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

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

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

Love at the middle ages

Being your knightknight1
in shining armor
often means more
work for you
pounding out dents
knocking off rust
slapping in Bondo
minimizing creaks
knowing just when,
where to squirt WD40

There is nobility in
your exasperation at
my Quixotic nature
acceptance of my
clunky, clanky chivalry;
romantic caprices
challenge your practicality
whimsically, we joust
word lances of affection,knight4
never winner-take-all

M’lady
in your loving hands
I shine
tarnish becomes patina
you are the damsel
that rescued me, lo
those many years ago
abid, abyd, abyde,
my love

– 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

Vestiges

As kids, we tied our fatescokebottlesinase
to various inanimate
yet participatory objects

spun bottles
Ouija boards
dandelions

professed proof of true loves
brought cryptic messages
all interpreted with certainty

until the imagined magic
vintage-william-fuld-mystifying-oracle-ouija-board-w-wooden-planchette-1938-a84507e57559af0289d9fc2a820d59dcwore off leaving us with our
first taste of skepticism

but the bottle could be
redeemed for the deposit,
the eye to the beyond a
table for your sister’s Barbie,
wilted weed went to seed

youth can leave you jaded
if you play the games
forgetting it is all in fun

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


‘Vestiges’ is just a sample.

COVER FINAL 2
From my book ‘Lost, found, holding on’ Available in paperback or Kindle http://lrd.to/p6rxzwIMnD

 

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

Estrange

Regret and I100_5071
have a tenuous
relationship

flirtations ebb, wane
pop up again
precariously at odd
moments, clumsily

the standoffish one
in this tepid
relationship is me

running hot-and-cold
I can be a
frustrating companion100_5067

lackluster lover

there is no love lost
between me
and regret

never love
at first sight
never a commitment

convenient
one-night stand
whenever I
happen to
be in town

regrets
I’ve had a few,
so sayeth Sinatra

regret is a derisive
impotent lover
scorned

cold shoulder
all mine

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

Call me, Ishmael. Leave a message.

We all have within usmobydick1
some Captain Ahab

obsessively pursuing
something, someone

unattainable

physically or mentally
we quest something lost
never obtained
hadn’t the courage
or stomach for

a diem you couldcarpeidemgermanpostcard
never carpe

uselessly we quest
a time we came close
nagging should haves
gnawing what ifs

crimes of passion
not worth prosecuting

each an intensely personal
no-two-alike fingerprint
‘one that got away’

we imagine our preyantiqueharpoons
sporting our broken-off
harpoons

festering wounds
unbeknownst to us have
scarred over
healed entirely
never went deep enough
and quickly fell away

still we pursue
irrationally with purpose
a creature from
the depths of then

only breaking the calm
surface of now
when it suits us to
be on the hunt

“…to the lastmobydick2
I grapple with thee…”

parting words uttered
in reply to no one,

the one

the one that got away
cannot let you go
if you don’t
reciprocate

hunter, hunted,
haunted.

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