Monday, May 25, 2020

Kelli's Tree House (Suite)


Kelli's Tree House (Suite)

I. Prologue / Burn Permit (Sonnet)

At the start of the day, the coast was clear.
First impressions, all you want when you please.
Closing credits have an anthem, to share,
called, "Can I See the Forest for the Trees?"

Covered bridge needs murky water to flank.
Hayloft needs block and tackle to pull through.
Morning fog needs a sun to drain the tank.
A slow boat needs an inland to float to.

This park bench compels you to come and sit;
unintended consequence, a sprawl.
King County requires written burn permit.
Allow me to usher a curtain call.

Comfort zones allow for fall and forget,
but even Rumpelstiltskin had a net.

II. Climb

Second Centennial, walk in the park, Seattle in Seventy-Six
Kelli gazes at the big kids, fulfilling tree climbing fix.
For a second grader to have and hold aspirations so high,
she might as well settle a scale and seize a path to fly.
Deduction: not all is measured by hand rulers and yardsticks.

Kelli wanders over, observes limbs and leaves, unsupervised, 
until finally, between shade and shadow, perfect angle sized.
Points of light fixed, then it clicks; these things take time.
Sounds of this playground lend to the symmetry of the climb,
her climb of the centuries, imagined, some day to be realized.

III. Merge (Acrostic)

Knowledge is the key to power. The key to a kite is string and tail.
Electricity to a kite is less of a foregone conclusion, more a rumor.
Lyrics do not compensate for harmony, when moments call for a dirge.

Left to our own devices, more often than not, we can carry the mail.
In case of a sudden panic (pressure), display a way to dispel rumor;
rail on reckless surmise, keep the surprise; as for the rest, purge.

Unless we are under cloudless skies, we cannot appreciate contrail.
So often, we overlook the obvious currents, in haste to reach shore,
Setting sail in search of certainty, failing to pave for the surge.

Equal parts give and take, in that order, will most often prevail.
Love and honor land sentience, guaranteed leap of faith in store,
landing on your feet, on the precipice, on time, in time, emerge.

After all of the on-the-run is said and done, look behind the veil.
Garner a horde, get into the game; leave a mark, stone-set in lore,
or stand on the sidelines, biding your time, until time to merge.

Did you know, there are those who find safe haven beyond The Pale?
Often, we confine our options to a definitive method: either/or,
not rationalizing, there is middle ground, where chances converge.

IV. Tree House

"Congratulations! You're the twenty-third caller in our contest."
She was put on hold, while the radio Dee Jay got another finalist.
When the jock came back to Kelli, also on the line, was Stan,
a steam fitter from Vashon Island, who Kelli was now playing.

"Between Sun Tzu and Niccolo Machiavelli who held the most might?
In other words, all things being equal, who'd win a fair fight?"
Stan was out of sorts, clearing his throat, asking for a clue;
Dee Jay, mistakenly said, "Articles of War. Kelli how about you?"

Kelli knew from literary training, Machiavellian was reprobate.
She offered an enthusiastic "Sun Tzu" then waited on her fate.
"That is correct, Kelli, and you are our grand prize victor.
Stan, if you will hold, I will reward your secondary score."

Not long after, Kelli was given three options which to choose;
a tree shed, cookware, or a trip to the Anaheim House of Blues.
Kelli jumped for joy at the thought of a tree house, or shed,
which is that the radio guy offered. That is what the man said.

Weeks later, crates arrived, from the architect hardware store,
and to boot, the deliverers assembled, "Because A&H Does More!"
Kelli came home later to find the biggest back yard surprise...
She saw a storage building, grounded and settled, with no highs.

She called the local radio station to offer a sincere protest.
They referred her to the A&H mercantile, to get her to arrest.
Those people assured her, the mistake did not fall in their lap.
When everything was said and done, it was the Dee Jay's mishap.

To Kelli's ever lasting credit, she embraced the new station,
turning it into an office, but she could not ignore frustration.
Kelli was the proud owner of a tree house without a tree where
sun in the window was all glare, without limbs and leaves there.

There were no steps to climb, there wasn't a pennon to hoist;
there was no dizzying height, and that is what she missed most.
The "Tree House Diaries" project blog would have to be scrapped.
Quietly letting that deal slide, a new directive would be mapped.

All things considered, innocent little office was just a shell,
and the desire of a tree house, was just an errantly cast spell.
While across town, Vashon holds suspense, fire truck on the scene.
Stan's pressure cooker lid, through the roof! It got away clean.

