Tippy Remembers Lawyer Smythe

“The men I fancy most,
they have erectile heads
like the cobra-di-capello.
You remember what they tell O
of the pleader, now a ghost,
how the veins of his neck would swell O
and his face in different reds
would flush until the flesh
stretched like a taut balloon?
Expansion of his meaning,
like an increasing wish,
was forced by the poor fellow
to the point of apoplexy.
We girls could only swoon.
For oh, his paroxysms,
how eloquent they were,
as if he were unspleening
himself of his hauteur
(we called him Mister Sexy,
but just among ourselves:
it was one of our witticisms,
or better, barbarisms;
because he wasn’t like that at all).
I smile to think about him,
and yet it casts a pall
(it’s sad when memory delves
like a baited hook on a line
and suddenly has a weight).
What shall we do without him,
we who loved him well O?
What shall we do without him,
that bulbous-headed fellow?”

E. M. Schorb has published several collections of poetry, including Time and Fevers: New and Selected Poems (AuthorsHouse, 2004), which was chosen as a 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Award winner; A Fable & Other Prose Poems (2002), Murderer's Day (1998), winner of the Verna Emery Poetry Prize; 50 Poems (1987); and The Poor Boy and Other Poems (1975); and a chapbook, Like the Fall of Rome and Other Humanitarian Disasters (1980). He is also the author of two novels: Paradise Square, which won the International eBook Award Foundation's Frankfurt eBook Award for "Best Fiction work originally published in eBook form," and Scenario for Scorsese (both Denlinger's Publishers, 2000). His poems and prose have appeared in Best American Fantasy 2007, as well as The American Scholar, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Chattahoochee Review, Chelsea, The Literary Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, The Texas Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Yale Review, among other journals. His honors include Fellowships in Literature from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the North Carolina Arts Council, and grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Carnegie Fund for Authors, and Robert Rauschenberg & Change, Inc. (for illustrations in The Poor Boy). He lives in Mooresville, North Carolina.