ebb and floe

when abigail turned fifty
they threw her a surprise
they didn’t have a lot of cash
they had to improvise
they painted rocks to decorate
they served a can of soup
they added stuff
to make enough
to feed the little group
dessert was just a hershey bar
sliced up in little pieces
bought with coins from piggy banks
of nephews and of nieces
the gift was all that mattered,
that was where the money went
they took up a collection
and each penny had been spent
they bought a
one-way ticket
to the north slope of alaska
including lunch
and changing once
in omaha nebraska
they added in a voucher
for a bobsled
to transport her
to meet up with
the ice floe that
her kids had ordered for her
© 2016 kStan(ly) Lanning
picture by commons.wikimedia.org, courtesy bing.com/images
created for the Daily prompt – fifty
going with the flow of the Daily prompt – float

the memory is going

words that tumbled fruitfully
that capped a thought conclusively
and were all his exclusively
are hiding out elusively
no longer overflowing
people-1394377_960_720when he was young
these same words clung
to the top of his brain
to the tip of his tongue
now there’s no way of knowing
if they’re in there at all
stuck in back by the wall
underneath the mothballs
he tells us what he can recall
but the memory is going
what’s left for us is to celebrate
not to agitate or to aggravate
to assist him and appreciate
to listen and commiserate
and not to mourn his slowing
© 2016 kStan(ly) Lanning
picture by skitterphoto, courtesy pixabay.com
created for the Daily prompt – elusive
if you like this one, you might like some of these

i was hired to care

the frail man was declining fast,
i was hired to care
and try to find out if he had
some family somewhere.
he didn’t speak in english;
whatever i would ask,
he’d answer in some foreign tongue,
intensify my task.
“ne signifie rien”, he’d say,
the few times he would speak to me
or “δε σημαίνει τίποτα”
which only sounded greek to me.photo memories-407021_960_720

i asked about relations
who might come in for a visit
while searching for some photographs
whose subjects might elicit
some response that i could use
to find his long-lost kin.
the frail man only watched me
with a small off-putting grin.
there had been speculation
of a sister in Nevada
“das bedeutet nichts”
he’d say, and “no significa nada”

the old man passed away today
can’t figure why i’m crying.
i’ve been at this far too long,
seen so many dying.
i’d just got back from starbucks
where i got us both a venti,
i asked again if he had friends
“non significa niente”.
i thought i was immune to death,
experience was numbing,
but when he died, with his last breath
he whispered “this means nothing”

© 2016 kStan(ly) Lanning
picture by life-of-pix , courtesy pixabay.com
Daily prompt – frail
this verse exists thanks to the lingual assistance
of the woo, jill and
lucarna (who also moved this verse to the top of my to-do-list;
see his amazing Spanish translation of this verse)
and here it is mingling with the Daily prompt – elicit
and the Daily prompt – translate- while i work on something new
if you liked this you might like more wordplay
or more reality

at least we can say that we did

old paintonce upon a once
we thought we knew
— we didn’t
we learned as we grew
but we still didn’t
know what we needed to
need what we wanted
we lived what our limited
sights could see
we couldn’t have known
what we didn’t know
now we’re in it
now we see
mama wasn’t making things up
foolish we
it hurts, it scares, it looms, nightmares
i guess we were doing
the best thing for the time
we were just living, no technical crime
we were just laughing & playing & working
& learning & meeting & dancing & sporting & jesting
we were just kids
now that we’re not
at least we can say that we did
that’s the royal we,
trying to age gracefully


© 2014 kStan(ly) Lanning
picture by jan erik waider, courtesy unsplash.com
Daily prompt – nightmare
Daily prompt – learning

no party girl no more

Beached_deceased_pilot_whale_calf_02i used to
go out more
dance ’til dawn
as a metaphor
burn it out
from both ends
party hard
with tight ends
now i am
i’ve gone
there’s just
too much
of me
to go

© 2014 kStan(ly) Lanning
picture from commons.wikimedia.org, courtesy bing.com/images
Daily prompt – burn
hanging with Daily prompt – gone

in awe of the older among us

awe-oldused to wonder at
the older or infirmed
how they carried on
plodded to & from
lives & life & work
despite some obvious
in their clearly
fragile bones
used to be in awe
of how they didn’t quit
assuming that they
had a choice
i want to
so bad i crave it
no obligation
free time free life
if it’s cold stay in
if it’s nice go out
don’t have to
don’t have to
don’t have to
anything i
don’t want to
i’m too young
to feel so old
too hot
to have this cold

© 2013 kStan(ly) Lanning
picture by PublicDomainPictures, courtesy pixabay.com
an answer to the Daily prompt – awe
and a temporary answer to the Daily prompt – obvious, while i work on something else

daily rites

you forget that it’s permanent
you have to take the medicine every daymedicine-bottle-pills
this is for keeps, it will never go away
I never thought I’d be the kind
to be able to handle the daily grind
of pills and poultices and rituals
of being good each day, habitual,
of living with the un-curable
i thought it would be unendurable
most days i can deal
surprised at how almost good i feel
then there’s days i wish i had
the strength to hurl this stuff into a canyon
misery loves company
but company prefers a healthier companion

© 2015 kStan(ly) Lanning
picture by clarksvilleonline.com, courtesy bing.com/images
this verse fits the Daily prompt – companion

how did the hill

the mountainhow did the hill
become a mountain
leaving youth
without a fountain
looking ahead is
never wise
when you can’t see the other side
what once was not
every ounce
of strength
i’ve got
i just don’t get
how this can be
how did the hill become a mountain
did it workout more than me?

©2016 kStan(ly) Lanning
photo by unsplash, courtesy pixabay.com
daily prompt – mountain
but it prefers the daily prompt – youth

to the sky

soap-bubblesto flow
to float
to the sky
to the sky
to bend
to pretend
no pain
to forget
your name
to flow
to float
to the sky

when our bodies fail us
when all we have is thought
no hands to write
no mouth to speak
no feet to even walk
when we’re sealed
inside our heads
are we nearly dead?
or are we newly budding,
blooming branches stretching further
than our old physical selves
could have ever hoped to go?

soap-bubblesto flow
to float
to the sky
to the sky
to bend
to pretend
no pain
to forget
your name
to flow
to float
to the sky

© 2015 kStan(ly) Lanning
Daily Prompt – sky
Daily Prompt – pretend
photo by pinacol, courtesy pixabay.com
here’s an amazing woman’s incredible story
of her near-death experience

(but we are not degenerates)

we were the hipsters,
just past boomers, just pre- “me”
now we’ve become
the degeneration generation
(but we are not degenerates)
(we mostly aren’t degenerates)
bodies collapsing
things stopping ticking
we’re down for the count
& we’re taking a licking
older isn’t everything
it’s cracked up to be
how we lose
in small degrees
bone marrow
and bone density
how we lose
in mild stages
as our self ages
how we lose
in leaps and bounds
for certain sounds
to make our rounds or
cohesive, cognitative thinking
or is it just
that we’ve been drinking?
(but we are not degenerates)
(we mostly aren’t degenerates)


(c) 2016 kStan(ly) Lanning