I set my spoon down in the bowl,

A cave of light spirals

My eyes to the bowl’s depth.


A drop of soup provides

A shallow stream

For bowl and spoon,

A small sea

Which will not be removed

Lest bowl and spoon

Forget that they are

Transient tools

In a world drowning

Between chaos and the moon.


Ted Goodell





Free from death for now

The long alimentary canal

Glides along with the

Churning tremors of a saline slime

Where air is driven

Beneath elastic tubes

In pink gutters

Draining toward the only light

That faces in and out

To search for little spies

That lurk in mucus swamps

Devouring the green seeds

Where the lush force

Of foam and stone

Grinds everything it feeds

The spilling plant life

Just concealed

Now gives it once

That last release

Until it breathes


Ted Goodell

December 22, 2008

Felipe Aguilar


Who was Felipe Aguilar

When he lived his last address

Was the county jail

When he died his last address

Was the county hospital


We can not classify absurdities

Anymore than we can classify certainties

To speak of Felipe Aguilar

Is almost senseless

A hopelessness inherent in language


For Felipe Aguilar

Lies somewhere between

Imagination and bewilderment

And we touch the

Mystery and miraculousness of life

For Felipe Aguilar the ceremony

Of his life is as incoherent

As a feather

Changing direction in the wind.


Ted Goodell

May 1, 2006

Portsmouth, Virginia


And Washington Street

In Portsmouth, Virginia

Belongs to the grass

Ordinary but beautiful

Full of Sunday Weddings

And down-turned bicycles

With sticks and sparrows

Always singing,

With trees and churches

And Chesapeake Bay

All landscape


Ted Goodell





A paroxysm of shock

A giddiness like a staggering drunk

A glandular tidal wave

Choking, contracting

And rolling with whipping motion

Until the serene plateau

Rises to the void

Gives forth a little shudder

And then a phantom

Force from deep within

The globular sockets

Of our flesh


Ted Goodell

December 6, 2004

The Rock


Behold this girth

Now like a boulder giving birth

Born from the earth

Until nature’s mason carved its face

And cleaved a throne of granite

To this place

As bare and beautiful

As any monument could grace

Resounding presence like a drummer’s beat

A silent sentry guarding Samuel Street


Ted Goodell

February 20, 2012



Frivolous little bird

Imagining this world

Of leaf and limb and sky

Believing wings and weather

Hold you high above the clouds

Absorbed in nothing but the air

While all below control their lives

With tools and trades

And fantasies of engines

Soaring to the stars


Ted Goodell

May 11, 2011



We are all clerks,

All of us.

All of us doing the same job;

Checking people in and

Checking people out.

Specialists in the fine art

Of writing the last name first

And the first name last.

We pause prophetically

At the filing cabinet

Masters of the innuendo of

Alphabetical order,

Seers plunged ecstatically

Into series of memorandums

Silently awaiting the

Swift dexterity of the staple remover.


Ted Goodell


The Squirrel


I was startled

At the sight

Of the squirrel

Lying dead in the road

A road infrequently used

Yet frequently enough

For man and squirrel

To Come within

The target zone of death

An oblivion ill-suited

To the sunny day

And what may be

The aspirations

Of a squirrel’s play

Now neither road nor man

Can take this

Pitiful event

To where the essence

Of a single life

Is spent


Ted Goodell

May 31, 2008