Wednesday, August 27, 2008

introduction to poetry

Collected poems

I’m not really sure what I was originally looking for that afternoon out in the garage, but whatever it was, I never found it. Instead, I came across several ragged manila envelopes filled with handwritten bits and pieces of my poetry and prose from 30 to 40 years ago. For the next two or three hours I was absorbed in reading all those things and trying to comprehend that I had, indeed, written them.
I have no problem remembering those times of my life . My early twenties, dating, college, even high school and before. I can see my life as a stream of consciousness across an increasingly longer lifespan and for the most part I can retrieve a fairly clear copy of a specific memory. In fact, these long-term memories are more easy to call up than my short term or working memory I know all that but the reality for me is that sometimes I experience a strange detachment (or disconnect) when trying to experience an event or time from years ago. I look at the words , remember the time period but for the most part find it hard to put myself in that moment or even experience much of an emotional connection with these memories. I suppose I am just experiencing a repressed memory , for that matter.
Luckily , I am not really writing to answer the question of memory. It is interesting and , for that matter, I think with effort I might get better at reliving some of these times. I’m certain, I could develop more focused introspection ability and perhaps I will. What really interests me is how incapable I now seem to be at writing even a few lines of poetry. I read line after line that Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, sometimes cringing in disapproval sometimes nodding in appreciation. I was actually impressed a couple of times with a quick thought that , surely I didn’t write that!”
I got out a clean sheet of paper and a pen and set out to begin anew my poetry avocation/passion. Nothing much happened! I began a line with something like, “ I sit here tonight with pen poised and a mind as blank as my paper!. Me, the poet, actually couldn’t find any words to use, I continued pushing words around on the sheet, looking very much like a first grader sliding unwanted peas around his plate. Finally, I let it go and just read the poems the same way I would read Shelley or Keats, or, more likely, EE Cummings, with the one possible advantage being in a first name relationship with the author. I very tentatively concluded that poetry , like language acquisition, must have a developmental window of opportunity in which to be expressed in a life. Learning can happen outside the window but it is so much easier to do inside ! Another term I drag up from long lack of use, is ’zone of proximal development’ if I remember correctly. Again, there is a optimal time in a child’s life when they have the readiness , skills, etc to learn a task and the teacher is also in place and ready to walk through the learning with them. I can think of no more appropriate zone for learning poetry than during the loose and unstructured time of college. Idealism is at its height and responsibility and reality is almost nonexistent. Moods joyfully range from manic to depressive overnight and if you add love to this volatile mix, it is easy to see how you might get poetry, or a reasonable facsimile , there of.
I don’t know the answer to why I can’t extricate rhyming words at the age of sixty. Maybe I am trying too hard; maybe I’m not trying hard enough. I just thought of the similarity with my desire to do creative works as an expression of worship to God. I’ve often thought of doing paintings with a Biblical theme or message but most of my attempts appeared less than satisfactory until last Easter and a specific request to produce paintings for a Good Friday service at church. I suppose I need a mission or a challenge to push me or an incentive of some kind to pull me in the right direction. I will keep trying until I am either successful or have proven to myself that it is hopeless. While I am waiting for the outcome of this literary challenge, my goal is to put into some readable format the ‘early’ and so far only poems of Tom Hudgens. While I am at it, I also plan to include in this venture selections from the ‘Ostrich writings’ which I will explain later.
Who knows ? Before I’m finished, I may find new insights and abilities into this rhyming dilemma.
R. Tom Hudgens spring 2008

More Poems'

Morning Prayer

My 'things-to-do' list has been
neatly penned and with that done
I sit down to pray-

I plead my case, I list my
needs and seem to hear God
clearly say-

Ask, seek and knock, if you will-
I love to hear my
children's heart-

only next time come early when
nothing is planned,
and talk to me before you start.
tom hudgens

My first motivation for writing poems was unlocked by falling in love. I had it bad; still do after thirty nine years! I think this was one of my first ones.
To Andrea

What wonders can my eyes perceive when still
the dawn is hiding,
I gaze into her sleepy eyes and find all
nature seems abiding.
Upon her skin, the moon reflects to form a
tranquil sea,
and in her eyes, a moonlit sky, with thoughts
for only me.
She breaths, and if i listen well
i seem to slowly hear,
a summer breeze that brings me love
and hope instead of fear.
In restless sleep, her hair cascades to
blanket over all,
a rushing stream that falls to end
in a golden waterfall.
Life's drama gives a new fanfare, the
dawn is waking now,
As critic of the nights small part I feel
my love deserves a bow.

