Sunday, December 6, 2015

Eliza Anne's Coffee Calamity


Eliza Anne's Coffee Calamity

It was a chilling day in November, along about dawn,
Eliza Anne went to the cupboard, plans to make brew,
A sad surprise befell her, her coffee maker was gone,
Just a shell remained, dormant, nary a drop to accrue.

Not one to calmly stand idle, and admit to a defeat,
She opened up her lap top, and went shopping online,
Placed an immediate order, went to cart from her seat,
Glanced toward her kitchen counter, mourning her shrine.

Springing to her feet, she searched for a tea kettle,
Filled with water, placed on the eye, setting it to ten,
Placed grounds and filter in a colander, intent to settle,
Soon crisis would be averted; she would not want that again.

She recalled a porcelain percolator, blue speckled kind,
Stored above, in a random box, somewhere beyond a ceiling,
She dragged a ladder to the hallway, hoping there to find;
At the top step, opened the door, darkness was concealing.

To her surprise, she was now face to face with an intruder,
A mask wearing bandit was staring her down, with demon eyes.
Losing her footing on the platform, dreading weight transfer,
The raccoon lunges, Eliza dodges, and down to floor she flies.

Coming to, on the floor, the raccoon queried, "Are you okay?"
Her subtle nod gave way to gaze, "Almost had a heart attack."
She said she was sorry she gave him a scare, as there she lay,
Sensing nothing was broken, "Help me get up off my back."

Making her way to her kitchen table, what we'll call home base,
Nursing herself with a cold cup of java, the elixir of life,
The raccoon, admiring surroundings, had never seen this place,
Cringed at the sight of Eliza Anne, fondling a carving knife.

She told him of her plight, said, "I have no coffee, Mister."
The raccoon put two and two together, then out the door he ran.
Eliza left to run some errands, unaware of his plot twister,
She returned that afternoon to view the results of his plan.

Her table held a dozen coffee makers, some worn, some shiny,
The bandit's chest swelled with pride, at her look of surprise.
"This is just a start," he boasted, "No one out steals Quiney.
Raccooning is a thing I do well, no matter the style or size."

Quiney payed little heed to her scolding, such is tough love.
He was more interested in her packages, "So, what's for lunch?"
She tilted a bag his way, showing carrots, gave them a shove;
Thanking goodness for small favors, for his well played hunch.

"I don't often eat these, as I'm dumpster diving. They're awful.
Not that I do not appreciate your kind gesture, really I do.
What really brings me to my knees, is a syrupy frozen waffle."
She said, "You are in luck." Going to the freezer, "One or two?"

Dropping them into the slots, she engaged her electric toaster.
She saw no red glow, there were no kitchen smells permeating.
She said, "I can't believe my luck today." He calmly asked her,
"Do you think your problem might be a circuit breaker failing?"

Turns out, he was onto something. The current was back to flow.
She burned the first batch, more focused on her coffee brewing.
Not a problem, she had an entire box, "You are good to go."
She went online. He quizzed her just what she was now doing?

"I am going to see if I can cancel my order, no longer needed."
To her surprise, a message appeared, she was a lucky customer.
Her initial thought to kill the deal would now go unheeded.
As their one millionth customer, "Choose whichever you prefer!"

A vacation cruise, a new living room suit, or perhaps a new car?
Those were some of the options before her, spoils of winning.
The furniture suited her, as she had no real desire to go far.
Quiney, taking this in, amused, nothing like a raccoon grinning.

Eliza Anne rushed into the next room, envisioning her new decor,
Overwhelmed at all the good fortune what was coming her way.
She inadvertently tripped over a rogue ladder, lying on the floor.
Hearing the haunting sound of a tea kettle, she drifted away...

Outside her door, hearing a loud commotion, her postman, Jay,
Made a quick call for help; a hook and ladder nearby cruising,
Within minutes, the firemen were on the scene, to save the day.
Eliza Anne was revived, no bones broken, just some bruising.

