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

The sign

Sawed-off fence picketHorseshoe Lake residents ED
turned sideways
points eastward, sort of
you are – we are – ‘that way’
if signs are to be believed

The sign unaware
you have been gone
thirty years, plus
your house,over twenty

anyone driving north on
Crow Wing County
Highway Three
would believe they could
turn, still find you

I know better

Driving by that sign
your name – paint dulled,
yet still legible
against washed-out gray
still hanging
securely on gnarled
old jack pine
set back from the road

There are other signs
other names – some
familiar, comfortable though
generationally updated
fancier, laser-carved
lacking charm, history

other names,Horseshoe Lake residents
I am unacquainted with –
faceless interlopers
though they are
in the moment

I remain impressed
by durable simplicity:
sun-beached slab of oak
with a name, C.I. Andren
nothing more,
so much more

still anchored by two
galvanized stud nails,
still pointing the way to
a place long since gone,

Times well remembered

I could turn down that road
drive by what was
puzzle over, sigh  maybe
over the ingrown modernity –
new opulence of now

But there is no logic
nothing at all to be gained,
plenty, I know, to be lost
in forcing the square
remembrances of nostalgia
into the round hole
of progressing time

Steady on the gas

I simply smile, keep on
driving north
knowing what was, still is
always will be
simply because
I know a sign
when I see one.

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

The Letter

IMG_20160819_180012Dear Grandchildren:

There is irony in that the

last thing you will ever forget

will be one of your firsts

crush

love

kiss

sex

broken heart

IMG_20160819_173909first to never be forgotten

first to stick with you

first to make you feel like that

first to make you hurt

first to make you feel alive

knowing that the firsts will

teach you the most

honor you the least

IMG_20160819_180312cause discomfort

provide perspective

be impossible to explain to others

yet explain everything there is to know

These things I tell you

because they are true

because I know

Love,

IMG_20160819_181546Grandpa

P.S.

Don’t tell your parents

you learned any of

this from me

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