The Gold Tooth in the Crooked Smile of God

The Gold Tooth in the Crooked Smile of God

Douglas ColeTHE BOOK: The Gold Tooth in the Crooked Smile of God.


THE AUTHOR: Douglas Cole.

THE EDITOR: S.R. Stewart.

THE PUBLISHER: Unsolicited Press.

SUMMARY: “There’s some kind of magic going on in Douglas Cole’s The Gold Tooth in the Crooked Smile of God—he casts an entrancing spell with the long sinuous unfolding of these exquisite poems. Wry, wistful, poignant and humble, these winding poems create surprising streams that I am grateful to be carried down.” —Jim Daniels, poet, screenwriter, author of Street Caligraphy and The Middle Ages

“The lovelorn, the haunted, and the neglected are lifted from their place in the margins and given the spotlight, front and center. These well-wrought poems make the commonplace special, and celebrate the forgotten with dignity and warmth.” —John Skoyles, Editor Ploughshares, and author The Nut File and A Moveable Famine

“Douglas Cole’s gritty, gut-wrenching and image-rich poetry will haunt you long after reading his work. “ —Dan Sicoli, Co-Editor of Slipstream and author of Pagan Supper and The Allegories

“These are poems of the street, and their gritty observations remind us what it means to be alive—to struggle, to dream, to survive.” —Jake Young, former editor of Chicago Quarterly Review

THE BACK STORY: Most of these poems come roughly from the last five years of living in Alki, a neighborhood in West Seattle. These are the people I see every day. But they’re also representations of a state of mind. Many are real people out there, many are projections.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The title is actually a rephrasing of something Jim White said in the documentary, Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus: “As I traveled all around the world, I became more and more dissatisfied with my search for God; I couldn’t find God wherever I went, couldn’t find any meaning, and I realized that I wasn’t looking for what everybody else was. I was looking for the gold tooth in God’s crooked smile.” The image of the gold tooth in the smile of God fit a lot of the poems I had collected, this notion of something shiny and beautiful within something somewhat twisted and grotesque.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? I actually think these poems will appeal to people who don’t think they enjoy poetry. The poems are little movies, dreams, adventures and snapshots of the world—funny, ironic, but thoughtful, too. And there’s enough craft in there for the experienced reader of poetry…


“I found myself eager to move from poem to poem to find out what would happen to the next character. What scene—be it a bar, a market, or a friend’s garage—would roll out towards me and include me in it’s tragic beauty?” – Jessica Purdy, from “Beauty in the Broken: A Review of Douglas Cole’s The Gold Tooth in the Crooked Smile of God”

“This collection of poems is Cole’s way of paying attention, more like Harry Crews than Arthur Miller, but with quiet empathy and the added intensity of poetry.” –Barbara Jones Knott, from “Review of The Gold Tooth in the Crooked Smile of God”

AUTHOR PROFILE: I was born in the middle of winter in Seattle. My name translates as “Dark Waters,” even though my birth certificate just said “boy” for the first eighteen years of my life. My parents divorced when I was nine. I grew up with a single mom who took me and my sister to Berkeley where she attended Seminary. The streets were filled with mumbling, ranting mental patients, and the nick-name I heard for the town at that time was “The Open Ward.” I know what it’s like to be poor. In grade school, I’d lean in to the cashier in the lunch line and pretend to pay so other kids wouldn’t see that I got free lunch.

I attended Cal State East Bay, was lucky or smart enough to get into a study abroad program and went to the University of Bradford for a year. I obtained a Eurail Pas, slept on trains and traveled across Europe. I came back, finished a BA at SDSU and a Master’s at WWU. I’ve been a clerk in a brain tumor ward, construction worker, waiter, house-painter and of course teacher.

Now, with two sons of my own and love, I am far luckier than I ever thought I would be. I had the chance to settle into a little suburban college, in a quiet, mild atmosphere. I chose Seattle Central College instead. Urban. Intense. The heart. I try to teach with care and love. I write as I breathe.

Those interested in more of the writing stuff can check out the website:

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Most of the time, I feel like living with a human mind and senses is like looking at reality through a chink in a wall. If poetry actually accomplishes anything, it’s opening the perceptions and helping to free us from the limited ways we think and see.


The Laugh

There’s that laugh

it’s a guy’s laugh

it’s a take-over-the-room laugh

it’s elbows and that’s the way it is

and dirt under the nails

beer at the Blew Eagle café

baseball cap and cigarettes laugh

it’s a pool shot

and a worn wallet curved

to the shape of the ass

with a flattened condom

and creased pictures of the kids

receipts and credit cards laugh

it’s bare trees

and a wave storm demolishing the beach

it’s a moving truck

loaded to the gills

the woman who got away

and the women just out of reach

trivia night at Cristos bar

notes on a napkin

plans for a screenplay

big dreams in a shot glass

exploding and going nowhere

full of life


Village Books, Bellingham

Third Place Books, Seattle

Elliott Bay Books, Seattle


Unsolicited Press Direct:


Barnes & noble, etc.




Hardback: 31.99

Paperback: 19.99.


Author Website: Facebook:

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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