Mother

Strength despite frustration;
the natural enemy of death as
the embodiment of creation.
Venerated for the gift she gives,
we would be nothing without her;
she is sometimes taken for granted,
despite our best intentions.

Soft enough to nurture, she
hides a fury for
the safety of her
cubs, her
chicks, her
creation.

She is sacrifice;
from the nigh unbearable pain of
birth through the attrition of
daily struggle.
And though it may seem
piecemeal in comparison, she
renews her promise with each
Daughter’s rising and setting Son.

We owe everything to her,
for better or worse;
though for the best, more
often than not.
Some have said that God is Love;
they forget their Mother.

by Erik Shinker

Le Noire

Starting with a misstep after
skipping over my own tongue.
Taken in stride by your
quick wit held aloft by
a charmed laugh.

Smitten by an
unexpected connection;
altered plans,
perhaps serendipitous,
led our paths to cross.
But, as ever, I am unsure;
past friendliness so often
mistaken for interest.

I play back our time
together; reminiscing already
in the wish of repeating.

I hope we meet again,
if only for another chance to
make a fool of myself
for you.

by Erik Shinker

Minnesota’s Best Emerging Poets 2019

I have some very exciting news to share today; last month, I had a poem accepted to be included in the upcoming book, Minnesota’s Best Emerging Poets 2019!

The book will be available to buy through Amazon and Z Publishing’s website on November 30th, but you can pre-order now at this link for a copy.

Minnesota’s Best Emerging Poets 2019 contains 30 poems by writers like myself discussing relevant and poignant topics with each of us doing our best to seek and realize our truths.

Feel free to check out Z Publishing House’s website for more information on this and other books that they have published.

Thank you for reading and enjoy a photo of my cat being a ham!

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White Lies

“Be honest with me,”
she lies;
her expectations higher than
I could ever reach.

Tact versus truth;
to tell what is, rather
than what she’d prefer, would
be a shovel of my own devising.

Save her feelings and
avoid another fight, or
foster conflict for the sake of
catharsis.

The thing of it is
I can’t even distinguish between
what’s real or fantasy anymore;
truthfully, I stopped trying
a while ago.

by Erik Shinker

The Worst

Cutting people off is
easy, especially when it
becomes a habit.
Having an exit strategy
becomes natural when
you assume.

A ticking clock, counting
down to the day they disappear,
or give you cause to.
A reflex with
not a thought of
any alternative.

Rough breakup?
Snip / Gone.
Missed expectations?
Snip / Gone.
Overpowering paranoia?
Snip / Gone.

How can someone love you
if you have one foot out
the door?
When self preservation has
become the goal,
can you really blame me for
expecting
the worst?

by Erik Shinker

Transplant

Born in another land;
weened and raised in the North.
Conditioned to the cold and
pragmatic temperament of
those who surround.

I am a man between homes;
born in the prairie, but cast
into the woods.
Adapting; never settled.
Skin turned to bleached birch bark;
brittle, but still tougher than the
windswept wisps of the grasslands.

There are no roots
digging downward to
establish something like
enrichment.

Yes, one day that
may come to pass, but
for now,
I remain transient;
between my origins and
my ending,
praying that
this transplant takes.

by Erik Shinker

Picking at Scabs

A fingernail pushes,
wedging beneath a
crunching border with the
inevitability of an
avalanche.

Each millimeter a
pinpoint of agony
made with conscious effort;
at last deciding to do something
about this sickening scab.

As this hardened, clotted shell is
unearthed, apprehension and
second-thoughts spike.
“I thought this was healed;
maybe I should have left
well enough alone.”

But it is too late for
that whimper;
what has begun
must be finished since
momentum has a way of
pushing us past the
point of no return.

So we rip and tear methodically,
before the decision to push through
overpowers and before we know it,
we hold in our fingertips a
grayed fragment of ourselves.

Sure, it might bleed a little, but
it’s reassuring to see the
renewal of fresh,
pink flesh;
maybe that reminder is all
we have to know we’re
still alive.

by Erik Shinker