Tonight


A few minutes to write. All I need is a few.

In eleven minutes, it’s your birthday,

And it pains me to know that I cannot spend those eleven minutes with you.

Midnight approaches. Another day we didn’t notice.

To a doctor the voice of my heart would be a drum,

Steady – da-dum, da-dum, da-dum

But that language is its own.

That is for you alone.

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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.