Is Daddy in a cage?

Booted and perfumed

Like grasshoppers

And other delicate

Instruments of

Instantaneous absorption;

Between handshakes

Let trail a trace

Of a silent sweet perfume

On palms and fingers

So slightly held

That essence

Clings and bears

No resemblance to that

Hand of his which

Had it not been held

Would still be said

To smell of sand


Ted Goodell


Saint Counselor


Saint Counselor

Crammed down in his boots

Like a bomber

Vigilant tank target

Of the crooked night,

The endless end over

Gambled boys and their pain

So verbal that one out,

So verbal that the night

Finds thin habit shame


Ted Goodell





In time the image

Is less like me

And more like you

Pencil legs long boned

And thin

The vestibule of the groin

A web of shadows

Above the knees

Much less like weight

And more like wind

Blown by the head

That once had hair

A prong called nose

Between the

Planets of my eyes

That once saw sound

But now see nothing

But the noise


Ted Goodell

March 16, 2010

Little Renegade


Little renegade, object of my awe,

Preening your golden fur

In the mystery of my cozy garden,

Crouching in a ray of sunlight,

What brings you to this tender feast of home?


Your feline pride as pompous

As a courtier before a King,

Your throne embedded where you think

I can not see, and yet-

How scandalous it is

For both of us to be so shy

When nothing but my glance

And your reply

Would bind us to a single life

That neither man or cat

Can live without their common bond of time.


Ted Goodell

October 8, 2009

Still When the Wooded Fox is Born


Still when the wooded fox is born

Almost forgotten now

Brute nature

Rude in her green power,

Curious seasons

Clean as milk

And tangled

When the wind blows,

Oh timeless vanity

Give nothing back

But your hot fury

When the sun

Is a stiletto of steam

And all your dark flowers

Bend as the deep sediment dreams


Ted Goodell

February 6, 2008

The Hummingbird


Suddenly, within the transparency

Of early dawn

The hummingbird arrived

With the swift concentric beating

Of its flashing wings

Aloft and then around

With barely noticeable

Torque of speed

It fired forth its aim upon

My simple feeder

Sipping the sweetness from this artifact of glass

A momentary hover

And then a burst of speed

As swiftly as it came

Its destination still sublime

And then one flower singled out

One garden filled with joy

Will soon betroth

This power, this force

That whispers its presence but does not destroy


Ted Goodell

November 16, 2009

The New York Times


I find it painful to hear people

Lavish praise on The New York Times.

People wanting to sound

Sophisticated and cultivated,

Smart people with bright ambitions

And prestigious jobs,

They speak so intimately of the

New York Times as though a kinship

With the paper carried their affections

To some homey bond,

A category of nearly physical dependency

Like breakfast or a terry cloth towel

After a bath.

Rooms that are warm

With the saturate scent

Of skin and soap, now swelled

With the intimate oil

Of brushed hair.

After Sunday brunch

The private aroma of coffee and print

Goes sulking through rooms and

Sneering through sheets,

Observe fetid sinks

And curling drains

Clogged with shaving cream;

Feel how that heavy

Evaporation of shower steam

Is coaxing the body to

Echo the loud elimination of gas.

Moping across the morning

In slippers and robes, see how

This massive New York Times,

Like flesh grown warm,

Is anchored to tables,

Or blackening sheets,

Piled on rugs or crushed under feet;

This corpulent poundage of the press

Bloats bedroom air

‘till our slackening limbs lie

Curled on our beds.

Oh, let me breathe!

Release me from the pressure

Of these fumes compressed of

Eggs and sweat and beer

Oh let me breathe my air,

My air.


Ted Goodell


The Mammoths


So swift the orbital mass

Propelled through the universe

A blade of electricity

Slicing past eons of flaming light

An epicycle followed by

Torturous beasts

And finally the mammoths

Crushing the ice

Delivered into extinction

By man flung spears and the frozen night


Ted Goodell

April 20, 2011

The Journey to Elbrianne


The world through a moving train

Is a swift distortion

Of an outside world

A hastening blurr

Of recurring memories

Stretched where the eye

No longer sees

In patterns flattened

By the ever changing rush

Of sky and trees


Now startled

By the rising sun

The train leaps

With such elongated force

That speed alone

Can not turn motion back

Where motion leaves

Each passenger alone


Ted Goodell

October 3, 2006


The Wrecking Ball


Time impales itself

Like a crown of thorns

On a future Savior


He will feel the pain

Of brushing past eternity


He will bend and bleed


He will duck

One last time


As the wrecking ball

Smashes the Cosmos


Ted Goodell

May 2004

Ancient Curse


The tough guys come to jail

So they can sport their tattoos

The need to display the torso

With its intricate pointillism

Of design on the living canvas of skin.


The man, influenced by the

Tribal shamans of the orient,

Specialists in needle and ink.


The jeweled pirate and the banners

Of legion hordes

Racing from dark encampments

Into the sweat of leather

And the heat of steel

Now bringing the city the booted

Legend and the fast bike

A deployment of big pals

Weary of work

Wanting bright playthings

And shifting a sudden

Side glance of the eye

And a quick switch to a thick fist.


Now the caught quarry

Sits like a big beast

In the County Jail

The torso working

Its muscular map

Of lines and loops

While the mouth repeats the

Ancient curse of

Mother fucker, Mother fucker.


Ted Goodell





To form what flames and burns

And embers still,

That still lights,

Lingers with outstretched fingers

The elbow bends and bends

And arms reach yonder,

Around what circle or pit,

For each abyss,

We who convey each step,

Pause and nod

Wordless as we ponder this

Strange presence of what remains child,

Yet vows to unfold what can

Never be child,

Can never beyond what touches

Those nerves

And touches the eyes and the mouth

Into shapes that descend

With the dread years

Of stubbornness,

That laughs at the thick

Fabric blurring the sun.


Ted Goodell