Poetry

It’s the warmth of a summer sun
pressing through and pouring between the
gaps of illuminated tree leaves;
it’s the peaceful, calming noise of pouring rain that
trickles through gutter and pipe;
it is imagery conjured into something more real
than the spell of any grey-bearded sorcerer or
maiden, mother, and crone.

Attempts have been made to trap and categorize it;
free verse, rhyme, rhythm.
Something so primal, yet we
try to define and cage something
part of ourselves

Storytelling is written into the components of our DNA;
empathy is what sets us apart from the
teeming masses of inscrutable animals.
No matter the meter or method,
poetry is the thread that binds us.

by Erik Shinker

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

A Human Construct

I once took time
by the burning of a cigarette;
ash fell in lieu of sand to fill my hourglass.
The immortality of youth led me to
scoff through my coughing as
I would joke of my
elongated suicide.

I kept time in the hours between
classes and marching band practice;
wasting my wonder at why I
seemed to have such a hard time while
all my my friends around found
lovers like their lives depended on it.

Time stayed at bay while I
lazed laconic in my indecision.
“If only”
would be the epitaph
upon my tombstone.

But I no longer
track time’s passing as I once did;
I measure it by
the length of songs that soothe and
ease my muddled mind.
They comfort me through my meandering;
though they still tend to taunt in
their ability to
restart, to
rewind.

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