Four Poems by Adrian Slonaker



Jerry’s luminous Smurf alarm clock,
the one not yet sold on eBay,
reads ten past three while
an unseen street sweeper hisses and hums somewhere,
and though they met only two hours ago,
he and David lie snugly,
like gravy-drenched tilapia fillets in a pouch,
under an unzipped used tangerine sleeping bag
they’ve spontaneously redefined as a duvet.
No one will judge Jerry for resting his razor-nicked bald head
on David’s shoulder
where a Taurus tattoo will be peeling next week
or David for scratching Jerry’s calves
with a toenail that deserves to be guillotined.
Soon the vibrating school bell
resonating from across the road
will mean a return to their routine roles,
Jerry to his penury and David to his pillbox,
but right now
they can protect and pretend.

The Garden

Your surreptitious smile
splashed upon my face when you
fulfilled my chimerical whim
of wandering wide-eyed through
a terrific riot of forget-me-nots and forgotten truths,
under a sun I no longer fear confronting.
A whirlwind of beauty and boldness
whizzed around the suggestion of a single afternoon’s adventure
yet yielded to the scent of evening primrose
and a torrent of twilight curiosities.
Now my palm has found its match
as we meander through mists and lacy spider webs
to a long-craved grotto
ensconced in the quiet exhilaration of

Encounter at a Bridge

Loafing beside the basalt bridge
on the border of Here and There,
of my tongue and yours,
I’m mystified by the mosaic
of laddishness lurking in your skin.
With your ash-stained hoodie
and ominous eyebrows,
you could pass for a yobbo except
for your dimples-
twee enough for a baby-food label-
slathered with shards of after-hours neon.
Your gritty enigmas attract,
yet I am too transparent;
sable satin, frilly French ballads and
vocal inflections like sugary chirruping
mark me too easily:
too much of a girl to be a boy
but also too much of a boy to be a girl.
I’m the freakish in-between,
not fathoming why or how
you could crave my otherness.

Of Green-Eyed Monsters

Like a shiny beetle
overturned on its back,
I flail my limbs in a frenzy,
even if this chaos is invisible to the casual onlooker.
The rest of me lies supine,
helplessly numb.
You slept with her-
not just her, but them.
Not just slept, but kissed.
And caressed.
And licked.
And took.
And announced this victory with matter-of-fact pride.
I’d tried to be so modern,
so nonchalant,
scorning jealousy and possessiveness,
advocating freedom for bodies, freedom for lust.
So why, after my lukewarm words
of enlightened congratulations and understanding,
did I retreat through the brambles
of futile foolishness?

Adrian Slonaker works as a copywriter and copy editor in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Adrian’s work has appeared in Aberration Labyrinth, Squawk Back, The Bohemyth, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Pangolin Review and others.