Traveling

On family trips when
I was eight, nine
plastic, primary-color
cowboys, Indians,
soldiers, animals
fought and romped
in a synthetic, nappy,
dark-blue rear-window
battlefield meadow

Other times, it was a
fuzzy ledge on which to
lean, and watch the road
fading, while my mother
half-jokingly admonished
me to turn around, see
where I was going, not
where I had been

But I was a wistful nine.

Then,
sometimes now

 

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

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Posted in Growing up me, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frogs

  – Mark L. Lucker
© 2017
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Posted in frogs, Growing up me, Moments, Playing with frogs, The Lake | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Put on your shoes

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

      Laozi

Our journey has finally begun road1.jpg
there have been
fits, starts, delays
in getting here; now
finally underway, I am ill at ease

The irony, not lost on me

An inveterate wanderer, –
‘Mr. Spontaneity’ to friends, family
I do not like not having an even
rudimentary itinerary
I find myself in the driver’s seat,
riding unwilling shotgun

Where this road takes us, unclear.
I know where we are going  –
in abstract theory
our route is well-traveled,
mapped out and useless
“This way” our only directional cue

Traveling companions
our conversations more and
more disjointed, repetitive
yet replete with always new insights
wisdom, perspectives – shared,
dispersed like random gumballs

I wanted the yellow, got the red
still a gumball.
Something innocuous to chew onroad3

People sometimes remember
in order to forget;
not by choice, yours a different tack
forgetting to not remember
remembering the obscurity of what was
oblivious at time to what is

except when you aren’t.

Your navigational skills
no longer reliable
I steer conversation to a time of
your place and choosing
where with alarming alacrity
you can recall, recite
the mundane and profound
as I work to remember
to try and not forget, while keeping
my eyes on the road ahead,

utilizing little more than stray
magazine articles and brochures,
well-meaning advice,and gut instinct
all the while striving to keep us moving
forward, using the rear-view mirror

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

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1958

Eight-by-ten, glossy

Women’s gowns a snowy hue
men’s jackets polar-colored
pants black, everything else
radiant shades of grays

drearily brilliant tones
off-black, dark-white
vibrant portrait in celluloid

Twelve adults, a young boy
bouffants and buzz cuts, ogling
camera, mischievously

dead serious, mindfully aware
playful magnitude of the day

fighting off hangovers
practicing feigned solemnity
due charmed couple at center

She: youthful, stunning purity
dress, pearls, teeth, aura
He: counterfeit waiter miscast
starring male in tuxedo

a split second before
being frozen in time and
now tarnished frame
someone must’ve blurted
“Smile!”

If a thousand words
barely equal a single, old
Kodak portrait, the
bold, vivid, monochromatic
color does provide, with
absolute certainty

The camera never lies

  – Mark L. Lucker
© 2016
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Family, Uncategorized, Young love | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Father’s Day Requiem

We never had one of
those TV sitcom
father-imparts-his-sage
wisdom, serious sit-downs
that I can recall

I have no fatherly counsel
fortune-cookie-inclusion
viral-meme-worthy
wisdom to share
rarely proclaiming,
“As my daddy used to say…”

Sans great punchline

parts of my father
I carry with me, mirth more
tangible than profundity
less open to interpretation
than mere platitudes

a life lived differently,
enjoyed fully

real examples used regularly:
treat people well
don’t sweat the small stuff
experience new things
appreciate old one
learn from whoever you can
because you
always can and you should

we never
discussed those things

what I learned most
from my dad was by osmosis
glacial, inexorable
noticeable only in retrospect
soaking up a life
generously poured, oftentimes
inadvertently spilled

hit me again, bartender.

conflicted by faith, he
simply lived faithfully
more-eighteen-than-
twenty-four-carat
Golden Rule doing-unto-others
sort of living

real gold doesn’t tarnish

I could say I never took a lesson
though that would be wrong
I unknowingly Jedi-mastered
mystical arts of wry observation
sardonic commentary, satirical jabs
serious points cloaked in
functional parables

uproariously serious,jester1-2
seriously funny

Like my father

I can never resist or not
appreciate a
humorous turn of phrase,
slapstick comedy,
ribald satire, bad pun

