This Poet's Corner


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This Poet's Corner


The Missing Lighthouse Keeper 

Bill Whitelock idled the boat

So that we might see at low tide

The tombstones that lay just a foot below the water.

With eyes strained and necks bent like the egrets

Gracing the wetlands nearby,

We could just glean the names, dates,

And epitaphs on the eroded stones

Of a Holland Island graveyard reclaimed now

By waters of a relentless Chesapeake Bay.

We gave up on the second day.

James Somers our missing lighthouse keeper

Of Somers Cove Light was nowhere to be found.

It was fitting this ancestor was not fixed

To this lost Holland island. It was an outside chance

For James more than likely belonged elsewhere

On one of those islands out of time, Smith’s or Tangier’s.

I confess, I wonder why I care, for only a few of we folk

Comb and carefully record what for some might seem a

Strange safe guarding of lines some would wriggle out of

Like Jimmy, here reported to have been the lighthouse keeper 

For Solomon’s Cove now lost to the incessant Bay.

Perhaps I’m seeking some place in history,

Some link with those to come. I do not know.

I only know I care, and that I feel this need

To record those who have followed on the water

To those who will come to follow,

On and on, into the eye of time,

Like waves breaking and caressing the sandy shore,

Billow on billow to the sounds of an everlasting, blue bay

Whispering, “Remember me! Remember me!”

                                                         Revised 2018



Time, not measured, 

A little boy napped 

Atop pompoms of white chenille 

Ages ago on a

Hot, windy, St. Mary’s afternoon.

Spotlights of sun

On tall green grass

Whispered secrets outside windows

Propped up. 


Never again so safely slept I

In a harbor my sole kingdom

Ruled by matriarchs black and white

Moored to men 

Some tattooed- 

Others smelling sweetly of Rye

Grammy’s big bosom cuddly deep

Drowned me in a smell of Bart cloth ancestry.


From a kitchen of black and white enameled stoves

Nigger ladies chattered 

Lowly ladies with high values- 

Rock beds.

Protectors of stacks of soft shell crabs

And fried chicken secrets all their own.

Much respected

They cooked ham stuffed with kale

To bury us with.


Grammy ran a nursing home

Where war weary seamen came to rest

Well fed their names and medals known

Certain they were good for one last test-

An escape duty free

So long’s you didn’t go too far up the road


Sunken smack in middle of the yard

Sat a captain free ghost.

Pigs in sties ‘hind rough hewn slats 

From their trough splattered

Some of the chickens

Pecking here there and everywhere,

While beneath the house in all sorts and sizes 

Lived the wild cats in their world apart


That white house on cinder blocks

Once a silly one-room schoolhouse

Kept growing one closet at a time

Till rooms were stuffed with decade’s censuses-

A cozy place not up to code.

Uncle Bud flew stars and bars o’er stars and stripes

No one thought that uncivil

He being a judge and playing in the Klan.


Whole damned place a garden,

I picked her pretty flowers

Cause she said not to and expected it.

She’d long hair never shorn brushed and braided with pride

I often snitched her snapping turtles using Dick’s net

From a muddy ditch side the house-

Their soupy purpose my own.

Besides, they always made it safely back 

With no harm done.


On Sundays Billy Jim my cousin hero and I 

Dutifully dressed for church

Aunt Bettie whizzed by 

Studebakered the girls and

Honked off.

Deliberately late we walked

To the end of path

Turned left for the crick

Fished or swam butt naked

Boys worshipped outside

In the Free State sun.


No,I never napped so well

As in that kingdom long ago

Nestled close to two shores

Between too many wars

Down home in the Land of Pleasant Living


© 2005 by E.D.Ridgell

      Revised 2018



When Unto My Jesu I Come!

Like a billowing, wave unto shore,

I broke with a zeal and zest for life

As good as ‘fore or since.

My God bestowed on me thrice

What nary I deserved and more,

Feigning not to mark my sins.

I come ‘fore my Lord

Knowing I must right the score

And grateful beyond all measure.

Receive me unto Thy grace,

Your penitent petitioner

When Unto my Jesu I come!

                              E.D. Ridgell, 2018

The Prey

With wounded wing
And one too many 
Fallen feathers
Swoops down.

The eagle
From high up,
It’s eye fixed
On its prey.

The kingfisher
His peacock in tow
Rails against
Any and all who dare
Ruffle his regal feathers..

The Swallows
Flock to
Pluck out
These fisher types
With their feather mites.

