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Monitored

Laying in the hospital ER bed
vulnerability incognito
machismo mano-a-mano

upside-down thoughts
what the hell is the co-pay
on in-network mortality?

Say a prayer, ask a nurse
“If you keep me here do I
get Jell-O tonight?”

Task at hand Q & A
“Are you having chest pains?”
“No, but I do have a chest.”

“Look at this chart. Point to the
smiley face best describing your pain.”
“That one. Cranky Donald Trump.”

Sneering, she marks iPad e-chart
emphatically, labeling my pain
‘progressive’ as it recedes

Once we are all said-and-done
before they send me home
I can revisit forgotten, lame

abjectly erotic thrill
removal of multiple electrodes
from hirsute torso

I have entered my sixth decade
with complete mastery
of truly cheap thrills

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2019
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Introspection, Uncategorized

Soul Luddites

Born in the gloaming
first decade of the Cold War

I puzzle over peers
same vintage as I
declaring superiority for era
we know only from history
family, books, movies

1950’s forever!

Disdaining new insight
for tried and…true? Truth?

The manufactured idyllic spin
post-war, tenuous-peace

The Bomb and all it’s
societal accoutrements
rationalizing or not realizing
now isn’t then, vice versa

I see the fallout from
seeking this shelter

There is comfort to be had
in familiarity
there is comfort to be found
in family heirloom quilt
warmth, nostalgia
safety of cocoon solace
providing feigned comfort from
the winds of now

Hiding behind faith tradition

good enough façade for then but
of little use, here-and-now
no matter who was left behind
no matter who was never close enough
to be close behind

mid last-century
practicums, ways, ideals and ideas

obscure in more enlightened times
we need to let go of in times of
openness, opportunity. Hope.

Try to rectify the sins of the past
for those of our future
Those who find faith in then have
a placebo for now

their fear showing in lack of faith
their professed faith shows
fearful – underestimating G-d with
no confidence in themselves
ironically relying on a mystical then
none of us really knew

My generation sports a sadly
hollow spiritual politic via
We-the-father-knows-best hubris

My indignant peers!

Less about faith in higher power
more about fear in lesser beings
ourselves
self-loathing or just scared

of…?
antiquated, angry spasms of control
control the advancement

control the situation
control the ways of..
control when

your imagined faith-based status
at risk of loss reverting to then
solving all problems

all ills what ails
everyone but us

ironic in its regression to
idyllic then that
never existed, but in modern myth

Quo Vadis,
status quo?



– Mark L. Lucker
© 2019
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Philosophies, Politics and Social Commentary, Uncategorized

Ahhhnointed

Watching the news
story of great angst of
North American Olive Oil Association

never I knew but should
have realized there is a
powerful group of such oilers

curious soul that I am
the urge to know led me to
The Vinegar Institute

not content with their acidic
academia haughtiness they reside at
versatilevinegar.org

while their viscous
counterparts keep it basic, real at
aboutoliveoil.org

Ahh, modern technology!

What things we could have wrought
had you been around
to liven up my salad days

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2019
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Politics and Social Commentary, Snippets and snapshots, Uncategorized

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
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 son

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
© 2019
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

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

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
© 2019
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Grandparental, Growing up me, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

June 5, 2019

News item: On this day in 1977the Apple II computer went on sale, and the era of personal computing began. Developed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, it was the first successful mass-produced microcomputer designed for home use.

SouthIn 1977 on June the fifth I was
four days away from
graduating high school
four days from embarking on the
epic journey to now

On this day in that particular year
my friends and I were
saying goodbye
to each other
to life as we knew it
to the place we had known
more as a home than our houses
or apartments

South High School

On this day in 1977 South had one
computer in residence a
large, intimidating IBM that fed on
digested, then regurgitated
rectangular punch cards that seemed
cut from manila folders

One computer
the size of a vintage Corvette
that took up most of the space
in a large room, with a
perpetually open window to dissipate3606999478_42862dd6eb_b
computing heat

Within a week
unaware that the age of
personal computing had arrived
I departed high school
life as I knew it to that point
gifted, by my parents
with a portable electric typewriter
in a hard, textured-plastic case

I took it with me when I left home
just a week later
Greyhound bus, Colorado
home to native Minnesota
the brown Smith-Corona barely
sliding beneath the seat in
front of me, sleek, ridged handle
providing a foot rest-slash-
theft prevention

Forty-two years
thousands of miles
hundreds of radio scripts, resumes,
pieces of correspondence
a thousand poems, three
partial great-American-novel (not)
manuscripts and
lord knows what else
later100_1851 300

The scribing monolith sits retired
relaxed in its case
beneath my basement steps
the stories it could (and did!) tell
clear-cut a small forest
and would probably
if digitized
appear as nothing more
than a stray ellipsis in a solitary
file of a Mac laptop

As we jokingly said in
1977 mock-robot speak
‘that does not compute’
as indeed at the time
none of us did

Ahh, but things change
time flies

So does my laptop.