I learned from my dad
have confirmed by living: life
is a fine definition of irony

cursed I am, by
the grins of the father

  – Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Family, Fathers and Sons, Growing up me, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Poems my father left me

There is reason, evenDad Camp Plauche poem p2
some rhyme
in the stanza, the beat
the reading in time

of who, what, why he was
what he did and why he didn’t
why he maybe should’ve
not stressing on could’ve

Sometimes

His groove was far more
scat than stanza
he could always carry a
jaunty life tune
singing it with gusto

over thirty years since
his last oration
I can still recite min in
his many poetic forms

Some are tests
proctored from beyond
father/son veil and

I often refer to his
weathered, worn
hand-me-down crib notes
mental index cards
life lessons
guidelines
direction

admonitions and
insights

Cantos of appreciation
for good food
garnished with lively
conversation
the need for tolerance
futility in anger borne ofDad and unknown men locale year 2
frustration

To value people
by the
who not the what, that
words can be weapons
how deeply
they will cut

His iambic passion
for baseball,
Laurel & Hardy
how to properly be the
life of any party

Hard work doesn’t hurt
a broken heart surely does
that family is what it is, not
what it should be or once was

haikus on

How to laugh, how to
love; why the hell you always
should, chortle romance

at every available
opportunity

it is always O.K. to cry
at a favorite song or
at a movie
that age is no impediment
to being
cool, even groovydad and I 35 - Copy

My father left couplets
deli pastrami
crusty-soft Jewish rye

cottage cheese mixed
with sour cream

real New York cheesecake
ricotta cheese, not the fake

steak; medium rare

bourbon and sour
Glenn Miller’s music

all of them much better
from a really good chair

Madrigals for life
try new things
continually dream
life is good
strive to make it better
regardless how it seems

Friends will come,
friends will go

A few will stick around
all will leave you something
of great value

His odes to a sonDad Camp Plauche poem p1

if you like it, then
it is good – let
critics be thus damned

there will always be more
questions than answers

Not to sweat it
never regret it

you should laugh often
love well
and vice-versa

To smell the roses is good
to give them, even better
in bouquets
and one at a time

These are the poems
my father left me

I can and
often do
recite them

at will

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Fathers and Sons, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

The pragmatist, ambivalent

Although I suffer fromgray2en
a strong faith
it allows me the privilege to
not fear death
or its obligatory attachments

no desire exists within me
to see just exactly
what lurks in
other-side-a-topia

I don’t ruminate on
who I know that
will be
won’t be there

they are dead
they are gone
they may/may not be
hanging out someplace
metaphysical or spiritual

bus stop
malt shop
corner bar
beyond

I don’t think of departed
souls as how they were
when they left
I imagine them as they
would be, now

Twenty turning sixty?
Skipped the middle-man
life
accumulated nothing
physical, otherwise
pro-and-con scenarios

My father would be 102
a more jovial version than
the 67-year-old dude
who left,
mid-cancer

Grandparents
I never met
girlfriends
I never dated
childhood friends
high school classmates
friends, enemies, cliquesgray1en

a bunch of people

I can’t possibly
have remembered to
have forgotten

the older I get
the older they get
the older I get
the longer the list of

people I hope to meet
people I will need to avoid
those who might want to
catch up, admonish,
welcome me
aboard
to the club

might just want to
mingle there
in

heaven
hell
purgatory
Des Moines’
Greyhound bus depot,
circa 1975

No hurry on my end to
find out if I am
right
wrong
misled or if
I just followed poorly

When I get wherever, if my
name is not on the
bouncer’s clipboard

no biggie

I’ll go find myself
in bold, underlined, on
someone else’s
list

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Introspection, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Old growth

birchbark1At age seven I nearly killed the pubescent
birch tree anchoring our Minneapolis backyard
stripping it of all its bark, roots to four feet up –
the physical limits of my fanciful reach