There is no land
In sadder disharmony
Than this with the cadged 
Swallow wanna-be’s 
Seeking the protection of the eagle.
                                   E. D. Ridgell 2019


Memories That Will Not Die!


If they could not speak,

They just ran their hands

O’er Traveler

In a despairing goodbye.


The old man,

Hat in hand,

Did not avert

His blazing eyes.


Eyes born

Of a woman

Buried alive.

Eyes that beheld

Too many dead.


The boxwoods at Stratford Hall,

Elephant eye-high a decade ago,

Now slowly die of root rot.

The memory of them does not! 


The Grave Yard Rave

All the ghosts are dancing,
All the dead are frolicking,
All the swing kids are in attendance.

The ghouls are out.
The kings and emperors play civil
While the tyrants trade jibes.

The yard’s forgotten
There is a price to pay 
When seals go broken and slime seeps in.

Singapore wears a sling
As Helsinki picks out a tie.
Moscow mocks them all in a tux.

All the dead soldiers
Are swinging.
The yard’s  jumping.

The Red
In his best military fatigue 
Lends Counsel behind a tombstone.

Oh where is the sun to banish
The grave robbers? “Will the
Last one out please turn off the”...night? 
                                                E. D. Ridgell 2018

A Front Row Seat

Gay lad,
Lost lad,
Under the lamppost.
Poor lad
Kneeling ‘fore the host.

Where is the lad
Fading lad,
Petulant lad-
In the front row.
            E. D. Ridgell 2019


Gimme Gimme Gimme


Dawkins and Fry, get out of my face!

Chris was enough, God rest his soul!

I go one God further, that’s all.

Take the dust covers off Our Lady,

Let Jesus bleed a miracle or two.

Let bells toll and choirboys watch their virtue.

I take it all back, the Latin, the incense, 

And all the archaic superstitions- 

Gimme, gimme, gimme.


I mean, who are these fools?

Where are Chesterton and Waugh.

When you bloody well need them?

There is a link ‘tween eye and heart 

That does not need intellect.

Every creed promises a paradise but

It seems to me there is only one rock hard.

The source of faith is anything but fact-

Mystery married to myth.

                                                     E. D. Ridgell 2019


Matters Of Kindness


So you get out.

Is there ever really a good time?

God, you’re frightened. You’ve never had any delusions.

Where to go? Where to live? How to live?

Never, ever did you need 

A bridge over trouble waters

Like you do today.


You’ll likely get fired, probably disowned, thoroughly blamed,

And you zig zag and hopscotch

And drink a lot, smoke a lot, fuck a lot,

Find your best buddy up your ass,

And not a friend in sight.


The nice thing about the bottom 

Is the only way is up, so you get up,

And it’s turned over for you.

There on a corner you meet a rare thing,

Kindness, a patient ear, an unselfish person,

Everything wanted of Him.


You raise yourself up. You build anew.

You meet the nicest person, you meet you.

No one does it on his own, no one.

Fundamentals count. Empathy counts.

To the degree that you are empathic,

That is the degree that you know God.

In the end 

the only thing that matters is kindness.


                                                   E. D. Ridgell 




Cupped in his hand was a new born fledgling 
Recently pushed from the nest by a sibling. 
“Nature is not sentimental”, he said. 
He nestled it in his lap and sat there patiently waiting. 
I asked him, “Is there nothing we can do”? 
“No”, he said. “We can only keep it company”. 
I sat there next to him and watched the little bird die. 
In that death love was born. 
This was the first of many things that clipped my wings.  
There was no need. I never was tempted to fly away. 

He had kept doves as a young boy, 
And we kept all breeds of ducks, the symbols of fidelity. 
There was that time we stopped to watch 
The farmer plow his field in the company of hundreds of swans  
Who fed upon the upturned seed.
There was that mountain drive parallel to two swans in flight. 
We watched their necks wobbling to the beating of their wings. 
There are still ducks in that pond at Williamsburg-

In those last few hours I nestled him in my arms and waited patiently  
Listening to his last rattle song.
I whispered to him, 
"It’s alright Precious. You can go. I’ll be OK”. 
I lied. 
He died-

Now, every time I drive by the Mennonite farm, 
I look for them in the pond, the swan couple. 
I’m upset if one is missing, and I’m impatient to see it, next time.  
It’s always there. I’ve done this for eight years, now. 
It is not my turn, and I have company.  
I’m not afraid of anything, and 
I only hope that when my time comes,  
Someone will nestle me and wait patiently. 
Look to the skies and listen. You can hear them, birds on the wing,
Flapping and speaking in their many different tongues. 
I particularly like the sounds of the ducks and geese, don’t you?
                                                                                    c. E.D. Ridgell, 2009
                                                                                         Revised 2018

The Speckled Palace Green In Fare Williamsburg


I read your journal again tonight

And I realized its time to close

At least until I follow. I’ve completed

That long journey this side of grief.


