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This poem is taken from PN Review 246, Volume 45 Number 4, March - April 2019.

Martial: Saturnalia

Martial: Some Saturnalia Chestnuts
Art Beck
                                            II, 18

I wheedle, shamelessly, for a spot on your guest list, Maximus.
   You’re kissing up to someone else. So, in this, we’re equals.
I arrive to pay my morning respects. But you’re out, calling
   on patrons yourself. So, we’re equals in that respect.
I walk ahead on your rounds, clearing the way like a lackey
  for some pompous princeling. You do the same for someone else.
Once again, we’re a pair. It’s bad enough being a slave, I’m
   not going to serve one. A king, Maximus, doesn’t have a king.


                                            II, 53

You want to escape it all? You say so Maximus,
  but don’t. If you really did, here’s how it’s done.
Be your own master; stop chasing dinner invitations;
  let humble tavern wine quell your thirst. Resist
the glitter of ridiculous Cinna’s gold plated tableware.
  Try on my toga for size: Let yourself be captivated
by the plebeian heaven of an ordinary two bit whore.
  So what if your doorway makes you stoop: If
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