Sam Sipe

Sadness in His Life


They reported that she hanged herself.


Before that, for Mick the trajectory was mostly up, up, up

The love—of music, his mates, himself—kept liftin’ him

Higher and higher.

When a couple of the boys went down along the way

He took it like a rock star.  The show must go on

Whether I am conscious or not

Or grieving beneath my mask.  Who knew?


In his advanced years, he was given a private tour

Of Jefferson’s Monticello and so dazzled the guides

With his prancing dance up the narrow staircase

To the miniature cupola that they had to tell about it on NPR

And brag about him, basking in the reflected glow of Stonehood.

(Flash back to TJ and his amours with Sally—

We all hope he loved that brown sugar.)


Mick had more chances and choices

Than the rest of us.  We can guess about his appetites

But know next to nothing about the size of his heart.

I choose to believe he is heartbroken,

Partly because sorrow comes to us all

And he must have been due for some;

Partly because sorrow is a plausible frame

For the portrait of a man who claimed to sing the blues

But preferred to prance and dance.

Clearing Away the Cobwebs  


When do we see clearly

And, if ever,

What optical enhancement is required?


It’s almost spring and the tease is on—concupiscent buds

Poised on the hosting branches like nymphs on the laps of giants.

For the most part, the sexual life of mythological beings

Gets us nowhere.

Except Venus by Botticelli, unabashed by her

Muted desire (and eschewing as unrecognized any

Incoming desire).


I wanted to be in the paintings.  Not to have

My elongated face juxtaposed with images of gods,

But simply to say, at a later date in an upscale bar,

That I hung out with this kind of being and it

Was a little bit intense.  I wanted Venus though

I suspected I couldn’t have her.  Later, when I thought

She could be looking at me, she called for the waiter and

Ordered a Stella.

Sam Sipe has a Ph.D. in English Literature and taught English at the college level in his late 20’s.  In that phase of his life, he published several short stories and poems in literary magazines, including The Nassau Literary Magazine (Princeton University) and The Smith.  For the past 35 years he has practiced law in Washington, DC.  He has recently resumed writing poems.



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