At the End of All Things

We take a step, here,
at the end of all things,
over the precipice of the past.
Brittle pebbles break from the
shattered foundations of
what came before.
Dust and grit cascade over the cliff’s edge;
the foot hovers,
aware of the void beneath.

The torrential breath of change
buffets from behind,
pushing to cast us
forward in a leap of faith,
and hope for the future;
though, we are tempered by trepidation
because what could occur
other than free-fall?
How could we take what has happened, and
believe anything could come next
when our eyes see only the
abyss of the unknown.

But we take a step, here,
at the end of all things,
onto the supporting hands of
those who came before.
Risen from the void, they carry us,
as we hold their legacy within.
We find solidity, and take another step
into the beginning of
what will be.

by Erik Shinker

Disenchanted

Love does not exist;
at least, not that
splendid thing described by
the romantic and empathetic.

Now we search for something
to fulfill ourselves, rather than another.
What they give to me is
of import; more than anything
I could give them.

We compare ourselves and,
in a self-serving delusion to force influence,
coach others on how to be
beautiful, or
successful, or
better
like us.

We justify and force ourselves to
believe that sharing our
“success” stories
somehow uplifts others, even
when we spew the same platitudes as
every other entrepreneur.

by Erik Shinker

Keepsakes

Trinkets retained,
samples of penmanship, photographs, and
items once associated with
those now gone.

Snapshots in time, preserved in the
inanimate, the trifling, the
discarded. Things to be cast aside by
the unknowing, which carry meaning in
their motion through time.

Memories made tangible
call to mind moments
so easily lost.
Those of us,
left behind,
cling to the last scraps we still have;
awaiting the day we
are reunited.

by Erik Shinker

Casualties

Bodies stacked to line the
inside of 18-wheeled caskets.
Dead seeds line the core of
America’s big Apple;
its bloody cider overflowing due to
a lack of preparation at the highest level.

Families separated, as
isolation takes its toll despite the
empty reassurance that we are
all in this
together.

The veiled lie of post-graduation certainty
has been ripped from the brows of
college seniors.
A job in their fields was
never guaranteed,
and they learned this in the most violent way.

The things we once took for granted are
now gone,
changed forever by
a virus and the incompetence of
our “leader”.

But is change such a bad thing?
We have convinced ourselves that
things are, and
always have been, and
always will be.

But that isn’t the truth.
Change, as the saying goes, is the
only constant;
lives lived in flux and
the unforeseeable are guaranteed.

The reality of
our existence
can no longer be ignored;
we adapt, or
perish
with the lies we once held to be
self-evident.

by Erik Shinker

Shopping for a Significant Other

When did we stop thinking of others
as human?
When did we become commodities to
browse through as we shop,
items and products marketing ourselves
in the hope for an end to our loneliness?

Requested specifications include:
height, and
skin color, and
hair color, and
gender, and
sexual preference, and
location, and
so on, and
so forth, and
so what?

Qualify yourself to ensure quality,
judge others based on the
information provided and hope for
accuracy that cannot be assured.

Throw up defenses, obstacles, hurdles
to weed out the
undeserving. The elation of a match,
pulsing adrenaline and
released butterflies at the
prospect of a possible connection.

Happily ever after is
at your fingertips;
swipe to select
your next conquest
today!

by Erik Shinker

An Impromptu Blog Post: Poem Shared at Vita Brevis Press

Good morning, readers!

An impromptu post to let you all know that my poem, Beautiful Things, has been shared by Vita Brevis Press. Please click the link to read it, and other poems.

Vita Brevis Press is, according to their about page:

“… a bestselling small publisher dedicated to emerging and established poets, circulating their work in an online magazine and in physical anthologies. Vita Brevis Poetry Magazine publishes some of the best emerging poets out there, pairing their work with tonally relevant artwork.”

A huge thank you to Brian Geiger for accepting and sharing my submission.

The Hurting

I was searching for someone to
trace my history through
fingerprint and dermal imperfection.

We would read the scars on one another’s
bodies like Braille; telling
the stories of our hurts and
those who cut and carved into our memories.
Seldom forgiven;
never forgotten.

A blind hope we wouldn’t be doing the
same damn thing in a couple of
years with other lovers;
telling them about the
last time we allowed ourselves to
be vulnerable, and the
hurting that followed.

by Erik Shinker

Wondering

Imagination can only go so far, and
promises cannot be kept when
uncertainty reigns supreme.

So I sit, and wonder;
what do you think of me?
Will it change when we can
be together?
When we are able to
touch more than the
synthetic screens of our phones.

The tempting thought of
holding your hand,
feeling skin on skin,
now made taboo by this
vicious virus.

This quarantine has isolated any
chance of certainty;
for now.
So I will continue to relish any contact,
even if it’s just a text from you, or
a digital duet and
time with your face.

by Erik Shinker