Adrian Slonaker works as a copywriter and copy editor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. Adrian's poetry has appeared in The Mackinac, Postcard Poems and Prose, Red Weather, Red Fez, ZiN Daily Archive and others.
“If You Assume”
If you assume I remember
you suck peppermint pastilles for hayfever in August;
your meals must be macrobiotic;
and you seek refuge in churchyards when you need to reflect,
if you assume I feel
your eyes' swirling cyan splashes into my dreams;
your nerdy owlish laugh strikes me as tender;
and your tone-mauling “music” is a treat for my tympanum,
if you assume I desire
your placid companionship during winter's first storm;
your velvet vulnerability when the jitters besiege you;
and your gusts of good news shared first with me,
if you assume I proclaim
“a lifetime of your tender friendship is sweeter than toffee ”;
“I'll grant you a view of what's unseen to others”;
and “I'll trust you forever in spite of myself”-
if you make these assumptions,
then you're shit out of luck.
“I Live in a Hotel”
I live in a hotel
that's slumming it as a motel.
It resounds with the the rap-tap-tap of housekeeping
and the splashes of a swanky swimming pool,
just like in Beverly Hills.
The current incarnation
of Roger Miller's King of the Road, I've inhabited hotels
in Chicago and Seattle and Des Moines and
Lexington and Birmingham and Houston and Portland and
I'm proud to have overcome lease-slavery, and, if
companionship is craved,
the personnel are perpetually peppy.
On Thanksgiving and Christmas,
I make the most of movie marathons and
pesto pizzas from places that play up to
the freaks of the festive season,
pleased not to be plagued by the peskiness of family disputes.
I can enter the New Year peeking into the communal garbage can and
considering whether the condom wrappers,
crushed Coors cans and empty packs of Camels
belonged to the same unseen, unknown neighbors.
And when I can no longer ignore my itchy feet or the aggregation of
ghostly vibes bequeathed by quondam guests, I grab my suitcase and
gravitate toward the greener pastures of
“i.e. and e.g.”
i.e. and e.g. are Latin lovers
by the uninitiated ignorant of their identity.
The i of informer pushes the e of explanation;
when a racing ragamuffin stubs her little big toe
on the end of Grandma's chintzy chesterfield,
she yelps "aieeeeee"
i.e., she's in such pain she'd deny herself dessert
if it meant her discomfort would dissipate
like firecracker smoke.
But sometimes that e of explanation
gets hooked on the g of generous acts,
e.g., example-giving for which
a reader running across some savannah of arcane concepts
may be ever-grateful.
“Encounter at 4:00 a.m.”
She twirls a twist of his coarse graying hair
while his cold calloused hands ascend,
then creep down
the contours of her spine.
He holds on,
as a hope-drained seafarer clutches the raft,
insulated from the whining wind outside
from those terrifying truths of the night,
those persistent pangs of pensiveness,
embracing her mole-speckled shoulders,
his face bathed in her brandy-soaked breath,
indulging in that elusive intimacy
as comfortable as a La-Z-Boy chair,
no worrying, no wincing
until daylight discovers him,
awakening him with a whisper,
taking her away with a scream.
“Under Pale Blue Duvets”
I don't know how we got here,
what three-act play
we sleepwalked and sleepspoke through
to arrive in this lonely hayloft.
Oak branches filter autumn sunshine
while the crisp air suggests a coming chill.
I never wanted to be more than your friend,
yet here I am
in the fuzzy shadows of an early Saturday evening
beneath the most faded of your mother's pale blue duvets.