Today another old friend
passed further on
to a place
I don’t know
I can’t fathom

despair over politics
lashing out in anger over
villains not real
slights he imagines
typing out his anger
nonsensical rumors
sharing humorless memes

making mean comments
about others
mostly those different
from himself

at least in perception

too many things are
taken personally
shared in anger
without direction
or basis in common
sense or decency

where he has gone is so far
removed from where
he has been, where
he intended to go
long ago

I cannot share his
fascination with
conspiracy theories
with so much
so any others

asking him
he is going
and why
trying to bring
him back to where
he once was
only drives him
deeper into

that place
those places

I am not a lifeguard
I cannot
save him,
do not

fearing only that
like in our days in school
the crowd he is
typing with is
leading him to a bad place

knowing some of
the others in the crowd
I fear that
it is only a
matter of time
until I succumb to the
Facebook zombie
ten-point font apocalypse

– Mark L. Lucker

© 2016


I always see her; mind’s eye myopia shows an eternal smile never fouled by frown or dismay. She dances, lightly, through dreamscapes decades in their fermentation. Her long hair twirls behind her, cascading brown across shapely shoulders, wind-blown bangs framing youthful, pristine face. Memory does not embellish. Pictures captured of late show little change in her uncorrupted eyes, smile; flawless even in candid shots.  She stands next to old friends, bringing into sharp relief how time has steered clear; Dorian Gray, without tribulation.  Equally telling – the lack of envy from peers.  Never did she engender jealousy; only longing, in young men who could not muster gumption to ask her. Their fear ironically unwarranted. Some pictures posted show her with her husband, a decent man who I am certain is unworthy, contrary to their years together.

Asked her, she said no

later writing her regret,

I still only sigh


– Mark L.Lucker

© 2016

Rune drafting

I follow the lead of my ancestors
who committed epics to stone, via
hammers, chisels, sharp rocks
stories, histories endure, still studied

my people wrote on reindeer skins
with intricate threads and techniques
told elaborate tales on functional
vessels of iron and pewter they cast

their exploits recorded in a language
they invented, refined, exported as they
traveled far and wide on their advanced
skills as sailors, navigators, explorers

I follow the lead of my forbearers in
cataloging heroic acts, far-flung journeys
though my skills in rune stone carving
are minimal, rusty, highly unrefined

In the spirit of those who came before me
I blaze new trails through an ether of HTML
letters far more impressive when chiseled
crisply, weathered into Scandinavian granite

I am a different man for a different time
I am what my forefathers were; adventurous,
curious, willing to take chances to pursue…?
creatively, with purpose and great daring

from my chair, at a desk, far less stressfully
on a sleek slab of plastic-encased electronics,
characters struck with unerring precision
by multiple flying chisels disguised as fingers

My words lack the gravity of those etched
laboriously in intricately carved stones though I
remain secure in my comfort, mindful of the
fact that my ancestors possessed no delete key


– Mark L. Lucker
© 2016


One July day Karen and I took a walk in the woods. Summer friends since our days as kindergarteners a decade before, things had changed. Karen had changed. Sister of my best friend David, her tomboy ways with fishing poles and bait, canoes, axes and snakes had added visual allure while losing none of her outdoors prowess.  Our walking took us into Cleo’s woods, where there was an old log we knew in a clearing of the pine needle path. All of us Horseshoe Lake kids, in various configurations had long used it as a bench to sit on and talk. I had used it in solitude countless times to sit, absorb whatever the Minnesota North woods wanted to soak me with. Sights, sounds, aromas; Mother Nature always with something to say, I was always a good listener.

The day that Karen and I took the walk started out like most others discussing grandparents, fishing, stuff. Having walked these woods countless times, we knew every bend in the trail, every decaying stump, every skylight-break in the pine canopy.  The long-ago felled tree lie in the clearing, as it had for years. We sat, we talked, I casually picked up a couple of acorns and threw them at eavesdropping chipmunks, causing them to chatter at me while scampering away and causing Karen to kiss me or maybe I kissed her, then suddenly she was sitting on my lap but then we fell off the log.

Reflexively thrusting my arms back, I was able to brace myself, stopping at a teeter; my legs draped over the log, my butt on the ground, both hands flattened out with fingers pointing backwards. I did not drop Karen, and she laughed – at falling of the log, my awkward posture, my kissing. Who knows. We stayed that way for a while as there was no reason not to.

An hour later, back at the house, fondly remembering the afternoon, I noticed the telltale rash and felt the familiar itch on the inside of my forearms. Sitting there, legs dangling over that log, with Karen on my lap, my arms had been braced firmly behind me in a patch of poison ivy. The resulting discomfort of a few days quelled by Fels-Naptha soap and Calamine lotion, though the puzzled questioning from adults inquiring how “You got poison ivy THERE” seemed only understood by Cleo, who laughingly reminded me as he had for years, that I was welcome to walk – and stop – in his woods anytime I wanted.

Even after all these years, it is an itch I still want to scratch.

Mark L. Lucker
© 2016


Before darkness
comes the
foreboding crackle

disorientation giving
way to cursed luck
fate, ill-timed

there exists briefly
a vacuum knowing
neither light nor absence
of  illumination

there is no good that
comes from channeling
dormant, evolutionary
bat instincts

only stubbed
emotional toes, bruised
psyche shins
leading to the inevitable

frustration of finding
you are completely
out of the right bulb for
the space in which
you currently stand

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2016


Childhood visits to our
neighborhood library mandated
pilfering of free bookmarks
one for each book seemed logical
never remembering that I
returned only the books

varietal bookmarks littered
my bookshelves, then desk drawers
a dedicated few made it into,
stayed within the confines of a book
permanence assured though
logic of placement rarely survived
relationships with stories, others
there were always new takes
to be read, placed in ‘used’ bins

even though marking my spot
meant  I could go back I rarely did
preferring plowing-through to
review, remember, reconsider
voraciously rumbling through
fact, fiction, poetry and muses

early technology encouraged
bookmarking pertinent WWW locales
but my pattern held; onward, done
not going back there on purpose
frequently asking why I was
ever there to begin with
what really caught my eye at the time

now there they sit in the dusty stacks,
no bookmarks protrude
and only when a book is pulled
from the shelf do I realize
that I long ago

eschewed bookmarks
and simply started to
dog-ear the select pages

– Mark L. Lucker

© 2016


One metmorphisize fits all


mythology only prefacing
the sequel
continuing the saga
tacking on the index onto
volume one

having read this scene
from life movies
writing, rewriting the books
playing déjà vu-all-over-again
never more than
countless times
monotony of changing times
same cast of characters
different roles

Exit, stage right
enter stage left
either or, vice versa
prefacing intermission
part one ends…

time to regroup, recalibrate
endings are simply ellipsis
masquerading as comfort
to the ill-at-ease

 – Mark L. Lucker
© 2016

Poetry Marathon, 2016

The journey of a thousand miles

begins with one step

putting on shoes

putting on socks

getting out of bed

sitting at keyboard

coffee at hand

sans shoes, socks, shirt

Expedia, Trivago cannot get me there

not making reservations

staying the night after the day

more coffee

still no socks, shoes

traveling light

going so very, very far.


       – Mark L. Lucker


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