Validation

Tell me I’m
handsome,
beautiful,
talented,
wanted,
needed.

Tell me that
you love me, that
you only want to be near me, that
you can’t live without me, that
I’m yours, and
no one else’s.

Tell me you’ll be there
for me, for
yourself, for
us.

Tell me I’m
worth it, I’m
not giving up, I’m
not alone in this.
Lie to me, if
you have to.

by Erik Shinker

Remains

Sometimes I want to
tear my larynx in a primal scream,
“Fuck you and your happiness”.
But I know I would reach to catch
the words in my palms and,
in a gesture of prayer, dissolve them to dust
before they reach your ears.
All of the things I cannot change,
trickle through my fingers as
I clench the fist of my discontent.

I am torn between
empathy and cynicism.
I try to be better, but
appreciation is a practice,
one I have to make more time for.
And I can’t even be mad at you, because I know it
is just me who feels these things.

A footnote in your story,
cited and neatly placed in the
bibliography for reference, but
not important enough to be part of your tale;
an option to be skimmed over.

So, I guess, congratulations.
You get to write about being happy
while I remain.

by Erik Shinker

As If

I dream of sticky lips
in poised and yearning embrace.
Tongues teased to taste
a single drop of splendor.

Palms gliding in soft,
urgent pressure.
Hard and soft, diametrically opposed yet
natural in their coupling.

The words themselves causing excitement
from nipple to navel, through
thigh and ascended, blushing cheeks.

An ideal of intimacy with
partnership past the simplicity of
laying lovers.

As if such things could
be made manifest simply by my
wishing.

by Erik Shinker

Seen

The Seer leaves
a check mark;
read receipt and acknowledgement despite your
wish to remain silent.
A shoulder no colder than those
received and perceived rude in person.

Slumping, staring blank and
worrisome; wont to read too much
into something trifling.
A shrieking emptiness
allowing my imagination to do what it will.

Thoughts meander and find my
worst fears fruitful in their
delusional search for an excuse.
All the practical, reasonable, logical explanations became
too far-fetched to arrest this
terminal spiral.

I have been “Seen”;
dismissed.

by Erik Shinker

Spiraling

Is it really companionship I want?
When I start to sit and
contemplate what a relationship
entails, I feel myself lilt.

Being responsible for my own
emotional well-being can be overbearing at times;
watching over another’s could be too much.

Is this the male cowardice we hear so much about?
Unable to commit, worrying
too much
about things that
haven’t even happened?

Why do I continue this fruitless
endeavor? If I really met my
“dream woman”, would I have to courage?

Or would I simply sit and sulk,
masochistic in my love of loneliness;
forever trapped in this cycle of spiraling.
Yet I ask for a chance
as if I would even take it.

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

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