Sky Writer

Like an ancient bird

Escaping the internet

Behold a language

Of light that writes on air

A message monitored

By man in flight

Delivered with almost

Acrobatic grace

A lyrical message

That only the angels can erase


Ted Goodell

December 2018




Using the stairway railing

For guidance and support

The fragility of aging movement

Fondly searching for the equilibrium

Her husband’s arm provides

Upwards they slowly climb

Confronting the effort in their learned security

Together entwined

Their discipline inspiring

The boldness of their task

They climb the cliff of stairs

To finally reach the pinnacle

Upon a concrete mountaintop of air.


Ted Goodell

August 2018

The Hyacinths

When I see hyacinths

Rooted in vase and flower

A window and a windowsill

To reach beyond

And bring its flower

To bear the only knowledge

That a flower knows

Is light for all of us though we

Imagine that we are not flowers

And yet the hyacinth

Is strangely all of us

Surrounded by the sun

The stars are roots in air

Giving us life in growing things

That link us root and flower

That space we call

The windowsill we call our home

The hyacinth is not a guest

It is the flower we can not be

It is we who are the guests prodding the mystery


Ted Goodell

February 2017

The Sign Swinger


Like a rectangular arrow

The sign Leaps and loops

As shot to the air

From hands held high

Above his head

And to his back

Bent to receive

This cardboard missile

As traffic slows

To watch his dazzling force

This skill that swings

His pride in work

And leaves brigades

Of silent men to drive away

with envy of such youthful grace

An audience to see

This salesmanship

In air and space


Ted Goodell

October 1, 2015

Heat Wave

It broke into a crescendo

Of heat

Each spear of the sun’s rays

Striking the dazed figures

That seemed to crawl

Along the parched pavements

Of a tediously listless day

Even time was scorched

And squeezed the

Languid energy

From sweating skin

Now as the air

Plumes her heavy wings

Even the heat

Begs for rain.


Ted Goodell

September 2, 2007

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