This Poet's Corner


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This Poet's Corner

Clifton Park

That it would be here, again,
What seems to be the hub,
Or one of several
Around which events of my life
Turn, Clifton Park!

Vividly, I remember being struck
Hard in the side of the head
by an errant softball. Odd, that
None of the grownups cared.

On Saturdays,
We young gun slingers
Might catch a Western
At the Hartford Movie Theatre,
Opposite the park.
Cowboys and Indians, fifties fare for the
Young, eager, TV watchers.

Hartford Road striding the athletic fields.
Was to become a fixture in the landscape
Of my early youth as well as adulthood.
I shopped the old Sears 
On Hartford and North.
I remember the Christmas
Shop, top the hill!
That was four decades ago.

So I was told, too, my Mom and Dad
Had an apartment on North Avenue
When I was only two or three.
Dad said he would walk me 
To a zoo and a park, top Druid Hill.
That was true. I vaguely recall the
Amusement park, hanging chads,
Faint memories, all near Clifton Park.

Early in my teaching career, go figure,
I taught art in the stately building
That was then a junior high school-
Clifton Park Junior High School.
I lived near North and Twenty Fourth,
A short drive further into the city.
I knew the very streets those
Nigga's walked and played in!
It was one more bond to my love
Of the Black community and 
The fruit of their loin's strength.
With early summer
Dignified graduations
Would echo out, “Lift Every Voice And Sing”
From that auditorium, opening out, as it did,
On the lovely park, just side it.

That we should meet, casually, here,
Twenty five years later or more-
Making our trade amiably,
Differentially. You let me 
Think you are restoring a house,
Perhaps taking care not to 
Disillusion an old man-
This, of all spots, the very place
Where I brought that 
Summer camp I taught to swim, 
Of an afternoon, walking 
Them over from the school,
Clifton Park Junior High School.
All of this stirs memories.

I can not think that 
I will leave this life, as old as I be,
Without somehow,
Someway, gazing out just once more
Upon that lovely, green vista that is
Clifton Park.
                                             E. D. Ridgell


Dali and Lorca

Salvador and Federico-
Juxtaposed here
Before the last master, Rodriguez.
Mix it up!
Yes, mix the media…
Pugnacious and rebellious that one would drive
Into a nest of shooters-
Black Flag bourgeoisie.
How then to turn this poem? 
Paste a picture
With links perhaps,
Tinged words for masochistic needs-
‘At Five In The Afternoon.
In 2008, planes overhead dropped
Facsimiles of his white-winged sonnets
And Spain sobbed,
Weeping decades later-
So many with memories.
Mix it up. Yes, mix it up.
Falangists shot the muse in the ass, in Granada,
And then the whole world went to war
As though summoned to anarchy while
Dali and Rodriguez moved on.

                                       E. D. Ridgell





His embrace as he bit my cheek-


The way he had of embellishing


A normal act with a physiognomy


All his own, that roped and tied my heart.



That way she had of tilting her head,


One eye slightly before the other,


All above a beguiling smile that


Charmed and wooed me.



The way she arranged baby dolls in a row,


So that she could pick which next to hold,


And rock in her little arms mimicking mommy.


She is my begin all and my end all.




That gravestone I came upon,


With little plastic, tanks and planes-


Grief leaving toys so their boy could still play


Like any general.



It isn’t death I fear. It is grief.


The price for love-


It isn’t death I fear. 


It isn’t death… 


                                                 E. D Ridgell

                                                     Revised 2018


By God We'll Hold!


Everyday there are over fourteen hundred deportees-

But for the grace of God, go I.  Why?

Did we take the welcome sign down?

Surely we did not mean this, not seriously!


We are a nation of cast offs, cast aways,

Cargo hold of throwaways,

Unwanted, and fleeing refugees.

It is our pedigree. It is our heritage.


No one driving a taxi in New York 

Knows where in the hell he's going. 

We like it that way, a one-way ticket to who knows where.


Send us your baggage. Bestow on us your best bums.

We will make citizens of these, 

Plus begets of left o'er slaves.

Throw a homo or two into the stew. You've got potpourri! 


But beware! Take care! Don't spit on the smile of my

Shoeshine boys. Don't come sailing up that Bay

To measure our stars and bars. We'll hold that fort

And the land around it. We'll hold by God! We'll hold!

                                                                        E. D. Ridgell


Sands In The Hourglass


“Got to scrape the shit right off your shoes”-

That’s Virginia, wild fields of forgotten hemp

That served to make the rope that you could use to

Hang yourself if you’ve half a mind and the pluck.


With luck you’d score hashish in days when 

Bags cost five and the seeds came with it.

A trip was as easy as roasted morning glory seeds-

The high more colorful than mescaline and not as earthy.


Sex was greasy and easy and rubbers were dispensed 

At a quarter a pack. Poppers were real amyl nitrate

And hearts beat to The Rolling Stones in Jagger-tight jeans-

Life was music sung to the mantras of incense sticks.


The lady and I didn’t enter a room. We occupied it!

When the kid came she was to Bradley coaching and 

I was one of the first allowed in the operating room-

All this was a half a century ago, sands in the hourglass.

                                                               E. D. Ridgell 2018


For Walt !

War Paint!


I dropped into the meeting,

A hot-house tomato,

Not for any slipping but needing picking,

Ripe on the vine for some intimacy-

Someone to hold me again, someone to

Fill the hollow void.