As Mrs. Kime’s most intrepid first-grader
I planned to build a birch bark canoe, ala
the Chippewa we were studying, but
my grandiose vessel never took float
paddling confined to parental retribution
albeit with forgiving landlord-absolution

not George Washington, there is no notoriety
from well-intentioned arbor-indiscretiontreerings2

Half a century later, the birch tree still stands
defiant, smugly secure in its survival: Midwestern
winters, drought summers, visionary first graders

I too, still stand – resilient and unfazed, rooted in
long-forfeited yard, having weathered erratic seasons
dubious choices, those who tried to remake me
I remain a curious, risk-taking, idea-prone dreamer

Neither of us ever produced a working canoe yet
our respective rings share a distinctive trait; denser,
late, wood – thick ring dating us to a particular summer
the growing season that solidified respective chronologies

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

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Small packages (A real-life fable for moms everywhere)

My mom found the
dead chipmunk
I surreptitiously brought home
from the lake
at the end of the summer
I was ten;

lifeless, stripe-tailed rodentChipmunk reads ingredients
in a black-and-blue JC Penney
shoebox sarcophagus on which
I had scrawled ‘stuff’ – an
obvious adolescent admonition to
‘keep out!’ in bold, black
Magic Marker

The chipmunk was well-preserved,
lifelike, in death, eyes wide open.
I, the accidental taxidermist.

A car, perhaps Ivar’s Jeep, had
run him over on the long
driveway leading to
Ivar and Lila’s lake home
catching him dead-on from
behind as he was in full-gallop,
running uphill in the sandy
right-rut, flattening his
chipmunk carcass into
absolutely flat,
cookie-cutter perfect silhouette,
all four paws outstretched

Faux-bearskin rug
fit for use before the hearth of
Barbie’s Alpine Chalet

With two sticks I gently
moved him to the cement fringe
of the garage slab where the
north woods sun used July to bake
him into perfectly-tanned,
odorless, furry, hide

Chipmunk2I placed chipmunk in the shoebox
secretively transporting him home
in our appropriately-solemn
dark-blue, Plymouth Fury
then slid him, sans funeral fanfare
beneath-my-single-bed-mausoleum
where he was soon forgotten

Until the week before school

Archeologist mom,
cleaning my room, found the box
did not share my
enthusiastic solemnity

She phoned up the block
to where I was playing,
tersely ordering me home

Mrs. Gilberg stifled a laugh as
as I left, nonchalantly and
very unaware of the consternation
awaiting me at home
(as she doubled over in laughter
telling me, years later)
once I had gone out her door
as my mom had confided in her
of the Tut-like, bedroom discovery

Once home I caught
all sorts of hell about
dead animals, germs,
unwelcome surprises in
shoeboxes under beds

But to my mom’s
everlasting credit, I at least
never got my hide tanned,
put into a box,
shoved under a bed.

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Uncategorized

No French Cuffs

Plaid flannel shirts
of my Northwoods youth
smelled of
beer and pine cones
boat motor gasoline and
fresh caught sunfish
wood smoke
and filtered Winstons

when I was a kid the
intertwined, pungent
aromas of cervelat salami
plumbers’ grease, house paint
mingled freely, locked
in square-patterned fibers,
always-rolled-up sleeves

no amount of
Fels-Naptha soap
could smother those
godly auras

When I was a kid
plaid flannel shirts smelled
wonderfully worn by heroes –
old men with accents and dialects
eye-winks and odd habits
mentors who I know understood,
that I emulated
aspired to one day be like

Plaid flannel shirts
hang now in my closet;
freshly washed, hanging neatly –
as they never
would or could on the
hero-men I knew

My plaid flannel shirts
hang quietly, neatly,
sedately
rarely worn, quietly lived-in
yet they, too
smell of wood smoke
and pine trees
beer, salami, pine

wood box colby cheese and
chainsaw exhaust,
bait minnows and Old Spice
whenever I open
my closet

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Campfire poems, Growing up me, The Lake | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,