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

Clearly

A woman I know
dreamer, well grounded,
ways of the world, the word
loves clouds
regularly posts pictures
Facebook stratus updates
from expansive plains of Texas

accompanying commentary
concise, imaginative
sweetly humorous, poignant
shapes, ideas, messages
sometimes all the same picture

love the images,
treasure the friendship

I prefer my clouds on their turf
twenty-thousand feet,
living metaphorically, mechanically
flying through, above, alongside
they offer little resistance
playfully tag along, wispfully

my friend and I are
more alike than I knew
while she looks to the heavens
I try to grasp them from within
folly, but worth the try

we are imaginative optimists
each seeing our clouds
in all their potential,
ever mindful of their fickleness

Dreamers, both of us are
though you can easily tell us apart
she is the one with
her feet firmly on the ground

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

diurnal

“…and there’s nothin’ short of dyin’
urban1that’s half as lonesome as the sound
of a sleepin’ city sidewalk
and Sunday mornin’, comin’ down…”

– Kris Kristoffferson

There is no respite from the escape
the night before, sketchy
adrenaline rush of
getting there, staying there, leavingurban3
behind whatever it was
trying to find whatever it is
oblivious as to whatever it should be
ambiguity used to fuel contentedness
but years, miles, time
have dulled senses, pinched off
feelings of adequacy
going with the flow when the
stream bed is just withered sand;
grounded flotsam
of sun-bleached opportunity
weathered dreams
honed to dull, polished smoothness
but the stream no longer washes over them,
urban1channel a conduit only for what was
any chance at rejuvenation
lies in torrential rains
that would wash away the dust
only to disappear once again
in the heat of another day

Stepping out into the street
putting aside metaphor, remembrances
reality is shrill comeuppance
here you are, who cares where you were
you don’t know where you’re going
though the morning is warm you fight the chill
inexorable creeping of time
paranoia of memories and the truth
assuaging balm of reminisces
warmth; pulling the collar of invincibility
up around your throat

There is a cold front moving in

experience has taught you
your wherewithal to combat the elements
no match for this brewing storm
the only sensibility and clarity afforded
urban1by all who’s, what’s, where’s, why’s
urban2you have been
the person you have become
knows instinctually, without regret

hunkering down, waiting it out,
no longer a viable option

out-of-place and time,
weathervane
spins incoherently
vagaries of the squall tells
only from where the wind blows,
not to point you in a direction
in lieu of a compass, it will have to do

headed down the street
the wind at your back, in your face
the city beckons you to
urban3impossibly attainable anonymity
promises you will be forgotten
but only for now,
only today, only tomorrow

There is no respite from the escape
still, you got out – ironically,
you would consider going back if
you only could remember
where you had been, why you were there,
how you got here from there
in the first place
this is what the morning brings

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

The maturation

boxer7

Braggadocio
prior physical prowess
spendable currency
boyish man
posturing, preening
standing up,
stand out, back it up

chest bumps fist pumps
in-your-face
yeah, baby! machismo
odes to, by, about a self-
almost-wannabe

couldda, shouldda
been a pretender, you;
Brando’s Malloy
sans street cred, intensityboxer4

reflecting on easy ego-jacks
then, now?
adrenaline rush requires
no cut man or handy styptic
pencil in another win

misshapen, badge-of-honor
knuckles swapped out;
manicured cleanliness, play
rock, paper, scissors
while pen obliterates sword
words, ideas are hammer-drops

haughty satisfaction
comes only in the learned
subtlety, brutal effectiveness of
bludgeoning foes
with finely hewn guile

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

 

 

Pavement due

hubcaps1Rusted, mangled hubcaps
clutter road shoulder, ditches
stray, chrome castoffs
wildflowers of reckless neglect

breakneck speed
cratered highways,
pilots disdain for
flashing, yellow signspothole4

by the spadeful, I scoop
well-intentioned, tar-coated fill
into random potholes

indifferent, life is, to the
temporary, heavy nature of
mundane cavity patches

Hey, not my asphalt

the road to hell need not
lie smooth, straight, nor narrow
don’t even bother painting stripeshubcaps3
it matters not in the least

my empathy apathy
dictates you will always
always
drift across the center line,
regardless

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

Patching things together

pumpkin1Growing up on a small farm, rural Minnesota
space was scarce, times were lean and the land was life
ma and pa granted my brother, sister and I a small plot
every spring in which to plant and nurture pumpkins;
sibling sharecroppers, we repaid mom by growing
enough extra pumpkins for her to fulfill familial
pie making duties through Thanksgiving, Christmas
and in good years, four or five quarts of canned squash

