Old growth

birchbark1At age seven I nearly killed the pubescent
birch tree anchoring our Minneapolis backyard
stripping it of all its bark, roots to four feet up –
the physical limits of my fanciful reach

As Mrs. Kime’s most intrepid first-grader
I planned to build a birch bark canoe, ala
the Chippewa we were studying, but
my grandiose vessel never took float
paddling confined to parental retribution
albeit with forgiving landlord-absolution

not George Washington, there is no notoriety
from well-intentioned arbor-indiscretiontreerings2

Half a century later, the birch tree still stands
defiant, smugly secure in its survival: Midwestern
winters, drought summers, visionary first graders

I too, still stand – resilient and unfazed, rooted in
long-forfeited yard, having weathered erratic seasons
dubious choices, those who tried to remake me
I remain a curious, risk-taking, idea-prone dreamer

Neither of us ever produced a working canoe yet
our respective rings share a distinctive trait; denser,
late, wood – thick ring dating us to a particular summer
the growing season that solidified respective chronologies

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

No French Cuffs

Plaid flannel shirts
of my Northwoods youth
smelled of
beer and pine cones
boat motor gasoline and
fresh caught sunfish
wood smoke
and filtered Winstons

when I was a kid the
intertwined, pungent
aromas of cervelat salami
plumbers’ grease, house paint
mingled freely, locked
in square-patterned fibers,
always-rolled-up sleeves

no amount of
Fels-Naptha soap
could smother those
godly auras

When I was a kid
plaid flannel shirts smelled
wonderfully worn by heroes –
old men with accents and dialects
eye-winks and odd habits
mentors who I know understood,
that I emulated
aspired to one day be like

Plaid flannel shirts
hang now in my closet;
freshly washed, hanging neatly –
as they never
would or could on the
hero-men I knew

My plaid flannel shirts
hang quietly, neatly,
sedately
rarely worn, quietly lived-in
yet they, too
smell of wood smoke
and pine trees
beer, salami, pine

wood box colby cheese and
chainsaw exhaust,
bait minnows and Old Spice
whenever I open
my closet

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

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

Morning coffee

Saturday

Early, but not too
I bring her
a cup of coffee
rich stuff,
the good stuff
our special
Saturday blend

She stirs gently,
like the brew
setting the mug
on her nightstand
pheromones blend with
aromatic Arabica

Saturday morning
alchemy dissolves into
Saturday afternoon

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

Documentation

Uniquely Minnesotabar napkin
crumpled, soggy
torn palate
slurred ink
Picassoesque words

Big Chief tablets
beloved by
2nd graders,
kitsch rhymesters

used envelopes
narrow canvas
postage, odd visuals,
broken windows
work in
cancellation stamp
wanderlust,
bonus angst

matchbook cover
epics cause
inspired squinting

haikus on receipts
cannot be returned without
merchandise in hand

scribbles, doodles on
pilfered periodicals
leave waiting rooms wanting
morsecodeed
urinal stall cuneiform
witticisms masquerading
as profundity
works! when aim altered

poetry is not common law;
always get it in writing

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2016
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

Gathered Pinecones

From my book ‘Gathered Pinecones’ on sale now, in paperback or Kindle   http://lrd.to/gathered-pinecones

Moored

Morning sun of summer
wafting through open, lake-front window
each day awakening with a squint, gasp
soft-focus of seven-tree birch stand
backlit by various shades of dawn filtered
through tall jack pines on Huxtable Point,
opposite, eastern side, of Horseshoe Lake

most mornings I lay there
letting the day begin its work
soaking in, absorbing rebirth

some days the siren call of loon, heron
splash of jumping bass, rhythmic slap of
lake water on sandy beach lured me
to end of sky-blue-painted dock
to sit, letting the sun, new day,
envelope me in loving embrace
old friends meeting for the first time

…sitting’ in the mornin’ sun,
…waitin for the day that comes
watchin’ the day roll in…

same tune, mornings, every summer
same window, bed, dock,
same morning sun
no two alike, ever matched

I, twelve-year-old Otis minus angst,
still unaware of melancholy, knowing
unequivocally, sitting on the dock
at the lake was never just wasting time

