Conviction

The other side
must
be wrong;
if not, then
how could we
be right?

Such sure, strong support
must be testament to
our correctness.

Their passion is
hypocritical,
not noticing the
paradoxes and double standards
in their own beliefs.

Our opposition tries to
bend facts to their aims,
in a bastardization of
the truths we hold to be
self-evident.

Two sides to
the same, divisive coin
with minuscule differences.
But that is not what
they
would have us believe.

When did empathy,
humanity, and
compassion
become weakness?

Have we become so
self-centered to believe that
what we want is
all that matters?

There are few things more
volatile
than a person of
blind conviction with
blessed belief
in their cause.

by Erik Shinker

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Crush(ed)

Each day I sit and
beg with silent plea as
she passes by my desk.

Speak to me, or
let me speak to her.
But I lack the
courage, the
will, the
want.
More afraid that
she’ll say yes
than no.

Each morning I look
forward to those stolen glances, the
shy smiles that could be chalked
up to simple manners.

I would like something,
more, but this is all
I deserve.

She deserves better than
to be hit on at work.
Besides, she would
rather speak to
another.

By Erik Shinker

Downpour

Do not turn to me for
I can give no healing balm;
no soothing salve to your heartache.
Nor would I ask the same of you.

My words,
turned to gibberish by swollen tongue.
My ears,
stoppered by piercing plugs.
My eyes,
blinded by an unattainable visage.
My feelings,
filtered through apathy.

Skin thickened, though
not tough enough to keep
from fraying.

And yet here we lie; with
one another, to
one another, about
one another.

by Erik Shinker

Sainthood

Dealing in absolutes with
no thought of
humanity’s hypocrisy.

The daydreams of our
heroic yesterday have become
corrupted memories of
what was
never true.

Whose hand holds the
elevating pen while
simultaneously swiping through the
ugliness of ourselves
with the other?

Create an idol and
deny, deny, deny
when the reality would
contradict what our hearts
most want to be true.

Deify those we would see succeed, and
demonize those who oppose.
Lay the mantle of sainthood
upon the undeserving.

by Erik Shinker

Scars

Branching like tributaries of the
living river; they show signs of a
life lived,
though, perhaps not in the
healthiest of ways.

Some through accident,
others by intent,
tissue sewn together concerns itself
only with the healing process; not
the harm.

Markers of a moment;
skin tearing,
bloodletting,
release and loss.

We have a choice:
wear our scars like
the reminders they truly are,
or
deny ourselves in the lament for
a cleaner canvas.

by Erik Shinker

Reciprocation

Adrift in the wake of
where we were.
A severing by my own hand, but
the wound continues to
turn toward infection.

I reached out when you were grasping, and
pulled with all my strength
(or so I tell myself)
until I realized your gasping was
simply seeking attention,
awaiting the first to come along.

Sweat from the effort of keeping you aloft
soon ran through my palms,
breaking the bond I thought was blessed.
Again, I was
wrong.

Your rasping entreaty for help,
a well-practiced wheeze,
drew me into those welcoming arms.
If only I had seen your talons,
maybe then we could have
avoided all the
violence.

I poured myself into you,
made you feel whole again.
My warmth pulsed through parched arteries
as your succubus lips
drained and leeched my
Truth.

Were you ever real; or was
this just some imaginary muse
I conjured while
distraught in my delirium?

I only wish I could pay back all that
you stole from me.

by Erik Shinker

Pathways

Ours may not converge, but
we are each given one to walk;
patchwork wanderers lost in
their own way.

Some go hand-in-hand, while
others pad along

alone.

It comes easily for some,
something more like labor for most,
and even still there are those oblivious to
the universe’s guiding hand.

Buffeted between invisible walls;
yet,
how could I complain?
There is no other path to tread.

Even if an alternative existed,
would I truly trust to
something so significant?

by Erik Shinker