You Sometimes Can Tell

(In the style of “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry)

It was a teenage wedding, and
the old folks tried to wish them well.
You could see that Pierre held little love for mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and pregnant madame
have rung the chapel bell

“C’est la vie”, say the old folks
It goes to show you sometimes can tell

They could barely afford an apartment,
stop me if you’ve heard this tale.
The coolerator was empty but
for condiments and scraps that were stale
When Pierre couldn’t find work, he’d hit his gal, the baby would yell

“C’est la vie”, say the old folks
It goes to show you sometimes can tell

That always crying baby, boy
Did her shrieks blast
Diapers, baby food, clothes
their little money didn’t last.
They’d lament the time before their daughter,
In their own personal hell

“C’est la vie”, say the old folks
It goes to show you sometimes can tell

They had a broke-down Honda civic, rusty red ‘83
With their constant fights they
didn’t make their first anniversary
It was then that Pierre was divorced by the lovely mademoiselle

“C’est la vie”, say the old folks
It goes to show you sometimes can tell

They had a teenage wedding, and
the old folks tried to wish them well.
You could see that Pierre held little love for mademoiselle
but now the separated monsieur and madame
have unrung that tarnished bell

“C’est la vie”, say the old folks
It goes to show you sometimes can tell

by Erik Shinker

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

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

Popular Music

As hands grasp hips in swaying sensation,
singers spew supposed sincerity in what is
mistake for intellectual integrity.

Neo-new wave heartthrobs
popping tunes from gummy bubbles.
Over-sized sweaters droop at the shoulder atop
skinny jeans, crowned by asymmetrical hairstyles;
we’ve seen this all before when
video killed the radio star.

But, hey, the girls love ’em, and
they’re dancing all the way to the bank;
our voices raised and coaxing them forward because
we can’t stop singing along.
If this is their expression of truth,
and it happens to sell well,
where is the harm?

Art as performance,
branded to influence online,
curated by quasi-intellectuals seeking
the truth behind a major label.
An aesthetic determined
in tandem with the fandom.
Recycling to synthesize in
meta self-referential drivel.
Put down the thesaurus, fellas.

I rose, once, in defense of my genres, and
lowered my gaze down upon those who
relished and revered radio stars.
But I’d rather change the station or
put on one of my playlists.
Their music may very well have
saved someone’s life
as the art of others saved mine.
Live and let listen to pop music.

by Erik Shinker

Meaning

Capable of carrying weight and power, but
only when allowed by the
speaker, the
receiver.

A thump to the chest, the
sinking feeling as
the world rises to crush with
gripping tentacles that drag down to drown.
The decision of whether words drip like venom, or
become a soothing salve for
cracking hearts is
yours, and yours alone.

Words are not inherently infallible,
just sounds and symbols in which we place
meaning.
But don’t over-analyze;
they’re all made up anyway.

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

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