The journey was long and I was only

A little way through that lonely wood.

In a room of some ten misfits strung out on caffeine,

Your testosterone drew me like a bee to the comb-

I knew that you knew. You took it for granted.

You were hung on that chair like mortal sin.


With time, I met an earlier claim

And so, a Southern Gentleman, 

I laid claim in another’s heart and

We were content in friendships.

Soon enough you tested the man. 

Men like you always do.


I was referee to your testing,

Helping another understand that

Men are no damned good-

How else would we want them?

Women are worse, but you already knew that.


In time we all bonded in friendships-

We watched our gay priest

Destroy himself with drink,

Heard Joan Baez sing on South Street,

And heard Old Dixie driven down again.


We shuffled and moved all the pieces.

We landed in abodes bourgeoisie to men

Like us who endure so much for so little-

Then Al lost his Mat in Iraq, his only boy.

Evil struck hard, the Westboro Baptist Group-

This shaped Al into the strong man he is.


In the end the Supreme Court went catawampus, 

But Al won in the trying, and after all this, 

What do the fickle gods conspire? 

Walt is stricken with three, maybe four, months to live

As I grope through deja vous right up to the end.

Even now I don’t know where Al buried you.


They ended Don’t Ask, Don’t tell today, and 

I thought it was a good day for a warrior to die. 

It wasn’t. It was a sweet and sour day, and 

I am a drag-assed tired and angry warrior. 

Let me ride into war, dazzling in the sunlight,

Befitting a brave warrior’s war paint!

                                               © 2010 by E.D. Ridgell

                                                       Revised 2020

Spare the Sword and Spoil the...


Silence often screams

And a picture is worth

A thousand words!


The ancients communicated 

With coinage struck either side

With a profile who was in and was not!


The Emperor Elagabalus is documented 

An early transvestite who wishing to be castrated 

Was slain instead and dumped into the Tiber.


The Emperor Caligula was trapped in a causeway 

By his ownPretorian Guard who were not ones to 

Spare the Sword and Spoil the…

                                                      E.D. Ridgell, 2017

                                                                Revised 2018




So in the midst of my grief 

I had to reckon the reason for this cut indirect. 

It took but a moment‘s reflection to remember that 

Reference to God’s “manly” arms.


Me thinks the pretty priest demure. 

“Camping” has grown old. 

Customs and languages change

Befitting new times.


Identities are donned in clean cloaks. 

The crosses we cull are for our shoulders alone, 

And so a  friend moves on- 

Tossing o'er his "manly" shoulder this cut, indirect.


The weight of one is as unto Calvary. 

The weight of the other 

But the tossing and tussle 

Of these few lines.

                                             E. D. Ridgell 

                                                 Revised 2018


The Lawn Grows Green


Under catalpa tees.

How long have you lain waiting?

I am just a little ways away.


I’m so tired. I’ve lived a whole other life

Since you’ve been gone-

Grandchildren three, another minted partner,

A host of would-be friends mostly dead or dying.


The Song Of Bernadette fell flat,

And a poem penned for a private scoffed o’er-

Al Snyder’s boy dead in Iraq-

Lyndell dead and buried in Johnstown.


Two President’s and a traitor later

I’m spent and sick of the lot. The nation grieves

As  the lawn, sweats green to yellow,

And I? I come to you a broken-hearted patriot.

                                                                         E D Ridgell 


Check’n Out! Check’n In!

Personally, I like
Always been an outsider
Standing on a rim.

Friends, they come and
Sooner or later
Seems they go
With rarely so much as a nod!

Done my share of roll’n.
Jesus, but I’m 

Tuckered out- I’m
Check’n out! Check’n in!

                      E. D. Ridgell

                        Revised 2018


How Now The Wasted Votes?

I’m old and wicked worried.
We came so close-
He caught a wave.

The world is worried.
They’re sick of our interventions.
He humors no one.

Time and time again,
We lose it to a limp member
Lost expectations.

It is the bane of democracy-
Wasted votes-
The hanging chads.

Here’s the rub-
“Will no one rid me”?
Oh God, surely I don’t mean that!

I’m worried and wicked old.
My sapling, in turn, spins gold-
Yet she is worried!

Everything that is true,
All that is not phony
Rues the wasted votes.

Praise Song for a gone day-
On a happier inauguration.
How now the wasted votes?
                     c. E.D. Ridgell, 2017

                         Revised 2018


At Me! At Me!

Classic, garden variety-
At me, at me, he’s always in the lead
Driving his pack
Of wild ones.

My country, my poor country,
What can I do,
Speak up, speak out if only a muffled echo
From off the bullet-scarred, canyon walls!

The codes,
The dreaded possibility-
My fears grounded in worry!
Im tired of this toxicity walking
My puppy dog syndrome.

What pain is greater,
The physical or the assaulted heart?
My country tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty and
Weed, and crack and meth…

I’m tired,
Exhausted by my overgrown
And its never ending need
To fix the unfixable.
                        E. D. Ridgell 2018


Fidelity downs deep in our clan.
We do not cleave the ranks
Surrender the ground or
Change mounts in the middle marsh.

