Manly

At eight-years old
machismo has a
very different feel

‘Don’t cry like a baby,’
my son would admonish
his second-grade peers
‘…cry like a man!’

As he is now sixteen
I wonder…would he
challenge them at all?

Hummel a few bars and they’ll fake it

carnal garden gnomes
filling my shelves with tchotchkes;
time to trim big leaves

On a Wednesday in 1989

As clear as twelve-hour old coffee
she told me goodbye
a jolt of caffeinated remorse
left me wide-eyed and pondering
as the glare from dawn’s light
screamed, painfully, ‘morning after’

The pot turned out to be empty
a good thing, in retrospect as I
sure as hell didn’t need topping off

Poured forth

The bartender is skeptical;
less than most of his peers
more transparent about it
than many fellow mixologist
hesitant in his urge to believe

the guy on the stool adjacent
to mine doesn’t understand
the resistance, thus taking the
credibility hit when he can
least afford one, then takes it
personally, with resignation;
defeated in his silent defiance

As a bystander with no vested
interest but the mental-wager
I, too, doubt the man’s sincerity
believable as it may be – or not.

The bartender, I think, makes a
salient point; there is no use in
arguing with a lovesick drunk,
nothing is gained from making
oblique threats of expulsion
should anything get out of hand

we all agree on one absolute; if
he had said anything at all to her,
we would all know for certain.

Mark Lucker

Not a deep sleep

I used to have a dream where
I had won first prize in a
church raffle: lunch with God

where, over, thin-crust pizza,
I could ask him three questions.
I always lead with an inquiry
about why he made humans

“The hyenas” sayeth God,
as the waitress pours more wine,
“said I didn’t a sense of humor.”
“Guess you showed them, huh?”
replyeth I, with a nod

In my dream, God then laughs
uproariously – looking, for just a
moment like my late uncle Paul
(without salad stuck in his teeth)

This is where the dream always
ends, leaving me to ponder; was
it just a lame dollar-a-ticket raffle,
or am I not much of a dreamer?

Restraint

I burn for you.

Remembering school
hallway posters
advising when in flames,
stop, drop, roll.

Subconsciously heeding
long suppressed
laminated pictograms
I have resisted the urge
to do the safe thing
whenever you walk in as

my resulting floor gyrations
would lack the panache to
qualify as a mating dance
ala National Geographic

Still, I burn for you.

Cross training

Some think we’re simply running away
not believing that what we are running to
is something, someplace that needs us
just as much as we need it

Just the act of running moves you away
from something, towards something else

life is running; not living is sitting still

We are running away; running away
from a professionally futureless present
mired in the stagnant quicksand of the
material world’s indifference to belief

running to new challenges, opportunity
for the chance to really get into the game,
to make a difference in the lives of others

running to get even healthier spiritually

Not running away from people we love
but to carry their love with us to a place
often unloved or misjudged as unlovable

their love is the baton we carry to pass to
other runners, other racers, other races.

Yes, we are running away – not to get away
but to take the lead, hoping others follow.

Not a race to the finish, but a pursuit
to new beginnings.

Renovating

Vestiges of then
subtly shade the now
today is decorated
with yesterday’s hues
accenting modern life
with retro-chic shades

life-makeovers via
t.v. show gurus who
use family tschotskes
as odd focal points

visual statements
from an old magazine
viewed in current
settings; obligatory

oohing-and-ahhing
at the big reveal
fading into jaundiced
indifference once
the show is over

Like son, like father

The daughter of close friends
looks at my son like that

they have known each other
since first grade – a time when
looking at each other like that
would have been unthinkable;
icky, gross…dis-GUS-ting!

Now she looks at him like that

When I first noticed her looking
his obliviousness was a comfort
but now he looks like that
at someone else, still clueless

I remember the summer I was
fifteen, noticing for the first time
looks like that directed at me…

thought were aimed at me
until late July’s heat removed all
ambiguity, before summer escaped

He doesn’t yet realize but it’s the
un-auditioned for role-of-a-lifetime
the chance for a starring turn
as someone else’s first love