I love you now as I loved you then.

Wait. I linger here for now.

I was lucky and my mind’s eye

As well as my patchwork heart

Found love yet again. The kids

Up and had three children.

Your Vital is a grandfather three times o’er.

I learned too Vital is a mountain of a man!


Another chapter or two,

Chapters denied you. God does not

Corrugate folds of our design.

It is a mystery and always shall be-

We love. We abide awhile. We die.

Patience Precious. It is a mystery

As to when I will follow to rest with you on

The speckled palace green in fare Williamsburg.





Thank You Tank Man!


I wanted you to know

We have not forgotten you.

What became of you

Remains a mystery.

Are you imprisoned somewhere,

A worker bee with one less kidney?


There is no statue in the square,

But the news is out there.

Accept these words as a small tribute

To your bravery and courage.

They have not erased you from history.

The hidden newsreel of the tank got through

Though you may have never known it.

The world heralded you as news

Even as your comrades fled, pushing pedals,

Cycling fast to be free from tyranny.


Are you in a grave somewhere,

Or are you the manager of a KFC?

Do your ashes reside somewhere

In a lacquered box hidden from the guard,

Waiting to be spread on Tiananmen Square?

Perhaps you were spared, married,

And had the prescribed one baby-

A fat son? I hope so.


You did your country honor

And I wanted you to know

Your ancestors smiled as

Your message, delivered before

That tank’s, turreted, red star

Traveled the world over-

Echoing yet again,

‘One man can make a difference!


Many men can make a Veteran’s Day.

My country sets aside one day to remember

Its known and unknown heroes.

Come linger with us. You are not forgotten.

Let us play taps to your memory

As well as to our own sons for

There are no boundaries

In the cause of freedom.

Thank you Tank Man!

                    c. E.D. Ridgell, 2007


It Is Not Easy To Be You!


She is not paid to be emphatic,

Unless she uncovers something,

Chases my scent,

Smokes me out-

As I can not help but evade,

Even as I struggle to be caught

Running through the hedgerows of this hunt.


And so when she looks at me and says:

“I do not think it is easy to be you”,

She garners my attention.

She has me and with such a simple thing

To have never sunk in.

It is not meant to be easy.

I thought it was meant to be easy.

It is not!


I play the herald to the despot

For the sake of others, shielding myself.

Never coming into the limelight,

But always the dresser to the star,

The king’s man, a ear to his exact word:


“I wish I had your gift for words.

It’s stunning in it’s classical restraint!

Hold out your hand!”

With a pat as with a fan, I sought to mimic

A queen’s words and thereby gather parts

Together into me;

Laertes behind the curtain!


Despite my best efforts though

To test and risk the anger of many kings,

The dagger has never run me through,

No matter how I tempted it behind the curtain.

The princes have all failed me,

All the while I was absorbed adding to that

Foundation that was there from the beginning,

And for which she is paid to find the core.


I find myself like Delacroix’s father,

An astute arbiter who guesses the answers

Before the questions have even entered their minds.

I wish I were not right so often. I usually am.

It is too easy. It is not meant to be easy.

I thought it was meant to be easy. It is not.

It is not easy to be me. I find nothing hard enough

To justify this mimicry and hiding.

“You will never more hear from Herald.”

“If I have played my part well,

Clap your hands and dismiss me

With applause from the stage.”


Like Echoes Off The Canyon Walls

So long as I have a voice, 
It will resonate
Like echoes off the canyon walls-
The hopes and dreams
Of the hundreds and hundreds 
Of young black children
I was so blessed to teach
In the hopes it would show them that 
Black lives, like all lives, do matter,
And no matter the race or creed
We all are equal in this,
Our beloved country!
                                 c. E.D. Ridgell, 2016

A Lonely, Last Bud to Fall

In a spell that seems so long already,

I tend one after another garden

In a lifetime of gardening.


The precious buds fall one at a time.