Cowardice does not become
The island bound. It is as
Distant as the mainland just a
Short ways o'er there-

Where the Bay and the Potomac
Collide and rebel-downed dogs
Bark at memories' bastions, once
Tippy-toed o’er hallowed ground.

We relish our fantasies.
We are proud and death is
Always close but ne'er feared.
What's for us will not miss us.

We hold fast to our bonded,
Are true to those who trust us, and
Let widows', folded flags commend us
To the ages.
                                          E. D. Ridgell

Thus Spoke Sarathustra!

The organ resounded through the empty corners of the church.
The bronze bells tolled throughout the German countryside.
The father had gone dead missing a quarter of his brain.
The boy but four forswore any wholehearted faith.

In Bonn he happened upon biblical criticism,
Which added to his blooming doubts.
Out went any notion to be a pastor,
In came a rift and family discord.

Turning on his father’s faith,
This man fled its confines.
He entered Godlessness.
Atheism took root.

The happiest of men is the one who gets through life with a 
Minimum of pain fostered by very little effort whatsoever
Except to affirm life in some new and novel way.
In stepped Wagner with wanton myth in tow.

Obsessed and taken aback, art became the all in all,
The beginning and the end of a life fulfilled and
Expressed in the music of Richard Wagner.
“The Birth Of Tragedy” was soon sewn.

Apollo and Dionysus went to war and 
With curtain-call after curtain-call
Frederick Nietzsche postulated 
A National Socialist Party!
But no, it wouldn’t do and
In Basil he broke with Wagner,
Quit his teaching career and began
A wandering coupled to growing pain. 

In a forlorn company with himself 
He wrote and wrote and wrote
Plagued by pain and doubt
Nietzsche collapsed.

He would lose his mind,
A complete loss of faculties and
In those sad last years in the care
Of a mother and sister he wasted away.

His legacy was to be an Ubermensch,
The ideal man rising up and out of a
Christianity he pushed aside-
“Thus spoke Zarathustra!”
                            E. D. Ridgell 2018




Old age turns the mind
Like the pages of Proust.
Suddenly, I recollect the tiny details,
Of those fresh salad years,
Hither and there-
The smell of the confessional,
Stickball in the side street,
Shuffleboard in some Saturday night bar.

Adolescence had risks:
Walking on ice,
Crossing the train bridge,
Swimming in the bottomless quarry-
The innocent sojourns 
Into sexual trysts
And new unchartered territory,
Sins under seamen, stained sheets.

Then a young man
Hopscotching war,
Courting, marriage, and fatherhood
All with a twenty nine inch waist-
Everything came and went so fast.
Came the divorce and with it
The coming out, tumbling through adulthood,
Stumbling through one cancerous death after another.

Suddenly your shell shocked and seventy,
Happily married for the last time
Hoping you won’t be the last one standing.
The car still needs new tires
And you wonder if it isn’t hesitating.
You’re a grandfather three times o’er,
A stately homo like no other. Man,
You’ve skipped the light fandango!
                            E. D. Ridgell, 2018



Of the Deep South!


It was the summer of ‘65’,

And I was all of seventeen.

I found myself in Tallahassee,

And the Deep South,

For the first time.


I don’t recollect why my mother

Couldn’t or wouldn’t make the trip to bail

My sailor Dad out from one more of a long

String of dry-out joints that

Choked my childhood!


Alcoholism has struck again,

And the songs of Mary Poppins

Out that year, couldn’t seem to

Cheer me up or mask

The fact that mine was no

Regular or ordinary childhood.


With Dad in the tank,

I was free to check things out,

Look around me in Tallahassee.

My room had a ceiling fan,

A novel and strange thing to me

But common to the Deep south.


I saw my first palm tree,

A tiny, squirt of a thing,

No coconut tree!

I noticed there were two colors

Or taxi cabs, black and white, and after

Many waves a black one picked me up.


Dad hadn’t been rolled

And so I was flush with cash,

And wanted something to eat

Besides the bags of salted nuts

That had been my fare, together with a

Fruitcake that had come from somewhere.


The regular restaurants where daunting

For a kid of seventeen, a little intimidating.

I finally found a cafeteria, just the thing!

I went in, took a tray, and spied what were

Two lines, and with this the blinds dropped

From my innocent eyes. I had met the bigotry

              Of The Deep South!



Nary A One, Nope!


In this last allotted time

There are days when I feel

Like a tumbleweed.


It was always so though,

And I regret you did not

Know me better.


I never would shoot the dove

And always did favor

The weakest underdog.


I spent half my allotment

In a closet not my making

Eluding any undertaking.


Even when finally

Out and about

You send me spinning.


It took a lifetime

To find faith,

Not knowing God.


Finally comes the epiphany,

And suddenly I haven’t a fear-

Nary a one, nope!



The Road Too Often Taken

I find myself sinking again into 
That kind of depression
That comes on for no reason,
And then you fill in the empty spaces.

I know it will pass, 
But not before exacting its toll, 
A toll for a road I've been down 
Too many times before.

One says it's bipolar,
Another says that's ridiculous.
I just feel their lack of any concern,
One way or the other.

One thing good will most likely
Come of another trip down this road, 
And that is a piece of art more likely better 
For the trek taken down it, than not!