V. Articles

Kelli is a master of many trades. Editor, author, and avid poet;
eyes forward, always on the future, building an impressive resume.
But, truth be told, there remains one crash and burn to acquit,
which led to her writing a new book, one called "Articles Aweigh!"

You see, after reading Sun Tsu's "Art of War" to see what it was,
she got all caught up in strategy, and how to counter a next move.
Soon she was active in gaming, then book sales was her next cause.
She was constantly in search of culprits and theories to disprove.

Her math improved to where she was involved in the baseball scene.
She created a brand new level of saber metrics, for contact skills.
One night, while singing the anthem before the game, unforeseen,
she had an epiphany, at "free and brave" proclaiming "Speed Kills."

She left the Seattle stadium during their seventh inning stretch,
muttering about articles, and how they cost her a house in a tree.
Finally, with her epiphany, the equation made sense, just one catch;
the literary world would be better without them, "a, an and the."

Colleagues, casual acquaintances, tried to head her off at the pass.
Critics and antagonists, went to great lengths to prove her wrong.
Three printings in, and Kelli was now in demand to teach the class.
Gone were dissenters who urged her to go along just to get along.

Her next volume "What Morse Means to Me" invoking Morse Code style,
went to the top of the coastal best seller lists, a hit parade.
Her poems now read by mathematicians, her stats on the prose dial,
her greatest literary triumph encompassed all, titled "Like I Said."

One cannot submit too many entries. That includes books and manuals.
With a stroke of luck, and equal amount of effort, Kelli went bank.
When the votes were cast and tallied, she cashed the crown jewels,
winning the Wallace Stevens Award. Question now, who would she thank?

(A) gracious winner, will always recall where she came from and how.
(An) independent thinker, will acknowledge, others paved the way.
(The) manner in which one gives and takes, affects the here and now.
(Articles) have their place, in the Bi-Centennial, back in the day!

VI. Walk in the Park

A ribbon cutting ceremony in Seward Park is cause for celebration.
To some, this will be a time to display dismay and bring contention.
Kelli paid what was due, for permits and fees, and seized the park.
Well, not all, but a choice area was hers from daylight 'til dark.
By end of day, not a person would doubt her novel noble intentions.

Three prime, choice trees were now housed, strategically encased.
Not a single nail was driven or barked scraped, as brackets placed
with pulleys and braces, block and tackle, made from iron and steel,
scrap from a failed bridge, which Kelli paid to move. Her plan ideal,
waterways were freed, and much needed tree houses planted in haste.

These tree houses were all code approved, with attendants on site
to help those whose balance might be impaired, or others who might
have other issues, or who might just need a little special attending,
because sometimes it gets lonely at home, when alone, nothing pending.
Everyone was happy, except for the protesters, who gave up the fight.

Just before our host could step aboard personally designed Tree One,
she heard a car horn, and saw the Green Miata. "Oh my, time to run!"
She was met by her chauffeur, Tyler Myrth, who said, "We're late."
Spying Jay Sole running, car stopped. Waving, he said, "We'll wait."
Jay was running in a 2K Run sponsored by Kelli, just for added fun.

Next stop, a personal appearance at the local Washington State Fair;
they wanted Kelli as a judge. Everyone who was anyone would be there.
Dave Schrader was in from Minnesota, to capture moments on film disc.
The pickle judging was a drag, but the turkey roping event was brisk.
Kelli chose winners, with no rebuke, then asked Tyler, "Now to where?"

She had gotten so caught up in the whirlwind, she forgot Glastonbury
of the West Coast, Capitol Hill Block Party Spoken Word where she
was set to duet with Melissa, her accomplice from Texas, Southwest,
where everything is bigger, and sometimes even better than the rest.
Kelli took the stage, and saw the crowd... such a sight to see...

VII. Epilogue / For Good Measure (Sonnet)

Waking from a noon nap, eased in her chair,
she draws a blank, not knowing where she is.
This new office needing conditioned air;
that is for a future analyses.

It appears she may be overdoing.
Best case, she is far too dedicated.
She always goes all out when pursuing,
though sometimes endeavors are ill fated.

Her focus now, strictly on quarantine.
Her day dreams drift away and betray her.
She cannot recall how long it has been.
Uncounted days, weeks pass by in a blur.

Some day she will count, bounty of treasure.
'Til then, she'll dream on, just for good measure.