Tom Hudgens, 1969

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two quotes on Anger

I came across a bunch of good quotes on Anger today. Here are two:

A 'different' version than the Biblical verse for sure-
"Never go to bed angry; stay up and fight"
Phyliss Diller

"When angry count to 5; when really angry swear"
Mark Twain

Monday, August 25, 2008

Well, the real reason I started this thing was to start collecting my old poetry and getting put down so that it wouldn't be lost in some forty year old notebook, so I want to put a couple more down today:

Since my last post was on my funeral I will start with a short poem called Death. Catchy title , don't you was written sometime in the mid seventies, while on duty at the fire station I believe.I just remember working with D. Collins and E. white and joking about the old southern comedian Brother Dave Gardner. One of his lines, ended with 'send his saddle home' , meaning he had died.


His up is time-
His numbers dayed,
His foughts have all been battled.

His dones are journeyed
His lightened loaded,

His sent home has been saddled.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Preaching my funeral: Fiction, but only a little bit !
I got to thinking tonight how I would like to have my funeral done and a little bit of humor always comes into a subject like this.’’
Here is the ‘line up’ I thought about tonight . You’ll have to decide what order they come in because I won’t even know there batting averages for that year.
Dave Crandell………….John Paraell……….Liney Himes………..Steve Merritt (to represent the laymen)
Liney could do all scripture reading from the King James; John could make sure there would be an alter call,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Dave could teach on the ‘theology of Death’ and ancient Presbyterian doctrines of heaven…………………Steve could tell stories in the way only he could tell them and entertain the small crowd.
No kidding, I did ponder the scene with this unlikely group and found it a little humorous to picture,
If each could be given permission to speak from their heart it would a great service..
Of course worship would be a great park of it; and I would love Matt Duren and his group; Nathan and Sam with Don and any other kin who want to join in
Special music would be important: I’d like Keith Green “Don’t you wish you had the answer, well I do” and selected World wide message tribe…………jumping in the house of God

An open mike time would be nice if anyone wanted to share anything (like at Neils’ funeral_ you could have Dave Lomax and Rick Marson host that
I don’t really have a preference of specific Scripture; I’d just like lot’s of it read…………….
I don’t have a preference but if you want me cremated that is fine. I used to laugh about having my ashes put in a booster tank and squirted out somewhere in conyers but I’d probably run into to many regulations there so you could do with them what you want……….just a thought………….along the AT in north Georgia Liney and Nathan could do that grave side!!
Speaking of the fire dept. you might see if David Rhodes would be available to tell stories………….you decide if david’s Elvis imitation should be part of it………………
That’s about it………..I would like to work on a message which could be read and maybe I would but the jest would be:
Tell my friends and love ones I’m in a great place; no more tears or pain and you should see the place I moved into this morning. And wait until you see our Lord and sit down and talk with Him and worship,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,wow.
I don’t know how God did it but there are no tears of sadness only joy! Especially tell that to my love of a life time Andy………now I can pray and cheer her on……………I married up…………..I’ll see you in a while hon………………..
More later!
Don’t try to make me out a perfect anything, You all know I’m not! At least not until today……………… but seriously its real this life and death……………….press into the the Kingdom
Life is short!! Your husband, father, brother, friend you get

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Expert

It wasn't even a phone call, it was a short email which would have been easy to ignore. No persuasive, human voice pleading with me to say yes to the offer which once again labels me as expert. Send is way too easy to hit and there it goes; I have agreed. On the surface it sounds easy enough. They want me to teach a short seminar around the topics of stress and anger management. Its short and it will be part of a community event sponsored by the foster parents association. All of that is valuable and well intended and will most likely work out fine but not without my going through a laboreous process of anxiety, doubt, and self imposed pressure as the date gets closer.

Parkinson's will not get the victory but it will slap me around for a while trying! When it starts to work on my thinking process I then take over and run with the ball and , in no time, I am crippled, mute and afraid I will most certainly fail or at best, come across as anything but an expert.. There is that word. Everyone knows that an expert is a 'washed up drip' ha,,,,get it; ex spurt washed up drip. What does it take to join the ranks of these experts? An advanced degree? that would certainly help. A book or two you have written; Excellent choice! I really think that if you have any of these or a reasonable substitute you might just qualify but even without the degree I just thought of another condition. If you know more about your topic then anyone in your audience you are close but even more important thna the knowledge is the belief that you know more. That attitude alone get many a professor through the day.

