tough luck

black kitten on mossy cement stairs

who believes 13
is less lucky than 20
i’ve seen some teens
who had the means
but now they haven’t plenty

who believes
umbrellas shouldn’t
open up inside
it’s how you get the smell out
it’s how you get it dried

who believes that black cats
are anything but grand
perhaps the guy
who’s bleeding from the
tooth holes in his hand.

© 2016 kStan(ly) Lanning
Daily prompt – luck


sleep was on the schedule

sleep was on the schedule
it’s what we didn’t get
we saw the statues
heard the music
ate the franks and yet
our whirlwind tour
has left us blank
like pages in a binder
in fact we had another friend…

…but nobody can find her

(c) 2015 kStan(ly) Lanning
Daily prompt – tourist
Daily prompt – heard

fast car

clear skies ahead; lightning storm in the rearview mirror

fast car

when it came on the radio

had to pull over to cry

and they played it twice

and the woo in the back

as we raced away

from crazy man

from drunken man

why are you crying mommy?

they played it twice


© 2015 kStan(ly) Lanning
Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car

The Girl With No Sway

the girl with no sway
she walks that way
arms just hang
no sturm no drang
no swivel hips
no soft pursed lips
no wiles
no guile
no natural flirt
no dirt

no sway

no bounce
no bop
no lindy hop
no laughing
but somehow still
no smiling
yet beguiling
slow down
I must study you more
you fascinating
and I’m not even
a lesbian

© 2013 kStan(ly) Lanning
photo by Rodion Kutsaev, courtesy
Daily prompt – natural

Big World

used to think i had something to say,
so much to say, rhymes and reasons,
back when i was a kid
and the rest of the world was not.

used to think i’d make a difference
just with words,
heartfelt words,
back when i was idealist
and the rest of the world was not.

now as age comes settling in
ready for the long haul,
now as world events are
more profound and overwhelming,
little that i could say or do or think
could make a chink in the clamor
or the armor
of the craziness of the world.

sometimes you go back,
to your old classroom,
your old town, aurora
your old haunt
and it looks so small
but you thought
it was so big.
it’s not like that
with the world,
with the wars,
with the horrors,
with the heroes,
with the wonders,
the world keeps getting
bigger .

© 1999 kStan(ly) Lanning
Daily prompt – profound
daily prompt – or
Daily prompt – overwhelming

Please Explain

what is agita


sometimes just

a way to say

I’ve got thatagita

sinking feeling

a spinning room

impending doom

something somewhere

about to go boom

there is no rest for the worried


© 2015 kStan(ly) Lanning

The Tale of the Whale

I fell into the soulful eyes
of the mesmerizing whale
she wanted me to knowwhale
to see
to feel somehow
the way that she
was feeling, had been
for some years
this gorgeous creature
salty tears
a family
left on their own….
so far from home….
the whale, forgiving,
not forgetting,
a spouse, a child,
her sister’s wedding,
her momma’s passing,
her backyard pool…
hey okay so I’m a fool
to read so much into her sighs,
her size, her soulful eyes,
her sing-song cries
she wanted to play
she wanted to say
don’t go away,
you get me.


© 2015 kStan(ly) Lanning
this tale was inspired entirely
by an actual encounter at the
Aquarium in Coney Island

Discover challenge – sing


from the moment i was born,
they knew it would be so —
my swaddling clothes were wrinkled —
that was the way i’d grow.
i grew from wrinkled underpants
to mostly crumpled shirts,
i wore my tights, 2 times too big,
under my crinkled skirts.
i grew into a wrinkled teen
in graduation gown,
and when i became queen i wore,
of course, a crumpled crown.
now i wear a tousled look
to match my crooked smile,
now it’s time to straighten out,
if only for a while.

© 1973 kStan(ly) Lanning



the trauma,
the drama
you can’t run
to momma
your hero
the curtain drawn back
the wizard- no wizard
the good witch- in black
the blinders removed
since someone has proved
the one I looked up to
was looking down on me…

proceed cautiously

© 2012 kStan(ly) Lanning



i’m getting to know my extremes
but not how to fix them
or what it would mean
to somehow eclipse them
i go from zero
to a thousand on the
energy scale
from dancing like a demon
to beaching like a whale
not in baby toddles but
in epidemic leaps
i play with aspirations
but i don’t play for keeps

when there is oomph
i have to embrace it,
imbibe it, let’s face it,
gotta run with the ball
while it’s still in the air
but then it deflates
or it’s me that deflates
and i can’t care
can’t move for lack of interest
can’t think for lack of mind
i’m zombie-zoned
and what was toned
becomes a pile of mush
i don’t just mean my tush
all that i’ve worked on,
my physical state,
my mental capacities,
and i think i am sunk
i think i can’t swim
but next day i wake up
and just on a whim
i’m rolling towards beastin’
as if it was planned
flip side of the coin
where i couldn’t i can
maybe it’s time
to look into
my dosage
the voltage




© 2015 kStan(ly) Lanning
Daily prompt – eclipse
cradled with the Daily prompt – baby, while I work on something new