Tuesday Apr 23

TrowbridgeWilliam William Trowbridge’s Put This On, Please: New and Selected Poems will be published by Red Hen Press in March. His other collections are Ship of Fool, The Complete Book of Kong, Flickers, O Paradise, and Enter Dark Stranger. He recently teamed up with rock musician Bob Walkenhorst of the Rainmakers on a CD entitled Ship of Fool: The Musical. Trowbridge lives in the Kansas City area and teaches in the University of Nebraska low-residency MFA in writing program. He is currently Poet Laureate of Missouri. All of his works can be purchased on his web site: williamtrowbridge.net.



We see him plod beneath a sequined girl
tossing kisses. Another day in harness,
lost in thought, it seems, the way his eyes

gaze out below the steep forehead. Does he think
of times in Chad or Togo, Mother showing
how to use his trunk to bathe with dust

or thrust through thorny copses, perhaps imparting
lore we can’t be privy to? Or maybe
elephants don’t remember well, don’t even

think but simply try to stay alive
and breed. And yet that muted smile suggests
amusement, some wry plum we might not get

if he could tell us. But brighter hues beguile:
“Ah,” we exclaim, forgetting all about him,
as the juggler sends up five batons aflame.

The Real World

never means true love
or even a dollar refund:
It’s the thing that steps
out of the bushes,
grabs our wispy sweetheart,
Dream, and makes us
watch as it applies
the rough stuff. We gawk
like some inept accomplice
till it strolls away
leaving us vague
as patients after surgery,
unsure of everything
but it and us.

Our friends, scarred
from their own
excisions, console us
briefly. The daisies
act natural,
playing dumb.