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


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


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


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;
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
Optimism begins to fester and
slowly rots
until it becomes a
physical weight
in my chest.

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

Restart. Reset.
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.
This is all
when every success story both
emboldens and makes me
question what it is
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
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
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

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,
I can’t help but wonder.
I see and
feel and
my worth;
why can’t they?

by Erik Shinker

A Miserable Creature

(A Plea)

There is a creature
that isn’t quite

It simply seeks to
thriving on what It believes
is owed.

Taking an
emotional tithe and
fabricating frightening fantasies of
and growth.

Its hosts can’t
others for
choosing to
live their lives without
but that doesn’t mean they
enjoy It either.

It slithers from
one to the
next; imprinting Its
ideals and
wants and
onto subjects undeserving of
such psychotic symptoms.

It is envious
and apathetic
all at once.

At Its most microscopic, It is not
made of cells, but
interlinked insecurities.

Its very
presence is


and warrants
but the
destruction of its
desolate form.

(A Dismissal)

But It is necessary for
the protection of one’s

It seeks to procure for
Its host
in the least selfish way

It is self-aware,
knowing Its beneficent nature and
sarcastic sadism.

(An agreement)

There is a creature
whose only goal is to
feed on the happiness
of others, and this time

It wins.

by Erik Shinker

What It Means to Be Alone

It is a strange thing to look around and come to the realization you are alone; it is even more strange to comprehend that you don’t mind it being this way. But how did you get here? Did everyone leave you, or was it a slow process of elimination until you were the only one left? Isolation can be comforting, especially for introverts, but is it healthy? At what point does cynicism overrule optimism and force you to accept your isolation? They say that hindsight is 20/20, so let’s take a look back at how this came to be, and what it means to be alone.

Continue reading “What It Means to Be Alone”