Kathryn Kendall

December 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Message to the Nobel Prize Committee

I want—not in the future
but in the PAST
for my breathtaking works
of immortal truth and beauty
to have been fought over
by international publishing houses.
I want to have won the Pulitzer the Booker
and the Nobel Prize, to have been
acclaimed when I was still young enough
to make a career of it.

I want waitresses and cashiers
stevedores bricklayers and CEOs
as well as English majors of course,
to have slept with my books
under their pillows.
I want libraries buying multiple copies,
college professors building reputations
on their fricassee of what I meant.
I want kids stealing essays
about me off the internet.

I want movies to have been made of my
autobiographical novels,
I want my poems etched in marble
monuments. I want interviews with
Barbara Walters, Bill Moyers, Oprah,
and Amy Goodman. I want to have been
Arundhati Roy’s role model. I want
great blocks of my dramatic monologs
to have been included in the
Norton Anthology of the World’s
Most Unforgettable Literature.

I don’t want all of that NOW,
when I’m pushing seventy. I want it
back when I could still drink
champagne, eat chocolates,
dance all night and yield
to the seductions of women
who only want me for my money,
fame, and influence.
Now it would just piss me off,
coming when I’m an old crank
troubled by migraines, alone and
meditating on the dissolution of ego.
What use is acclamation to me now?

When the Nobel Prize Committee phones,
I’m going to be screening my calls, and I won’t
pick up. They can’t have me now.
They’re too damn late.

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