Iowa Writes

Used Man

Experience builds with age, sometimes wisdom grows. 
        Value, eh?  Worth?
But what value is an old man?  Really. 
Furrowed face etched by the plows of time,
hair like thin snow over pink soil, droopy pink and black puffs of
        eyes, baggy, saggy neck,
oversized ears bristling with short hairs. 
Wobbling gait leaning on a cane. 
All of them, right?
Not like at 25, 30, 40, or even 50. 
With 65, Medicare. Bogus.
With 65 the question, "Do you still work?"
What the hell kind of question is that?
So what does that mean? 
Universal view-an old man is used.
Like a used car.
He "runs,"
But not as a shiny, sleek, windblown convertible down Corvette.
He "runs,"
he's functional, but
does he "run" like a misfiring engine with a clogged carburetor in
        an ignored high mile '68
Chevy slumbering on the parking lot at the old folks home. 
Are they right?  Huh?
Is old a barricaded dead-end to the old man? 
Even if he is not really old . . . in his mind?
Or does youth expire like a one-time, "limited" late night T.V. sale
What then?

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting


Douglas Lang grew up in Des Moines.  He graduated from Drake University, where he is still an active alum.  Although he lives in Dallas, Texas, where he serves as a judge, he has returned for several years to participate in courses at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.  Doug claims Iowa as his primary home roots.

This page was first displayed
on August 10, 2016

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