Campfire poems Love and Romance Moments Relationships

Campground Neighbors (Campfire Poem #72)

Couple next door
way older than 
sixtyish me
compact camper
in place when we

a man, a woman
silver hair
matching dog
say hello 
when they return
late evening

Early risers, both
come morning
they let dog out
back in
we nod 'hello'

As I enjoy my
morning campfire
I am reminded
how small, hard
shell campers
amplify, resonate 
basic sound of
even minimal 
quite clearly to

I stop mid-sip
not nearly 
as invigorating,
entertaining as 
the grunts,
giggles - lots of
emanating from 
the little trailer 
next door
as the sun rises
their passion for
the woods

As my attention
returns to 
my coffee

I am impressed
with my 
unknown neighbors
morning prowess
and raise a 
travel-mug toast
realizing they
recreate via 
very fitting 
'Scamp' brand 

A company 
for whom they 
should do 
for while I could 
plainly hear 
all the knockin'
it was never once
even slightly 

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2022

Campfire poems

Confirmation, 06/11/22

In the hierarchy of


life, death

love, loss

nothing to a poet

is as evocative of


eternal truth

as northern rain

falling fiercely

on meager roof

– Mark L. Lucker

© 2022

Introspection Life Then and Now Uncategorized

Self portrait

The extremes of who,
I am
whence I hail
DNA, culturally, spiritually
all fun to puzzle-piece 
free form, no
squared-off edges of

What my forebearers were
who they were
what they did
what was done to them
is historically
recorded, reported 
yet remains very personally 

My now obsessive, reflexive
detective skills 
honed with 
time, experience, dumb luck
eureka moments
dead ends
smugly proved theories
can be 
broken down quite simply
as such:

Having descended 
rough, seafaring Vikings 
and equally
tough, resilient, proud 
diaspora Ashkenazi
my long-standing
exploratory‘what's next?’
is DNA encoded

as is my state of
perpetually wondering 
should I stop and pillage  
or simply keep wandering

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2022
Growing up me The Lake Uncategorized


I long for the sound 
of an old
wooden screen door
oak frame, wire mesh
heavy, with a new
so the initial slam 
triggers recoil – 
residual wood WHAP!

Nothing to stop an 
old wooden screen door
save gravity
those doors
were rapt percussion
a backbeat to youthful 

The one at grandma and 
grandpa’s cabin 
portal to the
down the hill
or the heavier-framed 
with Coke-sign bumper
jingling bell – the 
front door of 
Larson’s corner store 
where you always got a 
slam when arriving to 
an empty for deposit
again upon 
with excitement and 
cold, full bottle of 
Nesbitt’s Strawberry 

I long for the sound 
of an old 
wooden screen door
oak frame, wire mesh
heavy, with a new

like the ones I was told
as a kid 
to never slam but 
that could 
never contain me
or my fond recollection

I’ll forever let that
door slam but
I’ll never let it 

– Mark L. Lucker

© 2021

Contemporary Life Snippets and snapshots Uncategorized


Sitting at a brewery 
rural, northern Minnesota
tasting a variety of 
beers, ales 
small flights of five

A couple - mid-twenties
sits across from us
they too, are sampling 
each other - first timers
dating app peccadillos

awkward exchanges 
preferences for
beer types, each other
quickly give way to
comfortable laughter

Another pair - fiftyish
same scenario 
plays out - stilted
chatting on beer,
backgrounds, dating 

uneasy silences 
punctuated with
periodic 'I like this'
'This one is good'
trivial talk of weather

The younger couple
their beer
excitedly agrees to
head up the road for
go karts, mini-golf

The older sippers
settle in
find common ground
exchanging phones
with grandkids 

conversation turns
to banter
body language 
softens, words lose
nervous edge
as the sun sets
they have settled in

Meanwhile we 
have worked our way 
through all ten of
our brews
vicarious curiosity
in both neighboring 
sets of beer 
trying new things

that romance is
much like brewing -
it's all about combining
the right 
ingredients, patience

For me
the evening 
simply confirmed
I like 
my beers hoppy
my endings happy

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2021
Life social justice Uncategorized

Witness 04/20/21

‘A bouquet of humanity.’