She knew her name, correctly gave her address, as well as the day.
"All I wanted was a cup of coffee, things just went downhill."
Jay ran toward a local bistro, her coffee was now on its way.
"Best I could do, cream and sugar, from Dave's Bar and Grill."

They left her alone, on her living room sofa. She was reclining.
As her fog was lifting, she wondered, "Where is my raccoon?"
With her front door left ajar, a crow flew in and saw shining.
"Do I want this carving knife or perhaps this silver spoon?"

Two days later, Jay arrived, with a doorbell ring, left a parcel;
By the time Eliza opened the door, Jay was running in the distance.
For all that was a dream, this new coffee maker was all too real;
Time to build the first cup; her spoon was missing, at a glance.

Michael Todd  (2015)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Distant Bell Tower (for Ann)


Distant Bell Tower (for Ann)

Roadside flowers, all taken for granted,
Unnoticed, east to west, (hands on the wheel),
Fronting rolls of hay, randomly planted;
Shadows cast, outflank the colours appeal.

Melodies cascade from a distant shore,
Passing through, beckoning my heart to steal;
Bring my heritage, on wings, to my door;
How to discern what is whimsy, or real?

I might have had a friend, had fate allowed.
We had one shared friend between, in common.
I could better have served both, had I bowed.
I'd gladly have settled for apportion.

Like the sound from a distant bell tower,
She passed me by, like a roadside flower.

Michael Todd (2015)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Missing (Medley)


Missing (Medley)

I. Should You Miss Me

Should you conclude, you miss me, and come around,
I'd likely ask you to corroborate, and expound.
As a general rule, what we had, I tend to re-live.

Still, I'd indubitably question if this is bona fide;
not to imply this is spurious. I can't say you ever lied.
If I appear nebulous, I don't know what I have to give.

Knowing you, as I do, I can't surmise you would waffle.
You are tentative, on your best days. I know the drill.
At this conjecture, I may not be so open to allegation.

To miss me at this stage, could be apocryphal or sincere;
a precarious situation, as I ask myself, why you are here,
and should I be equivocal, to the time you were the one?

II. Might I Miss You

If circumstances warrant, falling back into that phase,
tenable. Temporary break taken from a never ending maze,
like any good hamster, worth his oats, I miss the wheel.

Freestanding, I am prone to settle for low hanging fruit
from low end providers, (easily convinced to follow suit.)
Too rustic to be provincial, I turn and run... full heel.

Hovering, hesitant, viewing both ends of the spectrum,
conceding, my comfort zone was always, under your thumb.
Concealed among your travel luggage, along for the ride,

concomitant, eventual excess baggage, like a back order,
caught up in customs, dutiful, stranding still, boarder
placed to the side, no where to run and no where to hide.

III. Missing

The real truth be told, I am at fault for apprehension.
Coming unraveled at the seams, for me, is convention,
with no one here to talk to but myself. Time to disperse

nonsensical notions, unfounded, coveted by these voices,
in order to afford clear thought, to make better choices;
a mind uncluttered, in hopes of better as opposed to worse.

I miss you making hard line stands, then asking what I think;
how when you are feminine and clingy, takes me to the brink;
your sincere queries, mostly the one, "How've you been?"

I miss when you have blind faith in me, to persevere,
but little patience when I persist, with my way not clear.
Mostly, I miss the here and now, not being as it was then.

Michael Todd (2015)

Sunday, May 17, 2015




Jefferson and Matilda, scanning menus for a choice,
Long time work mates who became partners for lunch,
No buffets, at a Tex Mex, you must pick and choose,
Jefferson struggled for subtle ways to leave her clues.

They were comfortable enough with each, to double dip,
To both's surprise, thinking aloud, he let it slip,
He's turned in his notice, a full two weeks tendered,
Jefferson, waving a veritable white flag of surrender.

Matilda showed calm to the core, though quite confused,
A part of her was in panic, but show it? She refused.
He explained, the no fraternization policy was the cause,
The one they sign with the firm; deep breath and pause...