Wikipedia-Federico Lorca



The Exception

To each of us,
We are allotted a life, 
And a time. Is that time prescribed,
Or is it as cattywhompus and chaotic
As the universe in which it is lived.
I confess, I do not know,
And I am in awe of it all.
It is the nature of every living thing
To resist death, yet there is the inevitable
Exception; the suicide, the warrior hero,
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
                                  c. E.D. Ridgell, 2014

Flying The Stars And Bars From My Pickup Truck

Got fucked up yesterday,
Drove South and coped some mighty fine weed!
Got so lost in Horse Country
Never thought I'd make it home.

MADD would lock me up,
Only I'd pass the sobriety test!
I'm a down home country boy with a beer 'tween my crotch 
And a hunt'n dog on the seat next me.

Ain't got much use for the law-
Never did nut'n but lock me up.
Give me a still and a softball game
With good ole boys three shit sheets to the wind.

Sorry if I disappoint,
But God 's got me,
And I seem fit enough
When you need a soldier boy!


She was the wrong side of sincere,
Shrewd, slick, bearing gifts,
She caught me off-guard,
So personable and seemingly sharing.

So, the thing was,
She didn't know then and doesn't know now,
Simply, that people who will be free,
Sing songs outside her silly sensibilities,
Suspecting not to become
Suspects in some grand drama,
Solely the seed of her own paranoid, prudish thinking.

She was insincere,
Self-serving despite a contriving to seem familiar;
Selfish enough to pull strings even at a second coming;
Sabotaging what was obvious to her, your
Speaking in opposites at an inopportune time-
Sorely hurting an innocent, unknowing person-
Shape-shifting in the background.

Smith Island simpleminded was I.
Still the same Shrew was she!
                                                 E.D. Ridgell 2013

No Way,

I will not wave my freedom flag.
I am growing my hair 
Just for you.
Take care! Beware!
Over there, over there, 
Send the word, send the word over there…
That the Yanks are coming 
The Yanks are coming…

Will they make a run for it
Before you apprehend them? 
They’ve made it to the border

Like many before.
They might as well do a Full Monty …
Scale your superficial wall. 
You can no more wall them out 
Than their forebears.

Who are you, who, who, who- 
But a reflection of those who 
Came before…
Deposited here in a new land-
And, pray tell, who are these
Who test those sacred writs 
Gone yellow with aging and 
Wrinkled at prior perusing?

Tear down this wall!
Pull down this useless endeavor.
No barrier can stand in the face of 

Freedom and liberty.
It is cementedto hope

A struggle for which

Too many still struggle

As in times before. 
No way,
I will not wave my freedom flag.
I am growing my hair long
Just for you.
Take care! Beware!
Over there, over there.
Send the word. Send the word, over there…
That the Yanks are coming…
                                      E. D. Ridgell 2018



We never really know the lives we touch- 
Well, maybe on the other side. I'll know soon enough. 
I don't know which side you are on, tonight. 
Your Facebook page has gone dead as has Dave's. 

You touched so many lives including mine. 
I love ya 'cause you're nuts, but ‘there’s the rub.’
We all are nuts in different stages of crack'd, 
And those who have a clue, learned this from you, kiddo.

One Guy in the men's group contracted cancer, remember?
He shot himself to spare his family pain. 
I remember we both concurred that took a lot of guts. 
We're both shackled to Mother Church, without that option. 

Never-mind, in time, all is white.
May the light shine on you, enfold you in its embrace. 
May you see by my few words, here,
The aura that is you.
                                                                   E. D. Ridgell
                                                                    Revised 2018

The Opening of Parliament-


The Queen is ninety two.

The sand is downing down

On our age, and

Grief is a pastime

From dawn to dusk.


Nothing is amiss.

Everyone and everything 

Is snug, as

We patiently settle

Into rituals we all observe.


Shape-shifting patterns

Repeat ancient themes off

Cavemen's  ceilings. 

Echoes weaken as they bounce

Off canyon walls.

                                  E. D. Ridgell 2018




A late assignation,
An old man’s groping at youth-
Meant to be savored and not
Tittle tattled off canyon walls.

She made short shift of you,
Letting you know the full 
Weight and measure of her disregard.
She did not tell all, but enough.

She did reveal a friendship
Far firmer than any
dalliance with you.
You were a toy.

I noticed you 
Helped me to the car-
The drive home was
Long and arduous.

Came the inevitable call-
I was less than tempted and
They locked you up in time.
That was as expected.

I let her know 
I was sorry for you-
She lent little pity and so
There it lies.
                     E.D. Ridgell 2017

For Auld Lang Syne

Larry caught me in the nick of time

Or I would have embraced you in the lobby

Of the Lyric Theatre for auld lang sine.

Years before we’d left a dinner party

To go feast on one another-

Rude but better dessert, nevertheless.

For years you wined and dined me

Having me to dinner, then having me after-

After dinner bonne bouchée.

You’d rise early to go and say

The early morning mass, and I’d wonder if anyone

Recognized my bright, red Pinto parked outside the vestry.

Did either of us consider it sin?

I hope so, and nevertheless God fixed us so,

And holds us in a station not easily understood by lay men.

God bless and keep you close to him,

Wherever you serve, Father-

Until we meet again and I can embrace you as I would,

For auld lang syne, mon pere!

                                                       c. E.D. Ridgell, 2015


Strong Undertows

Casting weary eyes on him, I realized
He and I were elders,
And all the gathered family
Were younger to varying degrees.

