The Mother Whore

And to think that, by the radiance of day,
all of them marvel at Michelangelo’s frescoes,
celebrating their God and gathering to pray
beneath what that elaborate vault shows,
never thinking of the Ladies of the Night
who earned their bread through their oiled thighs
while men worshiped with that old Babylonian rite
through similar poses— wet on wet, likewise.
Eve, Mary, Magdalene, and so many more
are enfleshed in “sin merchants” whose wanton wares
are now prayed to, as with the Great Whore
replaced by a God shunning such carnal affairs.
The Mother and the Whore are together exiled
from the same robe, conjoint bodies bare
for the sketches which such artists used, eyes wild
with defiance, and an artist’s ironic stare.
What went through Michelangelo’s impish mind
as he sketched a harlot as the Mother to Cain?
Was it resentment against the pope who stood behind,
prodding him to paint for his own political gain?
Perhaps it was mere pragmatism, as someone who might
have had disastrous secrets of his own,
wanting to avoid trial about his own demons at night
and focus, eventually, on chiseling masculine stone.
Whatever the case, light and dark were often combined
into the form of the Mother, beneath her open skirts
which Man much desired and much maligned—
so many prostitutes peopling the holy works.
The God of Ideals, thus wanting for
the glorification of his stories,
relied on the Mother Whore
of Necessity to birth his glories.

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