Playing on

Faded are July’s warmth, summer’s cheers. Supplanted now by the encroaching hints of cooler days, forgotten expectations, procrastinated chores shelved, he can only now muse without dwelling on what won’t be. Could-have-beens and maybes aren’t statistically meaningful; they never really were, except to others in relation to their expectations and dreams for him. Regret is not something that taints him. He does not feel a talent wasted. He recalls every crucial moment as it was, for what it was.

Unburdened by excuses, unwilling to pass blame. A trait truly a gift not wasted.

It was what it was and is, he did what he had done, and it has all come down to this: seasons of joy, of youth, of expectations – have dwindled, and he savors their uncertainty of numbers. Youth cannot serve that master. He revels in coming autumn and finds it no burden as winter creeps in to bury and renew. Spring will be welcome, but no more or less than its brethren.

Memories are not subsistence. This he knows for fact. Cheers he once accepted have faded. Others have taken his place on stage. As many have forgotten him as remember him. The field of honor which he once ruled by force and triumphant jousting he now benevolently presides over. The thought occurs that maybe his soul is the autumn grass; wearily vibrant, going dormant. In need of a respite. The patriarch emeritus smiles in triumph.

Zipping up his coat, its collar turned upward against the gathering winds of fall, he leans into the breeze, stiffening his resolve. The air is quiet, save the wind, and he is at peace with the simple knowledge that spring will, someday, sometime, for whatever reason, return. But for now, time is in his comfortable grasp, for he now understands its tenuous and uncontrollable nature; he can tuck it safely away like a pocket watch in vest pocket, and stroll through the lovely, dark and deep woods without fear of reprisal from promises not kept.

Mark Lucker

Meditative bombast

What I have inflicted on life and
its responsorials and reprisals
on me have proven that regrets
teach – if you do the homework

things, events once inexplicable
are simply lessons learned in an
evolving matriculation; tuition
deferred, knowledge incurred,
debits carried forward, erased

Unlike my youthful self
I am far less Dylanesque, unless
positively traveling Fourth Street

Such is life, such am I – and you?
in spite of failures and shortfalls,
perhaps because of them,
subsequent successes make me
realize it has all come so swiftly,
sweetly and simply by way of
perspiration born of desperation

and plain dumb luck

To be sure of life is to know that
failure equals inspiration,
while youthful triumph is just rote
mathematical miscalculation.

Success (survival) is startling news.

Here I stand, having purged the
regrets, how-comes and what-ifs;
sweetly savoring varietal
demons as muse.

Oracle

He was a shaman always
clad in sacramental
wool plaid shirt, dirty cap

there are no mountaintops
in Minnesota’s northwoods

Enlightenment here comes
from atop decaying tree stump
aside rustic leaf and pine needle
carpeted trails cutting through
towering pines, birch, oak
you stop, sit for a spell

solemnity in this place dictated
with wry smiles, knowing nods…
rubbing of beard stubble chins;
moral lessons here punctuated
with a joke, tall tale, or sly wink

The guru walks with you;
there is no sacred pilgrimage to
be made no sacrifices requeted
or self-flagellation required

unless you make the joke
on yourself

Wisdom came to me on short
walks I wished even then could
have lasted much longer.