Entire Set written for Kelli Russell Agodon

Michael Todd (2020)

Including Cameo Appearances by...

Tyler Myrth, Jay Sole, Dave Schrader & Melissa Studdard


  1. Damn that quarantine - wrecking so many good dreams

    1. Yeah, both real and imagined... Go easy on that lemonade.

    2. Oh, and... NICE FRISTING !!!

  2. Very well done. Kelli is now well rested and ready for the next assignment.

    1. I don't think her assignments ever end. She may be the most over tasked person I have ever met. I am beginning to wonder if there are really two of her.

      Thanks, Christopher!

  3. I hear music as I read this, a sort of lilting, with theater in mind, Michael. I don't know; maybe it's just me. Couldn't be all this talent you're flaunting! ;)


    1. Eric, the only missing component in this story was what music went along. I looked for clues, but found none. I asked an authority, but got no response. This may be a mystery for the ages...

      Brilliant commentary, Sir! Thanks for visiting.

  4. Her mind and heart are restless.
    Year ago I read the most beautiful and significant saying: The mind is a paradise no one can expel you.
    I would get obsessed if I have been offered something and get something different instead.

    Most excellent come back, dear Myke Hammer.

    1. Thank you, Alba Leigh... I know what you mean about being disappointed. I would spend the rest of my days making it happen, or else, never stop fussing about it.

      Thank you for coming north to visit today.

  5. This was a fun read. Good to see you back in the saddle with a poignant look at just how sadly our world has ground to a halt.

    1. Thanks, Carter... I am hoping for a swift turn around, in the coming days...

      By the way, we had a tornado in town here, yesterday. A couple of big trees behind the Cherokee Trading Post are upside down, but the giant Catalpa that house the #&!!x*)$@!! Yellow Jackets is still vertical... Oh, and at least one trampoline was wrapped around a tree, which seems to have become a tradition, here in Grovewood.

  6. Replies
    1. Manifestation of the opening of the gates?

      That would be amazing!

      Thank you for spending time with us, Stormy Gail.

  7. Your reference to our current status of quarantene is spot on in your unique way! Enjoyable read!

    1. Thanks, Joy Pankey... I am terrible at dreaming, and even worse at waking up. But, even for me, there is a moment of respite, in the process. All I have to do is remember it for what it was.

      While we do not all feel the brunt of the quarantine the same, if we liken it to a root canal... We have all had those. Some hurt worse than other. But, we can all agree, they are a bad experience.

      I hope all is well in Millington today. Nice to see you!

  8. What a flair you have for painting word pictures and compelling us to walk through the story.

    1. Thank you, Carol. I am happy you joined our parade today.

  9. Wow, what an adventure, so many things to do... damn quarantine! This was fun. Thank you! :)

    1. Quite a day, indeed, but I will always wonder what a trip to the House of Blues might have been like. So many guitars, C.B.

      Thanks coming by to visit.

  10. "Like I Said" would be a great name for a book. This was epic in the most epic sense. Also took me down my own Memory Lane, remembering the days of phone-in radio contests and tree climbing. Dream on, indeed <3

    1. When I was writing this, I was listening to 1260 KYA - Golden Gate Golden Oldies (in San Francisco), and I wanted to incorporate the enthusiasm that disc jockeys brought to the microphone back in the golden age of radio.

      Thank you kindly for waking up to me today, Dahlia. If anyone understands the importance of nap time on the California Coast, it is me.

  11. What an epic work! The merging of narrative poetry and forms sublime. Honored to make cameo. Bravo! ~Dave Schrader

    1. Thanks for coming by and taking pictures, David. I bet when all is said and done, there is not a dime's worth of difference in a Washington State Fair and a Minnesota State Fair... well, other than cheese and lutefisk.

  12. Each verse takes us on a specific journey that unveils perspectives, appearing beautifully weaved into words. Then brings us back, placing us gently, on solid ground. Thank yo, Michael. You know how much I adore your written word. ��

    1. I am so glad to hear from you today. I love your solid ground inclinations. Thank you for spending time with me here.

  13. My word! Well done dear Myke! And I agree with Kelli on Machiavellian I even said as much to my western civ professor! You still weave a wonderful tale with your poetry!

    1. Thank you, Crimson Girl. Machiavelli may have been an artful dodger, but he was a noted ne'er do well, and deserves no props.

      I am grateful you came by to visit. Take care out West.

