Charles Rammelkamp

Jezebel / Jellyroll

“Jezebel was the talk of the town,”
a vulgar playground chant began,
one of a string of dirty jokes
adolescents snickered about to each other.

We all knew who Jezebel was –
or thought we did –
some kind of lurid Biblical whore
who seduced men and killed them
when she’d finished with them –
still insatiable after a dozen.

You can see how that would enflame
the pubescent imaginations of teenage boys.

King Ahab’s wife in the Old Testament,
her crime killing God’s prophets,
supporting false gods.
Flamboyant in makeup, jewelry and a wig,
she was defenestrated by her servants,
her corpse trampled by horses.

At the same time
we learned the word “jellyroll”
from 1930’s “negro blues” songs.
I ain’t gonna give you none of my jellyroll.

Something sweet and sticky:
metaphors just out of reach to kids that age.


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