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Free Verse: William Trowbridge

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2012 - The character of Fool in William Trowbridge’s "Ship of Fool" series is sometimes the mythical archetype, sometimes a more modern bumbler, and always a version of us. Here’s a portrait gallery poem that captures some of Fool’s smiles.

William Trowbridge

"Fool’s Family Album"

This is Fool’s Crest smile,
stained with humble pie.

His license smile
on his learner’s permit.

His blend in smile,
somewhere in the picture.

His singles bar smile,
after four Mai-tais.

His have a nice day smile,
some read as “Kick me.”

His may I help you smile,
which scares the children.

His line in the sand smile
and Chamberlain blink.

His who me smile,
nimble as dead meat.

His my turn smile,
if it’s ever his turn.

His true love smile,
lonely as Orion.

William Trowbridge’s latest poetry collection is "Ship of Fool" (Red Hen Press, 2011). His other collections include "The Complete Book of Kong," "Flickers," "O Paradise" and "Enter Dark Stranger." Trowbridge lives in the Kansas City area and teaches in the University of Nebraska low-residency MFA in writing program. He was recently appointed to a two-year term as Poet Laureate of Missouri.

To learn more about River Styx, click here. Richard Newman, River Styx editor for 18 years, is the author of two full-length poetry collections, "Borrowed Towns" and "Domestic Fugues." He also co-directs the River Styx at Tavern of  Fine Arts reading series.