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

Lifeline

I am throwing out a
lifeline, though
there is no guarantee.

A whisper against the dark, seeking
something more than myself.
This hope, though grave, and
sought in the wrong way, is
all I have left.

A grasping, gasping exhale;
one last shout before I sink beneath.
Unsure of that which I seek,
but certain of what it’s not,
I stumble through life on
severed limbs,
cauterized nubs.

I am maimed, by
my own hand; by
hers.
The deepest of wounds left to
fester and rot beneath
scaled scar tissue.

But in my deformity, I cast
this line once more;
my only faith
in us.

by Erik Shinker

Dating Apps

The beautiful youth, who cause
lust-infatuation, thoughts of
ravishing disappointment.

The elegant and seasoned, who promise
tender understanding, coupled with
subversive condescension.

They all begin to
runtogether,
molding into an
amalgam of silent responses.

A “conversation” killed makes
ghosts of one of us, and
the transition into this text-afterlife
eases with each disappearance.

Don’t explain yourself to me;
I have gotten along just fine, and
would hate to
have sympathy for you.

by Erik Shinker

Dismissal

What’s past has passed, though
the knowing brings no comfort.
An overlapped coupling; heaven forbid
you should be alone.

When was the seed planted that grew this
carnivorous creature? What was the cause
of this candy-coated killing?

Dismissed with explanations told transparent;
“You’re such a great guy, but…”
“I’m just not ready for a relationship…”
“I still need time to figure out…”

I can respect that; however, it becomes
disingenuous after so many repetitions.
The law of averages says
something is wrong
with me despite
their insistence otherwise.

Ginger hair, bearded, and pale;
it seems you have a type.
You weren’t the first;
apparently, so do I.

by Erik Shinker

Downpour

Do not turn to me for
I can give no healing balm;
no soothing salve to your heartache.
Nor would I ask the same of you.

My words,
turned to gibberish by swollen tongue.
My ears,
stoppered by piercing plugs.
My eyes,
blinded by an unattainable visage.
My feelings,
filtered through apathy.

Skin thickened, though
not tough enough to keep
from fraying.

And yet here we lie; with
one another, to
one another, about
one another.

by Erik Shinker

Pathways

Ours may not converge, but
we are each given one to walk;
patchwork wanderers lost in
their own way.

Some go hand-in-hand, while
others pad along

alone.

It comes easily for some,
something more like labor for most,
and even still there are those oblivious to
the universe’s guiding hand.

Buffeted between invisible walls;
yet,
how could I complain?
There is no other path to tread.

Even if an alternative existed,
would I truly trust to
something so significant?

by Erik Shinker

Seeking Sincerity

Seeking sincerity has become
such a chore.
To accept
mediocrity has its own
attraction.
Optimism begins to fester and
slowly rots
until it becomes a
physical weight
in my chest.

Suffocating.
We drown ourselves in
cliches until they
leak through our pores and
create a sheen
of self-deception

Restart. Reset.
Overandoverandoverandoverandover
again.
Expect disappointment and rebound quickly;
no longer assets, but necessities.

We try to convince ourselves
this time will be
different, but
how long until
depleting reserves of potential
and possibility
run out?

How can I decide the
amount of time to
spend searching when
I’m told by
almost everyone
that I’ll find something when I least expect to.
Something;
someone.
This is all
counter-intuitive
when every success story both
emboldens and makes me
question what it is
exactly
that I’m doing wrong.

How many times must I be lied to?
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
“I’m just not ready for a relationship.”
“You’re so great, but…”
Is there some sort of conspiracy
that they’ve all agreed to play the game?
To see if I’ll
chase? If only it
were that easy.

How long before they
begin blending into variations of
the same carbon copies? The same
university-branded drinking photos, the same
vacation spots, the same
pursed beaks, flexing facades.
How long until they start
to run together and I  start
to wonder if there is
anyone
worth getting to know?
Plastic permutations of
the same theme; a blueprint
with minor tweaks that
don’t improve,
just diversify

Soon I parse out and
MAGNIFY
parts of my personality to
try and find some common ground
to make things work;
only when things fall through do
I realize how
unimportant they are and that
I was only injecting air to
fluff them up.
The temptation that maybe
this time will be different, maybe
I will finally
break through
if I stay here a little longer.
But after five years of
disappointment, why would now be any
different?

Over-analyze every aspect.
Was I too interested?
Not interested enough?
Did I talk too much? Too little?
Did I focus too much on
one topic of conversation?
Am I too shallow?
Was there something I
fixated on
in her appearance that
I didn’t like at first
so that’s all I could see,
which in turn soured me?

How much is
my fault?
Is that even worth asking?
All of it.
Why does it seem to be
so easy
for others?
I know I don’t see the whole story,
but
I can’t help but wonder.
I see and
feel and
know
my worth;
why can’t they?

by Erik Shinker