Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Tale of a Horse
after Isaac Babel
It started with Savitsky taking Khlebnikov’s white stallion.
Khlebnikov was given a black mare instead, but pined for his stallion.
So Khlebnikov wrote to headquarters, who said, Give him the horse back.
Off he rode to get it and found Savitsky shacked up with some Cossack girl.
Do you know who I am?, asked Khlebnikov. It says here to give me my horse!
Do you want a piece of this, said Savitsky, waving his pistol. Get lost!
Off rode Khlebnikov to the Chief of Staff who said, I dealt with this earlier.
So Khlebnikov sat down and wrote a letter saying, That’s it, I’m off.
On and on it went, saying how much he missed his stallion.
You idiot, said the commissar, come and have dinner; it’s just some horse.
But he threw himself on the ground saying, Go ahead, shoot me.
All he wanted was his damned horse.
And off he went, and that’s how we lost him.
I saw a lot of myself in Khlebnikov.
The whole world to us was a meadow in May criss-crossed by women and horses.