A lady on a bench!






We walk, we stand,

We dither before our masterpiece.

We moan, we sigh,

Articulation shames us.

The lines they form symmetrical phrases;

Nine time nine,

they rise and they fall into ennui.

Innocuous abstractions are these

    whose forms are dispersed into headlights.


Our lady of the bench arises

to warm her hands in the night.

A tree,

A wall of glass she eyes,

Mesmerizing her own reflection.



“It’s only inertia” he said,

“And we, inertly embracing our own.”

“Soluble are we” he said,

“Eying our perfect stranger,

Awakening only to find . .  .

Only to find.”



We moan, we sigh,

Articulation shames us.

We moan, we sigh.












A widow shaken from a dream.

Desire eludes our glass-filled eyes

though longing.

Sidewalks swept in expectation,

“Casta Diva my body my child.”

The Observer and the Observed

Scored for large ensemble, two speaker/singers, and a saxophonist, The Observer and the Observed was composed between 1983 and 1986. This performance was recorded in 1993.

Voices: Cynthia Stahl and Frederick Moore

Soprano and Tenor Saxophones: Timothy K. Taylor

The laden night continues,

A recreant moon, cloud cover surrounds her.

Our sentimental one reminisces,

Her irreducible companion.

And so she recites an apotheosis

for the one who isn’t here.

“Arms to lift and legs to pull,” she sighs.

Mordantly addressing her silent people,

Gathered now in never-ending lines

arrayed in cruciform intersections.




Shadows, intersecting shadows,

Symmetrical towers, an ormolu awning.

My expectation: a recognizable laughter,

Diluted rapture.

A wall of windows,

Reflecting windows,

Intersecting shadows,

Symmetrical towers,

Intersecting shadows,

Only shadows.

A cup of water, a wall of dirt to lie on,

My expectations.

My body . . .

So nine times nine I’ll rise and fall,

My expectation



















One will fall into the water, never again to walk beyond the water’s edge.


She starts as though pulled by a string

into her body,

Again to see into this wall of glass.

Above the ground her own reflection.

Sidewalks swept! Expectation.


A cup of water, a gust of breathing wind,

A plate of stones, a drink of rainwater.

It just my expectation: to feel it now but later nepenthe.

Laughter, diluted rapture,

A recognizable laughter,

Diluted rapture.

Nepenthe,

At some point nepenthe

So nine times nine I’ll rise and fall,

My expectation.

Gossamer shield my body,

Gossamer shield my child.

A cup of water,

My expectation,

My child,

Nepenthe . . .




And so, an alluvial numbness slowly recedes into the silent prayers of a hollow people, fused with the obligato babble of the elders.

Still the eyes of the children turn away; into the fields of frozen mud they gather to wander.

To change. To change that which can never be changed: the earth, the stillness.

They move forward to the shores of a hexagon lake, to be a fable, to be a fact forever (the earth).

From a frozen fields, our sibling pairs arrive.

With their meager bodies they eye their surfaced reflection. Our sentimental one . . . . Soft shells are these who roam in the night. They shrink from the cold.

Over the discolored snow they continue, oblivious to the jeering of the old ones left behind.   Without a moment to pause, to focus upon themselves, upon the earth, beneath a hissing skyline, one will fall into the water, never again to walk beyond the water’s edge.




A tree, Mother of us all.

A withered leaf suspended.




 

A falling cloud of tears to veil the finite earth,

A billion eyes floating in the air,

Their anabatic stares receive

an orphaned winged one.

Its fossil dance protesting as it slowly spirals

to the surface.

A fractured stone to be washed again and again

by these rivers of salt and mud.

Mindless winds erode the fields,

Their broken shields have been washed away.

A cube of amber preserves

the troubled sleep of broken wings.

Granite towers divide a clouded sky,

Its face-dissolving tears.

No thoughts to furnish these hidden caves,

No thoughts at all,

No scribbled walls,

Only senseless wall against senseless wall,

Their friction producing a burning, fluorescent snow that shines

On the empty fields,

Reflecting in the eyes

of the sightless lakes it shines.

As if these mangled forms were to

one day rise from the earth.

As if these mangled forms were to

one day rise from the earth.

As if these mangled forms were to

one day stand up and rise from the earth!


Day came this morning,

Without a reason.

Day came this morning,

No reason at all.

Day came this morning,

No expectations.

Day came this morning,

No thoughts at all.

Day came this morning,

Nine times nine times nine

times nine times nine,

Without an answer,

Without a reason.

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