Friday, April 30, 2010

“Chingis Khan”
Kevin Brady


He is still alive:
whirling about in the spring dust-winds;
astride a hobble-less horse on the river bank.
A drunk Kazakh insists
no Mongol could terrorize the world
as he did. Russian, yes, Chinese, yes,
maybe a bit of Irish in Him, he laughs,
slapping me hard on my back, and I fall
from my drunkenness into a Russian 469 jeep,
my head sore, my body shaken,
the sun heating the jeep unbearable.
We stop beside a river where I wash
my hands and face with the mountain snow-cold water.
The driver tells me that on the way to, returning from
conquest He stopped at this very river
just like me now. We
are all brothers, he says solemnly,
looking across the rushing water and into
the endless steppe rolling away before us.


The noble blood-sons of Chingis,
smelling of milk and meat,
assault some street dog with rocks,
weave drunk homewardly,
wait on their haunches as the sun sets,
hold out their cups
waiting for their women to fill them
with salty Chinese tea. They
ask me if we eat meat in America.


Conquer this world and, centuries later,
your sons invoke your name,
though in the stupor of drink,
in the throws of historical despair:
Great Father, lift us up! O
Great Father, why
do our women laugh at us?;
and then run outside into the faceless cold
to vomit in the outhouse,
their curse-ridden breath
freezing in the air before them,
suspended, heard by no one.


Now, wherever he is buried,
sheep and goats graze.
A small girl tending the animals
whistles a song
as old as the grasses of her country.

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