Delivered

walking oldScreenshot (43)
neighborhood streets
first time in forty years

strolling the paper route
I once sped through on bike
chucking news, sports,
imaginary touchdown passes
blithe in my accuracy –
papers always
landing where intended
most of the time

remembering homes, faces
cantankerous folks
the best tippers
comforting offers of
lemonade, hot cocoa
incessantly yapping dogs
jokester accountants
fantasy-inducing housewives

Screenshot (45)subconsciously,
automatically I calculate
throwing angles to
accommodate now-grown trees
front yard rock gardens
odd statuary

before realizing with
laughably wistful irony that
all these years later
while I still have enough arm
to get them their news
would this generation even
understand the concept of
computer mouses
with cords
for their tales
landing on their doorsteps

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2017
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Homage

I went all Santiago once on a
bober1sunfish that weighed nearly a pound
it was long before I knew
Hemingway, the power of words,
the pull of the water

I battled the monster
as only a nine-year-old could;
with every fiber of my being
strained to matching tautness of
six-pound-test line at the end
of bent, dark, shiny bamboo
pole with cork handlebobber2

Summers at Horseshoe Lake
were the defining milieu of my life
where the rest-of-the-year city kid I was
discovered the majesty of woods, water

adrenaline rush of a loon’s call,
scent of pine, calming sounds
of wind through birch leaves and
wood-framed window screens

The summer I was nine
I went all Santiago on a sunfish
weighing nearly a pound

Ernest would be proud.

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

Stratas

As a kid I collected rocks –
as many colorful pebbles as my
six-year-old jacket pockets
could smuggle via subterfuge

mom and dad later humored my
geologic interests with a small,
paperback, field guide to rocks –

which I always took with on trips we
took – grandpa in tow – playing along,
helping me find increasingly larger
chunks of ancient igneous,
sedimentary curiosity, to store in
boxes in my room, much to his
daughter’s eventual, excavating-her
grown-son’s-vacant-room, chagrin

rocks, and my self-motivated,
D-I-Y study of them, still serve me well
curiosity being a developed skill as
much as a personality characteristic

Where my parents simply indulged whims
Gramps saw wisdom in Fool’s Gold.

  – Mark L. Lucker
© 2017
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

33 (For Johnny)*

Twenty-one years was not nearly enough;
we had just embarked when you left.
Thirty-three years is not nearly enough
to erase what is indelibly sketched

not a pencil caricature, a dimly recollected
photographic snapshot or grainy home movie
just you, at nineteen, before illness
rudely smudged and dog-eared the picture

you are smiling, damn it

you always smiled – warranted or not – but
really, when was it not, for us?
I cannot for the life of me conjure up
you at forty, thirty but especially not now

I imagine your asphalt black beard still thick,
neat, coarse…tinged gray, framing sly grin
your perpetual smile-induced squint turned
permanent as well-earned crow’s feet

‘imagine’ is all I can do

I have aged gracefully, so I’ve been told,
a goal you will never attain, a good-natured
insult I will never get to hurl your way

you left, life went on

The plans, hopes, dreams, big ideas we
discussed to death oddly survived yours
some of mine came true, differently than
we could’ve ever dreamed, but still true

the shared versions departed with you as
my road strangely and happily diverged from
plans made, starting with your leaving,
life taking me along for the journey much as
I have taken your spirit within me

The calendar now ironically tells me that
the years since you left match the numerals
you wore on your South High football jersey
the same numbers I have always worn for
company softball teams, and just because

I see you so clearly now – slashing through the
defensive line of time and memory, breaking
into the clear, smiling and always running free

*Johnny Wilkins 6/11/58 – 8/9/79

 

  – Mark L. Lucker
© 2017
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd