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Daniel Borzutzky

Henry Kissinger's Acceptance Speech for the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize

Though I deeply cherish the dickcissel and the ionization chamber

Given to me by the members of the committee, I thank them most for

Allowing me this opportunity to speak the language of peace, which

Has nothing in common with human language, except for certain words

Resounding from particular affections.  But in this age of

Thermonuclear technology, the language of peace must be brought into

The mouths of humans, whose rigid tongues are not used to the gentle tones of

Angels.  Usi teluto pingofo mapate, sasafu fasu

Imfose, said the angel Fuloto to me in my sleep last night.  I

Cannot translate literally.  The best I can do is to say that

Fuloto asked that you each ride the chariots of your

Minds into the perfect vacuum of intuition, where a buttered

Fish awaits you. 


There are several people I must acknowledge and without whom I would

Not have received this award.  To the international community

Of mimes and court jesters, who bring needed levity to politicians as we

Wander over hostile lands ever shaken by tremors, inhabited

By awesome beasts, I salute you and accept this gift in your honor.  And

To my personal troop of interpretive dancers----who have

Accompanied me on diplomatic missions with nincompoops, I give you my

Sibilant, semi-vocal prayers.  They will arrive while you are dreaming and,

Like the birds of Aristophanes, they will make you say: 

Hoop-ahoy!  Hoop-hip a-hoop-hip ahoy.


But as the hour is running late, and as one can never acknowledge all

Who have improved the world, let us turn our attention to

Eskimos.  Delicate and ever-fleeting, they are non-gray creatures we

Must embrace like Johnny-Come-Lately's of the Arctic.

When faced with social and political discontent, they developed an

Understanding of fashion sense quite unique and admirable.  Last year,

In an igloo, a representative of their people gave me a large

Orange tray with a vanilla hued-top.  (holds up tray)  This lacquered unit

Has a Creamsicle effect and is perfect for cocktail wieners, skewers of

Lemon-grilled chicken and even martinis.  At a recent meeting with my

Chinese counterparts, we struggled to understand the goals of each other's

Nations, but we shared a common pleasure, eating pastry puffs and egg rolls

Off these glorious serving dishes. By now you

Have surely seen the photographs of Chairman Mao Tse-tung holding one end of

The tray while I grasped the other.  Our hands walked across this bridge

Between nations and met in a firm shake of unity.

I have informed President Nixon of these fantastic trays and

He has assured me that he will order hundreds of them for the White House.  

Moreover, he has made these trays a fundamental part of his structure

Of peace, a peace to which all nations have a stake and therefore to which all

Nations have a commitment. 


We are seeking a sophisticated, tasteful world, not as an end to

Itself, but as a vehicle for the realization of man's

Noble aspirations of tranquility and community.  If style,

Then, is to be our common destiny, then style must be our common

Practice.  For this to be so, the ladies of all nations must

Wear glossy boots, enamel-coated bangles and

Strikingly minimalist skirts, shawls and handbags.  They must remember that

Their fashion decisions are realized in the well-dressed nature of their

People.  They must remember that peace flows directly from thoughts of peace, 

As if the thoughts simply projected themselves.  And thoughts of

Peace, my friends, flow much more smoothly when men of broad vision accessorize

Their suits with silk handkerchiefs manufactured in

Civilized nations, whose citizens must not be merely concerned with the

Fashion sense of individuals, for if lasting peace is to come, it

Will be the accomplishment----not of a well-dressed man or a well-dressed

Family, or even a well-dressed nation----it will be the accomplishment

Of a well-dressed mankind.  With these thoughts, I extend to you

My most sincere appreciation for this award.


Daniel Borzutzky teaches in the English Department at Wright College in Chicago.  His first book, Arbitrary Tales, will be published in 2005 by Ravenna Press.  His poems and fiction have appeared in many journals, with recent work appearing, or soon to appear, in American Letters and Commentary, Antennae, Blaze Vox, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Golden Handcuffs Review, La Petite Zine, LIT, Magazine Cypress, Octopus Magazine, Pom², Salt Hill and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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