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

Pseudo 23

Modern-day Psalmists
plying their trade via pithy sayings
basic fonts, splashy backdrops
portmanteaus of
varying interpretation

revelations
shifting dunes rounded by
prevailing winds as arid,
accepted gospel
lacking lyricism
posted for the world by
self-anointed prophets
claiming persecution, occasionally
lapsing into lamenting angst
bitterly masquerading as wit
pleading cases to merciful
gods/laptop Pharisees
issuing agreeable protestations
eschewing grace

never to grasp ‘liking’
is not prayer
weeping ideograms do
not denote benevolence
gaped-mouth ‘wows’
cannot replicate true, godly awe

like biblical counterparts
exhortations to repent, reform
delivering thunderous,
threatening, visual praise by way of
pictorial concatenation
oblivious to concepts of mercy, conflating
holier-than-thou with holiness

Facebook is my sheep, shepherd
I shall not want for others
those who disagree are my enemies
I immerse myself in blue pastures
scrolling paths of self-righteousness
finding goodness in my followers
all through my days

Amen?

– 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

High church

baseball-1957-clevelandAwed by the spectacle
blissfully confused to meaning
wide-eyed youth
confirmed in mystical faith
spiritual pageantry
standing for opening homily,
crowd vibrant, then bowed
reverence, singing along
opening hymn of allegiance
some know the words

Opening day, paradoxically
given all the answers
yet you need to discover
unending myriad of questions
finding your own way home

you tried discernment
unsure, wavering, exasperated
still loyal; the true believernicolletpark

Then came one
still sweetly recalled summer
prayerfully answering the call,
taking final vows,
when, in seven
yours won it all.

Long ago ordained, now
consecrated regular – your
stately, charismatic garments
proudly sweat-blotched, faded
bent-brimmed woolen miter
adornment off-kilter

presiding from
sun-soaked choir box-pew,ebbets-field2
lead provocateur –
sitting, standing, exultantly
cheering ‘Hallelujah!’
(modern translation)

Plastic chalice,
ice-cold communion potable
condiment-slathered
tubular unity bread
feeds heart, soul, head

Eucharistic celebration
pipe organ crescendos
punctuate ingrained,
ever-differing liturgy
opportunisticallyvintage-baseball
engaging homily played out

congregants alternately
stand in joyful anticipation,
sit in veneration, anguish

Ritualistic, solemn,
sacramental. Reverential.

True faith comes when
exuberance, not feigned,
reverberates, message lingers
long after you exit the temple
crossing the white lines drawn
on vibrant green
lessons ingrained
personal parables formulated

allowing you to be in the world,
of the world. Baseball.

Amen.
“Play ball!”

– 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

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

The Letter

IMG_20160819_180012Dear Grandchildren:

There is irony in that the

last thing you will ever forget

will be one of your firsts

crush

love

kiss

sex

broken heart

IMG_20160819_173909first to never be forgotten

first to stick with you

first to make you feel like that

first to make you hurt

first to make you feel alive

knowing that the firsts will

teach you the most

honor you the least

IMG_20160819_180312cause discomfort

provide perspective

be impossible to explain to others

yet explain everything there is to know

These things I tell you

because they are true

because I know

Love,

IMG_20160819_181546Grandpa

P.S.

Don’t tell your parents

you learned any of

this from me

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

Recalculating

only another turning point
crossroads of cliché and same ole
what to do which way to turn
got here without GPS will
navigate as always, following stars

gut instinct not infallible co-pilot
riding shotgun, no desire to shoot
let alone take aim even with
windows down, wind in my hair
freedom promised by open roads
just a more panoramic void
ahead or behind checking the shifter
my only clue as to direction
I can’t move it to R going fifty-seven
so I must be moving onward

hard to tell: the road nothing
but a dot in the distance
thinking back to ninth grade art,
lesson on perception and perspective
the farther you are away fromsign2
something means the brush strokes
need to be lighter, not so bold
in coloring or thickness or was
that a different lesson entirely?

I always got yelled at for never
cleaning my brushes properly
leaving them dry, stiff but I made them
starkly, erratically pliable again, using
my own technique of pushing down,
flattening bristles out, painting again
much coarser lines, less nuance

I am no impressionist
haven’t touched a canvas
in years yet time is just blots of color
I need a picture or map to
follow or grab vague directional hints
as I decide to flip a mental coin
heads left, tails right using my blinker –
always instructed to warn those
following my intentions

laughing to myself ruefullyonewayoneway

any fool who tries to follow
will be as lost as I
not knowing what I know
how not to get where I am going
and how many ways there are
to go there or not go there

pedal-to-the-metal-time
squealing rubber, leaving tracks
just drive, baby. Just drive.

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