Self-esteem

Beaver teeth, pushed forward
by a tongue cracking in crevices.
A forest of fur covers knuckles, backhanded scars,
and freckling moles which emerge from a
desert of translucent skin.

Stomach bulging post-binge;
an ever-expanding
tumorous gut
bloated despite
half-hearted attempts at loss through
diet and exercise.

Each ache increases with
days gone by.
Thinning tissue stretched along
hips and handles labeled as
“for love”;
tiger stripes of a
less than attractive nature.

Sweat saturated palms and feet
destroy the soles of shoes by the pair and
create clammy handshakes.

Seen in all its disgusting “glory” by
only one
in adulthood;
a handful as a babe.
There is no need to point out my flaws;
I am woefully aware.

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

Distractions

Ringing inconsistency,
switch.
Lost loves lamented,
switch.
Discontent and disillusion,
switch.
Manic soaring,
switch.
A plateau parallel to yesterday,
switch.
Static white-noise,
switch.
A perfected pretense in ideal,
switch.
Chronic pain and horror at one’s end,
switch.
Playlist on shuffle,
switch.
Update spreadsheets and status trackers,
switch.
A sultry redhead with freckles.
Switch.
Begin next task,
switch.
Repetition in flux.
Switch.

by Erik Shinker

Overcome

(A realization)
The weight of emotions,
more than any scale could measure,
dropped upon shoulders unprepared.

Tapping into the well of reserved emotion;
catharsis flooding as tears carve
lazy rivers over
cracked, dry skin.
The trials and difficulties of
the past,
brought into being under in
stark spotlight by a song.

The contemplation of something hopeful,
something that needs to be protected, but
not hidden from reality.

Sometimes, kind words cause
the tears;
the simplicity of
a kind act witnessed renews faith.
Sincerity, cutting through the
facade of daily apathy,
can be incredibly disarming.

(A request)
Do not discount the
weight of your words, or
the effect you have on this earth and the
people around you.
You don’t know how much
you mean to everyone.

by Erik Shinker

With Me?

Impatience drives my mind through
paranoid possibilities; burdened by
radio silence.
Reaching out, only to
recoil at the thought of
your touch.

What I think of myself
doesn’t matter;
positive and negative are negated.
Stuck in my self-prescribed safe zone,
restrained by my own misgivings and
lack of experience.

What
does she think of me?
If she thinks of me at all.
And, if she did, how would she feel
about spending her time…

by Erik Shinker

Charity

I had fifty dollars burning a
hole in my wallet, and
an infinite list of wants.
During a common commute,
after a (relatively) long day,
I passed the panhandler.

My optimism wanted to believe in
that sign; that I could bring some
relief to a man who had served
our country
and paid a price with his
brace-enclosed leg.
It wanted to believe I could
help him and his wife, whose
existence he not only noted on the sign, but
underlined;
expending a little more of that precious
ink to show her importance.

My cynicism assumed this was all a ploy;
no guarantee that the money would help
this man in any other way than to
procure his next fix.
Even if this was just my
fanciful imagination, it told me that if
I helped this man and felt any sense of
self satisfaction, my charity would be
tainted with selfishness.

Maybe it was all a lie.
He wasn’t a veteran;
there was no wife.;
the leg brace was scavenged from
a back-alley dumpster and appropriated
for this part he was playing.
I was just another
middle-class mark
headed toward the
heated guarantee of home.

I had fifty dollars burning a
hole in my wallet, and
an infinite list of wants.
But in the chill of that
Minnesota cold, he looked
like he needed the warmth.

by Erik Shinker

Digital Crusader

Outrage-by-proxy.
Decry unfairness in solidarity.
A pixelated sledgehammer to the
institutions which wrong us.

Share and retweet; echo in your chamber
to reiterate that which we already
believe to be true.
The computer chair demonstrator,
contributing nothing of consequence.

Would you even care whether you
made a difference?
Or are you simply patting yourself on the
back for brushing against the grain?

Careful; too much grit will cut open your
palms and stain your hands the same color of red.
It’s fashionable to question, only to
plug your ears
from the answer.

by Erik Shinker