Elegy for Them All

Twenty-two.clouds4g2
Thirty-four, twenty-seven
thirty-nine

Cancer, leukemia, suicide
insidious bastards, each

‘gone too soon’
‘in a better place’clouds4g2-2-f
sycophant salutations
of condolence

We hardly knew ye

Sons, daughters of old friends.
A cousin.
Classmates of our children.

All too vivid reminders
“There but for the grace of God…”
not at all feeling full of grace

single: such promise, unfulfilledclouds4g
married: too young to be a…

Do not platitude me.clouds1

Circle of life
natural order
called home –
clichés
bring comfort only to
disquieted conveyor

I call you, life, on yourclouds1-2b
inherent bullshit.

starting over
parents, siblings, spouses,
friends, acquaintances
colleagues and well-meaning
fund-raisersclouds4g2-2-f

‘moving on’
tethers, broken
bonds strengthened
but how to attach
shackles of memories
to a ghost?

life without
life after
life different
life goes on
a life goes away,clouds4g2-2-f clouds1-2b
we stick around

starting over is stopping,
shifting gears
in-neutral-contemplation
with motor running
deciding direction,
starting slowly, accelerating
gently, with caution,
shifting into low-gear
traversing rocky terrain

‘it is what it is’
banalities softening
in tone, over time
hardening in heavy-handed
sanctification of
never quite being sureclouds1-2b-2g

Why, why, why.
And why?

‘Death, be not proud’clouds4g2-2-f
I am not proud to say
‘I do not like this, ‘God, I am’!
I do not like these dirty ends

forgiving departure begets
forgetting things petty
anger taking grief- time
better spent elsewhere, but…

how ironically oxymoronic;
indelible as a lifeclouds1-2c
it is death, cannot be erased

Raging against
the dying of the light
all the more fruitless
when the light was only
just ignited

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2019
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

33 (For Johnny)*

Twenty-one years was not nearly enough;
we had just embarked when you left.
Thirty-three years is not nearly enough
to erase what is indelibly sketched

not a pencil caricature, a dimly recollected
photographic snapshot or grainy home movie
just you, at nineteen, before illness
rudely smudged and dog-eared the picture

you are smiling, damn it

you always smiled – warranted or not – but
really, when was it not, for us?
I cannot for the life of me conjure up
you at forty, thirty but especially not now

I imagine your asphalt black beard still thick,
neat, coarse…tinged gray, framing sly grin
your perpetual smile-induced squint turned
permanent as well-earned crow’s feet

‘imagine’ is all I can do

I have aged gracefully, so I’ve been told,
a goal you will never attain, a good-natured
insult I will never get to hurl your way

you left, life went on

The plans, hopes, dreams, big ideas we
discussed to death oddly survived yours
some of mine came true, differently than
we could’ve ever dreamed, but still true

the shared versions departed with you as
my road strangely and happily diverged from
plans made, starting with your leaving,
life taking me along for the journey much as
I have taken your spirit within me

The calendar now ironically tells me that
the years since you left match the numerals
you wore on your South High football jersey
the same numbers I have always worn for
company softball teams, and just because

I see you so clearly now – slashing through the
defensive line of time and memory, breaking
into the clear, smiling and always running free

*Johnny Wilkins 6/11/58 – 8/9/79

 

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

Elegy for Them

Twenty-two.clouds4g2
Thirty-four, twenty-seven
thirty-nine

Cancer, leukemia, suicide
insidious bastards, each

‘gone too soon’
‘in a better place’clouds4g2-2-f
sycophant salutations
of condolence

We hardly knew ye

Sons, daughters of old friends.
A cousin.
Classmates of our children.

All too vivid reminders
“There but for the grace of God…”
not at all feeling full of grace

single: such promise, unfulfilledclouds4g
married: too young to be a…

Do not platitude me.clouds1

Circle of life
natural order
called home –
clichés
bring comfort only to
disquieted conveyor

I call you, life, on yourclouds1-2b
inherent bullshit.

starting over
parents, siblings, spouses,
friends, acquaintances
colleagues and well-meaning
fund-raisersclouds4g2-2-f

‘moving on’
tethers, broken
bonds strengthened
but how to attach
shackles of memories
to a ghost?

life without
life after
life different
life goes on
a life goes away,clouds4g2-2-f clouds1-2b
we stick around

starting over is stopping,
shifting gears
in-neutral-contemplation
with motor running
deciding direction,
starting slowly, accelerating
gently, with caution,
shifting into low-gear
traversing rocky terrain

‘it is what it is’
banalities softening
in tone, over time
hardening in heavy-handed
sanctification of
never quite being sureclouds1-2b-2g

Why, why, why.
And why?

‘Death, be not proud’clouds4g2-2-f
I am not proud to say
‘I do not like this, ‘God, I am’!
I do not like these dirty ends

forgiving departure begets
forgetting things petty
anger taking grief- time
better spent elsewhere, but…

how ironically oxymoronic;
indelible as a lifeclouds1-2c
it is death, cannot be erased

Raging against
the dying of the light
all the more fruitless
when the light was only
just ignited

 

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

33 (For Johnny)*

Twenty-one years was not nearly enough;
we had just embarked when you left.
Thirty-three years is not nearly enough
to erase what is indelibly sketched

not a pencil caricature, a dimly recollected
photographic snapshot or grainy home movie
just you, at nineteen, before illness
rudely smudged and dog-eared the picture

you are smiling, damn it

you always smiled – warranted or not – but
really, when was it not, for us?

I cannot for the life of me conjure up images
of you at forty, thirty but especially not now

I imagine your asphalt black beard still thick,
neat, coarse…tinged gray, framing sly grin
your perpetual smile-induced squint turned
permanent as well-earned crow’s feet

‘imagine’ is all I can do

I have aged gracefully, so I’ve been told,
a goal you will never attain, a good-natured
insult I will never get to hurl your way

you left, life went on

The plans, hopes, dreams, big ideas we
discussed to death oddly survived yours
some of mine came true, differently than
we could’ve ever dreamed, but still true

the shared versions departed with you as
my road strangely and happily diverged from
plans made, starting with your leaving,
life taking me along for the journey much as
I have taken your spirit within me

The calendar now ironically tells me that
the years since you left match the numerals
you wore on your South High football jersey
the same numbers I have always worn for
company softball teams, and just because

I see you so clearly now – slashing through the
defensive line of time and memory, breaking
into the clear, smiling and always running free

*Johnny Wilkins 6/11/58 – 8/9/79