The Performance

Like a majestic pantomime

The ballet dancers

Move with the graceful force of flowing water

And then like an athletic event

Focused like any sport

The dancers use their muscle power

To leap and sail

Like wingless engines soaring in space

The audience now entranced

By the dancers’ weightless force

Propelled beyond conceivable agility

They come to understand

How the ballet dancers

Epitomize the capacity

Of the human body

To triumph silently

 

Ted Goodell

February 18, 2020

A Gift to The Throne

A roll of toilet paper

Begins as a fully formed commodity

It is first seen in its full paper power

Stylistically and securely wound

Yard after yard like a sacred scroll

Layer upon layer surrounding a tube

It is softly ornamental

But its practical objective is indisputable

It contends with no rivals

For it has no rivals

Nor can it be rejected

When summoned to a throne

It has no vanity

Though its popularity is unsurpassed

It carries its silent secrets

Far from probing eyes

As it travels with fluid speed

Below the structures

Holding up the universal throne.

 

Ted Goodell

June 3, 2019

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

Test Drive

Whoever knows the mystique

Of driving a muscle car

Hearing the resonance

Of the detonating ignition

The test drive

Rushing explosively

Like a land rocket

Over desert flats

Axels and tie-rods and gears

Bursting the acceleration

Of sand into brown clouds

Of visionary power

Brakes and tires

Screeching the torque force

Out of alignment

Skid stopping just long enough

To let the romantic driver

Embrace the energy

Of the crowning sales pitch

 

Ted Goodell

September 2018

A Cat Named Tucky

What ghosts

My Cat pursues

I can not know

He finds them

Lurking in a dream

That only he has seen

It gives him access

To a world

I hardly know

But draws him

To a world

As precious as a pearl

It guides him

With a power compassed

By the shadows and the stars

And in his purring dream

He challenges old phantoms

Only he has seen

 

Ted Goodell

June 2018

Fake News

Observe the custom tailored suit

Cut from the finest cloth

A surfeit of fabric

Richly adorned

And from the collar

Of a perfect shirt

Hangs a necktie

Lengthwise like a flag

And underneath

That stoutish frame

A resonance of power reigns

The bold bravado of a salesman

Stern and full of wrath

A governance deployed

To shock both foes and friends

The boundaries

Where two countries borders meet

Await a wailing wall

Where all can weep

 

Ted Goodell

June 2018

The Lion

Epitomized in stone

But glorified in flesh

Dangerously beautiful

But all alone

The contender for uncontested power

His grandeur statuesquely strong

Forever regal in a body carved in stone

His presence as the King of Beasts

A sculpted form

Upon a city street

His solitary watch

May look serene

But if his silent stone could speak

A sterner stare

Would leave us weak

For underneath that chiseled mane

Arrested in the snow or rain

He waits in primal depth

His endless longing

For his lioness.

 

Ted Goodell

May 2018

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

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