Father’s Day Requiem

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

I have no fatherly counsel
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
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

#FathersDay2020  #FathersDay #Fathersandsons


a lot of them
stacked in an open shelf
next to my desk

varietal chronicles
spiral-bound, stitched binding,
composition books,
cheap dollar store pocket,
leather-covered, gifted to me

verse, prose, musings
pontifications and declarations
the older ones
bottom-of-the stack
the better
brittle pages in varying
shades of sepia
all the edges

time has never deterred my
filling of pages
innately fueled desires to
create, release
rejuvenate and reflect

colorful and worn
marred shields for pages
reminding me of times
places, varied
people and moments
profoundly mundane

vintage wire-spirals
youthful anticipation, angst
during cross-country
bus ridesenb3.jpg
pocket notebooks
reflecting the practicality of
a busier, adult life
need for compactable
remembrance, inspiration via
rear pocket
journaled testaments

These notebooks
smell of old cardboard, time
in their paper mustiness
incense of creativity
raw and natural
frankincense of hope

most alive in
colorful composition books
taken on camping trips
filled while sitting alone
beside campfires
soaking up transcendental

Seemingly benign
notebooks absorbed all
words, my ideas and dreams
passions of thought in
vibrant ink, smoke

found only in the wildenb1.jpg
where trees
their essences as
fuel for fire
even the paper come
full circle at my hand

savored now,
in this place not of
the woods
but remembered as such

they are flavorful, these
times of times long ago, now
sentient in their shelf
smorgasbord of

tasty enticement
senses in concert my
favorite repast has
always been
deliciousness in word
finely aged
smoked notebook

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020

#writersandwriting #oldnotebooks #thoughtsonpaper #poetry #campfires #thewoods



Same couch cushion
nine days running
same angle viewing
room, TV, street
neighbors opposite
their drapes open, too
observing them
watching you
noting they are not as
same place, same time
sedentary as you
same couch, different
ends sometimes
shared center making
you wonder how
that works for them
who had the idea that
not every day each night
the same routine must be
followed, rote posteriors
as what has come to pass
in your predictable rut of 
a domicile, inhabited as it 
is by creatures of habit in
full-on social-distance mode
long before you became
fashionable via mandate
I applaud your D.I.Y. ways
never having read the book
viewed any of the videos
you’ve nonetheless mastered
the art of quarantine feng shui
– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020

#quarantine  #socialdistancing #selfisolation

Outside the lines

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

me, you

chose your weapon from
boxed arsenal

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
is sensual
borderlines are
for the faint-of-heart

are is in the
eye of the beholder

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020

#romance #romanticpoetry #poetryforValentinesDay


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


My yin blue

cold, hot

Sock’em Robots

equal footing
confined battle
to the end

“He knocked
his block off!”
TV commercial peers
of my youth
in victorious awe

such is the
nature of my id

Block knocked off.

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

go on
hit me, sock me

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020


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


Elegy for Them All

Thirty-four, twenty-seven

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 –
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

‘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
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

Call me, Ishmael. Leave a message.

We all have within us
some Captain Ahab

obsessively pursuing
something, someone


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

a diem you could never

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

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

hunter, hunted,

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2019