Two Poems

Todd McKinney


​Todd is lonely.  Todd is the only one awake
in the house; it’s 9 p.m.  Todd is nodding
to the beat of the music.  Todd is watching TV
on mute.  Todd is under the influence of too much
caffeine.  Todd is his own barista.  Todd is 80%
caffeinated.  Todd is trying to keep up with Todd
who is trying to slow down.  Todd is a new dad.
Todd is fucked up.  Todd is wishing that being
fucked up didn’t mean being afraid or anxious or
whatever.  Todd is a bottle with a ship inside,
and the ship is a clipper ship sailing the high seas
of Long Ago.  Todd is terrified of what is
inside him.  Todd is singing out of key with Cash. 
Todd is thinking of buying some new cowboy boots. 
Todd is a bad attitude on two legs.  Todd is leaving
out some details.  Todd is thinking this could go
on for a while.  Todd is a new dad.  Todd is unable to go on for a while.  Todd is throwing cars and
train tracks and dinosaurs into crates.  Todd is
unavailable at the moment.  Todd is smiling
and cooing above his son’s sleepy eyes, smiling
and cooing despite the gooey turd and its stink. 
Todd is alive; it’s almost midnight.  Todd is a phone
ringing in an empty room.  Todd remembers that
there’s a bell within and, when it shakes, something
like gratitude like rock and roll reverberates within.


About the Writer
Todd McKinney Split Lip Magazine

Todd McKinney's lives in Muncie, IN. His work has appeared in Monkeybicycle, SmartishPace, Cimarron Review, The Greensboro Review, storySouth, Puerto del Sol, and others. In 2011, Atticus Review nominated his poem "Foggy Night" for a Pushcart Prize.​






I’m on a bar stool at the Heorot
next to my pal Mike who’s sitting next to Pete
and we’re all three rejoicing, laughing
the laugh of the winning team. Open-mouthed,
our smiles reveal our yellowing teeth,
and our scruffs shade our mugs with 
the relief of what could have been
had McCain took office. 
This felt personal, more than either Clinton
victory, like how it must have felt
early on in the history of playing cards
when suddenly an ace could trump a king.
Must have been beyond exhilarating
to hold even a pair of aces during a game of cards
on some frosty European November night in 1802
not long before Keats cockneyed beauty like he did.