The Reluctant Prize Winner’s Speech

October 26, 2016

Do not mistake this god deep silence
for disapproval or conceit.
Or American arrogance,
whatever you take that to be:
I have come from Oklahoma
with a banjo on my knee.

Some people push the words out fast.
They spit and snarl and flick across
the pages and the living rooms
of the faithful and unseeing —
dem words, dem words, dem dry words.

Me? I just want to dance. And lean —
coolboy in my leather jacket —
my head greased in amber waves of
Wildroot, against the beating breast
of Walt Whitman’s old lady.

You know I played with Bobby Vee?
He was 15, rockabilly,
standing up for Buddy Holly
that Moorhead, Minnesota night —
you should have had him up here, friends.
The Academy missed the boat.

But anyway the show goes on
and I have always travelled light.
I surely do appreciate
the thought. I wish you all good night.


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