“Roman Comment Misheard”

“Caligari killed Caligula,”

Someone said

With Coliseum lust.

Ergot Bread & Circus

Decayed legions, cohorts

Manic carmina decoro

With three expelled

All ears prick up

The Chorus lips slick

Wet with cuss

Fifth Columns in the colonies

Are only long con

Colonnaded forgery imposters

Only marble left to see:

The cattle carcassed

Grassy sea…

Her Sicilian lover

No lupara cover

And he’ll never

Fill her whole


The love she told

And the love she made

Just a Tuscany bird

Now flown away

The love she believed, left

Unkissed, left to bleed just a

Roman comment misheard.


—P.E. Tottenham


Sesuit Neck, Dennis, MA