Fiction

Stories and poems by Thomas Hudson

Poem: From the backseat of my aunt’s Chevy

From the backseat
her red hair an accusation.
Thin, careworn, and cunning
burnt forever by that long-ago season;
she knows the wrong things.

Dissolute pools
trapping the blue sky,
her mascara-smeared eyes lie,
looking backly.

“This is how the world is,”
nodding,
“this is how the world is.”

Her disjoint face abandons
the words she forces;
words are flight,
purposed for betrayal.

The Fall creeps in,
steals what is not hers;
is merciless.

Status

Tom Hudson

Here is a short–one paragraph(!)–story I wrote:

The day was sunny when we launched our new boat on the Huron River. But Lake Erie weather is notoriously changeable and by the time we covered half of the 10 miles to our dock, angry clouds broke over us with terrific force. Howling winds and roiling waves made the final leg of the journey unforgettable. When we finally made the calm waters of the Vermilion River, my son and I gave a prayer of thanksgiving–it was a miracle. After docking the boat, we surveyed The Betty Jane and discovered she had come through the ordeal with flying colors, which was more than could be said for us.

 

Poem: On and on played they

In the corner of the ruined room,
she was crying,
frightened of herself
and angry at us.

‘Freedom is full of monsters.
Just get out.’

I ran to summer
in the next room,
where the Goes Orchestral band members,
led by the red-haired midget on saxophone,
made intricate, drug-induced patterns on the stage.

On and on played they.
I wish they were more self-critical.

Poem: Why do I remember this?

Why do I remember?
I’ve carried this,
and now–see?–here it is.

Guided by a compulsion (that has never left me)
I painted the walls of my mother’s house
the entire length of the hallway;
floating above the floor–I was light.

You’ll laugh, but it was art.
That’s the simple truth.

My mother didn’t see it that way,
in fact, she was outraged.
Again you’ll laugh, but I was flabbergasted.
I didn’t understand her.

Poem: Full-Blood Moon

Through the narrow window, the full-blood moon floated in the black water of the bathtub, next to where you laid with your face against the wall sobbing. Pressing my cheek to yours, I glimpsed, the unfurled flags of defeat and something I didn’t understand. Aug., 2013

Poem: 5th Street

5th Street After art history, the widow drove me to my slum studio. Its only north-facing window overlooked the vacant lot where I saw a shootout my first night there. Barely 30, they hadn’t suspected her husband’s bad heart. Dying, he had betrayed their now backward-pointing future. We hung there, our hollow faces reflecting the…

Poem: The Thing She Said to Me

The Thing She Said to Me The poets and rockers didn’t go beyond Avenue A, where the poverty was unromantic. My fifth-floor walk-up (Ave. C and 9th) looked over the rooftops of Manhattan, to the sea beyond. Floating above the world, the carnival-lit World Trade Center tethered me every night. Around the corner, the heartless barmaid…

Poem: For Penny

With the broken-hearted language of the abandoned,
the orphan spoke into the rising smoke
above the campfire.

Her voice carried through the smoke and sparks
into the night beyond
where everything is sky.

The spirits conjured there
were kind and full of yearning,
like her.

Every word was clear.
Across these many years I remember them still.
“We all find love, right, Tommy?”

The hard laughter of the others
choked the answer in my throat.

In the silence
the night grew chill
and stole her away.

“Yes, Penny.”