Small packages (A real-life fable for moms everywhere)

My mom found the
dead chipmunk
I surreptitiously brought home
from the lake
at the end of the summer
I was ten;

lifeless, stripe-tailed rodentChipmunk reads ingredients
in a black-and-blue JC Penney
shoebox sarcophagus on which
I had scrawled ‘stuff’ – an
obvious adolescent admonition to
‘keep out!’ in bold, black
Magic Marker

The chipmunk was well-preserved,
lifelike, in death, eyes wide open.
I, the accidental taxidermist.

A car, perhaps Ivar’s Jeep, had
run him over on the long
driveway leading to
Ivar and Lila’s lake home
catching him dead-on from
behind as he was in full-gallop,
running uphill in the sandy
right-rut, flattening his
chipmunk carcass into
absolutely flat,
cookie-cutter perfect silhouette,
all four paws outstretched

Faux-bearskin rug
fit for use before the hearth of
Barbie’s Alpine Chalet

With two sticks I gently
moved him to the cement fringe
of the garage slab where the
north woods sun used July to bake
him into perfectly-tanned,
odorless, furry, hide

Chipmunk2I placed chipmunk in the shoebox
secretively transporting him home
in our appropriately-solemn
dark-blue, Plymouth Fury
then slid him, sans funeral fanfare
beneath-my-single-bed-mausoleum
where he was soon forgotten

Until the week before school

Archeologist mom,
cleaning my room, found the box
did not share my
enthusiastic solemnity

She phoned up the block
to where I was playing,
tersely ordering me home

Mrs. Gilberg stifled a laugh as
as I left, nonchalantly and
very unaware of the consternation
awaiting me at home
(as she doubled over in laughter
telling me, years later)
once I had gone out her door
as my mom had confided in her
of the Tut-like, bedroom discovery

Once home I caught
all sorts of hell about
dead animals, germs,
unwelcome surprises in
shoeboxes under beds

But to my mom’s
everlasting credit, I at least
never got my hide tanned,
put into a box,
shoved under a bed.

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

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Posted in Uncategorized

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
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Posted in Campfire poems, Growing up me, The Lake | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Visionally

Been here too longbutterfly
seen
way too much

my empathy has
decayed
piles of rubble-pity

hope was a chrysalis
birthed
ugly butterflies
that now flit from
dead plant to
dead plant

Paradox eternal
doing right things for
eventualdecay1
wrong reasons
appeasing, ignoring those
doing wrong things for
right reasons

conundrums abound
doing good where ‘good’ is
nebulous,
‘doing good’ suspect
moral ambiguity the norm

corrupted
even the best of the good
tempered
by good intentions
gone rogue

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

Posted in Introspection, Philosophies, Students and Teachers, Teaching and Learning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

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

Posted in Grandparental, Growing up me, The Lake, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Jarring (Love is… # 71)

Poets have often
likened love
to roses
summer days
pastoral scenes
other sundry
phenomena

saccharine sells

in toto
love is not
candy
roses
sweet imagery
clichés
violin soundtracks

I, having lived
love

see more esoteric
practicality
from, for the heart

love is tartar sauce.
It looks like hell
you have no idea what
is really in it
yet you always
always
seem to find
it tasty.

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,

What are the Oz?

Historically considering myself
the Scarecrow
middle-age, circumstance, time
have me contemplating fates
identifying a more Tin Man persona
seeking oil for locked up joints
moving clunkily, at times
joyously graceful, others
grudgingly accepting assistance
from my companions –
friends who
humor my myriad compunctions
to stay out in the rain
eschewing consequences for
the sheer joy of rain

Unlike fictional counterparts I
discovered early, on my own,
lessons of the heart;
having, using, breaking, caring for
only to eventually discover
I missed something in
regards to care and maintenance

Needing more than wizened words:
high-tech cobalt
wielded by skilled surgeons
put in place
without benefit of
easy-open chest door; fixed.
tick-tick-tick-tick
just the way it should

I am now the Oz hybrid
repaired heart
experienced, wiser brain
enhanced courage
still traveling strange roads ready to
encounter the
sublime, absurd, good stuff, bad
with newfound
appreciation, anticipation, curiosity

knowing better than most
be it ever so humble, there is no
heart like thine own.

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

Posted in Contemporary Life, Introspection, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

Not flippantly

Endings, beginnings

reboots

declining to resolve
to do things
better?
more?
less?

just because.

Finding myself in
select company
pragmatism not
considered a virtue
when calendars flip

solemnity, tradition
of fresh twelve
invoked by most

still, I demure

idealism has its place
the reality in transition
December to January
is more
dog-earing key pages
less
putting aside the book
waiting for the movie

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

 

Posted in Holidays, Philosophies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,

A toast

24102‘…A flute of champagne
contains
one million bubbles.’

Toasting a new year –
fresh starts
beginnings, endings,
transitions –
see each bubble
as a moment
each individually
tantalizing, collectively
rising rapidly,
quickly dissipating

Gone

short-lived
effervescence
sweet anticipation
swiftly departed
memorable

Savor each bubble –
the tingling of
remembrance
tickle of anticipation
moments reveled in
quickly gone

let each beguiling
moment refresh
your palate
the sweetness
of what was
flavorful temptation
of what is to come.

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

Posted in Introspection, Philosophies, Reflections, Uncategorized

3:37 a.m.

There is nomonitor4
Hemingwayesque
romance 
to writing by
the artificial glow of
heart monitors
nothing poetic in
tapping out words
on a phone while
strapped to IVs
typing encumbered by
ET reminiscent
clunky, red-tipped
oxygen monitor

But, as a poet you do
what you gotta do
as instinct kicks in
fight-or-flight, primal

self-defense by an
attacked heart.
11/20/17

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

Posted in Uncategorized

Fading away

Small, sporadically mowedcemetery1
rural-church cemetery
familial in feel
generations grouped eternally
spontaneous, asymmetrical
layout seems unforced, movingly
casual in its nostalgia

a rainy, gray day along
narrow township gravel road
cars parked, haphazardly

We buried an old soldier.

local VFW could only muster
honor guard of three men
bent, trembling, purposeful fingers
wrinkled khaki, faces, hands
added dignified poignancy with
simple, nine-gun salute

small-town high school girl in bluecemetery3
letter jacket, fluffy, white ‘C’
over her heart, excused from class
hitting most of the notes
gets extra credit playing Taps

Told my story of the soldier
to a friend whose war-seasoned
big-city, grandfather – decorated sailor –
passed, not so long ago

two young men in
snappy dress blues came to
the grandfather’s internment
with a boom-box, and a CD

pushing a button, the
yeomen played Taps flawlessly,
left a folded flag with grandma
saluted crisply, left for good.

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

Posted in Holidays, In Memoriam, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,