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

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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

Blame

Where does the fault lie?

When all our fault lines crash and
burrow against one another;
who is the victim and
the culprit?

Was it the money, spent
so freely on
topical trifles
intended to increase
self-worth?

Was it the intimacy; a
physical necessity forced
upon the other through a
yielded yearning misled?

Was it the fear that
brought them together? Fear of
loss, loneliness, and
the promised price
all
must pay?

Piecemeal crust cracks and reshapes,
creating as it destroys; but
when the upset dust and detritus
finally find fractured
settlement in sediment, was
something built
or simply
broken?

by Erik Shinker

Strawberry Lovers

Sweet.
Tangy.
Ripe like
plump lips;
a pale imitation when
premature.

Some add sugar;
a softening, synthetic sweetener for
those unwilling to accept the
built-in bitterness of its nature.

Some bite deep, severing the stem and smiling;
blood-red evidence of their enjoyment dripping
through bleached enamel.
A moment’s ecstasy, a cry of passion, a
sudden regret.

They do
not
savor the flavor, but rather
put on a show for all to see,
intentionally ignorant of their
lie and disdain for the taste.

Some engulf entirely, unaware or
uncaring for the fruit’s
comfort, its dignity.
They seek the fullness of experience and
leave nothing behind but
rejected leaves covered in
spit-slicked residue.
Left bereft of their sweetness, their
value, their
worth.

Gently, in thrusting lust, through the
long deterioration of time, or discarded
in the wake of moldering rot;
all will be consumed in one way
or another.

by Erik Shinker

Thrust and Flutter

Yearning for release will bypass
apprehension.

A revelation in our intermingling;
when thrust and flutter
peel back our intricacies and rip
at the scabs of bitter romance
until taste slips sour
with the coupling of each kiss.

A beard brushing
amongst such soft skin
would bring about welcomed abrasion
until our cup runs over and,
amid that embraced conception,
the lingering question
of

“what comes next?”

remains.

by Erik Shinker

Color Me Calloused

This was all misconceived.
Your misspelling a disguise of mated
souls in possibility.

If you need space,
I’ll leave.
If you need
time, I’ll stop taking yours.
But

don’t expect me to wait.

Maybe I’m not meant to be partnered.
Not everyone is.
Perhaps it is better to
seek the solace of staying single;
forever in the perpetual quest.

I was looking for
an excuse, and
you gave me one.

I had turned toward the door, but
you beat me through it.

Let’s not pretend this wasn’t
foreshadowed;

you were
never
my Destiny.

by Erik Shinker