Journal » Trout 17 » Pornocracy [Michael Morrissey]
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Michael Morrissey

try conjuring up
this delicate word
on yellow buses

try to find it
tagged in toilets
My dictionary claims

it was a courtesan-esque
influence over the papal court
in the tenth century

What delicious dalliance
did they execute while
romping in reddest velvet?

Theodora serenissima vestaratrix
and mother of Marozia
became Patricia of Rome

both mother and lascivious daughter
jointly denounced by Gibbon
as the Rule of the Harlots

Liutprand of Cremona
dubbed Marozia a shameless whore
who married Guy of Tuscany

arrested John X in the Lateran,
jailed him in the Castel Sant' Angelo
smothered him with a pillow

then seized power and reduced
Leo V1 and Stephen V11 to puppets
raised her bony-arsed son,

a skinny youth, sparse
of beard, to be the pontiff
then married her half brother

– ruling ran in the family.
A nadir of the papacy cooked up
this spicy relish for historians.


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© Copyright 2012 Michael Morrissey & Trout.