Indentured, we were, for the privilege of creating
toothless, carved fright for amusement every October
we grew two big pumpkins each, thinning the runts as
we saw fit, channeling growing energy into the larger,
bumpier, more potentially grotesque orange oddities
just for a month of autumnal family horror-ticulturepumpkin3

Becoming teenagers meant slowly relinquishing our
yearly pumpkin patch anticipation, subsequent budding
interest in jack-o-lantern growing slowly gave way to
preoccupations with sports, romance, cars, – disdain for
all else childlike or childish and definitely not cool
as mom slowly transformed our pumpkin patch into
feeble nasturtium arboretum, ringed with galling petunias
leaving us no room to protest as we had long since given
up any claim to the small plot of backyard fraternal field
of Halloween dreams leaving us with nothing but the
field stubble of memories, remnants of harvests past
long since completed, yet still vainly cultivated for
any rogue seedlings that may again someday sprout

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2015
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Dutiful

phone1Following my calling
and the call
dropped

I call back
nobody picks up
nobody calls back

I have left the messages

trying to reconnect
number no longer
in service
‘your recipient hasn’t
set up voice mailphone2
for this account’

Am I being ignored
via caller I.D.
spurned due to
embarrassed discomfort

Following my calling
and the call
dropped

inexplicably

not in a dead zone
I have plenty of bars
battery fully charged

I followed my calling
now nobody calls
nobody writes
no text, FaceTime,
stone tablet
pronouncementphone

Following my calling
when the call
dropped

Trying to reconnect.

Leave your name
and number
I’ll get back to you

– Mark Lucker

Bartender genome

tequillashots1Sitting alone at a bar
downing rows of tequila shots
earns you your bar cred

griping rights: politics, sports,
love, loss, life’s inequities

pour-out-your-heart
privilege, at the very least

knowing, indifferent nod,
patronizing smile
tacit agreement smirkespresso2
‘go for it’ shrug

Sitting by yourself at Starbucks’
throwing back espresso shots
buys you a hipster buzz

clicking away on your laptop
caressing your smartphone to life
cyber-genie-in-rectangle-bottletequillashots2

earning you little more
than barista indifference

as they lack the hereditary
imperative of the best barkeeps
worldly servers, even
past-their-prime barflies

beverage gentrification of theespresso
traditional, dimly-lit, urban habitat
renders the trusted, guru-esque
breed of mixologist one of our
most endangered species

Master the artful hybrid genetics
of barkeeps and barista
there is a Nobel Prize for you.

Or at very least, a perpetually
overflowing tip jar.

– Mark Lucker

Flying east at dusk

The setting sun100_4863_0161ed
chases us eastward
orange-scorched ripples
of cumulus white race
with us neck-and-neck

ablaze, dying wisps of cotton
embers envelop us while
about to be snuffed out by
rapidly encroaching nightfall

fleeting light from behind
speeds toward
a head-on collision
with onrushing darkness

a mesmerizing train wreck100_4861_0159ed
at thirty-thousand feet
I cannot turn away from

as the now fading sun collides
with momentum-building night
the coloring-book lines
are only momentarily maintained
before we fade to black

day meets night
night meets day
never have I witnessed100_4859_0157ed
their passionate, daily
coupling as tonight

old song lyrics
come sharply to mind;
‘where the blue of the night
meets the gold of the day,
someone waits for me…’

though I was there by chance
on time and unplanned finding100_4862_0160ed
no one unexpectedly waiting
I could have still lingered
not minding at all the lack of
unexpected company as more
than fair trade-off for being able to
savor with gleeful regret and joy
that the moment was only that.

– Mark Lucker

Customer

sitting at a yardsale1
rickety card table
a cloudy, droll
Saturday morning

yard sale boredom
broken only by
protracted
used appliance deal
negotiations
with dubious
dollar store
Trump-wannabees

dumping a half mugmorningglories2
of stale coffee onto our
cyclone fence-climbing
Morning Glories

a change-purse toting
fortysomething
housewife-financier
chides my wastefulness,
asks the price
of the empty mug

feigning indignancy
I proclaim my intent
is simply to keepmorningglories1
my morning glories
awake through the sale

Not quite skeptically
she asks candidly if
that really works,
musing on her own
crop of backyard
morning glories, her
caffeinated prospects
of keeping them awakecookiejar
longer on a daily basis

“Go easy on the cream”

I advise solemnly
heading inside for
a refill and Tylenol
making a mental note
to charge her
full price for the
cracked cookie jar

Mark Lucker