1958

Eight-by-ten, glossy

Women’s gowns a snowy hue
men’s jackets polar-colored
pants black, everything else
radiant shades of grays

drearily brilliant tones
off-black, dark-white
vibrant portrait in celluloid

Twelve adults, a young boy
bouffants and buzz cuts, ogling
camera, mischievously

dead serious, mindfully aware
playful magnitude of the day

fighting off hangovers
practicing feigned solemnity
due charmed couple at center

She: youthful, stunning purity
dress, pearls, teeth, aura
He: counterfeit waiter miscast
starring male in tuxedo

a split second before
being frozen in time and
now tarnished frame
someone must’ve blurted
“Smile!”

If a thousand words
barely equal a single, old
Kodak portrait, the
bold, vivid, monochromatic
color does provide, with
absolute certainty

The camera never lies

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

Breezes

summer comes to a close
autumnal breezes waft
rustling memories of those
days when the close of summer
had more definitive endings

sun-drenched days of youthful
frolic, innocent play, done

swimming, playing with frogs in
holes dug on sandy beaches at
grandparent’s homes; ‘the lake’
summer Xanadus of childhood
one year, scenic backdrops for
advancing adolescence the next

the summer dented pails,
bent shovels lay unused in
boathouse corner; replaced with
initials inside a heart, drawn
artfully at dusk in beach sand with
carefully chosen stick, just to be
erased by evening’s gentle waves

Previous summers we traveled
in packs along endless lakeshore
some ‘ooing’ over discovered shells
all ‘eewing!’ over dead, bloated fish
skipping rocks to show machismo

But our duo walks became more
intimate strolls through the woods
privacy trumping pinecone collection,
coy separation from the collective
group not as subtle as we hoped

Each summer indelible as the
next; parts of many years blending
seamlessly together, a montage of
youthful Julys, childhood vacations

But the starkness of one summer
that is viewed not with the gauziness
of looking back fondly, but with clarity
of time, place, purpose…firsts.

One brilliant, Kodacolor snapshot
that never made it into any scrapbook
yet still remains the clearest picture

especially when summer ends
and the breezes of fall swirl

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

1958

Eight-by-ten, glossy

women’s gowns a snowy hue
men’s jackets polar-colored
pants black, everything else
radiant shades of grays

drearily brilliant tones
off-black, dark-white
vibrant portrait in celluloid

Twelve adults, a young boy
bouffants and buzz cuts, ogling
camera, mischievously

dead serious, mindfully aware
playful magnitude of the day

fighting off hangovers
practicing feigned solemnity
due charmed couple at center

she: youthful, stunning purity
dress, pearls, teeth, aura
he: counterfeit waiter miscast
starring male in tuxedo

a split second before
being frozen in time and
now tarnished frame
someone must’ve blurted
“Smile!”

If a thousand words
barely equal a single, old
Kodak portrait, the
bold, vivid, monochromatic
color does provide, with
absolute certainty

the camera never lies

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

Pictures

We
were a long
time ago

years?
decades?
lifetimes?
carbon dating?

time is filled in
a long forgotten
coloring book
half the pictures
never finished
bold, black-line
outlines dated,
quaint

stumbled across
by accident
you flip through
remembering
all the scenes
beach, park,
ball, puppy

love ?

first few pages
carefully colored
giving way to
partially filled
marker-mosaics
lacking nuance
or hue
unrealistically
bold

and only now do
you understand the
illogic in staying
within the lines

as you toss the
book in the trash

Mark Lucker

Muse bemuse

Erato

She has been a muse
nothing more and
everything less
since we met as teens

inspiration still flows
from a fleeting reminder;
hearing her name
(commonly used by others
out of parental laziness)
the searing stubbed-toe
pain of an emotional owie
only she could’ve kissed
and made better

longing springs from trying
to remember just why
pinpoint specifics of how;
pixellated memories
vaguely distinguishable
from imagination

I was never her destiny
not even on the periphery
of being a fallback option
as I don’t believe she ever
wrote a single word of me,
save long-ago-stopped-
exchanging Christmas cards

Thalia

as my muse she has become
more verb than noun
a contemplative touchstone
to a time when faux
inspired creativity passed
for honest insight

confirming my relief that
I am neither sculptor or
painter…but a simple poet
– prone to and forgiven for –
hyperbole and other creative
transgressions, writing with
suspended creative license,
failing to not yield
to the pedestrian

…by the dashboard light?

What was in our youth, mood
lighting for teen romance –
dim, yellowish-orange tinged
spotlight on amateurishly
fumbled front-seat lust

has become, in our middle-aged
driveway rendezvous, moment-
before-we-go-in-from-a-night-out

a weird glow of two blue-hued
Smurfs who now bumble with
seatbelts due not to inexperience –
but for lack of practice and the

confusion of hazily remembered
Gumby-like nostalgia with the
logistical impracticality of now,
coupled with the odd, irrational
fears of inadvertent deployment
of dashboard air bags;

unlikely, yet boast-worthy episode
rendered less useful with no locker
to hang out by, no peers to awe,
chiropractic co-pays in the offing

Now we just kill the engine,
go inside, sit down and watch the
news from opposite ends of the couch

Like son, like father

The daughter of close friends
looks at my son like that

they have known each other
since first grade – a time when
looking at each other like that
would have been unthinkable;
icky, gross…dis-GUS-ting!

Now she looks at him like that

When I first noticed her looking
his obliviousness was a comfort
but now he looks like that
at someone else, still clueless

I remember the summer I was
fifteen, noticing for the first time
looks like that directed at me…

thought were aimed at me
until late July’s heat removed all
ambiguity, before summer escaped

He doesn’t yet realize but it’s the
un-auditioned for role-of-a-lifetime
the chance for a starring turn
as someone else’s first love

A Minnesotan’s First Love

I was a good friend of her brother –
he knows, but has never said a word

On the rare occasions we still meet
he smiles a knowledgable,
unbelieving, remembering grin
and I always wonder, after all of the
years that have passed, just how much
she has told him…

or if he figured it all out on his own
just watching her face during family
dinner-table reminisces about those
warm northwoods summers at the lake.