Res Gestae

“Twice I triumphed with an ovation,
And thrice enjoyed a curule triumph,
And twenty-one times I was named emperor…”
Divus Augustus! Could we borrow you now?
Find us in brick? Find us in ferrocrete,
Potholes, aerosol, grease and tangled bar –
“Oppressed by the domination of a faction,”
And the same: eternal Milo; timeless Clodius.
In Rome, man is wolf to man. Abroad
The Parthians demand tribute, and get it.
The Roman wolf, as automated camel-tit.
Men live or rot. Republics rot and live,
And time cannot improve them. What of it?
What: is Earth’s belly short of marble?
Find us, Augustus, and your solid silver
Bust, thin nose, sharp and tired eyes,
Shall be set high above the atrium
Of every major North American mall.


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