Mark L. Lucker
© 2019  
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Contemporary Life, Growing up me, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Trivium

I

It was here that I found
myself – as much as
one teenager can

It was here that I
tallied a notable string
of personal firsts,
nails hammered
logs split
fish caught
girl loved
cars driven
stick shift, mastered
full beer drunk
jukebox played
girl kissed

Held her hand, first

Pristine milieu for my
development
woodland womb the
summer I was six til the
summer I was
eighteen –

personal
Enlightenment
reasoned, resonant

individual philosophy
innately seeded
naturally cultivated

more Spinoza
than Descartes

relying ever on
the observable
self-trained as such

Warm solstices
aggrandized my youth

This is where I learned
to grasp Thoreau
years before reading him

an inquisitive, pint-sized
Audubon-by-osmosis
whatever flew, crawled,
hopped
reflected the sun
echoed through woodlands

entranced me

II

This is where I
learned the skills
still serving me the most, best

freedom, autonomy
appreciation of their limits
love, curiosity
without reservation, regard
hearing nature’s call
finding personal refuge
transformative magic

of the woods, on foot or
in being on the water

contemplation, reflection,
reverence. Peace.

Inner and outer.

Self-taught
while others tutored
by my teens I had well earned
Ph.D. in me

Coming to my senses still
sounds of dry leaves
underfoot
feels of bare feet on
warm sand
tastes of falling rain
looks like misty sunrises
filtered through
towering pines

Tranquilizing spirituality:
effects
of lake-bottom sand
oozing up between toughened toes

meditative trill of loons
calling
exhilarating rhythm of surprised
sunfish
flopping on boat floor

falling asleep to gentle, swishing
drum-brush cadence of small
waves on lakeshore

sweetly-scented breezes
sifted through
wire-mesh screened windows

there was hard wisdom
to be earned in
every harsh, shrill grind of
missing gears
learning to drive a pickup

sawing a board crookedly
once
missing the nail but not
thumb with
awkwardly swung hammer

the mangling, tangling of new
fishing line

falling to dirt road off the
back of a truck
spilling a can of paint
digging the wrong hole

stinging futility in trying to
chop wood
with a dull axe

There was great wonder in
small creatures
scampering loudly unseen
through leaves, up trees
gentle thud of
pinecones, butternuts, even
acorns
falling to birth

onto moss-carpeted
forest floor

joyous splash of a bass
jumping
loons, pelicans diving
croaking toads, grunting frogs
sing-song crickets
chattering chipmunks
full orchestral variance
of birds

Your own footsteps
on gravel road

Getting drunk holds little
allure for one who knows well
intoxicating pull of

fragrant wildflowers, wild raspberries
carried on July breezes
musty aura of lakeshore algae, mud
freshly dug nightcrawlers
exhaust from
sputtering outboard boat motors
charred birch logs in
dormant wood stoves

earthy, overflow-foam from
freshly-opened
bottle of beer

Pines, at night.

It was here that I
found myself, return to still
when lost
no matter where I am

III

The Lake

Grandparent’s home where
every summer
I spent my days learning life via
languages, dialects
of others

plumbers, and painters
lumberjacks, and carpenters
storytellers, and lovers
immigrants, all
far off lands, languages
smoothly blended with
richer, more colorful English

quirky, vernacular nuances
my elders takes on
nature, fate, faith

with applications practical,
trivial
memorable
wisdom-soaked
absorbed by me with relish

Summers at The Lake

taught me what I needed then
still use
understanding complexity of
simple things
basic truths in the complex

still lessening fears
still helping me grasp that at
the heart of each failure
is cultivated, harvested wisdom
deep understanding that grew wild
in me
my summers at

The Lake.

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2019
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Growing up me, The Lake, Then and Now, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,

The pragmatist, ambivalent

Although I suffer fromprag1 (2)
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 nothingprag3
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, cliques

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 clubprag4

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
© 2019
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Faith, Introspection, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Laughter, unfading

‘If by chance some day you’re not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I’ve said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my comedy3purpose as your clown has been fulfilled.’
– Red Skelton

I never wanted to be known
as class clown
being the buffoon never my style
even in younger days I
preferred wit to slapstick
drollery and pathos
over crudeness and burlesque

Looking back I saw
missed opportunity in my humor
camouflaging as it did my
other attributes

my reputation cemented
as the fun, funny guy who could
always be counted on for
the big laugh
unexpected punchline

As time passed all I wantedCLOWN3
was the respect
of my peers
those who liked me, others
who I admired
for themselves

Decades have passed
as have classmates
frequently I have  been called upon
to provide a moment –
my amusing or hilarious take
on something past
story, funny toast, anecdote,
or memory
in times we gather
happy times or sorrowful
personally, or online

I am the one
to dilute the sadnesscomedy4
with quirky eulogist’s take on
someone’s life, shared times

Acceptance of my ‘character’
character was a
long time coming
though eventually, grudgingly
I acquiesced to long-ago-forged
rapier-wit persona
tempered as it was by time in
the minds of others

But a funny thing happened
on my way to
being jester remembered
a comment, once – from
an old friend, yet another
from someone else

more have followed suit

comments of gratitudeCLOWN1
or being there
to lift spirits on down days
remove the edge
from darker moments
just being me

These certainties I know now
relied upon by others
comfort, in some way
relief, reassurance to people
whose respect I long
sought, long ago discounted

Death, taxes, a quip from me
one out of three aint bad

I’ll take that to my grave
even though I have always believed
you can’t take it with you
because I cannot in good consciencecomedy2
leave such an important gig
to someone else

As the show must always…
go on, now.

– Mark Lucker 
© 2019
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

#laughter #comedyandtragedy
#NaPoWriMoprompt1  #NaPoWriMoApril2019

Posted in Growing up me, Introspection, Then and Now, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,