Adrian Slonaker – Poems – 6

by Adrian Slonaker

The temperature crashes like a klutzy acrobat
while an oscillating fan whirs for white noise,
and the sheets shrouding my head overheat
my dreams into a botched date with a dork I excised
from my life in the nineties.
Even in nightmares my savvy subconscious 
knows when to protect me by 
prodding me awake at eleven forty-five.
Soon Billy Fury
wails “do you really love me too?” on wax 
over a meowing guitar and pattering percussion, and
I pull on a pair of baggy brown chinos 
and pop an anemic lemonade gumball
guaranteed to be vegan
because this month we balk at
victimizing our terrestrial comrades
or ourselves.

Please Allow Camera and Microphone Access

A webcam image,
the fantasy of futuristic cartoons
predicting robotic domestics and jetpacks,
framed forget-me-not flecks in stormy-gray eyes,
and any fret-furrows and puffiness
from needling nights were 
nullified by the right light.
A voice made wispy by willpower and 
the uncanny lack of an Adam’s apple
encouraged you with
coos and breathing borrowed from
those three sylphlike Stevens sirens- 
April and Connie and Inger-
conveying fondness
and desire from your
anonymous interlocutor and
lifting you out from
musky clouds of 
loneliness and lethargy.
The mustache-lined smiles of pleasure
and beeping callbacks every evening
verified that you craved it-
as did I-
for three weeks and four days
until your online liveliness
was deactivated.

April Seventh

I hadn’t gazed at you 
since we giggled through that 
game of Trivial Pursuit
on the sofa of the café that 
doubled as a discotheque
when you answered that
the Australian soprano who
inspired a peach dessert was called
In two decades
you’d gained gold stars for
sustained spousehood and 
dadhood while I’d 
wed and de-wed
without spawning. 
I’d stopped smoking, 
and you’d forayed into
law enforcement
once the brainwave of becoming a nurse had 
subsided like a 24-hour bug.
After an iced coffee and a talk
about cursing and fear,
you let me clutch you
closely, your solidness
clamped against my chest as my 
ears cradled your husky-voiced
Even if I haven’t 
heard from you again
since that April seventh
four years ago,
at least I can claim that 
this pacifist 
protected a cop.


Someday the sojourner will end up a
publicly-subsidized specter of 
spots and wrinkles retinol and Astral cream couldn’t conquer
and knobby bones under pale flesh and the
dregs of demon fat that defeated decades of dieting. 
Tired of moody tedium and lonely mistrust
but terrified of the time his heartbeat stops,
he’ll be strapped on to existence while watching century-old
sitcoms in a sterile old folks’ facility,
forgotten by family members fallen by a bitter wayside but
prodded by cold doctors with injections and pills and
perky paid attendants who mispronounce his name and
scold him for wanting to torment his stomach with a 
tofu vindaloo while needling him to take a nap as though
he were once again a weird preschooler
embarking on a lifetime of missed marks and
elusive satisfaction. 

Rip Van Who?

I wish the first time
I woke up past noon,
I’d been slumbering after a bout of 
dancing in a Bellavista boîte between
cigarettes torched by a lapis lazuli-studded lighter and
swigs of pisco refreshing an oral orifice that would welcome the
juicy and tender tongues of a sultry-voiced storyteller with ice-violet eyes
and a rugby player with crude fingers in a no-tell nook on 
Avenida Manuel Montt framed by Andean humps and palm trees spitting their
fronds across a dark sky needing to be explored.

But I blinked hard at the black-and-white analog clock (broken two 
years later by airline security seeking bombs)
alone in a slender bed on the fourth floor of the Woodward Court residence hall
after an unfulfilling night with foil bags of crisps and cans of flat cola
and the histories of Herodotus instead of hedonism at Regenstein Library, 
thankful I’d overslept on Saturday 
so I hadn’t missed my mind-crushing Biblical Hebrew class
at the Oriental Institute, only a tray of greasy doughnuts 
dished out by the dining unit


Adrian Slonaker crisscrosses North America as a language boffin and is fond of opals, owls, fire noodles and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Adrian’s work, which has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net, has been published in WINK: Writers in the Know, Ariel Chart, The Pangolin Review and others.