My primary thought in writing this down, however, was to explore just how much pressure one can put on themself by agreeing to speak on any topic in a format like this. There are many factors which modulate personal stress and one that comes to mind is control. Control over the stresser,( the event, task, demand, etc.) .........blah....blah......

Guess what, I had intended this to be funny and then lost my sense of humour. You will just have to come to the class next month if you want to actually learn anything else As for me, I am exercising my personal control and ending this thing now...........he spoke, and drank rapidl y a glass of water.

see ya


Sunday, August 17, 2008


Made in His image but tarnished; remade in His image......... but didn't notify my will; -- under construction , a slow family, got starvy, got job, got sick , got healed
and here I am. Now I'm
running, no I'm walking, and I'm walking it out
.....................but I'm-

Still amazed at my natural born capacity to mess up, to screw up
to fall short, to miss the mark- to sin.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

This has been a frustrating week primarily due to gadgets and devices which seem to own me! As I said in an earlier post, I grew up without computers and electronic games only to have them dropped on me as an adult! I have an attachment disorder with electronic devices because I missed that vital window of opportunity for bonding that comes somewhere around age 10.

It started with remote control devices and we all know where it has gone from there but the personal question is, " do I continue to assimilate these devices into my competency base, or do I simply stop and refuse to move on"?

I should expand my rant to include all the other things which vie for ownership in my life. I'm thinking here of cars and swimming pools, garbage disposals, cell phones, plumbing (yes p lumbing.....mine is possessed!

quick disclaimer: I am blind out of one eye and can't see out of the other tonight. My eyes are watering, blinking, blurred, etc and I'm having difficult time with this so make 'perceptual guesses about what you see and you should be fine. Perhaps some of the words which I actually type will be more appropriate them the onees I had intended to type.

Anyway...............Andy got a new computer this week and somehow I got elected to get it up and running for her. Most of it was pretty straight forward until I reached the dreaded P and U words. Password and Username) Of course I have one for Windows, one for the ISP, one for the wireless router and on and on,,,,,,,,,,, When you add the ATM, bank,voice mail....................etc. you get my point. Add to that genetic problems from being born male and not writting down important numbers and you have a disaster in the making.

Somehow I kept going back and trying different word combinations until it locked down the program. For my next act and actually changed the password on my computer and then we couldn't use either one. My stress level is entirely too high to even continue with this discription so I wil stop and practice my progressive muscle relaxation techniques and imagery to see if I can continue.............
.............feel much better now............I eventually called the help line for the router and spent 2 hours on the phone wi th a nice man whose accent was such that I only understood approx. every third word he said. Sort of like you who may be trying to read this... The real problem was that the third word I understood was computer giberrish and so I continue to be lost. One thing I am though is tenasious [how do spell this word). Two hours! I had to put down the phone to fully medicate myself during the masacre and when I picked back up the phone he was still talking.

But enough about that..............I came to talk about the draft...........strick that ; wrong we'll just wait for the right one to come back around on the it comes.

I eventually made it and we are back on line which is another complication in itself. Which leads me to my point; you may know someone in a similar situation; or you may be in a similar situation and you may not be as lucky as I was. Please Pray Prior to Password Preparation......................
but I also wanted to tell you abut a painting I just finished. its meant to go along with the poem , alone in the wilderness, and it is a scene of a dark woods with a hicker (hiker, I don't know that he is a hick) sittting by a fire by himself, next to his tent. I wanted to create the scene you see at night with only a small fire illuminating the dark surroundings; an erie scene. The weird thing is ; after I finished I see ghost like figures hovering over the camp site. I think they are angels but some may see demons, etc. depending upon the light and your particular medications. Stranger still, i saw what appeared to me to be my face just below these figures..................

I'll take a picture and perhaps you can see it also. For one dollar parking you can even come over and see it in better not start that.

see ya/ tom

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Alone in the wilderness

Alone in the Wilderness

A man needs to be alone in the woods
every once in a while-
said I ,to myself since
No one else was listening .

