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A Temple Prostitute Suggests to Titus

How many times you visit here,
the entry into the final stream, all depends
on the force of your desire to conduct the war . . .
it depends on your elegant abandon
of what you have affected to protect yourself.

Enter me, the dive into the stream is to enter me,
loosen all your pretensions, forget what scared you in Jerusalem,
then part my legs, unfold my arms, and open my lips . . .
pummel my thighs, exhaust my breath, allow me to bring
you forward, all the way in, all the way past the zealots
on top the mount.

It is in the essence of religion to offer hope
when all logic would lead you to despair, to offer
a sup from the stream . . . so enter me, for sex
is indeed a war on death itself . . . what else could it possibly be?
And religion is just such an onslaught,
a war on death, and there is nothing we mortals
conduct more strenuously, or more astutely, than war.

Conduct the war of entering me, jolt me,
and there, on that aching point, I will dance
around you, enfold you, and show you scenes
inside your eyes of what lies between
night and sunrise, so the release you at last discharge
is understood as an explosion of hope.
It is all here, in this theology of flesh and hints . . .
only another way to describe
a priest . . . mortal skin and half-answered prayers.

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (39 - 81) was a Roman Emperor for four years. As the chief military assistant for his father, Vespasian, Titus was responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem. His own reign was noted for its lavish entertainment of the people and the completion of the Colosseum. Even though the eruption of Vesuvius, a plague, and a fire in Rome all occurred during his reign, Titus was still a very popular emperor. Such was his popularity, that the historian Suetonius called Titus' death "a far greater loss to the world than to Titus himself."

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