Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Poems/Poetry

Heroic Words by Adrian Slonaker

“How are you?”
Here’s a hackneyed platitude
sidelined like sticky bottles of
condiments at the edges of
booths in greasy spoons – way back in February,
when they were
throwaway words in the time of
meet-ups and Tinder, when
free physicality flowed
like turbid streams
coursing from their sources.
Yet during the drought,
the bromide won’t abandon its
fair-weather friends
as our touches and taps
and caresses and kisses are
evicted by locks and walls and
worry and six feet-
or two meters –
of mandated
icy space.
“How are you?”
A phrase as familiar
as crammed cafés
or yell-laden yellow schoolbuses
or sweaty discotheques,
a sanity-sustaining
semantic squeeze,
a question of concern,
of care,
of connection
softens the strange
hole of isolation.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker

ADRIAN SLONAKER crisscrosses North America as a language professional, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net nominee. Adrian is fond of opals, owls and fire noodlesAdrian’s work has been published in WINK: Writers in the Know, Ez.P.Zine, Page & Spine and others.


The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

5 thoughts on “Heroic Words by Adrian Slonaker

    1. Thanks, PoetJanstie and Jamie! Yeah, I’ve been noticing a different tone now sometimes when I hear or ask that question. There’s more of a pause afterwards as more people think about their own answers (wondering how exactly they are doing/feeling and whether they should admit this to the speaker) and as more people also make the effort to listen to the responses. I hope that both of you are doing well (or at least as well as can be expected) and keeping safe.


      1. Thanks, Adrian. Yes! Doing well. Probably easier for me than others because I am homebound anyway, but I do sympathize with the constraints, the fears, and the financial fallout and I don’t think we’ll put closure on this very soon. Adrian, I’ll make sure that John sees your response. You also have a response to your last poem on The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt. Stay as safe and well as possible and poem on … / J.D.


      2. As well as can be expected here in rainy old outbreak England, thanks Adrian. Like Jamie, I am retired and being home is not such a great pain as for others, although, besides missing my children and grandchildren, my other ‘love’ is music and particularly a cappella singing, for which not being able to perform live is giving me withdrawal symptoms! But we are getting round it and I have absolutely no complaints at all. Just feel the pain and sometimes fear of those on the front line, God help them.

        Liked by 1 person

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