With Me?

Impatience drives my mind through
paranoid possibilities; burdened by
radio silence.
Reaching out, only to
recoil at the thought of
your touch.

What I think of myself
doesn’t matter;
positive and negative are negated.
Stuck in my self-prescribed safe zone,
restrained by my own misgivings and
lack of experience.

What
does she think of me?
If she thinks of me at all.
And, if she did, how would she feel
about spending her time…

by Erik Shinker

Charity

I had fifty dollars burning a
hole in my wallet, and
an infinite list of wants.
During a common commute,
after a (relatively) long day,
I passed the panhandler.

My optimism wanted to believe in
that sign; that I could bring some
relief to a man who had served
our country
and paid a price with his
brace-enclosed leg.
It wanted to believe I could
help him and his wife, whose
existence he not only noted on the sign, but
underlined;
expending a little more of that precious
ink to show her importance.

My cynicism assumed this was all a ploy;
no guarantee that the money would help
this man in any other way than to
procure his next fix.
Even if this was just my
fanciful imagination, it told me that if
I helped this man and felt any sense of
self satisfaction, my charity would be
tainted with selfishness.

Maybe it was all a lie.
He wasn’t a veteran;
there was no wife.;
the leg brace was scavenged from
a back-alley dumpster and appropriated
for this part he was playing.
I was just another
middle-class mark
headed toward the
heated guarantee of home.

I had fifty dollars burning a
hole in my wallet, and
an infinite list of wants.
But in the chill of that
Minnesota cold, he looked
like he needed the warmth.

by Erik Shinker

Digital Crusader

Outrage-by-proxy.
Decry unfairness in solidarity.
A pixelated sledgehammer to the
institutions which wrong us.

Share and retweet; echo in your chamber
to reiterate that which we already
believe to be true.
The computer chair demonstrator,
contributing nothing of consequence.

Would you even care whether you
made a difference?
Or are you simply patting yourself on the
back for brushing against the grain?

Careful; too much grit will cut open your
palms and stain your hands the same color of red.
It’s fashionable to question, only to
plug your ears
from the answer.

by Erik Shinker

Phoenix

A relapse in regret;
a creature accustomed to
climbing currents of air
brought low by vice.

Death and rebirth occur;
a cycle caused by our condition.
How can we return alone from
this Endless afterlife where one
never recovers?
Not fully.

Listen for the whistling whispers, for
even ash will rise when blown by
a strong enough wind; soon to
soar once again,
buffeted by lover and
stranger alike.

by Erik Shinker

Disclaimer

Don’t respond to me;
I’m just bored and
lonely and
a couple of minutes away from
disappearing.

Come on too strong, afraid that
to do otherwise will make you lose interest.
Waxing poetic, electronic pen pals are
what most become;
asking to meet has never been
my strong suit.

I can be kind, loyal, and thoughtful;
thoughtless, selfish, and bloated by my
self-importance.

Everyone has their own path to walk;
some get partners, others don’t.
Some covet being alone, while
others daydream of someone else.

Come along then,
if you will.
I promise I’ll be the
one who is hurt.

by Erik Shinker