Put This On, Please: New & Selected Poems

Put This On, Please: New & Selected Poems

by William Trowbridge


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William Trowbridge’s Put This On, Please: New and Selected Poems contains work from all five of his full collections, as well as a group of new poems. In lines that capture the rhythms of everyday speech (with the ghost of meter haunting closely along), Trowbridge follows misfits and outcasts whose ramblings and shamblings reflect our own well-meaning gropes for fulfillment. These reader-friendly poems draw often from classic films and other elements of popular culture—from Buster Keaton to Chuck Berry, from King Kong to Wile E. Coyote. Trowbridge is not squeamish about exploring the darker side of humanity, as in poems about the Kiss of Death, delivered by Michael Corleone in The Godfather II, or Nebraskan mass murderer Charles Starkweather. Capping off the book, a group of new poems takes a fresh look at old themes, sounding deepened notes of both melancholy and celebration. Throughout this seriocomic account of human foibles, vices, and wonders, Trowbridge makes a strong case for laughter as the only appropriate response to our post-post-modern condition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597099660
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publication date: 03/15/2013
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 817,040
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

William Trowbridge is the Poet Laureate of Missouri. He is the author of the poetry collections Ship of Fool, Enter Dark Stranger, O Paradise, Flickers, and The Complete Book of Kong, and the chapbooks The Packing House Cantata, The Four Seasons, and The Book of Kong. His poems have appeared in such periodicals as The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, The Georgia Review, Poetry, Boulevard, and New Letters. He lives in the Kansas City area and teaches in the University of Nebraska’s low-residency MFA program.

Read an Excerpt

V-J Day, Times Square, 1945
Famous and faceless as those who raised
the flag on Suribachi, they lean forever
in black and white: the randy gob, fresh
from sailing back alive, who's just found
something better to kiss than pavement,
and the nurse whose sheer-white-stockinged legs
show trim as any pin-up girl's.
Bent backward and off balance in his arms,
she catches what he's found the nerve to pitch,
her right knee bending slightly
from his boyish ardor. Passers-by await
the finish, poised to applaud or cheer,
but the two go on and on, picked up by Life
to show us what we fight for. Are they lovers?
Strangers? Is the whole thing being posed
for the Sunday supplement?
                                                   We cannot know.
The show ends here, as did our latest dance
to death’s slick croon, with the kind of kiss
that Bogart planted on Bacall. The rest,
as we're sometimes told, belongs to history,
off camera, clearing its rheumy throat.

Table of Contents

from Enter Dark Stranger 1989

Stark Weather 19

Plain Geometry 20

Enter Dark Stranger 21

Self-Help 22

The Knack of Jumping 24

Memoirs of the Frog Prince 26

Home Front 28

Sunday School Lesson from Capt. Daniel Mayhew, USAAF, Ret. 30

Cherry Bombs 31

Drumming Behind You in the High School Band 32

Taking My Son to His First Day of Kindergarten 33

Children's Night at the Gentry County Fair 34

Father-and-Son Project 22: Model Airplane Building 35

My Father Cannot Draw a Man 36

Bearing Gifts 38

from O Paradise 1995

Queer Street 43

Scot-Free 44

The Kiss 45

Cinema Des Beaux Arts 46

Great Big Crybabies 47

American Gothic 48

Why Astaire 50

"Strange Meadowlark" 51

The Gag 52

What We Could Do 54

In My Father's Buick 55

Saint's Life 56

Foxfire 58

Encounter at an Out-of-Town Bar 61

Living with Solar Keratosis 62

from Flickers 2000

Uncle Miltie 65

The Art of Vanishing 66

Walking Out 68

Losing It 69

Fall Guys 70

Gotta Dance 72

Flickers 73

American Primitive 74

Monster 76

Playing Dead 77

Honey Wagon: An Historical Poem 78

Poets' Corner 80

The Kiss of Death 82

Cadillac 84

Curtain Call 86

from the Four Seasons Chapbook 2001

That Time of Year 89

Summer's Almost Gone 90

from The Complete Book of Kong 2003

Kong Bares His Soul Regarding Miss Tyrannasaura Regina 93

Kong Looks Back on His Tryout with The Bears 94

Having Thought Better of a Shootout, Kong Consents to Mambo Lessons 95

Kong Turns Critic 96

Kong Picks Door Number Two 97

Kong Answers the Call for a Few Good Men 98

Kong Tries for a Mature Audience 99

Viet Kong 100

Kong Incognito 101

Kong Views an Experimental Art Film at the City Library 102

Kong Hits the Road with Dan-Dec Carnivals, Inc. 103

Kong Discusses King Kong IV

Over a Power Lunch 104

Kong Meets Godzilla 105

The Madness of Kong 106

September Kong 107

from The Packing House Cantata Chapbook 2006

Smell 111

Knife 112

Sticker 113

Blood 114

Bad 115

from Ship of Fool 2011

Playing the Fool 119

Fools Paradise 120

Basic Fool 122

Wise Fool 123

Fool and His Money 124

Fool Electric 126

World s Biggest Fool 128

Ship of Fool 131

Coach Said 132

Wow 133

Obedience 136

My Father's Laugh 137

Pity the Fool 138

Fool Noir 139

Ninety-Seven-Pound Fool 140

The Juggler 141

Roll Out the Fool 142

New Poems

Meyers s Newsstand, 1954 147

Walking the Dogs 148

Put This On, Please 149

Niagara Falls 150

When Ya Gotta Go 151

Selling 152

We Real Old 153

Newboy 154

Wrestlers 156

Wolf 157

Mr. Fix-It 158

Who's on First? 159

Last Meal 160

At Forest Hill 161

Don't Look Now 162

Movietone 163

Bugs, 1956 164

Dead End 166

Born to Lose 168

Liston 169

Screaming B-Movie Victims 170

The Road 172

Before Ramada 174

"Operation Smooch" 176

Chicken 177

Old Guys on Motorcycles 178

Bogie Noir 179

"This Is Your Life, Oliver Hardy!" 180

In Memoriam: George Sanders 181

The Blue Angel 182

Absolution 183

Bacall 184

Clouscau 185

Down the Halls and into the Street 186

Proof of Intelligent Life 187

In Memoriam: Omaha Tech 188

And Now, As Promised 190

Jacob Marley to the Reader 192

My Poetry 101 193

50th Reunion: Westside High 195

Photography 197


Unofficial Missouri Poem 201

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