Father’s Day Requiem

We never had one of
those TV sitcom
father-imparts-his-sage
wisdom, serious sit-downs
that I can recall

I have no fatherly counsel
fortune-cookie-inclusion
viral-meme-worthy
wisdom to share
rarely proclaiming,
“As my daddy used to say…”

Sans great punchline

parts of my father
I carry with me, mirth more
tangible than profundity
less open to interpretation
than mere platitudes

a life lived differently,
enjoyed fully

real examples used regularly:
treat people well
don’t sweat the small stuff
experience new things
appreciate old one
learn from whoever you can
because you
always can and you should

we never
discussed those things

what I learned most
from my dad was by osmosis
glacial, inexorable
noticeable only in retrospect
soaking up a life
generously poured, oftentimes
inadvertently spilled

hit me again, bartender.

conflicted by faith, he
simply lived faithfully
more-eighteen-than-
twenty-four-carat
Golden Rule doing-unto-others
sort of living

real gold doesn’t tarnish

I could say I never took a lesson
though that would be wrong
I unknowingly Jedi-mastered
mystical arts of wry observation
sardonic commentary, satirical jabs
serious points cloaked in
functional parables

uproariously serious,jester1-2
seriously funny

Like my father

I can never resist or not
appreciate a
humorous turn of phrase,
slapstick comedy,
ribald satire, bad pun

I learned from my dad
have confirmed by living: life
is a fine definition of irony

cursed I am, by
the grins of the father

  – Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

#FathersDay2020  #FathersDay #Fathersandsons

Laughter, unfading

‘If by chance some day you’re not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I’ve said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my comedy3purpose as your clown has been fulfilled.’
– Red Skelton

I never wanted to be known
as class clown
being the buffoon never my style
even in younger days I
preferred wit to slapstick
drollery and pathos
over crudeness and burlesque

Looking back I saw
missed opportunity in my humor
camouflaging as it did my
other attributes

my reputation cemented
as the fun, funny guy who could
always be counted on for
the big laugh
unexpected punchline

As time passed all I wantedCLOWN3
was the respect
of my peers
those who liked me, others
who I admired
for themselves

Decades have passed
as have classmates
frequently I have  been called upon
to provide a moment –
my amusing or hilarious take
on something past
story, funny toast, anecdote,
or memory
in times we gather
happy times or sorrowful
personally, or online

I am the one
to dilute the sadnesscomedy4
with quirky eulogist’s take on
someone’s life, shared times

Acceptance of my ‘character’
character was a
long time coming
though eventually, grudgingly
I acquiesced to long-ago-forged
rapier-wit persona
tempered as it was by time in
the minds of others

But a funny thing happened
on my way to
being jester remembered
a comment, once – from
an old friend, yet another
from someone else

more have followed suit

comments of gratitudeCLOWN1
or being there
to lift spirits on down days
remove the edge
from darker moments
just being me

These certainties I know now
relied upon by others
comfort, in some way
relief, reassurance to people
whose respect I long
sought, long ago discounted

Death, taxes, a quip from me
one out of three aint bad

I’ll take that to my grave
even though I have always believed
you can’t take it with you
because I cannot in good consciencecomedy2
leave such an important gig
to someone else

As the show must always…
go on, now.

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

#laughter #comedyandtragedy
#NaPoWriMoprompt1  #NaPoWriMoApril2019

1958

Eight-by-ten, glossy

Women’s gowns a snowy hue
men’s jackets polar-colored
pants black, everything else
radiant shades of grays

drearily brilliant tones
off-black, dark-white
vibrant portrait in celluloid

Twelve adults, a young boy
bouffants and buzz cuts, ogling
camera, mischievously

dead serious, mindfully aware
playful magnitude of the day

fighting off hangovers
practicing feigned solemnity
due charmed couple at center

She: youthful, stunning purity
dress, pearls, teeth, aura
He: counterfeit waiter miscast
starring male in tuxedo

a split second before
being frozen in time and
now tarnished frame
someone must’ve blurted
“Smile!”