They burn and decay away.

They are in my memory 

And missed each for a passion its own.


I tend the garden now aging and failing,

But still I till on, one season at a time.


I am not sure why I garden still.

Or why the lovely buds must Wither and fall.
I am resigned,

But I do confess I fear I’ll be

A lonely, last bud to fall!

                 © 2011 by E.D. Ridgell


Boxing Day, 2015

Every year, I think to myself,
This is your last. Keep a good Christmas.
Then pops around another,
And I start all over.

I used to say to Russell,
I won't make thirty,
Not with this epidemic
Weighing on my conscience.

Truth is, it is a miracle,
And one to give me pause-
Not in my license, I assure you,
But in His intentions.

Why was I spared-
To bury so many others?
Surely He requires nothing of me,
Except perhaps a sincere confession.

Was it to champion
So much cancer? If so,
Swing open those pearly gates.
I've a ticket- first class, plus luggage!

I'm so old, now,
I sometimes fancy myself wise,
Though no one seems interested in
The meanderings of another naked civil servant.

It was a splendid Christmas,
Though, mark me, it was my last.
I've short goals and with pluck
And a little luck, I'll soon bid you adieu.
                                 E.D. Ridgell, 2015


Times Have Changed!

I remember my Dad swinging a chicken
Round and round with one arm.
Then laying its head on the end of a block of wood
And chop-pin it off with a sharp hatchet....
I swear that chicken got right up and ran
Round and round with no head at all!
I must have been no more than five.

I was play-in out back, one day,
When I saw a long, slicked-back worm, it's back raised up
As if taking aim to spit right in my eye.
I ran in and told Mommy and she
Came out, took a garden how, chopped that big worm up,
Then draped it o'er the garden fence,
Went back in the kitchen and that was that.

Life and death had little meaning
To a kid so young. I had no real fear of mortality.
One day, me and my friends walked out o'er
Cracking ice jumping up and down at the thrill of it.
I remember walking o'er a long railroad bridge,
With nary a worry of an oncoming train.
I was immortal then but only then. Times have changed!
c. E.D. Ridgell, 2014


Cromwell's Back!


Slowdown Governor.

I'm not buying that smile, again.

You're not too big to fail.


I don't need you're next Cold War.

I've got to save an Island;

Easter Island.


The Muslim Brotherhood

Is only a threat to McCarthyism.

Have you no shame!


Monica is multi-orgiastic.  Have you no shame?

Put your blond bombshell

Back to bed! The fat lady's not through singing!

                                      © 2012 by E.D. Ridgell


Matters Of Kindness


So you get out.

Is there ever really a good time?

God, you’re frightened. You’ve never had any delusions.

Where to go? Where to live? How to live?

Never, ever did you need 

A bridge over trouble waters

Like you do today.


You’ll likely get fired, probably disowned, thoroughly blamed,

And you zig zag and hopscotch

And drink a lot, smoke a lot, fuck a lot,

Find your best buddy up your ass,

And not a friend in sight.


The nice thing about the bottom 

Is the only way is up, so you get up,

And it’s turned over for you.

There on a corner you meet a rare thing,

Kindness, a patient ear, an unselfish person,

Everything wanted of Him.


You raise yourself up. You build anew.

You meet the nicest person, you meet you.

No one does it on his own, no one.

Fundamentals count. Empathy counts.

To the degree that you are empathic,

That is the degree that you know God.

In the end 

the only thing that matters is kindness.


                                                   E. D. Ridgell 



The Grave Yard Rave



All the ghosts are danc’n

All the dead frolick’n.

All the swing kids are in attendance.



The ghouls are out.

The kings and emperors are civil

As tyrants trade jibes.



The yard’s forgotten

There’s a price to pay 

When seals go broken.



Singapore wears a sling

As Helsinki picks out a tie.

Moscow mocks them in a tux.



The dead soldiers

Are swing’n.

The yard’s jump’n.



The Red

In best military fatigues

Lend council behind a tombstone.



Oh where is the sun to banish

The grave robbers? “Will the

Last one out please put out the light?”

                                                 E. D. Ridgell


“I’m Just Not Myself When Your Away”

Où es-tu Michel?
Your not a bloody Pooka,
And this ain’t no stage-
“And how are you today Mr. Wilson?”
You might well ask me, my friend.

I’m tired Michael.
I feel like a bad juggler in a cray circus.
The more I try to let go,
The more thirsty I get.
Take it will you mon ami?