He had introduced me fifty years ago
To his sister who I had married,
And had just died a few years ago 
To cancer that riptide that is so universal.

I found him to little surprise self possessed,
But not unfriendly considering the shallows between us.
I had pursued girls with him, could remember when he 
Lost his virginity, wailed in disbelief at a dead daughter.

We are both survivors, too worn down now,
To care much about the other. He’s on the make again.
I wish him happy hunting, but I wonder if he has any capacity
To love anyone, anymore. I begrudge him nothing.

All in all, I think he’s frozen, both in heart and spirit.
His sister never really talked of him,
And news would come of him as it does to elders
In sporadic bits, the ebb and flow of eavesdropping.

I reckon he is a first cousin to the grandchildren, 
The uncle to my daughter. To me he’s a memory 
Of a time long ago, when none of us had an inkling
Of the courses of our lives, or the strong undertows.
                                                       c. E.D. Ridgell, 2015


The Look Behind Her Eyes!

"All these things she wanted are,
I don’t  know, all so simple!-
But they weren’t so simple,
Were they Andy?

Asthma meds,
The lost girlfriend,
Spiraling down, spiraling down-
Hot, hot, daringly hot!
Carter, what is it Carter?
The ledge! The sky above-
Hanging, hanging, hanging,
Like an athlete,
Falling, falling, falling,

The worse thing is to loose a child,
And to have to go on…
You have to go on 
Because, you see, 
There's still someone there…..

Sometimes you have to live in a world
Without why.
                              c. E.D. Ridgell, 2016
                                                     revised 2018 

The Covenant is Broken!

Do not let the cries of caws
Interrupt the songs of canaries,
As they hop about the snow,
Out in the cold bright daylight-
Entertainment for feathered friends
With nervous, tiny, eyes blinking,
From within warm, window cages.

It is their rank,
To be well kept and warm,
While larger like
Serve a lesser entente.
Nothing is fair in nature,
And everything living 
Feeds off something else living-
So it is written in The Covenant.

Heed my words-
Every action has a reaction,
That is ofttimes a sorry reward
For a noble undertaking.
Nothing is sure,
No matter it be sacred scripture-
That which can be unwound
Does not abound, not now, or ever!

The Covenant Is Broken!
                                 E. D. Ridgell                                      
                                   Revised 2018 

Sagebrush Fire!

One day they just happened to talk
About those people around Wyman Park
And what they did and let be done to them-
And I just went deeper into my cocoon 
For fear that anyone should know I was
One of those people. That's the story
Of my life, pretty much in a nutshell.

Except, that I would one day come out
With a vengeance, and I'd make that park
The altar on which I offered myself up,
Night after night after night, until I'd had my 
Fill of it, and until I met the one I'd offer my 
Already broken heart to.

We lived for over two decades 
In a harmony seldom found,
Until the dreaded C-word came
And took my true love out,
Leaving me to make the best of it,
And reinvent myself yet again.
I'm getting rather tired of that!

Now I'm diagnosed with a bum heart,
And my ticker's ticking out.
I'm not alone, thank God.
I've a new love and a family,
Most would be jealous of.
I've lived my life like a sagebrush fire,
And I've no regrets or apologies for it!
It's just burning out, that's all.
                            c. E.D. Ridgell, 2014


Weeding Tyre


Surveying the garden,

He spied wilting,

And from a safe shed-


Wielding the surety

Of a sledge hammer,

Wrought in steel,

He slugged to slay the sickly

And wanton weeds

That thought themselves

Safe in Tyre.

© 2011 by E.D. Ridgell

Please be advised that the next poem is a lament 
about the trouble and expense Black woman 
have to endure to keep up with cultural expectations 
not necessarily there own. It's written in a vernacular 
that is meant to give the right balance, tempo, and 'beat' 
to the words and not intended in any way to be offensive. 
Been there, done that! No offense is intended.

Nappy N. Happy!

That White Bitch's,
She got that natural straight hair.
I'd like to rip that blond shit out!

I got this spider bite in my scalp
And that relaxer like to burn my brains out.
The things Momma don't do to look hot!

Got my first perm when I was sweet sixteen-
Raised on those there Kitty perms,
My momma'd give me in that kitchen sink.

Here I am all grown up
Still chasing that White Bitch's luck. Seems to me, 
These natty locks ain't nut-tin to shout about!


My Tweet’s Bigger Than Your Tweet!

In an era of the bigger tweet
The message must be short-
Snippets of meaningful voice…

The grande missive will not do.
It’s a lain low quickie be damned
If I do. It must do. This will do!

The line waits for no man
Save an immigrant or two
Down drowned on the border.

What say you?
I say I have the full measure of you?
You say otherwise!

Here, a tweet for The Commander in Tweet
And the root rot
In the White House on the hill!
                                        E. D. Ridgell 2018

The Lad In Red


Did you see his eyes-

The lad in red, the struggling comrade

With the sunken eyes?


You say he’s high, some stoner guy,

A Rumanian hooligan,

With the elephant-high eyes-


The lad in red, the struggling comrade,

Some sad, clad in red, lad 

With the gypsy, Jesus eyes.


                                          E.D. Ridgell…

                                            For the Bucharest Boy!

                                             Revised 2018



There’s the Rub! 

