Judson Hamilton



The Wedding Procession

You’ve Tunisian sun on your skin
and cybernetic parts sprouting from your stomach
like so many violets pushing through the sidewalk

and I’ll measure you; call you my wife; and wrap you in a restrictive wedding cape
of gold cellophane; parade you through the streets and across the rough-hewn cobblestones
on a makeshift chariot, pulled by rebuilt Kawasakis


Midwestern Song of Woe

I came home to our wooden clapboard house with porch and screendoor and, before opening it, peered in a moment at the round table on which was set several birthday baskets for my sister, some purple paper plates and a gift of a blank cassette with scotch tape labeling.

In a moment of absent-mindedness I dropped my keys dangerously close to the grating before our door and as I pensively edged towards them, the neighbors' devil spawn son snatched the keys and dangled them over the grate, snickering all the while.

I warned him not to do it, to give them to me, to take a step back, but he grinned maliciously and made that snorting sound with his nose that he makes whenever he is being defiant, then – he let them fall. He ran for his house but I grabbed him and slung him against a wall, the shock of which caused a bodily mistosis; he birthed of himself a sister; she fell out of him, or rather, twinned off him.

Suddenly realizing the gravity of my actions I picked her up and headed over to the neighbor's; his son trembled at the violent retribution that would most certainly be meted out by his father.

I knocked at our neighbor's screen door and after a short interval (cicadas screaming), he greeted me in a worn cable knit sweater and rustic reddish-gold beard with one long vertical pupil, (his other eye having been sewn up by tragedy long ago).

He took no notice of his recently birthed granddaughter, (unconscious in my arms), but instead inquired into the cost of a birthday basket for my sister, adding in a soft undertone that he didn't earn too much.

I assured him it wasn't necessary and sensing his mounting rage at having an unexpected mouth to feed, and his embarrassment at lacking the funds to satisfy neighborly protocol, I made an attempt to sympahize with him by singing the “Midwestern Song of Woe”
meanwhile, as accompaniment,
a B & W montage, played out of my head and filled the street :

on one knee, padded with a football helmet as support; cheek to cheek on prom night with my date and her corsage; me fresh out of academy, seated on a bench clad in epaulettes, riding boots and aviator shades sharing a secret behind my begloved hand - -

Once my head was empty, my memories came to an end and evaporated from the street like early morning mist.

We parted ways –
                             He to his abode – perturbed & disquiet, yet satiated.
                             And I to mine – humbled & nostalgic, yet prideful.

past simple home