Minnesota’s Best Emerging Poets 2019

I have some very exciting news to share today; last month, I had a poem accepted to be included in the upcoming book, Minnesota’s Best Emerging Poets 2019!

The book will be available to buy through Amazon and Z Publishing’s website on November 30th, but you can pre-order now at this link for a copy.

Minnesota’s Best Emerging Poets 2019 contains 30 poems by writers like myself discussing relevant and poignant topics with each of us doing our best to seek and realize our truths.

Feel free to check out Z Publishing House’s website for more information on this and other books that they have published.

Thank you for reading and enjoy a photo of my cat being a ham!

IMG_6606

Posturing

Edit.

Show only what elevates and
discard the real.

Tell others how to live, but
call it “leading by example”.
Coach a life,
whatever that means.

Be the envy;
picturesque products of our
wants and desire.

Hide the snot, and
shit, and
refuse of
who you are;
spew the aesthetic
you would have others
perceive.

Sell yourself, and a
life; if only there was a
Devil to take your soul, but
even he would balk
at your narcissism.

by Erik Shinker

Scapegoat

I look at beauty and
can think only of
what I lack.

How selfish I am to
believe that I could give
nothing, and simply
take advantage.

She could never love me?
No, that’s not
the truth.

It isn’t fair, to put
so much of
the blame on
her
when my own belief that
I am unlovable
is closer to clarity.

So I take a step back,
vanishing into electronic ether;
never to be heard from again for fear
that I may hurt her feelings, or
she shatter mine.
Rejection is easy; building
something successful
is not.

by Erik Shinker

Frustration

An unspoken barrier.
A pantomime in possibility
as I mentally rehearse
what it would be like to
take such a small step.

“Hello”
“Is this seat taken?”
“I’m such and such”
“It’s so nice to meet you.”

Introversion isn’t cute
when it becomes debilitating.
Am I afraid she’ll say no? Absolutely.
Am I afraid she’ll say yes? Even more so.

I understand the implication;
the effort and expense.
So, yet again,
apprehension gets the
best of me, and those
soft, quiet smiles are all
I have to look forward to.

by Erik Shinker

Growth

I am trying
to focus more on what
I do have in my life
than what
I think I’m
missing;

to identify the challenges I
can overcome
by myself, those that
require the help
of others, and
being able to
discern between the two;

to really
hear the beauty in the music
I love, see the splendor in art
that speaks to me, and
spend my time
more meaningfully
away from
screens and social media.

I am trying
to move past this
unrealistic ideal of a partner
I have created
in my mind;

to know that I am enough, and
that my path isn’t necessarily
one that converges with,
or even runs parallel to,
yours.

I am trying
to take pleasure in the
lessons I have learned and
be willing
to leave the
past where it is;

to be more accepting
of those who are not like me,
and those who
disagree with me on
a fundamental level;

to gain patience, to temper
my aggression, and
to respect those
around me.

I know that this is something that
will never be
complete until my
life ends.
But, still,

I am trying.

by Erik Shinker

Power

With words unspoken,
we communicate through text.
Writing, typing, messaging.

A notification could lift the spirit,
a digital chime causes a
quickening heart and
releases adrenaline in a rush.

The hope of a
connection, a
companion, a
match.

Idle
with attention always
slightly
diverted;
waiting for
another chance at
love, or
lust, or
just something
to pass the time.

Relishing the possibility with
no thought
of reality.
Wishing away boredom with
daylight hallucinations
we would incorrectly call
fantasy.

We allow the
other
end of a chat to
determine our worth, while
the imagination runs
rampant
with the worst scenarios.

She holds the power,
and I both
hate and love
every second of waiting,
as I both
hate and love
myself.

And I check
and there is nothing
and I hate myself a
little more
and I love myself a
little less.

by Erik Shinker

A Hard Left

Converging lives jockey for
position along the freeway.
Whose outstretched hands are
wetted by the wind-wrenched drizzle?
Such things no other can know.

Arms wag
like Labrador tongues;
A joyous smile reinvigorated
by nature
while thoughts of
work and responsibilities are
left in their wake.

Stop
and Go and
Stop and
Slam on the brakes.

Inertia
speeds us forward to
push the limits.
Screech to a
halt to save
your own skin
from a higher insurance rate.

Or

Miss the pedal and earn a
bruised collarbone and
emerge concussed.
Thank God for
safety features;
then curse Him for
the other driver
(thrown skyward through
shattered glass, air, and caution)
who didn’t use theirs.

by Erik Shinker