Naturalistic and other poems

Noel Sloboda

 

 

 

Naturalistic

 

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besides an unpublished elegy 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.