I’m not sleeping well-
Oh for a Pom Pom spread of soft chenille-
Sleep, perchance to wake “…to sleep, to sleep 
Perchance to dream-ay.”
Take it Michael,
I’m to bed!
                                                     E. D. Ridgell 2019

The Galloping Gertie Dog


Tubby the three-legged spaniel

May be gone but he is not forgotten.

Man’s best friend could not swim or fly

And a last attempt was met with a bit of a bite.


And so Tubby plunged to a doggie death

Into the raging waters below. Nothing of Tubby

Was ever found but he lives on in the

History of the land of the Lushootseed.

                                                      E. D. Ridgell 2019


Pray For Humiliy

Profound feeling,
Poetry and prayer,
Expression and humility.

Peter hit him
With the first shot.
Crimson on the Russian snow.

Faith is not apprehended 
By reason but by life.
Life does little else but humble.

It is not made by hitting the mark
But by intense feelings either or.
A prayer is better spent in humility.

Do not pray then to worship
That which is in need of no such thing-
Pray for humility.
                                         E. D. Ridgell 2019

Googling Obits

I used to say to Russell,
“I won’t live to be thirty.”
Now, look at the mess I’m in.
I’m damned if I do. 
I’m damned if I don’t.

I don’t know if Russell is alive or dead,
And I’m good at that sort of thing.
He’d be around seventy now.
It’s just something old people do
Google names, places, obits.

I’m not depressed or anything-
Curious if nothing else.
A reporter tried to pin
Thurgood Marshal down. Why retire now?
“Because I’m an old man” he answered.

I told Vera not to put me
In a room without an art sink.
On the third floor, I made calls
And retired on the dot.
I enjoyed that.

Through the grape vine
I heard the kids threw the kiln
Out the third floor window-
It’d be possible but just.
Pity Vera wasn’t under it!
                              E. D. Ridgell 2019

Née D'Alesandro

She’s only a woman-
Fair game to the old feathered buzzards
That rule the roost. Set her up.
There’s score cards enough.

Liqueur her up, put it out there-
You gotta put it out there, you know 
You gotta put it out there.
They’re gullible. They’ll believe anything.

She’s only a woman-
A me too slinger. Serves her right.
Serves the bitch right.
Give her an abortion she’ll remember.

Public enemy numero uno-
She’s the one. Just another ball buster,
A wrinkled necked Baltimore oriole,
Crazy as a loon. Go ahead. She’s only a woman!
                                                       E. D. Ridgell 2019

Waiting For The Horsemen!

The highest officials are suspect.
Degradation and dishonor abound-
Greed sullies the ranks and 
It’s not politic to poke or prod their emails.

Fantasy and fear tumble as
Reality shakes for the shapeshifter-
In far-off lands fascism sprouts
Seeds saved from a dead century.

Motorcycle monkeys
Mount Subarus and Kawasaki’s
For a blitzkrieg led by Fox TV
In a false front for flattery.

And here come the Horsemen
Riding again from the bowels of history
To once more humble the mighty
And trod headlong o’er the needy-

Here come the Russians sporting
Their dancing bears drunk as usual
On cheap vodka and questionable sports
Led by this century’s butch Tsar!

It’s another game of craps but
These dice don’t roll right.
Gamblers are warring in the wings
Waiting for the horsemen!

                                    E. D. Ridgell, 2019


It’s Alright To Die. I’ll Be OK

We were walking side by side
In a high-tide, wetland of a hot Somerset sun,
And I had warned Tom not to trust the stone slabs,
That top the shallow graves tuned to the tide,
When, all of a sudden, down goes Tom. Turning,
I spy him stalled and standing in a shallow grave
Implacable as always with spoon and melon still in hand
And bent upon finishing his melon.He loved cantaloupe.

How do I forgive God this transgression on our happiness-
Funnel teaspoon after teaspoon down parsed lips?
The hospice worker apprises the end is near-
I am free to measure the dosage and he intimates
The dying sometimes wait for some promissory permission. 
Nie! I cannot help put out that light we worked so hard 
To keep lit. That religion we sharebelies such a coarse, and so
I bend down with a last kiss upon his brow and whisper a last lie-

“It’s alright to die. I’ll be okay.”
                                                                            E. D. Ridgell
                                                                               Revised 2018






She died before the questions.


Where did the popery come from


For one of Wesley’s children


Carried to her catholic grave


In St. Mathew’s graveyard?




