Naturalistic and other poems

Noel Sloboda






After a middle class upbringing

Billy never didnít work but nobody

would have called him


career-minded.  Out of art school

he floated around unfocused


job to job.  He would have rather

stayed home and made robots that

spun, whirred, grinded and


pantomimed humanity.  Parts

from everywhere, bucket heads


fork hands, tin-can eyes, all

drawn from the world alive

yet mechanical and wound 


tightly like him.  Still feigning

delight or dreaming of death


the robots, ormolu coats bright

in his mindís eye, never

looked quite right, even when


synthetic smiles reciprocated

the expression of their maker.  



Going Rate


               Frowning from behind a butcherís 
block uncle Len wants to know what 
               my labors hourly earn me: how 
               much for French tutoring? Junior 
college business writing classes
               by moonlight?  Do I imagine
               such labors worth my while?  
Relentlessly he crunches 
               numbers in his head and sighs 
               to think about all that has been 
invested in my education.  Wish I had
               something learned 
               transcending figures for him
maybe an allusion to leaves or elves
               when he asks me what I 
               get out of writing 
besides an unpublished elegy 
               or a ballad thatís soulful  
               but slightly off key.  It would all be   
lost on him anyhow.  I want to 
               insist itís not worth
               less for that by many
accounts.  Would he care 
               for treasures revealed 
               exploring azure expanses of 
caves beneath Atlantis?  Maybe 
               if I brought a few fish 
               home for Sunday dinner 
upon resurfacing both 
               our books would balance.



Puppy Love


Moving from feet

up to knees,

your bulldog 


noses between

my thighs, and I


avert my eyes

too tired to fight,

thinking, too, how


itís dangerous to

stare at a dog.  Not


entirely true

with men,

you know.  You


threw me once

a nugatory glance


filled with promises

of lambent days

and nasty nights


of love with socks

and lights still on.          


Noel Sloboda earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis.  He currently teaches English at Penn State York and serves as dramaturg for the Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival.  His work has appeared or is forthcoming such places as ByLine, Aesthetica, Ghoti, remark, and Waterways.


Photo "Gadgets" by Bella Dante.




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Poems Copyright © 2007 Noel Sloboda. All rights reserved.
Photo Copyright © 2007 Bella Dante. All rights reserved.