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

COVER FINAL

Lost, found, holding on

From my book ‘Lost, found, holding on’
Available in paperback or Kindle
http://lrd.to/p6rxzwIMnD

Salonica, goneica

She loves me, she loves me not
Played that game as a kid, for fun
with and without the flower
played it frequently later, for keeps
Won once or twice

I have over picked my life’s quota
of prophetic daisies, come out
on either side of the nursery rhyme
sometimes the right verse,
sometimes the wrong time

it blossomed, it went to seed
it blossomed, it went to seed
it blossomed, it went to seed

Same song, rarely heard second verse

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

COVER FINAL 2

Valentine’s Day, approacheth

GB beerAdrift

Over a beer, I blithely told
a friend bemoaning a lost love
there were plenty of
“other fish in the sea”

unmoved, he was, as I noted
“there are also tires, discarded
refrigerators and sunken oil tankers”

Thus inspired he raised his glass,
made a toast; “Let’s hear it” said he
“for the girls of the flotsam.”

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


 

Midway!? All the Way!

Love is like a day at the fairmidwayalltheway2

flashing neon, loud music, exotic
sights, smells, sounds, enticements

sensory overload

You know you shouldn’t over indulge
but you do and then you get sick
but what a ride, oh what a ride!

Faster! Faster! Faster!
Up! Down! All around! Spinning!
Dropping! Whirling! Faster! Faster!
Spinning around, wanting desperately
to get off but can’t until the ride stops

a disembodied voice reminds you to
‘Stay in your seat until the ride comesmidwayalltheway
to a complete stop!

But by then it is way too late.

You are walking down the midway
you are woozy, but need to eat
everything and nothing looks appetizing
and the first thing you grab is cotton candy

Love is cotton candy in the summer heat
sweet, sticky, satisfying – always a mess.

No matter how hard you try to keep your
fingers clean, it is always a great, big
sticky, gooey, wouldn’t-miss-it mess.

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


 

Smörgåsbord

smorgasbord2There are many
different
kinds of love

puppy
brotherly
unrequited
passionate
secret
eternal
young
first
true

having oftsmorgasbord1
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

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

 

First dance

A ma-and-pa resort, small lake
north woods of Minnesota
seeburgsmall office behind
quaint bar, twelve small cabins
dozen aluminum rowboats to use;
minnows, worms, leeches for sale
amenities, ala Angler’s Edge

Joe & Gloria’s place

The bar a hangout for township locals
grandpa Ivar and I frequented the nicked,
cigarette-burn speckled
polished, yellow-varnished bar for a
North Star beer, ice cold Nesbitt’s Orange
I enjoyed from my end-of-bar spot

A summer semi-regular.

Perched atop two upside-down
wooden Coca-Cola crates
stacked together, laid across two
shiny red-vinyl top, chrome-rimmed
swivel-seat bar stools
bringing me to proper sitting.
sipping height

until the summer my height
matched my station withDino45
always jovial Joe, ever kindly
large-laughing Gloria

Joe would slip me dimes
to play his disc-bowling machine
feed his 45-laden Seeburg jukebox
always selections G5, G6
back-to-back Dean Martin starting
with the bass-thump of Houston…

My musical choices amused Joe

his dimes, gratis – except on Fridays
when I earned my keep
prepping Angler’s Edge worn,
maple dance floor
for the evening’s band
paid in advance, I would crank Dean;
Little Ole Wine Drinker Me
grab the yellow-and-black shaker can
liberally sprinkle the dance wax
the floor all mine as I shuffled
to Dino crooning

“…I’m prayin’ for rain, in Califorrrrrnia….”maple1b

spontaneously choreographing
my personal pre-teen two-step
grinding the wax in
elevating the floor to polka, waltz
schottische, western swing perfection
finishing as Dino was faded off
…little ole wine drinker, me…I say…
with a show-stopping slide
ending near the cramped bandstand

between wax-infused Levi knees
tongue-in-groove hardwood boards
meeting no resistance
the wax, the music, the memories
rich patina of my youth

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