If a thousand words
barely equal a single, old
Kodak portrait, the
bold, vivid, monochromatic
color does provide, with
absolute certainty

The camera never lies

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

Father’s Day Requiem

We never had one of
those TV sitcom
father-imparts-his-sage
wisdom, serious sit-downs
that I can recall

I have no fatherly counsel
fortune-cookie-inclusion
viral-meme-worthy
wisdom to share
rarely proclaiming,
“As my daddy used to say…”

Sans great punchline

parts of my father
I carry with me, mirth more
tangible than profundity
less open to interpretation
than mere platitudes

a life lived differently,
enjoyed fully

real examples used regularly:
treat people well
don’t sweat the small stuff
experience new things
appreciate old one
learn from whoever you can
because you
always can and you should

we never
discussed those things

what I learned most
from my dad was by osmosis
glacial, inexorable
noticeable only in retrospect
soaking up a life
generously poured, oftentimes
inadvertently spilled

hit me again, bartender.

conflicted by faith, he
simply lived faithfully
more-eighteen-than-
twenty-four-carat
Golden Rule doing-unto-others
sort of living

real gold doesn’t tarnish

I could say I never took a lesson
though that would be wrong
I unknowingly Jedi-mastered
mystical arts of wry observation
sardonic commentary, satirical jabs
serious points cloaked in
functional parables

uproariously serious,jester1-2
seriously funny

Like my father

I can never resist or not
appreciate a
humorous turn of phrase,
slapstick comedy,
ribald satire, bad pun

I learned from my dad
have confirmed by living: life
is a fine definition of irony

cursed I am, by
the grins of the father

  – Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Delivered

walking oldScreenshot (43)
neighborhood streets
first time in forty years

strolling the paper route
I once sped through on bike
chucking news, sports,
imaginary touchdown passes
blithe in my accuracy –
papers always
landing where intended
most of the time

remembering homes, faces
cantankerous folks
the best tippers
comforting offers of
lemonade, hot cocoa
incessantly yapping dogs
jokester accountants
fantasy-inducing housewives

Screenshot (45)subconsciously,
automatically I calculate
throwing angles to
accommodate now-grown trees
front yard rock gardens
odd statuary

before realizing with
laughably wistful irony that
all these years later
while I still have enough arm
to get them their news
would this generation even
understand the concept of
computer mouses
with cords
for their tales
landing on their doorsteps

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2017
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

1958

Eight-by-ten, glossy

women’s gowns a snowy hue
men’s jackets polar-colored
pants black, everything else
radiant shades of grays

drearily brilliant tones
off-black, dark-white
vibrant portrait in celluloid

Twelve adults, a young boy
bouffants and buzz cuts, ogling
camera, mischievously

dead serious, mindfully aware
playful magnitude of the day

fighting off hangovers
practicing feigned solemnity
due charmed couple at center

she: youthful, stunning purity
dress, pearls, teeth, aura
he: counterfeit waiter miscast
starring male in tuxedo

a split second before
being frozen in time and
now tarnished frame
someone must’ve blurted
“Smile!”

If a thousand words
barely equal a single, old
Kodak portrait, the
bold, vivid, monochromatic
color does provide, with
absolute certainty

the camera never lies

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

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

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

In (and out) of the loop

local coffee place
sipping my solitary cup
checking email

next table over
a group of men older
than I, age gap not of
grandfather-grandson
severity

the six zealously swap
tales of doctor visits with
enthusiasm once reserved
for one-night stands
summer romances

familiar names swirl
through their regaling
conversation;
Alzheimer’s, Chron’s,
Cirrhosis taking the places
of honor once held by
Mantle, Mays, Snyder

reeling off statistics like
they were twelve again
arguing conflicting treatments
with firm convictions that
their guy is absolutely
the better player

the conversation is
not foreign to me
only the proximity

mornings often find me in
front of my laptop
messaging with friends from
various stages of my life
scattered at far-flung locales
sharing their struggles
acknowledging my grudgingly
accepting empathy of
Parkinson’s, arthritis, diabetes

their statistics quoted from
doctor’s words, websites read,
support groups attended
and I thankfully, at times
guiltily have little to add

taking a final sip of coffee
I can simply log off, get up,
leave my tip on the table
or mug by my computer
thoughtfully walk away

Mark Lucker