Literalists

“I would slay a dragon for you!”
said he from out of the blue
his lilting voice a hopeful
spontaneous, off-hand musing
had him hoping for more
as she looked up from her
paperback mystery romance

“There are no dragons”
she stated flatly, perplexed
as he quietly sighed, continued
reading yesterday’s newspaper

Oath of June

“Do you solemnly swear
to tell the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth?”

“I do.”

“You may now kiss the bride.
Liar.”

Muse bemuse

Erato

She has been a muse
nothing more and
everything less
since we met as teens

inspiration still flows
from a fleeting reminder;
hearing her name
(commonly used by others
out of parental laziness)
the searing stubbed-toe
pain of an emotional owie
only she could’ve kissed
and made better

longing springs from trying
to remember just why
pinpoint specifics of how;
pixellated memories
vaguely distinguishable
from imagination

I was never her destiny
not even on the periphery
of being a fallback option
as I don’t believe she ever
wrote a single word of me,
save long-ago-stopped-
exchanging Christmas cards

Thalia

as my muse she has become
more verb than noun
a contemplative touchstone
to a time when faux
inspired creativity passed
for honest insight

confirming my relief that
I am neither sculptor or
painter…but a simple poet
– prone to and forgiven for –
hyperbole and other creative
transgressions, writing with
suspended creative license,
failing to not yield
to the pedestrian

Hummel a few bars and they’ll fake it

carnal garden gnomes
filling my shelves with tchotchkes;
time to trim big leaves

Poured forth

The bartender is skeptical;
less than most of his peers
more transparent about it
than many fellow mixologist
hesitant in his urge to believe

the guy on the stool adjacent
to mine doesn’t understand
the resistance, thus taking the
credibility hit when he can
least afford one, then takes it
personally, with resignation;
defeated in his silent defiance

As a bystander with no vested
interest but the mental-wager
I, too, doubt the man’s sincerity
believable as it may be – or not.

The bartender, I think, makes a
salient point; there is no use in
arguing with a lovesick drunk,
nothing is gained from making
oblique threats of expulsion
should anything get out of hand

we all agree on one absolute; if
he had said anything at all to her,
we would all know for certain.

Mark Lucker

Restraint

I burn for you.

Remembering school
hallway posters
advising when in flames,
stop, drop, roll.

Subconsciously heeding
long suppressed
laminated pictograms
I have resisted the urge
to do the safe thing
whenever you walk in as

my resulting floor gyrations
would lack the panache to
qualify as a mating dance
ala National Geographic

Still, I burn for you.

Like son, like father

The daughter of close friends
looks at my son like that

they have known each other
since first grade – a time when
looking at each other like that
would have been unthinkable;
icky, gross…dis-GUS-ting!

Now she looks at him like that

When I first noticed her looking
his obliviousness was a comfort
but now he looks like that
at someone else, still clueless

I remember the summer I was
fifteen, noticing for the first time
looks like that directed at me…

thought were aimed at me
until late July’s heat removed all
ambiguity, before summer escaped

He doesn’t yet realize but it’s the
un-auditioned for role-of-a-lifetime
the chance for a starring turn
as someone else’s first love

Outside the lines

You opened me like a book
thumbed through the pages
of boldly outlined pictures
mercurially finding one you

chose your weapon from
boxed arsenal; a sharp one,
new to the point and unused

you are the 64-box of Crayola’s
using all the colors of you to
flesh out the person that is me
the picture that became us

showing all the restraint of a
four-year old for boundaries
the flair of Matisse for nuance
you have always boldly, blithely
refused to color inside the lines

and I like that way.

Antipasto!

Dinner with my Valentine;
wine and Sinatra
Fine haiku-be-do-be-do…

But is it art?

Large, bold strokes
spray painted symbols, words
innocent and sinister hieroglyphs
and slogans in black and blue
on pulsating, animated canvas

Names, times, events, places
feelings and forgotten emotions

weathered, all

Some are ancient, indecipherable
some still hurt some never did
some are funny a few not at all

Many names are legible, a.k.a’s
various wry nom de plumes abound

gratuitous entries outnumbered by
the meaningful but misinterpreted
by others, Rosetta stones be damned

Emotional vandals. Heart graffiti.