Bedtime Story

 

Her name was Jane

Her time was once.

Her bedtime wish

Was a splendid garment

Mother made.

Its value surpassing a shawl

For this was a full body wrap

Adorned with a hood.

Commodious cloak forever in red

Protective influence of wool

Pseudonym to guard this girlishness,

Exhilarate child with basket

Bountifully laden with food,

To leave home straight-pathed

But unguarded.

Her grandmother adored

Generational force to draw to her bedside

Irreversible appointment

The parents too trifle, not daring.

But what of this walk through

The woods – this conceit of innocence

Immaculate and good

Transfixed with unblemished soul

Her world like Mirandas

Concealing its Calibans

The emergence of evil in time.

 

Grandmother, loneliness leaves us,

Even our temperamental children

Remember us,

And the risk of a bedtime story

Plagues us

‘Til the forest vanquishes

The eternal wolf.

Ted Goodell

1968

 

Doors

 

Through doors that open

On my mother’s socks

I see a crumpled Kleenex

Certainly one of many used

In the patient act of

Blowing or wiping.

A stray now,

Displaced from the plastic pail

Which holds the residue of

Surplus tossings through a

Stalactite of socks.

 

Our mornings arise

From a myth of

Pancakes and perfumes.

 

We halt our impressions

By the side of the sink.

How easy it is

To flush and forget.

 

Ted Goodell

1975

 

BARF

(Belching Acidic Regurgitated Food)

 

I parked by a puddle of barf

It was alarmingly brutal to see

But then I thought of its

Lush evacuation

From the distraught intestine of its

Caged owner

Its outline beginning to seep in the rain

The contents now and then

A mixture of sausage and milk

Or yet some frothing sauce

With cream around the edge

A slice or two of cole slaw

Clinging to a bit of pear

Still floating in a sagging

Ring of broth

An optical horror

Its last drops

Waiting for the purification

Of the sun

 

Ted Goodell

March 20, 2011

The Thumb

(to Lianne)

 

The thumb rules a quartet of fingers

Unique yet different

Present but apart

Smaller than its four companions

But for strength reveals a necessary compensation

Especially when noting how the fingers

While branching from the palm

Can wiggle and expand

And often they are musically inclined

And delicate when tapping out a tune

At once the stalwart thumb

Resists such anatomical temptations

Trusting to its job of isolating power

When shoveling trenches

In the earth

Or hoisting rocks

Or raising flags

For then the thumb prevails in fame

And lends the hand

A second brain

 

Ted Goodell

July 27, 2014

In the Shadow of The Shiloh

(to Tony D.)

 

I sailed on The Shiloh

To the Persian Gulf.

Now, in the shadow of The Shilo,

I see myself;

A retrospective view

Of where I stood on watch,

Leaning into the surf

Watching a distant horizon

Bringing me back

To where I stand today;

On a different watch

My future self,

Arising like a golden dawn,

Shedding the past

In the shadow of The Shiloh

 

Ted Goodell

1994

 

Joe Six Pack

 

I have seen “Joe Six Pack”

Scratching his crotch

Yawning and stretching

In yesterdays socks

His large intrepid form

Still in its adolescent bulk

Hungers for beer in its six-pack shape

While his pals parade their latest jokes

And breathe their stale remarks

About some “lousy bitch”

Who wrenched them from their stench of sleep

And mocked their bitter indolence

With all a woman’s strength could reach,

And after all her pride is spent,

Emptied by his endless lust,

She sheds what’s left

Of all her dreams

And spills her crystal tears

Upon his unwashed face

 

Ted Goodell

October 4, 2008

Exercise

 

Is exercise a fiction

Fraught with fear

The open grave

Of yesteryear

That never knew

Of grace or health

But gave us

Secret bones

And grinning jowls

The scowling grunts

Of ape-like men

Pushed to oblivion

Their muscles

Strained in mud and stone

No thought of Life

No joy to shelter

All their strength

From pain

 

Ted Goodell

July 14, 2006

Christ’s Buckle

 

Christ wore his buckle

On the other side

It was the center

Of his strength

He gripped its full

Metal girth

Between both thumbs

Like an American cowboy

He made the

Prairie Palestine

His home

And all his prayers

Brought butterflies

To his fragile flame

 

Ted Goodell

1975

The Spider

 

I caught a spider

In a cup

It resonated fear

It knew my home

Was not a church

No sanctuary lost

Between its world

Of web and fang

But something alien

To touch

A surface inaccessible

To stealth and sting

Now in captivity

The agile acrobat

Dreams of a god with wings

 

Ted Goodell

2007

It’s About Time

 

Time never wastes a minute

You cannot find time

Hiding in the dark

Or making promises

It cannot keep

Not even when the world

Is reeling from the rain

Or whirling in the wind

Time never fears the flames

For time can even

Make the sun look small

And turn the Earth

Into a spinning ball

And finally

Put each book away

Even if a page is torn

 

Ted Goodell

December 12, 2014

 

In Memory of Michael Brown

 

In Ferguson Missouri

The memory of Michael Brown will not retreat

For those of us who watched that street

We cannot know how far his name will reach

If what we know can ever end this breach

We who were there must face this dread

And send to all the boys who fled

Our upraised hands and lowered heads

To mourn those black disciples who are dead

 

Ted Goodell

November 29, 2014