Nail Chiodo


Invitation to a Seance Around the Banquet Table

Were I to have the privilege of your company
for a tête à tête at my home some evening, Bob Dylan,
I would first offer you what, in my opinion,
is the best place to sit; then, if there were anything
else hopefully to your liking that I could purvey,
I would do my best to do so. Then
I’d shut up, treat you as a monarch of sorts,
one whom one doesn’t speak to unless addressed.
Were you to be, before close of eve –
which you may wish to cut short! – so gracious
as to prompt a consideration from me
on any matter I – your subject of sorts – imagine
could be of common interest to us,
I might hazard the following question:
“I was wondering whether you would accept
the Nobel in Literature were it to be – finally,
as many would be sure to say – awarded to you?
Because I, too, would hardly disapprove
were you to be accorded, for literature, the honor:
I’d be sitting on the edge of my seat
waiting to hear your Banquet Speech!
But, even more unimaginable to my mind,
is what you might say in your Nobel Lecture.
My ears would be wide open then,
as they no doubt would be across the globe.
Would you talk at length, in a prose rhythm?
Any idea of the tack you might take?!”
That, dear Bob Dylan, is what I would ask you.
(Plainly, I do not presume to divine your reply.
I couldn’t possibly put words in your mouth.
Though I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit
I’d get a crack out of hearing, in royal Hick,
“I ain’t here to lecture no one about nothin’.”)

The Scourge