The Sewing Machine

Needle and thread

Bobbin and treadle

Transform the necessity of sewing

From housework to occupation

Giving ownership of the sewing machine

The financial economy of power

Where once repetitive foot pressure

And tearing eye strain

Bled the operator from the grip of labor

The endless assault

Of patching a shirt

Or hemming a skirt

The years of toil

A slow reminder of pins and thimbles

The gnarled grip of tired fingers

Saving a child’s self esteem

With mended shirt

And twice turned cuffs

The dim lamp lighting

The weariness of yesterday

The burden of bending relieved

The brilliance of invention conceived

The dreams of generations of workers fulfilled

The joy of perfection that the sewing machine instilled

 

Ted Goodell

October 2018

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Slick

 

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

1975

Amentia

 

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

1966

 

 

 

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