My name is Calvin Ray Fudge. I live in Cypress, Texas - just outside of Houston. I am 46 years old and have recently returned to the University of Houston to finish my Bachelor of Arts degree. I am married (Theresa) and have three daughters, Cailey (15), Madelyn (9), and Emma (5) -- all a source of continual inspiration. I have always liked to communicate and have recently begun to write poetry, somewhat necessitated by an English course I am taking. Nonetheless, this class has been a valuable springboard for discovering a way to transfer a 'head full" of orphan thoughts and feelings to paper.

Submitted for your consideration, two poems about my parents, both of which have passed away. The first is about the stormy love they shared, the second, about - the stormy love they shared.

A Stop on the Way Home

After work, the road always seemed to run, unfailing
In the late afternoon sun, to the crushed shell parking lot,
To a space on the side of the shack,
Out of view from the street,
To a worn wood stool at the corner of the bar.
Mostly alone, except for the regulars, he drank.

The sunlight reflected in the brown bottle glass
And glistened across icy sweat, smeared with each grab, and
Sizzled in a thousand captive bubbles
Sloshing until still.

She'd whip him with that tongue, later
For the weakness, the indulgence he took without her -
The taste she knew from nights in the '57,
Lights off, radio on and the cool of her thigh
Under the skirt.

A cold swallow, how it tingled
On her tongue and danced with the last wisp of cigarette,
Trailing across those lips - And she pushed him down
Into the seat and veiled him with clouds
Of auburn hair and perfume
And taught him ways of the city.

Two empties and a third,
The label scratched through revealing suds -
And it was time to think about going.
One more and he sank an inch lower,
Resting his elbows on the worn steel counter.
The day played in reverse in his head.

Each face, a handshake, a smile, and a dollar earned,
Then on to the next stop and the next until he was
Loading up his truck first thing that morning
And back in the kitchen finishing the cup of coffee she made
Back between the sheets clutching her
And still earlier, suspended together in dreams,
He went and lingered there.

Four was enough to last the ride - to keep the buzz
Through the twists of roads and blink of yellow stripes,
A feel good remedy to get him through
The door and into the recliner -
That last sip to guarantee him a free pass
Beyond caring
As the door slammed and she lit into him
Once again.

Copyright © 2001 by Calvin Fudge

False Starts

Look, I'll make this brief.
There was a past between us
That kept dripping, drumming for attention
In each flat drop
That rang hollow against the sink.

'Too strong of medicine' she could be that
Yet, it was a tonic I took willingly, and
Foolishly, turned away, to another
To escape what was there - between us.
It all unraveled when the young lust I chased
Went on from me to others
And before I knew - it had broken me.

The sound of the faucet reminds me of the rain
That played on the roof above us
The night I told you why.
Being together shut out too much
For both of us.
It was better I said, but inside,
It wasn't right.
Why run from passion's edge
That which balances feelings so strong?
Lust, Anger, Love, Pride, - I tried
Deserted the closeness she needed
But lost her.

You have to lose something sometimes…
Pride, Anger, Love, went away eventually, even Lust
Leaving behind an older man with baggage
And an empty coffee cup.
I stared into that cup and drifted
Gone from both diner and daylight to someplace else -
Normandy, a boy's frozen face, the deserted farm, mud, rain -
And retrieved by a splash and a stream
Of strong steaming coffee
Rushing to the brim,
I looked up
And as suddenly, she stared back
And neither one of us looked away,
Ever again.

Copyright © 2001 by Calvin Fudge