– Jerry Blackwell


The youngest among the crowd

that day was nine

On her way to that very store

to buy snacks

Walking with her cousin, who

was twelve that day

“Get off of him!” said the younger

girl, with plaintive scowl


She said it more than once.


The store clerk was a boy of

eighteen, and would’ve

sold the girls their snacks

had not fate intervened

He now bears guilt not

in any way his

just because he made

the call that brought the cops


The same cops told by

the little girl that they were hurting

the man on the pavement

“Get off of him!” said the younger

girl, with sterner scowl


She said it more than once.


Just like the woman who stopped

on her way to work in a

community garden, on her day off

from her paramedic job

she offered to help the man

while echoing the little girl’s plea.


She said it more than once.


Others gathered on that

neighborhood curb, showing

neighborhood concern for

the man on the pavement

saying he couldn’t breathe as

a different man, lacking any sense

of community, of humanity

kneeled on the gasping man’s neck


“He can’t breathe!”

“Get off of him!”

“You need to let him up!”

“He says he can’t breathe!”


They said it more than once.


But the man with his knee on the

neck of the man the community saw

in their community, on their street

standing on their curb, now yelling at

the indifferent man with his knee on

a neck, his hand in his pocket

like he was waiting for a bus at that

very bus stop – a bus he would

not be caught dead riding because

it didn’t go where he wanted to be

because people on those buses were

of a neighborhood not his

a neighborhood far from his

both in geography and in being


They said it more than once.


The little girl, her cousin, the paramedic

the retired man out for a stroll

the other guy who just happened by

And the teenaged girl who had presence

and a phone

and who filmed the whole thing

and the video found its way to every

nook and cranny of the globe

and millions of people in thousands

of other neighborhoods

took to their streets, their sidewalks

their own curbs, bus stops, corner stores

and they said the man with his knee

should’ve gotten up

should’ve let the other man breathe

should’ve helped the man when he

stopped breathing


They said it more than once.


We know this, because a young woman

recorded it all, shared it with the world

shared the truth of what happens

far too often on far too many city streets


They showed it more than once.


And now everybody knows that

the little girl was right, and knows

so much more than she did that day

when she said to the man with his

hand in his pocket: “Get off of him!”

And so does her cousin.

And do does the boy who worked in

the store and feels the pain

of that day as does the paramedic and

the retired man, and the others who

stopped that day, tried to stop what

they were seeing, tried to save a man

they did not know, from a man they

also did not know, but whose actions

changed all of their lives

changed all of our lives


They said it more than once.


Then they said it one more time.

In a courtroom, for all the world to hear

Lousy, clearly, directly.

They say they are not heroes

because they couldn’t stop it

but in stating for the record

what they saw, what they tried to do

reaffirming what the video showed

reinforcing what their community has

long known, what most of us ignored


In the end, one of the men who

prosecuted the man with the knee

on the neck of the neighborhood

praised the people on the curb –

‘A bouquet of humanity’


They are a bouquet

perpetually in bloom, never to wilt

forever vibrant with the hues of

justice, truth, and courage


They said it more than once.

They said it one more time and

the world, finally, listened.


– Mark L. Lucker

© 2021  


The Zoom boom

Setting up a Zoom social
for high school classmates
- class of 1977, bay-bee! -
one invitee, confused or
simply stuck in wrong mode
repeatedly refers to our
impending ‘conference’
I teasingly remind him this
is no business-tinged
partitioned hotel ballroom
gift-bags, sales-pitch fest
imploring him to instead
think ‘virtual cocktail party’
Bring a designated Zoomer.
If you get too pixilated
as host, I will cut you off
quarantine you in breakout
until you come into focus
Welcome to our new age
not some letter generation 
we are a new breed of
Zoom Boomers – checking
out waiting room easel
signage for later evening
breakout sessions
each to taste -beer drinkers,
wine aficionados, craft spirits
martini drinkers sent
elsewhere to Skype with…?
We are Boomer Zoomers
hip, with it, groovy
having outlasted
‘turn on, tune in, drop out’
we have mastered
‘log in, check in, get out’
Our entirely new levels of
connotation, free love,
whenever, wherever we
are told ‘hey, get a room’

