Outside the lines

You opened me like aBrokenCrayons3
flimsy book
thumbed through pages of
boldly outlined
caricatures
mercurially finding

me, you

chose your weapon from
boxed arsenal

Sharp,new-to-the-point
unused you
busted-pieces me

You are 64-box of Crayolas
using all the colors
to colorfully
flesh out the person
that is me

pictures that became us

showing all the restraintBrokenCrayons1
of a four-year-old
for boundaries
flair of Matisse-nuance
you have boldly
blithely refused to
color inside the lines

no paint-by-numbers
sloppy
is sensual
borderlines are
for the faint-of-heart

are is in the
eye of the beholder

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

#romance #romanticpoetry #poetryforValentinesDay

Labels

Like the pine trees lining the winding road
I got a name. I got a name….
   –  Jim Croce

dymo4I see my name all the time
forms, documents – computer screen at log in
the world it seems, knows me
I too, know the world – though less familiarly

When I was eleven my birthday present from
mom and dad was (per my request) a
Dymo label maker
enabling me to feed a plastic gismo with long
strips of 3/8-inch-wide colorful, pliable vinyl

on which a trigger-pull would produce embossed
white capital letters with anything I deemed
pertinent; name, phone number, address

Most of my significant belongings suddenly
contained my info should said items somehow fall
into wrong hands – unlikely for possessions
not portable – hand-me-down stereo, bookcases, table
belonging to an only child in household of three

Defying logic, anything of note that was mine was
proclaimed as such in bold green, orange, yellow strips
tackle box, self-recorded cassette tapes, cardboard boxes
of rocks – items better suited to Magic Marker scrawlsdymo5
Mine? ROCKS – in pristine, raised white-on-lime-green

The colorful, exclamatory technology of my
label maker was intriguing, very cutting edge
1970s me sensed greater potential for
long strips of plastic info

once personal belongings had been emblazoned
with I.D. I branched out smacking a
myriad of objects with witticisms, bromides,
general directives, secret-even-to-me codes
label tape ate up much of my allowance
not to mention a fair amount of creative juices

Discovering that setting the letter wheel slightly
off-kilter made letters crooked inspired me
to purposely cockeye certain phrases, ideas
lines became uneven, and once the backing was peeled
I could stick long stretches of text together into
more artistic clumps of text
sometimes aligned perfectly above one another
though often not so expressly neat

Sitting now in front of my computer screen Idymo6
can manipulate text, designs with simple combinations
of keyboard taps, mouse clicks
having long since worn out my label maker and
its later, self-purchased, replacement modes I can
conjure far more elaborate ideas, ways to display them

From time-to-time I see something in my classroom I
believe should have my name formally inscribed
lest it be prey to a student, or another teacher just
for a moment I think the item might lend itself
to semi-ancient hieroglyphics, white letters embossed
on a lime-green or sunflower yellow strip

just so I can once again dial-up letters, pull the trigger
feel and hear unrhythmic click-click-clickety-clickclickclick
click-clickety-clickety-click-clack in my hands

Therein as always lies the power of words
I got a name. I got a name.

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Nonmonochromic

My yin blue
yang
red

cold, hot

spiritual
Rock’em
Sock’em Robots

equal footing
confined battle
to the end

“He knocked
his block off!”
proclaimed
black-and-white
TV commercial peers
of my youth
in victorious awe

such is the
nature of my id
whapwhapwhap
kaaa-chinng!

Block knocked off.

Stoic head
pushed back down
locking in
with sharp snap
ready for
another round

go on
hit me, sock me
again

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Finials

Chinese takeout

whiskey sour, two cherries

living room recliner

not yet in full-on mode

 

discussions of recent past

upcoming future

plans, goals, objectives abstract

in low-resolution

 

wistful recollections

glad-its-over conversations

annual ‘old’ sounds-better rebuke –

same auld, same auld

 

old acquaintances unforgotten

checking in/on via social media

I’m fine/have a happy

memes on not sticking with…

 

They who are of certain vintage

forgotten until various reminders

to do just so crop up

incessantly, as they should

 

‘we need to get together’

‘been too long’

‘let’s do dinner/drinks/coffee’

all duly noted as cyber reminders

 

As clock and calendar creep on

chair footrest stays put, down

less relaxation overtake

clock-watching urges, older body

 

At midnight the song is sung

proclamation as fact

not reflective question, as written

should they be forgot, not

 

At midnight once each year

mental warehouses, inventoried

plans grandiose, mundane

decreed with boozy solemnity

 

For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne!

We’ll shake the year gone like

metaphysical Etch-A-Sketch,

for auld lang syne, my dear

for auld lang mine

 

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

 

Elegy for Them All

Twenty-two.clouds4g2
Thirty-four, twenty-seven
thirty-nine

Cancer, leukemia, suicide
insidious bastards, each

‘gone too soon’
‘in a better place’clouds4g2-2-f
sycophant salutations
of condolence

We hardly knew ye

Sons, daughters of old friends.
A cousin.
Classmates of our children.

All too vivid reminders
“There but for the grace of God…”
not at all feeling full of grace

single: such promise, unfulfilledclouds4g
married: too young to be a…

Do not platitude me.clouds1

Circle of life
natural order
called home –
clichés
bring comfort only to
disquieted conveyor

I call you, life, on yourclouds1-2b
inherent bullshit.

starting over
parents, siblings, spouses,
friends, acquaintances
colleagues and well-meaning
fund-raisersclouds4g2-2-f

‘moving on’
tethers, broken
bonds strengthened
but how to attach
shackles of memories
to a ghost?

life without
life after
life different
life goes on
a life goes away,clouds4g2-2-f clouds1-2b
we stick around

starting over is stopping,
shifting gears
in-neutral-contemplation
with motor running
deciding direction,
starting slowly, accelerating
gently, with caution,
shifting into low-gear
traversing rocky terrain

‘it is what it is’
banalities softening
in tone, over time
hardening in heavy-handed
sanctification of
never quite being sureclouds1-2b-2g

Why, why, why.
And why?

‘Death, be not proud’clouds4g2-2-f
I am not proud to say
‘I do not like this, ‘God, I am’!
I do not like these dirty ends

forgiving departure begets
forgetting things petty
anger taking grief- time
better spent elsewhere, but…

how ironically oxymoronic;
indelible as a lifeclouds1-2c
it is death, cannot be erased

Raging against
the dying of the light
all the more fruitless
when the light was only
just ignited

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

Call me, Ishmael. Leave a message.

We all have within us
some Captain Ahab

obsessively pursuing
something, someone

unattainable

physically or mentally
we quest something lost
never obtained
hadn’t the courage or
stomach for

a diem you could never
carpe

uselessly we quest a time
we came close
nagging should haves
gnawing what ifs

Crimes of passion
not worth prosecuting

each an intensely personal
no-two-alike fingerprint
‘one that got away’

we imagine our prey
sporting our broken-off
harpoons

festering wounds
unbeknownst to us have
scarred over
healed entirely

never went deep enough
scabs that quickly fell away

still we pursue
irrationally with purpose
a creature from the
depths of then

only breaking the calm
surface of now
when it suits us to be
on the hunt

“…to the last,
I grapple with thee…”

parting words uttered
in reply to no one,

the one

the one that got away
cannot let you go if
you don’t
reciprocate

hunter, hunted,
haunted.

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

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

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

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