Waiting

As I lie and listen to
a song that once had
such specific meaning,
I regress.

The decisions I have made,
and those made for me.
The twisting, churning waves of
my life.

The roll of the die, clichés
coming to mind, and
possibilities pushed away by
inaction as much as
any action taken.

Infatuations that
fell short of
love.
Relationships crushed,
rationalized away.
So I continue waiting for
my “perfect partner”
to come along.
But is someone waiting
for me?

by Erik Shinker

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Dating Apps

The beautiful youth, who cause
lust-infatuation, thoughts of
ravishing disappointment.

The elegant and seasoned, who promise
tender understanding, coupled with
subversive condescension.

They all begin to
runtogether,
molding into an
amalgam of silent responses.

A “conversation” killed makes
ghosts of one of us, and
the transition into this text-afterlife
eases with each disappearance.

Don’t explain yourself to me;
I have gotten along just fine, and
would hate to
have sympathy for you.

by Erik Shinker

Dismissal

What’s past has passed, though
the knowing brings no comfort.
An overlapped coupling; heaven forbid
you should be alone.

When was the seed planted that grew this
carnivorous creature? What was the cause
of this candy-coated killing?

Dismissed with explanations told transparent;
“You’re such a great guy, but…”
“I’m just not ready for a relationship…”
“I still need time to figure out…”

I can respect that; however, it becomes
disingenuous after so many repetitions.
The law of averages says
something is wrong
with me despite
their insistence otherwise.

Ginger hair, bearded, and pale;
it seems you have a type.
You weren’t the first;
apparently, so do I.

by Erik Shinker

Red Hands

Drenched in the
evidence of our crime,
we became defiled.
Your palms no more dark
than mine.

Crusting scabs ran along in a
watered-down attempt to
clean what was wrought. I
remember
that of which I am guilty.
I cannot help but
wonder if you even
remember me.

But I have learned not to
trust any beautiful thing.
Would you warn your own child
against people like you?

by Erik Shinker

Downpour

Do not turn to me for
I can give no healing balm;
no soothing salve to your heartache.
Nor would I ask the same of you.

My words,
turned to gibberish by swollen tongue.
My ears,
stoppered by piercing plugs.
My eyes,
blinded by an unattainable visage.
My feelings,
filtered through apathy.

Skin thickened, though
not tough enough to keep
from fraying.

And yet here we lie; with
one another, to
one another, about
one another.

by Erik Shinker

Reciprocation

Adrift in the wake of
where we were.
A severing by my own hand, but
the wound continues to
turn toward infection.

I reached out when you were grasping, and
pulled with all my strength
(or so I tell myself)
until I realized your gasping was
simply seeking attention,
awaiting the first to come along.

Sweat from the effort of keeping you aloft
soon ran through my palms,
breaking the bond I thought was blessed.
Again, I was
wrong.

Your rasping entreaty for help,
a well-practiced wheeze,
drew me into those welcoming arms.
If only I had seen your talons,
maybe then we could have
avoided all the
violence.

I poured myself into you,
made you feel whole again.
My warmth pulsed through parched arteries
as your succubus lips
drained and leeched my
Truth.

Were you ever real; or was
this just some imaginary muse
I conjured while
distraught in my delirium?

I only wish I could pay back all that
you stole from me.

by Erik Shinker

Pathways

Ours may not converge, but
we are each given one to walk;
patchwork wanderers lost in
their own way.

Some go hand-in-hand, while
others pad along

alone.

It comes easily for some,
something more like labor for most,
and even still there are those oblivious to
the universe’s guiding hand.

Buffeted between invisible walls;
yet,
how could I complain?
There is no other path to tread.

Even if an alternative existed,
would I truly trust to
something so significant?

by Erik Shinker