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Mohammed Bek Hadjetlache

by Carl Sandburg, 1920

This Mohammedan colonel from the Caucasus yells with his voice and wigwags with his arms.
 The interpreter translates, “I was a friend of Kornilov, he asks me what to do and I tell him.”
 A stub of a man, this Mohammedan colonel... a projectile shape... a bald head hammered...
 “Does he fight or do they put him in a cannon and shoot him at the enemy?”
 This fly-by-night, this bull-roarer who knows everybody.
 “I write forty books, history of Islam, history of Europe, true religion, scientific farming, I am the Roosevelt of the Caucasus, I go to America and ride horses in the moving pictures for $500,000, you get $50,000...”
 “I have 30,000 acres in the Caucasus, I have a stove factory in Petrograd the bolsheviks take from me, I am an old friend of the Czar, I am an old family friend of Clemenceau...”
 These hands strangled three fellow workers for the czarist restoration, took their money, sent them in sacks to a river bottom... and scandalized Stockholm with his gang of strangler women.
 Mid-sea strangler hands rise before me illustrating a wish, “I ride horses for the moving pictures in America, $500,000, and you get ten per cent...”
 This rider of fugitive dawns.

Published in Smoke and Steel

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