A Short History of Lust
                      ...esse delendam.

Mithras had forbidden unto Mani the dewy grape,
even Augustinus, with Hippo, defended the law -
The buttocked peach was only for the gods to take,
and the asparagus, dear ladies, ask of it no more...

Fellatio and Cunnilingus, clowns from Ostia, south of Rome,
went roving merry the flat globe round,
Cunnilingus with a peach, and the good Fellatio
with a creamy asparagus in his painted mouth -

Hippo went to ruin on the old Carthaginian shore,
for an old Carthaginian shore is the best,
like Tanit and Dido. And lastly, to rest,
there's been nothing since then but lust and more
lust and luxuria, three gilded ells high. And Vi
behind a window, humming as her money multiples -


The Canto of Petrus Romerus
                             …61 AD…
                                    for M.

As a retired Octavian I managed to procure
            a little villa near Cartagena,
after long struggles with the refined Gaul and raw Celt.
There at sunset I enjoy a vitamin-rich cena,*
not impecunious, careful with the copper coins in my money belt.

On my patio I rest by roses and a terracotta beaker
- a present from a tribune whose title escaped my mind -
and write verses, of beauty to be sure,
like that fool Tertsarus in his bath of suicide -

If my quintet is a success, then I stew a little tuna
in the juice of olives and herbs, pinch a little sea-salt in.
Afterwards of course my beaker of heavily-watered wine,
and add an ounce of almonds and the cactus fig.

Balba once brought my scrolls to Capri Tiberius’,
but he swore by Vergilius’s peasant doggerel rhyme.
I go out wandering in the evening now in a plebeian toga,
concealed my song of the impure gold sestertius!

*Spanish late-evening meal