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020  
Contemporary Life Moments Uncategorized


A woman I know
went protesting
first timer

missing out as
with strict parents
she wanted

Seeing her a few
days later I
asked if she found
what she
had been seeking

“Yes and no”
she smiled
“I fell in with a
of college kids
who poured milk
on my face”
quickly adding
“for the tear gas”

Her voice trailed.
“It wasn’t
at all
about me”

I nodded.

“Please tell me
that I really didn’t
go there for me”

“I think you did…”
she frowned
“now, here you are.”

We stood there
a summer breeze
kicking up dust

“Maybe you’re right”
she said, smiling

“I’m going to need
some more
goddamned milk.”

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020

Family Fathers and Sons Growing up me Relationships Uncategorized

Father’s Day Requiem

We never had one of
those TV sitcom
wisdom, serious sit-downs
that I can recall

I have no fatherly counsel
wisdom to share
rarely proclaiming,
“As my daddy used to say…”

Sans great punchline

parts of my father
I carry with me, mirth more
tangible than profundity
less open to interpretation
than mere platitudes

a life lived differently,
enjoyed fully

real examples used regularly:
treat people well
don’t sweat the small stuff
experience new things
appreciate old one
learn from whoever you can
because you
always can and you should

we never
discussed those things

what I learned most
from my dad was by osmosis
glacial, inexorable
noticeable only in retrospect
soaking up a life
generously poured, oftentimes
inadvertently spilled

hit me again, bartender.

conflicted by faith, he
simply lived faithfully
Golden Rule doing-unto-others
sort of living

real gold doesn’t tarnish

I could say I never took a lesson
though that would be wrong
I unknowingly Jedi-mastered
mystical arts of wry observation
sardonic commentary, satirical jabs
serious points cloaked in
functional parables

uproariously serious,jester1-2
seriously funny

Like my father

I can never resist or not
appreciate a
humorous turn of phrase,
slapstick comedy,
ribald satire, bad pun

I learned from my dad
have confirmed by living: life
is a fine definition of irony

cursed I am, by
the grins of the father

  – Mark L. Lucker
© 2018

#FathersDay2020  #FathersDay #Fathersandsons

Campfire poems Philosophies Uncategorized


a lot of them
stacked in an open shelf
next to my desk

varietal chronicles
spiral-bound, stitched binding,
composition books,
cheap dollar store pocket,
leather-covered, gifted to me

verse, prose, musings
pontifications and declarations
the older ones
bottom-of-the stack
the better
brittle pages in varying
shades of sepia
all the edges

time has never deterred my
filling of pages
innately fueled desires to
create, release
rejuvenate and reflect

colorful and worn
marred shields for pages
reminding me of times
places, varied
people and moments
profoundly mundane

vintage wire-spirals
youthful anticipation, angst
during cross-country
bus ridesenb3.jpg
pocket notebooks
reflecting the practicality of
a busier, adult life
need for compactable
remembrance, inspiration via
rear pocket
journaled testaments

These notebooks
smell of old cardboard, time
in their paper mustiness
incense of creativity
raw and natural
frankincense of hope

most alive in
colorful composition books
taken on camping trips
filled while sitting alone
beside campfires
soaking up transcendental

Seemingly benign
notebooks absorbed all
words, my ideas and dreams
passions of thought in
vibrant ink, smoke

found only in the wildenb1.jpg
where trees
their essences as
fuel for fire
even the paper come
full circle at my hand

savored now,
in this place not of
the woods
but remembered as such

they are flavorful, these
times of times long ago, now
sentient in their shelf
smorgasbord of

tasty enticement
senses in concert my
favorite repast has
always been
deliciousness in word
finely aged
smoked notebook

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2020

#writersandwriting #oldnotebooks #thoughtsonpaper #poetry #campfires #thewoods