As Long As You Do

I began as
the fluttering in your stomach,
conjured by intimate touch, but
soon the sentiment attached at the sight
began to curdle.
I became as
a festering boil on the skin of your existence;
a regretted reminder of
wasted affections.
It doesn’t matter what
you think of me;
as long as you do.

by Erik Shinker


Heartfelt palpitations at the
thought of your smile.
Each morning wakes in
anticipation of seeing you
for the first time.

Creating excuses to come into contact;
these glimpses, though brief,
engulf me in expectation of when I
might build the courage to ask.

Because, as was once
sung in a Savage Garden:
oh, I want you,
I don’t know if I need you, but
oh I’d die to find out.

by Erik Shinker


An expectation, placed by
society, community, culture.
When did partnership become a
prerequisite for happiness?

Loneliness is a leaden blanket, smothering
any thought of additional companionship.
Having been a self-professed romantic for
such a long time, have I finally come to see
the truth?

Physical urges are what they are and,
in the wake their expulsion,
when the sweat has dried and the
words we repeated in rapture
dissolve into air, our lust is only
replaced by regret and

Is this all I would reap? Momentary
ecstasy and what remains for the duration.
Am I simply impatient,
immature, and
arrested in my development?

by Erik Shinker


The accordion ebb and flow of
infatuation. Waltzing, Parisian
lovers entwined. They once stood
silhouetted in the hazy ember of
Sunday twilight.
Separated by a plague, their world
halted on its axis and spun the opposite.
They shout toward one another as a
fissure flexes and casts them away from each other.
Their ears cupped to hear as their cries fade and
echo; eventually lost to any reverberation.

by Erik Shinker

Shopping for a Significant Other

When did we stop thinking of others
as human?
When did we become commodities to
browse through as we shop,
items and products marketing ourselves
in the hope for an end to our loneliness?

Requested specifications include:
height, and
skin color, and
hair color, and
gender, and
sexual preference, and
location, and
so on, and
so forth, and
so what?

Qualify yourself to ensure quality,
judge others based on the
information provided and hope for
accuracy that cannot be assured.

Throw up defenses, obstacles, hurdles
to weed out the
undeserving. The elation of a match,
pulsing adrenaline and
released butterflies at the
prospect of a possible connection.

Happily ever after is
at your fingertips;
swipe to select
your next conquest

by Erik Shinker


Imagination can only go so far, and
promises cannot be kept when
uncertainty reigns supreme.

So I sit, and wonder;
what do you think of me?
Will it change when we can
be together?
When we are able to
touch more than the
synthetic screens of our phones.

The tempting thought of
holding your hand,
feeling skin on skin,
now made taboo by this
vicious virus.

This quarantine has isolated any
chance of certainty;
for now.
So I will continue to relish any contact,
even if it’s just a text from you, or
a digital duet and
time with your face.

by Erik Shinker

If You Asked for a Poem

If you asked for a poem,
what would I write about?

My feelings for you,
the way your smile spreads to
emphasize the beauty in your eyes.
The thought of your soft lips
pressed, in passion, to mine.
The feel of wrapping you in my arms,
warmed to the point of melting.

Or my disdain for our separation,
forcing anti-contact and the inability to
be together.
But that would just be
fruitless repetition; raging at
circumstance and wishing for respite.

I would ask for your patience,
for my own,
and for us to work together to make
the best of our time apart.
Invest in speaking with
each other, learning about
one another, and
spending the currency of our mortal selves.

There will be an
even greater return when we can
stand, hand in hand,
and feel the warmth of
our shared smiles.

by Erik Shinker

The Cusp of Something Better

we look for a way out,
a reason to leave,
the possibility of something,
we perceive to be,

Overlooking our own
eccentricities, wishing for a
perfect match, we are
taken in by stories of romance;
trying to fill our
God-shaped hole with
books, and
stories, and
money, and
sex, and
any other possible vice.

Souls mated, through
providence or effort alone;
Until along comes someone,
we perceive to be,

by Erik Shinker