I planned all week, laying in
Grub and gear and supplies enough to
meet any challenge--……….I hope,
So now I am busy rethinking everything I forgot.
The dusk is settling into the mountains now-
I can see it; I can smell it; I can even feel it
giving my legs a jolt of adrenalin and
Quickening my pace up this long and winding trail.
“A man needs to get away from the carpentered world
Of climate- control and mitered corners and microwaves
and recalibrate his sense of direction, get back in step
With nature”, so says the expert whose book I’m reading.
But right now I am looking for just the right
homestead for the night-
A few feet of level ground and a view of the sky--
That’s all I really need but I will need it soon
because things take on a whole new perspective
In the woods after dark;
up here dark really means dark ! And I wonder to myself, since no one else is here to wonder at-
What am I doing here? Why did I come and put
Myself voluntarily in this place -
My sensory equipment is working just fine, thank you
And I am hearing every sound in the forest.
There is a feeling of security that comes from
Entering one’s home and closing the door-
Even if that home is the 3 pound piece of fabric
You’ve carried in your pack all day
And I am still wondering. It’s not about the exercise
Or the scenery; that’s just gravy on the mashed potatoes and,
Like I said before, it’s dark out here. The only scenery I can make
Out now is what is revealed by my tiny headlight.
I know it’s about reminding myself that I can do this,
I think as I dive into my sleeping bag and shiver until
The warmth envelopes me. It’s about facing fears, and there
Are only a couple of options here.
I can face them and feel them; ignore them and rationalize
them or worse yet, build an altar to them. Fear is palpable but
So is my heart rate and there is no mistaking that I
Am alive, Dark- thirty and all is well.
You can talk to God here, right out loud, and he hears
You and talks back, or is it the other way around? After
All He lives here, doesn’t He? At the very least, this
Would make Him a good foot stool, if he wanted one.
Eventually, sleep prevails but I call it rock and roll. There
Is always at least one rock that ends up under you and I roll
Over and over In my bag until dawn, sort of like a roast on a spit ,
Cooking until done.
It starts to rain and the first drop of water that hits me on the nose
Wakes me up and reminds me that I had left my rain fly off in hope of
A clear night to see the stars-
As I scramble out to lash down the fly I’m reminded of another night years ago when my son and I were doing the same thing. In the dim light of what was left of our camp fire- two guys, in their underwear, running around
Putting the roof on before everything inside got wet. All the while, laughing our heads off at the thought of anyone from civilization seeing this scene! I named it the ‘Mystic, midnight , underwear dance’and we remember that night still today.
But don’t get me started with stories, I’ve got a million of them
And besides it’s day light and I have things to do and places to go.
Eat light and pack up all my possessions - but before I go, I build an altar to Jehovah God. I do this every once in a while but don’t ask me for doctrine-
I met with God here and worshipped Him and I just pile up a few rocks
As a place of remembrance . He is true to His ‘word and I thank Him and move on down the trail.
It’s only eight miles to my Jeep and a good part of that is down hill; ‘child’s play’ my old hiking buddy Lenny would say.
With any ’luck’ at all I’ll be back in the suburbs by dark-thirty, ready to face
The carpentered world but with the promise that
I will come this way again.
8-2-08;;;;;;;;;;;;;Tom Hudgens
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Friday, August 1, 2008

It's hard to believe but I'm old enough to remember time before computers! I wasn't much of a visionary and never really thought too much about the endless possibilities in store for all of us 'normal ' people who now communicate successfully with the whole world with machines much more powerful that those housed in government agencies and business just a few years ago..........................Although they do eliminate some types of day to day stress they sometimes seem to add more anxiety, and pressure and information then I can deal with. My style of 'information processing' is much more oriented to slowly walking a ways with information, chewing on it for a while,'cogitating' on it...............but then I'm Mr Slowsky.
Here is a poem I wrote in 1971 while working at Lithonia Lighting.. The computer system was down more than it was up or at least it seemed that way. I thought some well placed humor might serve to reduce the tension

A New IBM ( a new tune for J. Joplin)
O Lord, won't you buy me a new IBM,
my friends all have orders
I can't enter them.
I work all day long try'in to keep up my end-
extract my transactions and purge all my sins.

I spent all this week try'in to redo what's done
still nothing is certain
my print-outs ain't run-

You've just got to help me
I'm out on a limb-
O Lord, won't you buy me
a new IBM.
Tom Hudgens