Driven

Waiting for an oil change
rachaElray3customer area big-screen TV
Rachael Ray cooks pasta something
a grandfather across from me texts

the coffee is respectable
volume on the TV isn’t but
Rachael is Rachael it doesn’t matter
she cooks rhythmically zzt! zzt! zzt!
the unmistakable garage sound
of tightened lug nuts al dente

oppressive smell of new rubber

I remember the first car I owned
cherry ’69 Plymouth that needed new
Goodyears that first summer of ’78

smooth white sidewalls costwst3
me extra, almost out of fashion then
there are none on display here
young blue-shirt guy at the counter
says with bewilderment they can
special order white sidewalls

I smile, tell him I’m just asking

sit back down where the grandfather
is still texting joined now by a young
woman in red dental-office scrubs
scrolling rapidly through her smart phone
both oblivious to Rachael, moved
on to odd vegetables zzt! zzt! zzt!

This is  the proverbial rubber-oflugnuts1
memory-meets-the-road-of-fantasy

I am whizzing down thin blacktop
’69 Plymouth, white sidewalls,
windows down, Rachael’s hair flying,
staring longingly from passenger seat
talking about stopping for pasta…

zzt! zzt! zzt! ZZZZT!  My name is called;
my newly lubed, innocuous sedan, ready –
leaving hygienist, grandpa and Rachael to
their respective rubber-scented reveries

– Mark Lucker

Taking a concession stand

I hate it when somebody
states they are ‘making
concessions’ to middle age

I find mid-life to be a
wonderful carnival
the only concessions
those to be purchased
to quench a thirst
sate a hunger

I stroll the middle age
midway impervious to the
shill’s siren-call of con-men
barkers offering relief
enhancement and release
me, laughing at the
gullibility of others

I can stroll casually
letting the sights and sounds
of life’s extravagance simply
soak in or wash over me

stopping when I am hungry
free, now, to indulge
without fear of distraction or
spilled mustard on my shirt

Mark Lucker

Crisis averted

I watch my peers unsteadily
trampling middle age
sitting on various benchmarks
when they need to or
when they just want to watch

older, we are, most certainly
wiser is a tougher read
for those denying the
need for glasses or just
out of myopic stubbornness

when, what, why, how, where
the cryptic mysteries of
befuddled youth given way
to smug satisfaction dispensing
collected answers as flippant
Confucius-wannabes

I observe my peers gleefully
trampling middle age
cheering various barometers,
just because, with a gusto once
reserved for campus protests
thumbing their collective noses

things are much clearer
viewed in digital 20/20 hindsight
with the impish assurance
that they know a bunch of stuff
the rest of you do not