She told me she was Irish-


Laid it on me from the back steps.


God knows we were catholic,


But how and when, and more importantly,


Why was I Irish?




I didn’t learn she lost a baby to a fire


Until I had become an old man, an elder,


And, as usual, the last to hear anything!


Of a dozen babies only two survived,


And these secrets are buried now.




No matter, if I am half Irish,


It is the English root I gnawed!


Keep your dirty potatoes. No Irishman


Ever loved me as a kid!




They moved me from the country,


Into the sooty city, and gave me to the penguins,


Just to diagram sentences, serve on the altar,


And march me to a late communion!




Truth is, I loved and hated it. You do, you know.


The statuary, a rough and tumble,


Game of stick on a huge, dirt hill,


The incense, the masochism of the confessional-


All that lovely Popery!



Pills In White Boxes

They’ve all left now, finally.
I’ve only ever wanted to die alone
Free from the eyes and hands of anybody.
This is a home in which I am not at home. 
The doors swing silently and there are no locks save one.
It is my last move, I know. I doubt I’ll need most things
in those brown boxes they packed and labeled for me. 

Where has that white box gotten to, my pills and pictures? 
There it is over there. I’ll open it later, if I decide to play with my pills today.
Maybe I’ll cut one or two in two or take two or more...
I don’t want to look at pictures today, desperate attempts to recapture
Summary events slowly fading away. Someone just came in and left 
Without saying a word. That’s OK. I’m feeling tired today 
What with disappearing and all, fading, fading, fad...
                                                                            E. D. Ridgell. 2018

Render Unto Caesar

I am sorry you are not here
To see the oldest set sail,
To bask at the middle’s ninety eight,
To see the tyke kick a soccer ball! 

Death leaves a void,
And your’s a cavern-
Time moves on 
Even as we dally.

Old age is both harried
And sublime.
You marvel at the sky
And watch your eaglets fly.

The sand drowns down,
The hour nears it’s close and like
My would-be grandfather long ago
I will see Caesar’s taxes done!
                                E. D. Ridgell 2017

The Cocksucker Blues


A lonesome boy

With a fine head of hair,

Had turned himself inside out-

Hell bent on coming out.


Hot-tailing round Wyman Park

Racking up three of four a night,

He was mad as hell at the irony-

One after another notched up to spite.


His straight friends had made a beeline.

No one could abide him.

His Dad up and died and

His Mom was long dead!


Sit’n ‘side a cold cement lion

‘Fore the Museum of Art.

He had no place to sleep.

No hole to crawl into.


“Oh where can I get my cock sucked?

Where can I get my ass fucked?

I may have no money

But I know where to put it every time.


Well, I asked a young policeman

If he’d only lock me up for the night.

Well, I’ve had pigs in the farmyard-

Some of them, some of them, they’re alright,


Well, he fucked me with his truncheon,

And his helmet was way too tight.

It’s daybreak and I feel lost and lonely.

I got the cocksucker blues!


Oh where can I get my cock sucked?

Where can I get my ass fucked?

I ain’t got no money

But I know where to put it every time.**


**Sir Michael Phillip Jagger


Icing On A Fruitcake!


And of all things

I would have thought

No one could have ever said to me,

She tells me you are dying of

Pancreatic cancer!


And like Grammy’s favorite,

Red, Christmas ornament,

Imprinted on my mind,

That Billy Jim and I shot dead

With our wicked pea-shooters

So long ago, I turn these things

So that the holes do not show,

And their glow feigns to grace my

Sight until someone else

Might grieve their loss, and

Lay me gently down even with these

Tears at such sad loss.


I did not take that last call to me,

Saying, yet again, that you forgave me,

Yet one more time. If it lifted your

Spirit up, in truth, that’s all

I ever wished between us.


For my part,

I was always so much more

In my mind’s eye,

And never just icing on a fruitcake.

I think my life well hung.

Let it hang as it will,

The best tokens of it to shine

Long after I am gone.


 Somewhere In The Trenches Of America 

I feel I won't be long, now.
We'll be mingling again,
Dust and bone under the footfalls
Of the next in line.

I haven't heard.
Have you had snow,
And does the drum and fifes still
Pass the green? Who won best door?

I hope all worry and fear
For those loved and leave behind
Falls away with the sweet embrace
Of eternity.

I hope too you are spared news- 
Precious patriot that you are or were-
Of the tedious rise and fall of caliphates,
Here, there, everywhere the din of protest of war!

