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

Homage

I went all Santiago once on a
bober1sunfish that weighed nearly a pound
it was long before I knew
Hemingway, the power of words,
the pull of the water

I battled the monster
as only a nine-year-old could;
with every fiber of my being
strained to matching tautness of
six-pound-test line at the end
of bent, dark, shiny bamboo
pole with cork handlebobber2

Summers at Horseshoe Lake
were the defining milieu of my life
where the rest-of-the-year city kid I was
discovered the majesty of woods, water

adrenaline rush of a loon’s call,
scent of pine, calming sounds
of wind through birch leaves and
wood-framed window screens

The summer I was nine
I went all Santiago on a sunfish
weighing nearly a pound

Ernest would be proud.

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

No fish story (for Amy)

I am not
fish6carping here
from poet’s perch;
people often find my
reel, romantic tale fishy

Love is like shooting fish
in a barrel – this I have known
for long I have been one with the
proverbial oaken-casked floundererfish8

I am no fish out of water here
nor do I have any other fish to fry
there are, I know, other fish in the sea
but I have my catch; she caught me

you can take the bait on this:
looking for deeper meaning
in my metaphors is a
fishing expedition

loving her has
always been
easy: shefish2
lured,
I bit

hook,
line,
sinker

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

First dance

A ma-and-pa resort, small lake
north woods of Minnesota
seeburgsmall office behind
quaint bar, twelve small cabins
dozen aluminum rowboats to use;
minnows, worms, leeches for sale
amenities, ala Angler’s Edge

Joe & Gloria’s place

The bar a hangout for township locals
grandpa Ivar and I frequented the nicked,
cigarette-burn speckled
polished, yellow-varnished bar for a
North Star beer, ice cold Nesbitt’s Orange
I enjoyed from my end-of-bar spot

A summer semi-regular.

Perched atop two upside-down
wooden Coca-Cola crates
stacked together, laid across two
shiny red-vinyl top, chrome-rimmed
swivel-seat bar stools
bringing me to proper sitting.
sipping height

until the summer my height
matched my station withDino45
always jovial Joe, ever kindly
large-laughing Gloria

Joe would slip me dimes
to play his disc-bowling machine
feed his 45-laden Seeburg jukebox
always selections G5, G6
back-to-back Dean Martin starting
with the bass-thump of Houston…

My musical choices amused Joe

his dimes, gratis – except on Fridays
when I earned my keep
prepping Angler’s Edge worn,
maple dance floor
for the evening’s band
paid in advance, I would crank Dean;
Little Ole Wine Drinker Me
grab the yellow-and-black shaker can
liberally sprinkle the dance wax
the floor all mine as I shuffled
to Dino crooning

“…I’m prayin’ for rain, in Califorrrrrnia….”maple1b

spontaneously choreographing
my personal pre-teen two-step
grinding the wax in
elevating the floor to polka, waltz
schottische, western swing perfection
finishing as Dino was faded off
…little ole wine drinker, me…I say…
with a show-stopping slide
ending near the cramped bandstand

between wax-infused Levi knees
tongue-in-groove hardwood boards
meeting no resistance
the wax, the music, the memories
rich patina of my youth

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

A musing

You seduced me.

Drew me in
played me for the fool

and I bit
took the bait
tried to dart away
only driving the hook
in deeper

now here I am
at your pondering mercy;
throw me in your creel
fry me up
toss me back

let me swim away
or watch me flopping
for breath at your feet

Usually you throw me back.

I get bigger, bolder
still incapable of resistance
when the bright flash of
inspirational lure crosses
whatever path I am swimming

writer as languid, sassy bass
catch me if you can
catch me as you always do

catch-and-release is a
weak metaphor, considering
your use of live bait
and my less-than-persnickety
appetite for flashy, darting
things that shine

Throw me back.
Come again tomorrow.