Futility

Gnawing maggots crunch and bite through
sinew and socket; their advance gained by
terminal termites whose mandibles made
short work of a mahogany coffin.
Tearing amid stagnant flesh and rot, their survival is
assured through our consumption;
we die so that they may live.

Is this the sacrifice preached from
countless pulpits? Is it a
maggot messiah who will rise on
the third day?
This is my flesh, my blood;
eat, drink and be filled.

Or are we losing our resolve at the
futility of trying to make sense of it all before
we, too, turn into
fuel for the feeding end?

by Erik Shinker

As If

I dream of sticky lips
in poised and yearning embrace.
Tongues teased to taste
a single drop of splendor.

Palms gliding in soft,
urgent pressure.
Hard and soft, diametrically opposed yet
natural in their coupling.

The words themselves causing excitement
from nipple to navel, through
thigh and ascended, blushing cheeks.

An ideal of intimacy with
partnership past the simplicity of
laying lovers.

As if such things could
be made manifest simply by my
wishing.

by Erik Shinker

Latitudes

I caught myself creeping, again,
and was struck with a painful yearning for
a woman I knew in,
what seemed to be,
simpler times;
someone similar, yet
crafted in all the
ways I wanted to grow.

Some may have chalked it up to my
accumulated isolation, and the
ideals I placed upon her
ruby-ringed crown.
I knew better;
I had to.

And I wanted to rage at the unfairness of
our separation
as if this was the only obstacle to
our coupling.
Warmth poured from my chest at the
thought of holding her and
whispering these words.

But I only had a
cell phone and my
two thumbs;
it would have to do.

by Erik Shinker

Projection

Boast and brag through
false modesty;
post and paste images on your profile
accompanied by hashing tags
in your attempt to influence.

Dragged down by my jealousy,
I am no better.
While I wish your life was as
fulfilling as you’d have us believe, it is
only through spite.

We project ourselves onto others;
the aspects we wish and want,
whether to hide or flaunt.

by Erik Shinker

Meet Cute

“We need to get you off those dating apps,” said Dave. He was sitting next to his best friend and old college roommate, Edgar. The two had met up after Edgar finished yet another unsuccessful date.

“I don’t know what to tell you, man,” said Edgar, “I just can’t find a real connection.”

The duo was sitting in their favorite after-work haunt, Shady Hal’s. True to its name, it was a hole-in-the-wall dive bar that lacked any redeeming qualities and courted the type of people who enjoyed grumbling their problems into a half-empty glass of liquor. Edgar was nursing his first gin and tonic while Dave finished up his third rum and Coke.

Rumor had it that the owner was a Jack Black fan, and that’s where “Hal” came into the picture; the owner’s name was Chet, which Edgar found to be appropriate. But, their happy hour specials were decent, and it was within walking distance to both of Dave and Edgar’s places, so Shady Hal’s became the place where they would routinely get smashed and complain about their white, middle-class problems in the company of men and women who had actual issues.

“You’re just trying too hard,” said Dave, “you overthink things. Just be in the moment and leave your comfort zone.”

“Nothing about dating is comfortable,” said Edgar, “The apps just help me go in with more information, like if she is even actually interested in me, but even that isn’t a guarantee.”

“Look,” said Dave, “let’s give the apps a rest. There’s a cute girl who started in my office a couple of weeks ago. What if I convince her to go on a date with you?”

“A blind date?” Edgar said, “It’s bad enough going on a date where I know what the girl looks like, let alone not.”

“Trust me, she’s cute,” Dave said, “Hell, I’ll make it a double-date so it isn’t as awkward for you.”

Edgar drained the last of his drink, relishing the taste of lime and gin, as memories of his last few dates floated back into his mind. Well, what did he have to lose?

*** Continue reading “Meet Cute”

Heartbeat

I am a cliché,
I have pined after
the loss I have heard
sung as a lover’s lament.

I once felt that pain’s sharpness,
but now it is gone from me;
dulled to a numbing ache, a
vibration through my being
barely registered amid my breathing.

All I can do is tilt my head to
tip out the tears, and
tap my toe to the
heartbeat pulse of another
sad love song.

by Erik Shinker