Remember, you refused to bayonet
Their silly straw man?
They could not understand a heroism
That refused to shoot the dove!

You wore them down in the end-
Hit the bulls-eye on the range so often
They just pushed you on,
Never knowing another faggot got his orders.

Rudy who will follow had to go over-
Won the distinguished service medal under fire.
All my best queers are heroes. I've done the best I can
To temper an ecstasy for 'Mad Dog' saviors.

I feel I won't be long, now.
We'll be mingling again,
Dust and bone under the footfalls
Of the next in line.
                                 c. E.D. Ridgell, 2017 somewhere
                                     in the trenches of America.

Faith Alone!

So you drag ass yourself through a lifetime
Of interminable tests and high-wire risks 
Only Spider-Man or Wonder Woman
Could survive only to have some
Cripple of a theoretical physicist,
One of the countless Sagan cosmologists,
Tell you there is no proof of or, worse yet,
Bloody need of a God, let alone a trinity!

And you ask yourself, for Christ Sakes,
Well who in the hell is that inside my head,
And who have I been entreating all these
Dog-eared years to save my sorry ass!
I mean give me a God Damed break, will you?

Never did I feel so close to anyone
As I did before that plaster statue
Of our Sacred Lady some half a century ago-
Staring up pouring my child’s heart out
To the only person I felt could hear
My confusion and bewilderment 
At things I just couldn’t unwrap
No matter how I tried. As an altar boy
I felt chosen not to be better
But to serve something clear and unsullied.

I have always been the kindest person I know,
Indeed this world with its strange inhabitants
Still feels alien to me. I’ve given up ever
Feeling anything like what they call normal.
I dared not say anything in the confessional
For fear of God knows what, and the thing was,
I didn’t know what was and what wasn’t.
I just worked off of their templates.

I clearly saw Michael. I’ve never been prone
To apparitions. He sat there on the pompom,
White, chenille bedspread until poof, like that,
He was gone. To this day, I believe this,
And so to this day I refuse to give up
The memory of him, of My Lady,
Or my much maligned faith in God Almighty!
                                                   c. E.D. Ridgell, 2016

Pixie Dust!

I feel like God sprinkled me 
With Tinker Bell's pixie dust-
Poof, your Queer! 
Poof the magic Cock Sucker-
One of His chosen ones!

Everybody likes me! Somebody loves me!
Well, I'm still crazy! It's still heavy,
And I'm not buying nothing-
Never did, and never will!

Their gestures side peripheral notations-
Catch them up and I feel the shame of their
Copycat Punch and Judy shows-
Somebody including the lesbo is mimic'n me!

Hush! Hush! Now, don't you cry.
He'll screw her - then he'll fuck you-
He's always William to comply-
Grease everybody up just a little!

Is that a noose round their Persian necks?
Is that them pushed off to fly?
Muhammad, "I am not worthy 
To receive you". I'm preoccupied!

Well do a little blow-
Drink a shit load!
Nothing's gonna wash that
Sweet pixie dust off you're ass!

Shocked are you? 
Well then, do us a favor will ya 'n 
Get out of the confessional!
                                  c. E.D. Ridgell, 2016


 Lord, Lay Me Down, Gently Now


I drank and drank and drank for months I think

Trying to just find that place, that place for me;

That resting place where I could be invisible-

Where I could just lay flat and still, out of their way.


I lay me down in a corn field and let out a queer guffaw; 

I cut dead any shame with another laugh and came to rest.

I reckoned back, when last a pretty boy, I lay on the lawn of Clifton Park

And looked and looked and looked for that four leaf clover, that myth.


Lord, lay me down, gently now, on that field of catalpa pods and ash.

Oh, Lordy, Lordy, Lordy but I’m worn down. I’m all used up, ya’ hear?

Let Virginia showers mingle me with my true love,

Let all the elements do what they will do for a final metaphor of it.


And what of our souls, Lord? Are they myths, too?

Is there a special place for your chosen ones, your mistakes?

Has this been some kind of carnival show? Were we their freaks?


