Breezes

summer comes to a close
autumnal breezes waft
rustling memories of those
days when the close of summer
had more definitive endings

sun-drenched days of youthful
frolic, innocent play, done

swimming, playing with frogs in
holes dug on sandy beaches at
grandparent’s homes; ‘the lake’
summer Xanadus of childhood
one year, scenic backdrops for
advancing adolescence the next

the summer dented pails,
bent shovels lay unused in
boathouse corner; replaced with
initials inside a heart, drawn
artfully at dusk in beach sand with
carefully chosen stick, just to be
erased by evening’s gentle waves

Previous summers we traveled
in packs along endless lakeshore
some ‘ooing’ over discovered shells
all ‘eewing!’ over dead, bloated fish
skipping rocks to show machismo

But our duo walks became more
intimate strolls through the woods
privacy trumping pinecone collection,
coy separation from the collective
group not as subtle as we hoped

Each summer indelible as the
next; parts of many years blending
seamlessly together, a montage of
youthful Julys, childhood vacations

But the starkness of one summer
that is viewed not with the gauziness
of looking back fondly, but with clarity
of time, place, purpose…firsts.

One brilliant, Kodacolor snapshot
that never made it into any scrapbook
yet still remains the clearest picture

especially when summer ends
and the breezes of fall swirl

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2017
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

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

Pictures

We
were a long
time ago

years?
decades?
lifetimes?
carbon dating?

time is filled in
a long forgotten
coloring book
half the pictures
never finished
bold, black-line
outlines dated,
quaint

stumbled across
by accident
you flip through
remembering
all the scenes
beach, park,
ball, puppy

love ?

first few pages
carefully colored
giving way to
partially filled
marker-mosaics
lacking nuance
or hue
unrealistically
bold

and only now do
you understand the
illogic in staying
within the lines

as you toss the
book in the trash

Mark Lucker

From Here to Less Certainty

A day at the beach
we have been here before;

I am trying to be
Burt Lancaster
as you hesitate to play
Deborah Kerr with
self-conscious protestations
I have heard many times

But today the kids are
not with us, the friends who
we accompany sit engrossed
in their sun-worshipping,
paperbacks, inflatable-floating

oblivious to us and not
burning with our middle-aged
or any other sort of passion

my long smoldering fantasy
plays a recurring loop in
my mind’s eye always,
not oddly, in pristine
black-and-white

admittedly I have never had
Burt’s shoulders, jaw line,
hair, stature
I have tried vainly to
master his presence,
make it my own, yet
sadly cannot stand
and drip water on you
with marquee panache

you lay on your towel
my attempts to entice you
to join me once, just one
time, in a sandy embrace
while the gentle surf
plops meekly upon the shore
are warily deflected

It then occurs to me your
reticence might be overcome
by bigger, bolder surf
or more unique idea

but I am what I am

as I sit on the warm sand
I wonder if crashing waves
really would set your heart
pounding or if I should
just let the tide go out

Mark Lucker

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

Smörgåsbord

There are many
different
kinds of love

puppy
brotherly
unrequited
passionate
secret
eternal
young
first
true

having oft
indulged in
at least
a smattering
of each morsel
mixing entrées
salads
desserts on
the same plate

I am woefully
unqualified
to distinguish
tasty from savory
overcooked from
underdone yucky
from delectable

still I happily
grab a fresh plate
for another pass

…by the dashboard light?

What was in our youth, mood
lighting for teen romance –
dim, yellowish-orange tinged
spotlight on amateurishly
fumbled front-seat lust

has become, in our middle-aged
driveway rendezvous, moment-
before-we-go-in-from-a-night-out

a weird glow of two blue-hued
Smurfs who now bumble with
seatbelts due not to inexperience –
but for lack of practice and the

confusion of hazily remembered
Gumby-like nostalgia with the
logistical impracticality of now,
coupled with the odd, irrational
fears of inadvertent deployment
of dashboard air bags;

unlikely, yet boast-worthy episode
rendered less useful with no locker
to hang out by, no peers to awe,
chiropractic co-pays in the offing

Now we just kill the engine,
go inside, sit down and watch the
news from opposite ends of the couch

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.

Reading each other

She is reclining,
reading
on bed or couch;
on her side,
jean-clad legs in
fetal curl,
head propped up
on cocked, sensual
elbow, other hand
holding the book
her eyes flitting
through her fiction

sometimes she is on
her back, nestled in
pillows, engrossed,
both hands grasping
stomach-resting book
bare feet crossed
at the ankles

I sit on the edge of
couch, bed
casually, gently run a
single finger across
her t-shirt clad
midsection in gentle
sawing motion,
poking; outlining
so I pointedly, gently
tell her every time

is just where the staples
would be located
in her centerfold shot

should be so inclined
to ever pose for one

She always nods in a
way that only being
together for twenty years
can acknowledge both
my attraction, and her
starring role in my elusive,
creative daydreaming.

She smiles, and we
continue reading