A poem by Walleye Stevens
He sang, bound by gardenias of sequins.
The thin man from West Plains barely filled his suit.
Like a marionette, his gestures made larger
By half-empty sleeves; he and Nudie greeted us
With gaudy cries of cheatin’ and drinkin’.
He was ours and we were his. At once, all,
Veritable Hillbillies of the Ozarks.
The suit was not a costume. Nor was the hair.
As loud as the embroidered curlicues,
Tall as his cotton-candy pompadour,
He was a sign in bold-face archetype
Readable from the last row of the Ryman;
Visible on a Crosley radio.
He knew he was somethin’ to brag about.
For he was the maker of the song he sang.
The ever-sparkling, ever-tragic heart
That triumphed with each stomp of his blue boot.
For now, dim the stars -- and the house lights, too.
The Opry upstairs says “Company’s Comin’”
Tonight, Nudie Suits will scour the sky
Lookin’ for some other mind to satisfy.