A cat has nine lives?
If Catullus had nine
What might he not accomplish?

Setting aside those intricate sensualities
A modern Roman feels
Entitled to indulge as sport and respite
From being found ‘forever on the make’

(Forging flatteries at parties he soon finds
More arduous
Than hauling vats of horse-piss in a tannery)

Setting aside those fake-jewel agonies
Sugar-candy firework displays
Of drug-inspired white lust
What might he not accomplish?

Stepping at dawn from ‘the beautiful people’
Letting them sink in their swamp of free-love
Out of quicksand he might shine   –
A most singular being…

…somewhere along the way





That welcoming embrace she gave you
She gives to everyone
Still you’ll write a sonnet

Weak-minded then one day
Victim of nostalgia
Amend your unheroic history

No matter
Few will glance at your obituary   –
“No-one leaves this city”



Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer






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