Regardless


by

L.P. Stribling

Start over, you need to start over.

Not entirely, but with your thoughts,

With where you think you need to be.

Start over.

’T’s cold outside. Empty.

Don’t see many people walking around.

You’re not them. Focus on you.

You’re ready to meet your own people,

Remember, we’re starting over.

I’m a writer. Regardless.

Regardless of what words are,

Written on my lanyard, of what it says

on my driver’s license, my résumé,

or what comes of the mouths of my loved ones

Pertaining to the question of “what it is I do.”

I’m a writer.

And I recognize that,

Because I’m starting over.

Quick drive down. Cut the engine.

Now I’m with them – the only ones who know

Who I really am. I know them too.

We smile, we laugh as we snack.

Because we all get. Regardless.

Regardless of what words are used out there.

We’ve started over.

Chasm


by
L.P. Stribling

Wicked games they played back then,

Childhood trickery (painful trickery), all masked in fun,

One was called the Sin of Chasm,

And she was the lucky one,

The chant still sticks –

First comes Faith, at the end, Reward,

Don’t look down,

At the Chasm of Gore,

The chittering teeth, the rot of the pits,

Lose your wits and they’ll ask for more,

But think of the reward!

The rope was taught between the rooftops,

And night around us – starry and cold,

The schoolyard dirt was the chasm below,

But naught to be seen in the frosty chill

of those evenings.

“Next Walker, Next slave!”

“Fallers force the Daybreak!”

Erma was a friend that night,

A friend of a friend,

She came not to be seen, but to watch,

Last girl in sight,

But the Chasm hungered, and forced a growl,

“Next Walker, Next Slave,

Chasm’s Worms on the prowl!”

She shook her head, shook her legs,

Tried to shake herself from their icky hands.

They pulled and prodded and forced her to stand,

Feet on the edge, and pushed up her hands.

She balanced and shook, and tears filled her eyes,

And the first step she took held our breath in the night,

Three steps across, we could hear her sniffles, her whines,

Though not a word did she yell, when her feet missed the line.

Not a second passed then,

Plop – crack, plop.

She was still.

I looked down at the rope,

Eddie picked his hands off the line,

Wiped them on his outer vinyl.

His words loosed a gasp of smoke into the air,

“Nope!” he laughed.

“The Chasm claims another victim!”

Victory hit him and his arms darted

Over his head, Over his head.

He cheered in the night.

It was cold, so cold,

And under the stars, who knows how long she lay,

Before they found her,

Dismembered, I imagine,

A quiet girl, a lonely fall,

Victim to the Chasm.

As the Games Begin


rio

AS THE GAMES BEGIN

By

L.P. Stribling

In Rio, some thousands of miles away from these words,

An athlete, a confused young star, sits in a quiet room in the dark,

Outside the window, perhaps he listens on a small handheld device,

And the Games begin.

Tomorrow, next week, perhaps three nights from now – she will exhaust her body,

She will push herself to the an extreme her earthly form has never known,

She will scream, her pores with gush in a furious flush of sweat,

Perhaps they will bleed,

Perhaps they will not feel a thing,

Failure or success, it will be over in a matter of seconds, and

Regardless of how they view these seconds,

In another matter of seconds, they will be near death,

And they will at least have their story.

But now in the dark, there is only the athlete and the sounds

Of the Games as they begin.

Ode to the Short Bluish Eraserless Pencil That’s Usually in the Back Part of the Second Drawer on the Left of the Desk in my Younger Brother’s Bedroom. He Doesn’t Know about You.


by

L.P. Stribling

—-

funny pencil picture (29)

Dear Roger,

I’m writing you this letter while I’m in Gym Class. I hope you’re well.

It’s like 10 minutes after the bell and I’m writing this letter with a different writing utensil – a pen, actually.

Then again, he’s not that great, the pen, and he’s certainly not you, all nice and blue. Well, bluish.

I’m using him to write on a white sheet of Inga Peter’s homework. Don’t worry, I won’t hurt it at all – some bit about the Fall of Rome and the Colosseum or some sort of humdrum thing.

God, Gym Class sucks.

The last thing I want is to be fit,

Speaking of which I’ll be home soon and I can take you out of that drawer that you so abhor.

Sorry it’s so boring in there. I’m working on building a place for you. Maybe under the stairs or in that little mouse hole above the cuckoo clock in mom’s bathroom – somewhere nice.

Sit tight for now; it’ll be all right.

‘Member that one night when you and I were writing in my journal (well, you were writing, anyway) and then I tried to draw that drawing of mom’s face and how twisted it gets when she smells farts? It was art, right?

And then she found it, and despite our hard work, she took the journal and yelled at us. She went berserk.

That’s when I put you in the drawer in Kevin’s room.

It was like ZOOM! Right in to the room! ‘cause mom was chasing us trying to brake you in half.

Plus, I didn’t know what else to do.

But don’t worry; it’s cool. Kevin doesn’t know about you, and as soon as I get out of here, I swear…

God, Gym Class sucks.

Okay, Okay, there’ the bell.

Don’t worry, Roger, all will be well. I’m on my way home and, well, I’m bringing you a brother…or a friend.

It’s a pen, actually. But he’s not as great as you, all nice and blue.

Well, bluish.