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

Rosary

Counting down the beads of
a worn, wooden rosary; the
tangible reminder of the
faith of Our Father,
who art in Heaven.

Reciting each Hail Mary was
a verbal flagellation, the torn
flesh of my grief dropped in
dripping, bloody strips;
soaked by my own tears.

I am dragged down by
the reality of your
absence, your
loss, your
Death.

by Erik Shinker

What You Bring

Creation,
whether done for
oneself or another,
should be shared;
however,
what we make is part of a
conversation across
time and space.

The closest we may come to actual time travel;
I write this, on a gray, January morning, but
who knows when you are reading it? Or where?
I sit on a rusty folding chair that has been
on this earth
longer than me;
a blanket placed between it and myself to
provide some semblance of comfort.

The type of blanket will vary by reader;
does it have a pattern? Is it
geometric? Is the name of my alma mater sewn
into the corner?
Is it an afghan? A quilt?
Is it threadbare, fluffy, or or thin?
It all depends on how much I choose to tell, and
what is left for you to fill.

Once we hand it off, whether by
posting online, or
publishing on paper, or
speaking into the universe,
only one part of this
transcendental transaction between
creator and consumer is complete.

The creation itself exists between
our intention and
what you bring;
read into it what you will, but
know that the mirror of Art reflects
more than the artist.

by Erik Shinker

Seer

A read receipt through
no fault of my own other than the wish to
clear another nosy notification.
A daily deluge,
the multitude of messages unwarranted
and unsought,
from more than I care to count;
all claiming to be different than the rest with
their choice of synonyms being the
only difference.

Click an “X” and close the chat,
your entreaty for “friendship” left in languor.
A sigh of frustration, the folly of believing a
social network could ever be beneficial.

There are actual stresses in my life, so
I do my best to minimize what I can.
Sure, you were nice to meet, but
don’t read anymore into what wasn’t there;
that book’s pages are blank, and will remain so.
the only one who is responsible for your
interminable imagination is yourself.

Yes,
you have been “Seen“;
what more do you want?

by Erik Shinker

Poetry

It’s the warmth of a summer sun
pressing through and pouring between the
gaps of illuminated tree leaves;
it’s the peaceful, calming noise of pouring rain that
trickles through gutter and pipe;
it is imagery conjured into something more real
than the spell of any grey-bearded sorcerer or
maiden, mother, and crone.

Attempts have been made to trap and categorize it;
free verse, rhyme, rhythm.
Something so primal, yet we
try to define and cage something
part of ourselves

Storytelling is written into the components of our DNA;
empathy is what sets us apart from the
teeming masses of inscrutable animals.
No matter the meter or method,
poetry is the thread that binds us.

by Erik Shinker

Self-esteem

Beaver teeth, pushed forward
by a tongue cracking in crevices.
A forest of fur covers knuckles, backhanded scars,
and freckling moles which emerge from a
desert of translucent skin.

Stomach bulging post-binge;
an ever-expanding
tumorous gut
bloated despite
half-hearted attempts at loss through
diet and exercise.

Each ache increases with
days gone by.
Thinning tissue stretched along
hips and handles labeled as
“for love”;
tiger stripes of a
less than attractive nature.

Sweat saturated palms and feet
destroy the soles of shoes by the pair and
create clammy handshakes.

Seen in all its disgusting “glory” by
only one
in adulthood;
a handful as a babe.
There is no need to point out my flaws;
I am woefully aware.

by Erik Shinker