"Soon I will be able to ask you out, on a proper date."
This was his way to avoid the problems that would create.
The entrees arrived, server warning, the plates were hot,
To the server, "More dip, please." To him, "I think not."

Different table, same place, two weeks had passed away.
Hostess overheard her congratulate him on his special day.
Sarcasm in her tone, tension building, she's about to break,
When panic ensues, what with singing and a birthday cake!

Restaurant people carry on like they hate singing that song,
But they are found to be smiling when time to sing along,
Jefferson silently cried "Foul," whipped cream to his face,
He had the attention of all but one person in that place.

A quick trip to running water, what could make this worse?
Matilda, laughing, "I can't believe you had dessert first."
He saw an opening, a potential opportunity to be seized;
He asked her on a date again, again she was not pleased.

He asked one good reason, thinking, "I hope she doesn't."
Her swift reply, "It would be like dating my first cousin."
A pause, neither saying a word, then, "Pick me up at eight."
Not knowing what possessed her to concede, "Don't be late."

For weeks, Jefferson pitched and wooed the prize he'd won.
It seemed every date was like starting over, not a lot of fun.
A normal fellow would have seen this all as cause for alarm;
Not Jefferson, who's only resolve was to turn up the charm.

This brings us to a very special evening, anniversary bind;
To show up with gifts, hearts and flowers, was in his mind.
In advance, on a lunch break, he visited a florist to find,
They did not have his chosen flowers, none the right kind.

He called in to the office, asking for the rest of the day,
His wish granted, they were not busy, off to find a bouquet,
Looking past his car, he spied a tavern, thinking libation,
In moderation, would open revolving doors of inspiration.

Those fruity drinks, served in tandem, in frosted glasses,
During what they call a happy hour; my how the time passes;
A glance at the door as it opens, afternoon sun streams in,
He recalls where he is going, won't remember where he's been.

He drives away, at a time he should not be behind the wheel,
Mere blocks from his house, his bumper lays a lick on steel.
The poor innocent mail box, leveled, taken down to the post,
It never saw him coming. He drives on, the mail box a ghost.

Pulling into his driveway (only requiring two or three tries),
Staggering from his vehicle, one might guess what he spies,
Much to his good luck, or perhaps this will be his misfortune,
He sees a garden full of flowers, and chooses to pick them.

Before hitting the shower, tossing them into the deep freeze,
So they don't wilt, as wilted flowers would surely not please.
An hour later, he is looking good, feeling better, time to go;
Reaching in for flowers, he discovers they're covered in snow.

Frosted flowers are not in order and today, will not suffice.
He eases back to the garden, and proceeds to pick them twice.
Seeing Mrs. Clancy wave, he drives away. They won't be missed.
She's not waving at the floral thief. She's shaking her fist!

Coming to her door, she greets Jefferson, hands behind him.
He offers her the token, once thought out, but taken on a whim.
Doubtful she smelled them, over alcohol on his baited breath,
He stuffs some in a water glass, the rest fall to their death.

She feigns indifference. Knowing better, he calls her bluff.
He offers an enthusiastic "Happy Anniversary," off the cuff.
Clueless as to what he was implying, to her it meant nothing.
Her smile not forthcoming, truth be told, scowl was scathing.

This moment he became broken, too much weight on his shoulder.
For the first time, he had little or no desire to hold her.
It was not as though he'd killed someone, or shown disrespect;
She never considered, his melt down, a result of her neglect.

Rolling of her eyes was the final straw, he could take no more;
She turned her back for a moment, he opened and closed the door.
He made it home intact, wondering all the while, what went wrong.
He was rudely awakened on a Saturday morning by a siren's song.

He was greeted by a constable, with a warrant in hand to serve.
A complaint was filed, for stealing prize peonies by the curb.
Routine run of his tags showed he was the local mailbox culprit.
He was hand cuffed and put in the back of a squad car, to sit.