I am not angry or upset at anything that Hawking says. 
It stands to reason a Creator could disguise Itself.
The Creator would be under no obligation, whatsoever- 
And so we have reason married to faith, most amiably. 

Science is no threat to that which can not be threatened. 
That which is magnificent and misunderstood is awe.
I know nothing of God and less of science although
Both seem worthy of my mind’s meandering.
I know nothing of art but I’m forever fanning it. 
What’s going on here? I don’t really know, do you? 

I feel the boom though; the shock of every second 
Knowing I am alive. Feel it? Boom! It’s gone to be 
Followed by another. Boom! Do the booms stop though, 
Ever? There’s the rub!
                                                                                    E. D. Ridgell  
                                                                                      Revised 201

Old Man Grip’n

It’s the early twenty first century
And I’m still some Booth riding South, hard.
There’s enough media distraction, 
You’d think I was balanced.
Who ever is?

Somewhere stuck in some nook or cranny
I must still have the Minnesota 
Multiilevel assessment thingy inventory.
I’m frightened and I know it.
Eizabet must have been frightened. I can’t go there.

Where oh where should I go. That’s the question?
I’m itching my hair out biding my time.
Somewhere I haven’t been before.
I’m running out of closets to hide in.
I’m an old man who loves an old man plus a cat!

Jesus, it’s the fuck’n X-Files!
Everything that went before but everything,
Is out there! You don’t know where to go
And besides, and besides what?
I need an internal rhyme.

Is that really what she looked like?
I have to get through the commercial 
To satisfy those images over there.
My life is cluttered, jam packed with 
I don’t know what I want to do.

Monster Trucks,
Online at Monster dot com.
That’s an older Muller!
Have I lived so long
They’re remaking reruns?

I do not know what to do,
And it’s driving me nuts!
“It’s the fourth turning Mr, Skinner.”
How many more turns to the screw?
What am I gonna do!
                                        E. D. Ridgell, 2017



The Goodbye Peek!


As is my way

Less now since this settling

I went spying,

Well no, snooping if you must know.

This is after all group therapy 

And you’re in if you think you’re out-

It’s the price you pay for privacy.


I haven’t a malicious bone in my body,

Though I do my best to hide it.

You have to love me to know me-

Even then I don’t dare let a soul in,

Not into the inner sanctum.

I’ve trouble enough

With the Catholic guilt!


So there he is.

I had to check to see if he’s OK.

He’ll never know and I’ll never know 

Why he wanted it so. I call it a cut direct.

It happens. It’s best to move on.

That’s why this was so to speak

The goodbye peek.


He’s still grieving.

It’s been six years since the second whammy-

It left a hole in my heart too,

But you see he’d lost his only boy just years ‘fore.

Yes, Iraq. It wasn’t even combat, a traffic accident.

Oh My God! I was too close when I told him

“You can’t go ‘round grief. You’ve got to go though it”.


Every year it’s the same pictures on the same day.

We all tally our days and keep our calendars.

My day Is every last day of March. Pay day!

He has his repertoire of pics. So have I.

We all of us hurt. Everybody hurts.

He hurts. I hurt. You hurt. We all hurt. Life hurts-

And so you fill in the blanks. Live, even though it hurts!

                                                      E. D. Ridgell, 2017



Gang Bang Thank-you Slam!


Some evil trio

Using Jesus

Abusing Jesus-

Netflix drama for Facebook!


Even through his guilt

He masked the hyena of his soul.

In his mind he mounted me with an

Avatar he wore like a medal-

Fuck the last breathing witness!


Jesus only knows the cover-ups…

She wounded as she was

Didn’t stand a chance-

Photographer, best friend,

So many others drove her down.

Poor thing. No wonder her misspent anger!


I cut him at the wedding.

It was only for the dove,

Clothed in the soft knitted shawl…

But then like a sleep walking Daddy,

She knew. She’s known for years.

Empathy in equal measures to evil.

Me think’s those were and these are dark times!

                                              c. E.D. Ridgell, 2015




My mother taught me to worry.
She honed it into a work of art.
Together we would practice it regularly,
Not that it was ever that needed.

Today, I can out-worry the best of them.
I've a Master's in Worry.
There is no small thing
I can not stack into a wall of worry.

Worry is a family trait 
We are careful to pass down
In full measure to our offspring,
So they too can reap its rewards.

Worry will protect you.
It will motivate you to do great things.
I would commend worry to you,
If I were not worried you would hate me for it.


copyright Color Purple
Google Images

A special thanks to Whoopi Goldberg who
With her ‘bat joke', reminded me, that words like books
Must never be burned. EDR

"By and By

They fetched the niggers in and had prayers,"-
And when those that came; family, friends, fagots, Romans,
Had finished with a final, feigned rite they had figured for me,
That was that, and done, and I thanked them,
Presently, in this lyric-like thing of mine.

Then, my beloved ones, you must conspire one last time,
If you please, for me, for us, for what was and is no more.
See! There are these ashes, fresh ashes mixed with bone,
That I charge you scatter, quickly, on the run, fast
Before they contrive to stop you. One run up the Green, and
Another, down the Palace yard from the other end.
Broadcast me far and wide. Have some fun with me. Be merry,
For merry I'll be rooting through the fallen catalpa pods
And green grass in hopes of coupling once again.
"You gotta give them hope", you know!

