Disenchanted

Love does not exist;
at least, not that
splendid thing described by
the romantic and empathetic.

Now we search for something
to fulfill ourselves, rather than another.
What they give to me is
of import; more than anything
I could give them.

We compare ourselves and,
in a self-serving delusion to force influence,
coach others on how to be
beautiful, or
successful, or
better
like us.

We justify and force ourselves to
believe that sharing our
“success” stories
somehow uplifts others, even
when we spew the same platitudes as
every other entrepreneur.

by Erik Shinker

Projection

Boast and brag through
false modesty;
post and paste images on your profile
accompanied by hashing tags
in your attempt to influence.

Dragged down by my jealousy,
I am no better.
While I wish your life was as
fulfilling as you’d have us believe, it is
only through spite.

We project ourselves onto others;
the aspects we wish and want,
whether to hide or flaunt.

by Erik Shinker

Horror Story

I’ll tell you a story,
about a man and a woman,
whose souls never met despite
their complete surrender to each other.

They spoke every day,
slept entangled in one another;
their bodies pantomiming
what they were told by
their parents,
their culture,
and their society was
the ultimate goal.

Intimacy, forced through expectation.
He bragged to his friends about his
erotic escapades;
she doted over her lover’s ligaments
to lady and lummox alike.

They routinely posted online and
kept to a schedule; spreading their
manicured manure in search
of influence.
Tagging pictures of filtered flirtation,
they checked into hot-spots and date nights;
alert to become
the envy of all their
connections and
followers and
“friends”.

But they knew it was hollow.
They lived in fear of losing the game,
the race to the finish line of perfection.
They continued to feed on the
ugliest of emotions;
vampires leeching from
any unlucky enough to
come into contact.

These magnificent monsters
parade and display their
selfishness in a way  to
justify.
Don’t mislabel something
horrible as love.
Fear these creatures;
there is nothing
human
about them.

by Erik Shinker

Fear Isn’t the Heart of Love

Life moves in cycles, much
like the seasons.
It’s not a new idea, but
that doesn’t make it
any less true.

So many false starts, tripping
before any traction
can be gained. Gripping
to one another against that
freezing abyss of loneliness.

We wrestle with
this imposed ideal, convinced
that since we have not seen the
societal signposts assigned to
each achievement, we are
somehow
doing worse.

Attacking the day,
setting goals,
hitting targets,
living our best lives;
badges pinned to a cloth-coated chest,
festering, decayed flesh falling
apart with the ticking of time.

Focus on the moment, or
fear of missing out will
send shock-waves through synapses
as we struggle to forget our own ends.

Online influencers would have us
preach endless optimism, or
shut our mouths and not ask the
scary questions.
Be affected by me, read
my story, be inspired
or else.

I may just be another
twenty-something trying to
make sense of it all; raging
against those deemed more
successful within the system.

But I’m doing what’s right
for me, which
may not run in line
with you. And,
frankly,
I’m proud of that
because the fear of
not becoming you, is
no fear at all.

by Erik Shinker