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

Missing out

Living now in a placeautumn leaves3
where, in autumn most
leaves stay put
clinging to their branches
without pretense

never having the
decency to abandon their
vibrant green for
appropriate, earthy hues

A few adhere to my more
familiar, season-bound
tradition, true natural order
small in numbers
generally unnoticed

It takes keen effort to
scrounge enough of a
collection for
traditionally crunchy walk

Which is cheatingDSC03236

The jumpable, enjoyably
scratchy, towering orange,
brown, red, yellow leaf piles
I crave are hopeless here

my native Midwest seems
further away in fall than
during the absence of winter’s
winter’s snowy blankets,
frosty windows

for I know full well
the curative, redemptive
potential of a fall
leaf pile on a man’s soul

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

Mercy, me

‘There but for
the grace of God…’

deity quantification is
risky pragmatism

‘There but for…’

God’s grace, graceful
mine, clunkily
cacophonous in raw
implementation

two-left feet,
I always want to lead

God is gracefully
mindful of my gaucherie
bemused by my
attempts at making
things more complicated

fraught with false starts

learned skill
accepting grace in
ordinary guy way
making the simply profound
unpretentious

easy
now that I understand

forsaken, I have
making the elegantly simple
intricately complicated
ever need be

there but for…
there for, but
therefore?

affected by so many
retrospectively
recognizing
God’s grace in the
graceful natures,
well-timed nurturing
of others

finally grasping
the thrill of speed
training wheels, off

there with
the Grace of God
go I

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

diurnal

“…and there’s nothin’ short of dyin’
urban1that’s half as lonesome as the sound
of a sleepin’ city sidewalk
and Sunday mornin’, comin’ down…”

– Kris Kristoffferson

There is no respite from the escape
the night before, sketchy
adrenaline rush of
getting there, staying there, leavingurban3
behind whatever it was
trying to find whatever it is
oblivious as to whatever it should be
ambiguity used to fuel contentedness
but years, miles, time
have dulled senses, pinched off
feelings of adequacy
going with the flow when the
stream bed is just withered sand;
grounded flotsam
of sun-bleached opportunity
weathered dreams
honed to dull, polished smoothness
but the stream no longer washes over them,
urban1channel a conduit only for what was
any chance at rejuvenation
lies in torrential rains
that would wash away the dust
only to disappear once again
in the heat of another day

Stepping out into the street
putting aside metaphor, remembrances
reality is shrill comeuppance
here you are, who cares where you were
you don’t know where you’re going
though the morning is warm you fight the chill
inexorable creeping of time
paranoia of memories and the truth
assuaging balm of reminisces
warmth; pulling the collar of invincibility
up around your throat

There is a cold front moving in

experience has taught you
your wherewithal to combat the elements
no match for this brewing storm
the only sensibility and clarity afforded
urban1by all who’s, what’s, where’s, why’s
urban2you have been
the person you have become
knows instinctually, without regret

hunkering down, waiting it out,
no longer a viable option

out-of-place and time,
weathervane
spins incoherently
vagaries of the squall tells
only from where the wind blows,
not to point you in a direction
in lieu of a compass, it will have to do

headed down the street
the wind at your back, in your face
the city beckons you to
urban3impossibly attainable anonymity
promises you will be forgotten
but only for now,
only today, only tomorrow

There is no respite from the escape
still, you got out – ironically,
you would consider going back if
you only could remember
where you had been, why you were there,
how you got here from there
in the first place
this is what the morning brings

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

Broadsides

I once asked Godimg_20161113_082229
for a sign

needing more
than spiritual
Burma-Shave

cardboard
placards stapled
to raw, rough
pine sticks

Ah, but I am
not advertising

my tag-board
always blankly
devoid of
political hateimg_20161113_084228
hackneyed slogans

five-ninety-nine
pizza specials!
buy your
gold for more!

I am not here
to direct others
to event parking
or partake in
girls! girls! girls!

nobody here is
going out of businessimg_20161113_082233
due to low prophets
the guy misspelled
the end is ‘neer

spiritual conclusion

God wants me
to protest
something
all of it, perhaps

there is no profit
to prophesying or
downsizing

I am I!

Less recalcitrant,img_20161113_084229
spat-up Noah –
pine-splinter
infused hands
to wave

my finely honed
ability to ignore
disdainful glances,
head shaking
avoidance

causes me to smile

I wear styish,
spat-out invective
from passerby
curmudgeonlyimg_20161113_084248
badge of honor,

hold my sign higher

I once asked God
for a sign
and he told me,
point-blank,
helpfully

“First, you’ll
need
better shoes.”

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

Whereas

Never having been mrsmith2
as naive as
I should have been

exonerated for crimes
against logic
bus ticket, new suit

outside-the-box
thinking
box house, never homebogart3

recycled, repurposed
repent sinners!
repressed no longer

naiveté begat experience
I can elocute
to it all in open court

Get back, honky cats
I got this.
Flat out truth: I got this.

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

One metmorphisize fits all

Happily-ever-afterabstract4mll
mythology
prefaces every sequel
continuing
character-driven sagas
story arc only
tacking an index onto
volume one,
three, sixteen in a set

having read this scene
repeatedly
life movies
annotated script
writing, rewriting books
they were based on

playing
déjà vu-all-over-again
never more than
countless times
here-we-go-again
monotony of
changing times
changing directors

same cast of characters
different roles
replaced actors
haven’t-I-
seen-this-show-before?

Exit, stage right
enter stage left
either or,
vice versa
prefacing intermission
act one ends…

next!

time to regroup, recast
strike the set

endings are simply
ellipsis
masquerading
as comfort
to the ill-at-ease

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2016

Don Yoda

Quixotic exploits
in multiple life-genres
satisfied, I am

lacking though, in
satisfactory resolutionsquixote1
ambiguity suits me

beguiling, am I, in my
befuddlement of others
confounding doubters

mirror voyeurism
minus Dorian Gray ego,
Carly Simon panache

sing anyway, I cannot
dapper enough, I am
charm, it is, carries me

sophisticated enough
I know lost causes from
heroic potential

onward I trudge, in
lightness of step, spirit
ever vigilant

ready for action
sublime or fool’s errand
poised to charge on

never possessing
the courage to
believe in nothing

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

Pavement due

hubcaps1Rusted, mangled hubcaps
clutter road shoulder, ditches
stray, chrome castoffs
wildflowers of reckless neglect

breakneck speed
cratered highways,
pilots disdain for
flashing, yellow signspothole4

by the spadeful, I scoop
well-intentioned, tar-coated fill
into random potholes

indifferent, life is, to the
temporary, heavy nature of
mundane cavity patches

Hey, not my asphalt

the road to hell need not
lie smooth, straight, nor narrow
don’t even bother painting stripeshubcaps3
it matters not in the least

my empathy apathy
dictates you will always
always
drift across the center line,
regardless

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

A poet does math

campfiresparks1I counted stars once
not for any practical reason
not for romance
they patiently waited for me
to finish, as if they cared

I was sitting by a campfire
spitting its cinders as
sputtering death throes
they fluttered skyward
before dissolving

I could not help but wonder
if that is how stars
came to be; not as burned out
remnants from elsewhere
in the far-flung galaxy

stars are campfire embers
that made their
great escape, thereby
rewarded with eternal life

I counted stars once

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