Bless you and keep you, and remember, if you please,
The mortal are here but a short while, so try to be happy.
Know that I am there with you, circumjacent, hovering around you,
The bird on the wing, a breeze of windswept memory,
Come and gone, waiting.

© 2011 by E.D. Ridgell





I’m back! Ho, Ho, Ho!

I’ll wait for the glee to abate,

A feigned jubilance

No doubt!


Scrooge and Marley

Have had a banner year!

We are temped to give a bonus

To the dwindling staff…Na!

Little parachutes are so passé,

And what’s more

What’s the dole for, we ask you?


And what would Marley,

God rest his soul,

Say to such excess?

We’re about ‘Big’ at

Scrooge and Marley-

Our parachutes are

Imbedded in contractual law-

We saw to that!


This thing called Christmas,

Religion aside, needed reforming.

We’ve seen to these-

Less presents, less treats, less food for all-

We’ll soon have laws governing weight.

Fat is a no-no for the common good.

That’s us or should I say, that’s me

Now that Marley, is more or less outa the picture 

And off the payroll…He, He, He!


What is good for me, well!

That will have to be good for all,

And I’m moving fast to make it law.

My name is Ebenezer Scrooge, by the way

And I need no translation, thank you.

I’ve gone global!


Wars, the exception, things could be worse,

I mean, peace is never profitable,

Not for the likes of me!

Don’t forget to but Tiny Thing, whatever,

A battle game, and do put it under the twig for me,

But hurry. Your credit is ‘bout maxed!

I’ll be wanting those cards back!


I’ve scissors in my hands.

It’s all part of my plans.

We must plan for the holiday early. Oh!

And how about a little dolly that explodes

For that little girl in your heart-

We’ve Miss High Explosive!

It’s a Christmas hit, and she can be yours

After the holidays at half the price,

At are subsidiary, Wal-Mart World!

By bad luck, we’re closed Christmas Day…

“A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket

Every twenty fifth of December!”

Have no worries. We’re working on these

Union based conspiracies with their 

Outmoded traditions! Bother!


Humbug! You must say goodbye to excess, 

While I and the one percent have ours.

We deny the government coffers

Paying near to nothing, of course.

I can see the pink slips in the breeze

Tumbling down streets that once 

Bespoke those tiny businesses.

Bah! Should not government own little

And control less? We’ve our needs!

We take more and more.

You get less and less,

And we’ll never have enough,

Never! Never!


Once we’ve ruined you,

We’ll slowly build you back up.

It’s and old game of supply and demand!

Ho, Ho, Ho! Onward Prancer,

I smell it, another profitable venture!

We’ll make money polluting it all,

And then we’ll make more cleaning it up.

Convince them it’s their ideas we’re wheeling.

It’s the old shell game and we love it!


James, take me to the airport.

I’ve a private jet waiting to whisk me to Dubai.

It seems that oil has dropped. I won’t have this!

Merry Christmas, everyone, and fear not.

I’ll be back soon enough. Oh,

And God bless Tiny Thingy!

                                            Yours in Christ,


Stone Places

I wonder if his tiny bones are still there
Tucked as they were under a mountain of kudzu.
I left the helpless little stone there over half a century ago-
The middle of the last century, almost two centuries ago, now.
I had been stopped cold by it…Boom! The shock of each moment 
Of still being alive!

I loved Exmore backed by the creek facing on nurseries 
Of azalea and rhododendrons. I entertained ‘if only’s’ over it-
Youthful fantasies. Bill and I were moving Dad’s ton or two
Over to the Point where I would be duly chastised for leaving 
A three hundred pound anvil…impossible man, demanding man-
An icon of our clan, as all we men end up to be, indomitable.

I’m well nigh dead myself now not that I mind. We all
Cling to it, grasp it close to us, risk it, abuse it, 
make love with it, make war with it, die in it!
It’s common too  for us to lay plans, park ourselves
Just so for family and posterity, choose the yard, or
In my case the Palace Green in faire Williamsburg.
                                                                    E. D. Ridgell, 2019

A Prose Poem To God And Country


Two great and powerful people

Forged in early revolutions,

Acting always in self defense 

With no eye on spoils of war-

What brings them to such discord?


Great literature, art of all persuasions;

Fabled museums each espouse and treasure,

Vast scientific discoveries;

The quest for space outside the orb they share-

What pushes them to produce weapons of mass destruction?


They have between them resisted and defeated 

Tyrants such as the world has never seen, 

And they did this as allies. They have never warred one against the other

What feeds their competition, jockeying to surpass one another?

Why do they waste treasure on what reason dictates they cannot use?


Together, they pose such danger that all would be punished.

Their leaders and legislators feed the discord,

And both seduce their populace with artful propaganda.

Their economies both are too much dependent on their arsenals, and

To make matters worse they seem to worship the same God.

                                                                                             E. D. Ridgell 2018


Trump O’er Ice With A Twist Of Lemon Peel
Caged children
In detention centers-
Is this the best you can do?
Is there nothing that is not about you-
Some puffed up seventy year old 
In a long black coat 
Leading a contingent of sycophants 
Yanked from Fox 45?

And just what is this foreign policy
If not an about face in decades of well 
Thought out policy? Are you at all 
Familiar with loyalties over royalties?
Is your art of the deal not riddled 
In bankruptcy after bankruptcy
Will you reek havoc o’er still more silly putty?
Will you pompous promise into war 
and drag us with you?

