Wondering

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

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

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,
better.

by Erik Shinker

Protect(Her)

Charmed by
some smiling swine, his
true intentions hidden behind a
wall of white veneer.

Drawn in by his
attentions, affection, the
simple fact that he
pays attention.

She ignores what they have said
about his past;
a liar,
a glutton,
a man who speaks freely with
the back of his hand.

But things can’t really be
as bad as
they all say.
The dirtiest hands, even when scrubbed,
show evidence of their eccentricities;
his spotless palms must signal the chance
for redemption.

She believes she can fix him,
bring forth the man she knows he can be;
his apologies have to have some truth.
He says some lessons have to be
learned the hard way;
this isn’t one.

Let her know she deserves
so much better.

Speak.

Remind her that
she is not alone, and
we will always care.

by Erik Shinker

 

If you, or someone you love, is a victim of domestic abuse, please reach out.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 

 

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

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