Father’s Day Requiem

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

I have no fatherly counsel
fortune-cookie-inclusion
viral-meme-worthy
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
more-eighteen-than-
twenty-four-carat
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
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

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Posted in Family, Fathers and Sons, Growing up me, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Poems my father left me

There is reason, evenDad Camp Plauche poem p2
some rhyme
in the stanza, the beat
the reading in time

of who, what, why he was
what he did and why he didn’t
why he maybe should’ve
not stressing on could’ve

Sometimes

His groove was far more
scat than stanza
he could always carry a
jaunty life tune
singing it with gusto

over thirty years since
his last oration
I can still recite min in
his many poetic forms

Some are tests
proctored from beyond
father/son veil and

I often refer to his
weathered, worn
hand-me-down crib notes
mental index cards
life lessons
guidelines
direction

admonitions and
insights

Cantos of appreciation
for good food
garnished with lively
conversation
the need for tolerance
futility in anger borne ofDad and unknown men locale year 2
frustration

To value people
by the
who not the what, that
words can be weapons
how deeply
they will cut

His iambic passion
for baseball,
Laurel & Hardy
how to properly be the
life of any party

Hard work doesn’t hurt
a broken heart surely does
that family is what it is, not
what it should be or once was

haikus on

How to laugh, how to
love; why the hell you always
should, chortle romance

at every available
opportunity

it is always O.K. to cry
at a favorite song or
at a movie
that age is no impediment
to being
cool, even groovydad and I 35 - Copy

My father left couplets
deli pastrami
crusty-soft Jewish rye

cottage cheese mixed
with sour cream

real New York cheesecake
ricotta cheese, not the fake

steak; medium rare

bourbon and sour
Glenn Miller’s music

all of them much better
from a really good chair

Madrigals for life
try new things
continually dream
life is good
strive to make it better
regardless how it seems

Friends will come,
friends will go

A few will stick around
all will leave you something
of great value

His odes to a sonDad Camp Plauche poem p1

if you like it, then
it is good – let
critics be thus damned

there will always be more
questions than answers

Not to sweat it
never regret it

you should laugh often
love well
and vice-versa

To smell the roses is good
to give them, even better
in bouquets
and one at a time

These are the poems
my father left me

I can and
often do
recite them

at will

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

Posted in Fathers and Sons, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

The pragmatist, ambivalent

Although I suffer fromgray2en
a strong faith
it allows me the privilege to
not fear death
or its obligatory attachments

no desire exists within me
to see just exactly
what lurks in
other-side-a-topia

I don’t ruminate on
who I know that
will be
won’t be there

they are dead
they are gone
they may/may not be
hanging out someplace
metaphysical or spiritual

bus stop
malt shop
corner bar
beyond

I don’t think of departed
souls as how they were
when they left
I imagine them as they
would be, now

Twenty turning sixty?
Skipped the middle-man
life
accumulated nothing
physical, otherwise
pro-and-con scenarios

My father would be 102
a more jovial version than
the 67-year-old dude
who left,
mid-cancer

Grandparents
I never met
girlfriends
I never dated
childhood friends
high school classmates
friends, enemies, cliquesgray1en

a bunch of people

I can’t possibly
have remembered to
have forgotten

the older I get
the older they get
the older I get
the longer the list of

people I hope to meet
people I will need to avoid
those who might want to
catch up, admonish,
welcome me
aboard
to the club

might just want to
mingle there
in

heaven
hell
purgatory
Des Moines’
Greyhound bus depot,
circa 1975

No hurry on my end to
find out if I am
right
wrong
misled or if
I just followed poorly

When I get wherever, if my
name is not on the
bouncer’s clipboard

no biggie

I’ll go find myself
in bold, underlined, on
someone else’s
list

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

Posted in Introspection, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Old growth

birchbark1At age seven I nearly killed the pubescent
birch tree anchoring our Minneapolis backyard
stripping it of all its bark, roots to four feet up –
the physical limits of my fanciful reach

As Mrs. Kime’s most intrepid first-grader
I planned to build a birch bark canoe, ala
the Chippewa we were studying, but
my grandiose vessel never took float
paddling confined to parental retribution
albeit with forgiving landlord-absolution

not George Washington, there is no notoriety
from well-intentioned arbor-indiscretiontreerings2

Half a century later, the birch tree still stands
defiant, smugly secure in its survival: Midwestern
winters, drought summers, visionary first graders

I too, still stand – resilient and unfazed, rooted in
long-forfeited yard, having weathered erratic seasons
dubious choices, those who tried to remake me
I remain a curious, risk-taking, idea-prone dreamer

Neither of us ever produced a working canoe yet
our respective rings share a distinctive trait; denser,
late, wood – thick ring dating us to a particular summer
the growing season that solidified respective chronologies

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

Posted in Growing up me, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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 , , , ,