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No One Could Relax around JezebelAnne Carson
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Vol. 34 No. 8 · 26 April 2012
Poem

No One Could Relax around Jezebel

Anne Carson

313 words

Shame Stack

Shame requires
the eyes of others
unlike guilt. Eyes
of Elijah the Tishbite saw
in Jezebel a person with much
to be ashamed of. There is a link
between shame and mercy people who
lack the one lack the other. Psychoanalysts say
shame ruins your capacity for reverie by making cracks
in the mind where it is dangerous for thought to wander. In
the end Jezebel’s own eunuchs throw her off the parapet. Her blood
is on the wall and on the horses.

Stack of What Made Jezebel Jezebel

Adrenaline.
The threadlike pressure of small social conditions.
Her father his terrific purple eyebrows.
A historical mistrust felt by people in the west for
anything that comes from the east
or by people in the north for what comes from the
south and so on.
This streaming of existence within me (she said).
Again
the picking
of small stones
out
of
the rice.
Elijah’s prophecy (her blood licked by dogs) which
it was.
The
gold smoke (her Buick) at dawn against a frozen
sun.

Cheapjack Stack

The Phoenicians were a commercial people, they
traded
metals,
weapons, ostrich eggs,
shoelaces, whistles, nuts, panthers, letters of the
alphab-
et.
They invented the alphabet.

They invented alphabetical order.

They used these inventions for commercial
transac-
tions
which
were
scribbled
on
the
backs
of
envelopes
and
vanished from history. From the Phoenicians the
Greeks
stole
the
alphabet,
added a few letters
and sat down to write the classics of Western civilisation.
Jezebel is filed between ice cream and karma.                  

Thunderstorm Stack

A bird
flashed
by as if
mistaken
then it starts.
We do not
think speed
of life. We
do not think
why hate Jezebel.
We think
who’s
that
throwing
trees against the house.
Jezebel was
a Phoenician.
Phoenician
thunderstorms
are
dry and
frightening, they arrive one inside the other as torqued ellipses.

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