Creative Commons License


"You Could Smell the Whiskey Burnin'
Down Copperhead Road",
So too, we weren't no folk that
Suffered interferin', so when they went
To land their chopper
On Camp Ground, Churchyard-
Well, we just started stonin' em
Like they do in Syria.
Now Parson Thomas couldn't
Put it clearer. You'll not succeed.
Set sail. Get out'a here!
We ain't had no call on these Islands
For government or policin'
For four hundred years.
Whether plantin' up a Tennessee Holler,
Or layin' traps down a Maryland line.
We'll suffer no interferin' or layin' up taxes
We ain't reckon' on payin' no how!
        E.D. Ridgell, 2013
          Edward Ridgell, Poet

( A true event in Smith Island History,
 And both Smith and Tangier Island
 Have never had any need for policing )

Under Surveillance


All the time

At every move

Their watching me-

Whoever they are.


Who watches the watchers?

Are they spying on me

Or are they mere algorithms

Programed, caged and boxed

To box me in?


Should I be frightened,

Tread more gently,

Wrap the wad in toilet tissue

For a dirty deal?


Will they supply the money

To buy the foodstuffs, the gleaned

Summaries of my food purchases?

Will there be eyes on and in everything?


How long before they put their cameras

On and in me? Should I have

Operations filmed for my security?

Can the dentist be trusted?

What party does he belong to?


The older I become

The more questions I have.

I’ve given up hoping there will be

Anything like the world promised me.

Could it be I was lied to, or worse yet,

Am I to be some sort of bounty?


I suddenly want to kiss the man,
The man whose lips are deadly cold and frozen shut now.

Out of custom with the day, he'd always kiss me this way,
Taking my breath away and with it holding ransom a heart
I was at no liberty to open up to him except in these teasing
Taunts of his. I only desired him more for that audacity
That made him so drop dead gorgeous to one as sensitive as me....

His widower hems and haws as the honey bees fly round his head,
Protests he is not ready yet, not ready for the sting on his lips that
Will wet his whistle for yet another go at it. As usual, I've shown him
The possibilities. What a friend he has in unrequited love!

I suddenly want to kiss the man,
The man whose lips are deadly cold and frozen shut now.
E.D. Ridgell, 2013


A Brother Samuel 

Fair lips our Haven tailors so
To softly shape sweet laughter; 
The sounds, choruses on high, to echo, 
Tiny  treads of the timorous doe, 
In unison to Allyson dubbed Aquitaine, 
Fair lips our Haven tailors so! 
Sojourns through this season we go- 
To be sure, heaven rains down 
The sounds, choruses on high, to echo. 
Coupling songs amidst the snow 
Ferry the holiday gleefully o’er
Fair  lips our Haven tailors so! 
Stately bundled in each hair a bow, 
Singing carols low to usher 
The sounds, choruses on high, to echo 
This season’s greetings glad refrains 
To proclaim a brother, Samuel- 
Fair  lips our Haven tailors so, 
The sounds, choruses on high, to echo! 
                                        © E.D. Ridgell, 2005

A Jack In The Box, That's Me!

We could not have been more different.
You chasing Edie Axlerod,
Me downing my first screw drivers.

How did we end up 
Chasing girls with Frank-
Plowing into the cement stop at Gino's.

Did I know I was gay?
If so, it was screwed on so tight,
I needed screwing to find out!

Frank got lucky-
Stained the bedsheets with blood.
I remember, now.

Mom was dying of cancer.
You were walking behind me,
The precise minute, I decided to marry.

I didn't know it but,
I was filling an eminent void
With the best thing I knew how.

Oh, I wasn't malicious.
I didn't know who, and I didn't know when,
And love was always the joker.

Turned out the joke was on me.
She didn't fit. It didn't work.
She blamed me but hid an ace.

She died forgiving me.
I arranged it, a mercy
For her wretched soul.

Yea, I was a Homo,
A bittersweet toy-
A jack in the box, that's me!

Richard, you were the first person
To betray me. You dropped the assassin's dagger 
At the foot of Pompey's statue, remember?

No matter. Deeper thrusts were in the circle.
My bosom friend's thrusts, particular and personal
And made to, how did he put it, loosen me up? 
                                    c. E.D. Ridgell, 2016 

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!
c. E.D. Ridgell, 2014
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Just Another Bay Ghost

Some days I feel like
I'll soon be just another Bay ghost-
A washed up, washed out
Shucked shell
Of a once proud,
Bright, white schooner
Skipping o'er frothy, topped waves.
Everybody serves somebody
For good or not. I've tried to be
The best skipper that my Lord
Wrought in the service of
Family, friends and country-
And I am content and ready
Whenever the tide washes
Me gently out.
E.D. Ridgell, 2013