I am no longer young enough
To know it all and
I am so not into you-
Your big business men 
Your gerrymandering-
Move over. Get out of my way.
Get out of our way.
Hear us. Our warnings are neither 
Empty nor patient.
                                                 E. D. Ridgell 2018

If Truth Be known!

My mother,
God rest her soul,
Taught me how to worry.

That’s why, exist or not,
I need God-
Somebody must shoulder my burden.

It’s still hard for me to turn it over-
The control.
I want to steer my many resentments.

That would neither be fair
Or, if truth be known,
Very good for my soul.

I’m a sweetheart of a man,
But no stranger to sin-
Just your everyday sort of a man…
                              c. E.D. Ridgell, 2016
                                   Revised 2018


The Stance!


It was half a century before I noticed.

I think it was one of those family photographs

I prize so much, the ones most likely to be

Tossed out at death by happenstance, haste, or intent.


In so many images of my forebears they had a

Disarming habit of hoisting the hand up onto one hip

As you would some signal-flag. I remember of

Doing this myself in thirty years of teaching.

It was a stance signaling a stand-

A relaxed sort of tenacity conveying control and power.


There’s the faded photograph of Grammy

With the hoisted, hip hand,

Accepting some Veterans group’s award,

In front of that nursing home she founded,

Spreading out as it did, one room at a time.

From an old, one-room, school house.

She started it to care for old sea dogs,

No longer needed in war or family.

I can still see her, in my mind’s eye

Firmly dug into Maryland’s, southern, sandy soil

With fist on hip bespeaking her affinity

To that ground and the proud, prizing of it.


There are also photos rescued of people

I never knew but are a part of mine

Caught by the light of the lens

At ease with this posture, this stance.

Just yesterday I caught myself,

Arm hoisted up before my well-weeded garden.


It came to my mind, melding into hope,

That one day I’d catch me a grandkid

Mimicking this trait handing down,

Generation upon generation-

The stance!

A Silly Metaphor 

Wars entered into for divers and sundry reasons
Gobble our boys up spewing them out into those
Flag draped boxes that, when flown home,
Will offer little solace to their grieving families.

The dog at the end of the drive will wait in vain.
The babe in arms will never get that needed hug,
And there will forever remain a hole in the family.

No one ever pretends anymore to fight
"The war to end all wars". There's too
Much evidence to the contrary. 
"Peace on earth. Goodwill to all men" 
Seems a silly metaphor to be brought out
Once a year and sung as some
Decorative medley to a holiday, and yet
Man is just complicated enough to keep
Hope alive and perhaps, ironic as it seems,
there's your proof of God!

The Goodbye Peek!

As is my way
Less now since this settling
I went spying,
Well no, snooping if you must know.
This is after all group therapy 
And your in if you think your out-
It’s the price you pay for privacy.

I haven’t a malicious bone in my body,
Though I do my best to hide that.
You have to love me to know me-
Even then I don’t dare let a soul in,
Not into the inner sanctum of me.
I’m having enough trouble 
With the catholic guilt as it is!

Anyway, so there he is.
I just had to check to see if he’s OK.
He’ll never know and I’ll never know 
Why he wanted it so. I call it the cut direct.
It isn’t pretty but it happens.
You have to forgive and move on.
That’s why this was a goodbye peek.

He’s still grieving.
It’s been six years since the second whammy-
That left a hole in my heart as well, 
But you see he’d lost his only boy just a few years ‘fore that.
Yes, Iraq! It wasn’t even combat, a traffic accident!
Oh My God! I was too close a reminder.
I told him “you can’t go ‘round grief. You’ve got to go though it”.

Every year it’s the same pictures on the same day.
We all tally our days and keep our calendars.
My bloody day Is every last day of March. Pay day!
He has his repertoire of pics. So do I.
We all of us hurt, so much. Everybody hurts.
He hurts. I hurt. You hurt. We all hurt. Life hurts-
And so you fill in the blanks. Live even though it hurts!
                                                                    E. D. Ridgell, 2017




 Heralding down spring

 Hooves from court brought hard news of

 Wilting English rose;

     Tudor’s demise, Bess bestow

     ‘Fore closing her golden gaze.


 On that long winter

 Women wagged worrisome

 ‘Tween sundry weak men.

     When with summary thoughts left

     Memories of axe and fire.


 Came summer’s reigning

 Company of divers men

 Hunting and whoring,

     Until she victorious

     In death ushered a fall.


With time a new House,

And then another

Much Change married to no change,

     The New World takes the best

     And leaves the rest to stand the time.


Every season

 Men thought only to war on

 Lovely fields in France.

     Again pray a Bess bequeaths

     Her anni mirabiles.


                           © 2010 E.D. Ridgell


The highest officials are suspect!


Oh Lord!

Greed sullies the ranks,

And a statue of the Virgin is seen to weep!

Fear and blasphemy rule the day,

And in distant lands fascists march again-

Oh Lord!

The rising, walking dead of a last century

Mount Subarus and Kawasakis

For a blitzkrieg led by Fox TV

In a false front of the Prophet!

And here they come, the Horsemen

Riding again from the bowels of history

To once more humble the mighty

And trod headlong o’er the needy-

Oh Lord!

Have we again angered the Almighty?

                                               E. D. Ridgell