt in a Frigidaire

eight months chewing a ginseng root.

They don’t need air.

They are not dependent on the variables

that generally maintain us.

They show the autonomic nervous system who is boss.

A yogi can suck water up his anus.

swallow Kleenex and pull it out his nose.

A woman with a yogi for a lover

said he never came too soon,

yet sitting in his lotus with his thoughts on God

could spurt all afternoon.

I never met a lady yogi, but I hear they menstruate

when they please.

A yogi never laughs without deciding,

nor does he sneeze.

He makes his heart beat fast or slow, depending

on mind, not glands.

his hiccups, sweat and pupil sizes

obey commands.

He farts at will and never apologizes.


As a boy I tried to suck my belly under

ribs till I saw my spine.

Though I never tried a rope or cobra, I played

my ocarina for some twine.

I pounded blunt ten penny nails through plywood

and would have lain on it, no doubt,

if I could have got my weight all in one motion 

evenly stretched out.

I wiggled my ears and pursed my sphincters,

crossing my eyes.

In school I sat with a stony gaze, engaged

in internal exercise.

But I surrendered as I aged

to the voluntary and involuntary

as discrete domains,

with uncontrollable regret enduring

riot in my veins,

incontinently wishing I could master

that skill or art

that could predict, if not manipulate,

the weather of my heart.

And yet my effort is no more to strengthen,

but to subdue my will,

to go through ego’s mirror and be whole.

Still you may see me sitting very still,

straining to throw off the mind’s control.


[from PUBLIC DOMAIN JUDSON JEROME published by Trunk Press, Hancock, Maryland, 1977.]






he sits there all alone

as so many nights before

slowly sipping coffee

at the table by the door

he gazes so intensely at the rain outside the glass

and sighs a mournful sigh

as he waits the day to pass…

(–why he sits and what he thinks

I venture not to say

but the emptiness he feels - I know

I lost myself that way–)

I know too well how lonely feels

I’ve had the splintered heart

I’ve cried that sea of sorrows

which no one can be a part

I’ve felt the disappointment 

of a love that’s turned away

I know the pain of hatred

from the words that people say

and I have scaled the mountain

and crawled the desert floor

I’ve blazed a trail through wilderness 

from short to desolate shore

I’ve cried up to the heavens

and cursed the wretched ground

I’ve screamed into the canyon

but, have heard no echoes sound.


I know exactly how he feels

I understand his pain

for I am he

who sits and stares

intensely, at the rain.

(c) 2009, LoveWorks Ink)
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.”]




among the animals

man kills

his kind he has designs

mortality fills

his mind no velvet leopard ever

died for justice

slew with love

nor is his prey

politically assassinated


(the beasts)

are not inclined to suicide



in cages sometimes may

jerk half

their adolescent hours away

and maybe a rare


is gay

man’s friend the dog will mount

a leg or bitch

line up to take his turn

and not care which

but man


goes rutting all the year

preferring almost any

to his mate

devising means to be



his seed like shells

laying to be laying it

takes a man

to copulate

in hate

he plugs up any orifice around

or finding none

will fertilize the ground



a man

would sew up skins to hide

his loins and decorate himself

in pride

or shame

tattoo scars on his flesh or wear

a badge to indicate his rank

slaves labor

deep in African earth

to deck blonde hair

with diamonds

whales are drained of ambergris

so that milady may outsmell her neighbor

no other species

some drug or drink to free

it from

its mind

beasts never go to war to fight for peace



measures time

gives names

he shapes the stone

aware of his own death

therefore at odds

with nature

he torments himself with gods


among the animals



UNTITLED (a poem) by Theodor Hendrick End

UNTITLED (a poem) by Theodor Hendrick End

I admire you,

Not for your fame

or popularity

not for your skills

or awards

not for your money

or possessions.

I admire you

for not turning back in the darker days

or becoming cold

in life’s winters

for continuing to sacrifice your life

so that someone

you will never know

or meet

may for a moment,

despite all they might be going through,

find some good in the world.

and even now

in the beauty of your ripened age

you sit upon the throne of servant hood



molding the souls of tomorrow

planting a harvest

you know

you will never see