“Red Meat: Fragments of Stesichoros”

Red Meat: Fragments of Stesichoros
Anne Carson

I. Geryon
Geryon was a monster everything about him was red
Put his snout out of the covers in the morning it was red
How stiff the red landscape where his cattle scraped against
Their hobbles in the red wind
Burrowed himself down in the red dawn jelly of Geryon’s

Greyon’s dream began red then slipped out of the vat and ran
Upsail broke silver shot up through his roots like a pup

Secret pup At the front end of another red day

II. Meanwhile He Came
Across the salt knobs it was Him
Knew about the homegold
Had sighted red smoke above the red spires

III. Geryon’s Parents
If you persist in wearing your mask at the supper table
Well Goodnight Then they said and drove him up
Those hemorrhaging stairs to the hot dry Arms
To the ticking red taxi of the incubus
Don’t want to go want to stay Downstairs and read

IV. Geryon’s Death Begins
Geryon walked the red length of his mind and answered No
It was murder And torn to see the cattle lay
All these darlings said Geryon And now me

V. Geryon’s Reversible Destiny
His mother saw it mothers are like that
Trust me she said Engineer of his softness
You don’t have to make up your mind right away
Behind her red right cheek Geryon could see
Coil of the hot plate starting to glow

VI. Meanwhile in Heaven
Athena was looking down through the floor
Of the glass-bottomed boat Athena pointed
Zeus looked Him

VII. Geryon’s Weekend
Later well later they left the bar went back to the centaur’s
Place the centaur had a cup made out of a skull Holding three
Measures of wine Holding it he drank Come over here you can
Bring your drink if you’re afraid to come alone The centaur
Patted the sofa beside him Reddish yellow small alive animal
Not a bee moved up Geryon’s spine on the inside

VIII. Geryon’s Father
A quiet root may know how to holler He liked to
Suck words Here is an almighty one he would say
After days of standing in the doorway

IX. Geryon’s War Record
Geryon lay on the ground covering his ears The sound
Of the horses like roses being burned alive

X. Schooling
In those days the police were weak Family was strong
Hand in hand the first day Geryon’s mother took him to
School She neatened his little red wings and pushed him
In through the door

XI. Right
Are there many little boys who think they are a
Monster? But in my case I am right said Geryon to the
Dog they were sitting on the bluffs The dog regarded him

XII. Wings
Steps off a scraped March sky and sinks
Up into the blind Atlantic morning One small
Red dog jumping across the beach miles below
Like a freed shadow

XIII. Herakles’ Killing Club
Little red dog did not see it he felt it All
Events carry but one

XIV. Herakles’ Arrow
Arrow means kill It parted Geryon’s skull like a comb Made
The boy neck lean At an odd slow angle sideways as when a
Poppy shames itself in a whip of Nude breeze

XV. Total Things Known About Geryon
He loved lightning He lived on an island His mother was a
Nymph of a river that ran to the sea His father was a gold
Cutting tool Old scholia say that Stesichoros says that
Geryon had six hands and six feet and wings He was red and
His strange red cattle excited envy Herakles came and
Killed him for his cattle

The dog too

XVI. Geryon’s End
The red world And corresponding red breezes
Went on Geryon did not

Autobiography of Red - Anne Carson

(From Autobiography of Red, Vintage Books, 1998.)



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