Bail was set low, so he gained his release with room to spare.
He did not miss time from work, until his court date to appear.
No one ever guessed that the boy had been falling down drunk.
Nothing was found in a routine going over of his cab or trunk.

The judge might not have made an example to her fullest powers,
Over a single (okay, there were two) transgression of flowers;
As fate would allow, her brother made a living delivering mail.
Still, she was lenient, to the point, Jefferson avoided jail.

Now, Matilda drives by his work and sees his car in its place,
But she never sees it in his driveway; gazing at an open space,
No idea he repairs pot holes on gravel roads, who could guess,
The result of receiving one hundred hours of community service.

By the time Jefferson had personal time, he was not to be found,
Unless one might spy a cabin house, on the outskirts of town.
It seems he met a lady on a county road, in a vehicle, stranded.
He came to her rescue, was cordial; she found his wit candid.

The last time Matilda cruised by his house, sign said was sold.
She surmised, Jefferson had gone off the deep end, life on hold.
Hers was sure in order, a new man in her life, no sense of loss,
Workplace dalliance can be overlooked, when it is with the boss.

That Clancy woman finally took home a ribbon at the county fair.
No one had ever seen peonies with such shimmer, sheen and glare.
She never shared, the secret of her success was a killer frost.
She almost did not enter, counting this year's crop a total loss.

Who would ever have thought, frozen flowers could do the deal?
Had Jefferson only known, he might not tossed his into a field.
Those folks with the fallen mailbox, rented a box, lock and key,
At the local post office, their names on front as the addressee.

The judge failed to win last election, and here is how it went:
She was seen as soft on crime. It was said she was too lenient.
Now she writes a column for the local paper. She is good at that.
A paperboy's bike rolls a sheared metal post. His tire goes flat.

Michael Todd  (2015)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weeping Willow Walk (for Lainey)


Weeping Willow Walk (for Lainey)

You are attracted to the moon when full,
in whole splendor, grandest scheme display,
holding at bay, where rolling tides will pull,
securing all grandeur it might allay.

Not my way to be so bold, to assuage;
I would manage to gauge, measure esteem.
The slightest sliver completes my collage,
complimenting my reveal, night sky gleam.

No need to diverge, or be crestfallen,
dawn's consent orchestrates resolve in weight;
shade and shadow emerge in tandem, twin;
our world scene in order; it's a clean slate.

So much to say, a perfect time to talk,
hand in hand, on a weeping willow walk.

Michael Todd  (2015)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Girl in the Swing


The Girl in the Swing

Just this side of a coulee, on the outskirts of the city,
We find ten year old Helen, in a new tree swing, sitting.

A gift from her grandfather, bought new in a box, dangling
from a prime tree in the pasture, capable host for hanging.

She is timid at first, getting used to the feel of strand,
Squeezing the cord accordingly, in the palm of her hand.

In time she will ascend to heights unsurpassed, in flight,
but for now, she takes in stride, the ride, future bright.

Over the years, she would be found there, floating aloft;
Drifting, dreaming winsome at times, perhaps in deep thought.

On the day she turned eighteen, she became of age, an heir,
At the apex of thrust, seeing civilization, just over there.

She had a plan in motion, had consulted a trusted adviser,
Only this confidante knew her intents, no one else the wiser.

This would be a gamble, a big step to take, to subdivide,
What began on a hunch, the numbers crunched, on this glide.

Her scheme, on the level, as level as the turf they surveyed;
In no time at all, gravel was spread, then black top laid.

Utilities in place; word on the street, lots here for sale;
Initial pricing steep, then descending, on a sliding scale.

Phases One and Two served to settle, recoup her investment;
The third and final were put in a vault, serving as profit.

Within weeks, all the lots for sale were gone, save for one,
The prime lot, the ground her willow tree proudly rested on.

From her perch, over time, she witnessed neighborly things.
The seasonal comings and goings a divided commune brings.

Families milling about, in the warm months, a barbecue glow,
When the winter cast its spell, taking turns shoveling snow.

