Ombre

Silk, spanning a spectrum
progressing from
burnt coffee to golden wheat.
A field of change, traveling through
the seasons, yet
frozen in time.
Cascading toward enchanted ovals,
it frames her face, in parallel with
delightful dimples bordering a
softly-summoned smile.

by Erik Shinker

Up to This Point

I can recall the first time I saw you
leaving, the first
glimpse of your auburn mane; I
hoped you would be here, just for
the chance to speak with you.

Then you began to come through that
door routinely, sending silent smiles and
greetings of a genial, if surface, nature.

As time passed, I pined and poemed after you;
an ideal image with no validity.
My gut would clench, palms perspire,
tongue swell at the thought of your attention;
I craved for even the briefest exchange.

I finally inquired,
offering myself to you in an awkward way;
a coward unable to commit.
I left the choice in your hands;
how could I hold
your decision against you?

I recall these things, and with time
they lose their luster;
but now I have your attention
and, up to this point, I
had thought it a blessing.
Now, I’m not so sure.

by Erik Shinker

Meet Cute

“We need to get you off those dating apps,” said Dave. He was sitting next to his best friend and old college roommate, Edgar. The two had met up after Edgar finished yet another unsuccessful date.

“I don’t know what to tell you, man,” said Edgar, “I just can’t find a real connection.”

The duo was sitting in their favorite after-work haunt, Shady Hal’s. True to its name, it was a hole-in-the-wall dive bar that lacked any redeeming qualities and courted the type of people who enjoyed grumbling their problems into a half-empty glass of liquor. Edgar was nursing his first gin and tonic while Dave finished up his third rum and Coke.

Rumor had it that the owner was a Jack Black fan, and that’s where “Hal” came into the picture; the owner’s name was Chet, which Edgar found to be appropriate. But, their happy hour specials were decent, and it was within walking distance to both of Dave and Edgar’s places, so Shady Hal’s became the place where they would routinely get smashed and complain about their white, middle-class problems in the company of men and women who had actual issues.

“You’re just trying too hard,” said Dave, “you overthink things. Just be in the moment and leave your comfort zone.”

“Nothing about dating is comfortable,” said Edgar, “The apps just help me go in with more information, like if she is even actually interested in me, but even that isn’t a guarantee.”

“Look,” said Dave, “let’s give the apps a rest. There’s a cute girl who started in my office a couple of weeks ago. What if I convince her to go on a date with you?”

“A blind date?” Edgar said, “It’s bad enough going on a date where I know what the girl looks like, let alone not.”

“Trust me, she’s cute,” Dave said, “Hell, I’ll make it a double-date so it isn’t as awkward for you.”

Edgar drained the last of his drink, relishing the taste of lime and gin, as memories of his last few dates floated back into his mind. Well, what did he have to lose?

*** Continue reading “Meet Cute”

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

Le Noire

Starting with a misstep after
skipping over my own tongue.
Taken in stride by your
quick wit held aloft by
a charmed laugh.

Smitten by an
unexpected connection;
altered plans,
perhaps serendipitous,
led our paths to cross.
But, as ever, I am unsure;
past friendliness so often
mistaken for interest.

I play back our time
together; reminiscing already
in the wish of repeating.

I hope we meet again,
if only for another chance to
make a fool of myself
for you.

by Erik Shinker

Selfishness

I am fixated by
the way your laughter
explodes despite your
half-hearted attempts to stifle;
I would like to be the cause.

I think of how your smile reaches
your eyes; creasing in such a way
that only increases your beauty, your
honesty, your
splendor.

I want to sit and share
myself; to learn
about you.
Where you come from,
how we are similar, how
we are different.

I daydream of us speaking,
but each time we draw near I
am flummoxed, confounded,
and all the other synonyms listed
in the thesaurus.

There is a flurry in my chest at
even the thought of your proximity.
I want to impress you, to find out if
these feelings are just flattering fancy or
if the connection I feel truly exists.

I have been fooled before; attraction
can be such a burden to bear,
especially when it is carried alone.

But I am selfish; or
have you not
been paying attention?

I haven’t thought about
what you want;
not even once.

by Erik Shinker

Crush(ed)

Each day I sit and
beg with silent plea as
she passes by my desk.

Speak to me, or
let me speak to her.
But I lack the
courage, the
will, the
want.
More afraid that
she’ll say yes
than no.

Each morning I look
forward to those stolen glances, the
shy smiles that could be chalked
up to simple manners.

I would like something,
more, but this is all
I deserve.

She deserves better than
to be hit on at work.
Besides, she would
rather speak to
another.

By Erik Shinker

Love in the Time of Cholera – Review

El amor en los tiempos del cólera by Gabriel García Márquez

Published in Spanish in 1985, in English as Love in the Time of Cholera in 1988

Edith Grossman Translation

Pages: 348

Genre: Latin American literature, Colombian literature, romance

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

This first line’s sentiment is expressed as the inner monologue of Doctor Juvenal Urbino who, upon inspecting the dead body of a friend, introduces the two themes evident in the title of the book. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez is a story of infatuation that spans decades and explores the feeling in its many variations. Set in a Caribbean town over the course of 50 years, it is a tale of two people whose lives intertwine through the love held in their hearts. Continue reading “Love in the Time of Cholera – Review”