  14. Replies
    1. Thank you, Sandra. So glad to see my partner here today, you. Let's have a Myspace Revival... That is an idea!

  15. I loved it, like a movie in my mind.

  16. I really like the Tree House! LOL. Loved this read, Michael! You bring such personality and a genuine reader smile through your words!

    1. Thank you, Don... Take care up there in True North.

  17. What a treat, Michael. Living here in the Pacific Northwest, this was a bit of a memory lane stroll. I read this earlier today and my first thought was, epic. :)

    1. I spent a fair amount of time researching, Debra, in sincere hopes of achieving an adequate level of authenticity, regarding location and sets. You just totally vilified me.
      I can't tell you how much that makes me smile. We all walk away a winner.
      Thank you so very much.

  18. Good job, Mike! Day dreaming is a good way to spend one's time especially while in lockdown. This is coming to an end soon, I think so we can turn our thinking away from day dreams...maybe not entirely abandoning it because after all, it's fun to dream but it'll be good to resume to living normal life again. :)

    1. I think it is all about to turn around, too. Call me an optimist.

      Thanks for coming over, Cathy.

  19. Wow. What a gift you have. This is epic, Michael. Quite the comeback! Words flowing like a dream that holds great meaning, one you remember vividly when waking.

    My favorite part is Walk in the Park. But I related to so much of this, her.

    It's me, Chris, as in, Goodnight New York, now Illinois. :)

    1. Hello, Christine... I am glad that set resonated with you. I wanted to stay there longer. I wonder now, if there were vendors. I have never had a funnel cake. This was going to be the year...
      Sorry, I got caught in a moment. Thank you for reading and visiting.

  20. Wowza, Michael! Truly, a masterpiece! Kelli would be proud.

    1. Thank you, Eugenia... I sure hope that is the case.

  21. Welcome back to the blogosphere, Michael! What a fantastic, epic poem. 👏👏👏 Kelli sounds like an amazing person, with big dreams!

    1. Thanks, Debbie... I am having the time of my life... Kelli is fantastic, a most endearing person. Without her, I would still be sitting on the sidelines.

  22. So many times over the past however-long I've been coming to your site to see what's new. So glad to see you with a new piece of work. Quite outstanding! A surrealistic mind trip with interesting observations. Well done!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. You know, Lee... The only times I have written for this blog, is when I believe I can tell a story that has never before been told.
      I will make a sincere attempt to do at least one more project here before the end of the year. Thank you for visiting, Sir.

  23. Oh, I think you have many more great writings to share. ~grin~ Be well!

  24. These are all very good. Lots to ponder here, Michael Todd.

    1. Thank you very much for saying, Eliza Anne. I am grateful for your visit.

  25. A battle between Machiavelli and Sun Tzu? I am not sure what are the odds of a fair fight with Niccolo around. Good thing it's only a quarantine dream… or is it? Nice tale you have woven here, Sir Myke!

    1. I would say, as a tactician, I am in a state of distress, but that is what time-outs are for.

      Thanks for visiting, Sir Ruggi. :)

  26. Love it Michael! What a comeback. You still got it, and I imagine you always will. It appears that a lot of work went into this, but a labor or love, no doubt. Haven't been on social media as much, deliberately, trying to break from distractions, but I'm delighted to have discovered this treasure.

    1. Debra, as always, I am thrilled to hear from you. Yes, this was a labor of love, so to speak, and I sincerely hope it stands the test of time.

  27. I love how you used the various poetic forms to tell this story of Kelli. Well told!

    1. Thank you, Dave. You folks on the Great Northwest lead the most interesting lives... It is good to see you out and about.

  28. Wow! This is beyond superb, Myke. It look me long enough to stop by, but I did it.


    1. Thank you, Irene. I am glad you enjoyed this piece.

  29. As per usual, I am blown away by your epic poem.
    The master of storytelling in sonnet/acrostic styles, and rhyme. I enjoyed this thouroughly Mike.

  30. What a write, Mike!!!! great as always, Voo

  31. I became lost among the words as the world unfolded, retreated, peeked out again without knowing which way the tree would ultimately bend. The world turns even when we don't acknowledge that we are just a moment in this never-ending twirling. Great ink. Barb

    1. Thank you, Barbara. There was a great deal of peripheral vision employed in this endeavor. It all happened in such a hurry, I was looking for ways to slow the momentum. I did not want it to end.

  32. Great read, Mike. How are you?? Voo
    come visit my blog sometimes......