More and more, inhabitants spoke of the girl, in hushed tone.
Her time to stay varied, as she appeared daily, always alone.

One can only surmise, what all, curious onlookers had to say.
From the looks some cast, they seemed to wish she'd go away.

One day, fate intervened, as fate will do, on the path to walk.
As several neighbors gathered, one approached, needed to talk.

True, he had received a new job option, requiring he relocate.
False, he nodded toward the empty swing, intent to insinuate.

In an effort to keep up with the Jones, he put on a facade.
The others did not take in stride, or see through his fraud.

He made it official the following week, house on the market.
Within weeks, similar signs cluttered yards, like a blanket.

To everyone who played the real estate market, a big surprise,
As each house sold on the initial showings, very first tries.

With offers to assume mortgages "as is," owners sold cheap.
Most got out while the getting was good, took the same leap.

In time, all the houses sold went into rental service mode.
There was only one family unit left to hold onto their abode.

The renters came in a hurry, fine houses in an area perfect,
A full time maintenance firm in place, zero property neglect.

The new dwellers never noticed, (transients are just that way)
The girl in the swing, who was still found there every day.

They never judged or cast aspersion, even on a lark or whim.
She had every right to be where she was. It was fine by them.

None of them knew, she was their landlord, did not presume.
There was nothing about her that gave them cause for gloom.

At first sign of spring, the first barbecue, she was invited.
She respectfully declined, but took note, she was not slighted.

When they left her, she could not resist a turn and smile.
She thought aloud, saying, "I might join them in a while."

She was brought back into the present, by a gentle voice.
A little girl of nine to ten before her, spoke by choice.

She and her mother were the only home owners to not leave.
The mother scolded the child, and was told, no need to grieve.

The youngster spoke boldly, when apparent opportunity arose,
As the girl in the swing gave her the floor, in full repose.

"I was just wondering, if sometime I might sit in your seat."
Hearing this, the mother cringed, wanting to take to the street.

She arose from her throne, with a natural glow on her face,
And hoisted the child, spun and put her secure, in her place.

Speaking in mock admonishing tone, said to hold on tight,
As she got behind, and gave it a push, with all her might.

To the mother, she offered, "Don't feel I've been taken to task.
For so long have I waited... She is the first to ever ask."

Michael Todd  (2015)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sleeping On a Train (sonnet)


Sleeping On a Train (sonnet)

Try though I might, I can't sleep on a train.
Not enamored with the sounds of those wheels,
No magic in coarse, rhythm-racket refrain,
Ghostly frightening, to senses' appeals.

Claustrophobic, stretched out in this slim berth;
Hands in corpse-fold; attempts vain, at slumber,
Humming dead-train songs, for all they are worth,
Such as, "Wreck of the Old... (pick a number.)"

That cow catcher can't divert a whole herd.
Loose coin to flatten, and we jump the track!
We'll meet our reward without warning-word;
Can't bear a thought of tunnel's fade to black.

Give me winding roads, grant me wings to fly;
Anything but rails, where I'm sure to die.

Michael Todd (2015)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Find the Time


Find the Time

A touch of morning, new year: realize,
Customized to-do lists, spread around;
It really should not come as a surprise,
These tasks I could do, while still above ground.

Pretty pictures, snapped and framed, hung to view,
Afghan crocheted, preferred colors, size, style,
Antique table repaired, new stain, screws, glue;
Unique one and only's, from this strewn pile.

Send shout outs to shut ins, along life's way:
Comfort and solace, or leave them laughing.
Give flowers to the living, brighten their day;
Risk versus reward? Free, what I might bring.

I own the lamp post, where I tie my horse;
These tasks in hand, planned; I'll do, in due course!

Michael Todd (2015)

Disclaimer: This is not so much about new years resolutions as it is about directives. It is about time management and obligations, both to self and others... I got the idea for this, following a conversation with Paula Dawn Lietz. In the exchange, she pointed out that everything takes time, and we just need to find a balance.