My Own Muse, I

Instrumentation | SSA virtual choir, a cappella

Year | 2020

Duration | 3' 40"

Premiere | co-commissioned by the Gabriela Lena Frank

Academy of Music and Wildflower Composers

Text | Carlina Duan 

MY OWN MUSE, I

 

after Frida Kahlo

after Molly Raynor

 

 

catch my comb through greasy lines          

of black.          I’m a good thread. courage.         

 

             a tall note pulled I grew up here.      

 

through my mother’s             throat,

 

rehearsing an anthem of a country later, 

 

she no longer belongs to.       I 

 

belong to         nobody but                       

 

the dirt                        which sprouts 

 

full heads of lettuce                the dirt      

 

which tells me I’m      tough

 

enough:           fingernails full

 

with        scraps of earth,           I

 

hang low         I flit     or       dance.

 

            my own

 

muse, I            skate

 

flutter

 

            a kite full of

 

tasseled hems              over

 

            a Midwestern

 

lake     I come from

 

a geography

 

 

of blue pieces,

 

courage.        look at me.

I grew up here.         flossing

my teeth        then

later, revealing         my 

stems, my pistils, velvet

             underbelly, my                   petals,

pungent with

spring, & sucking in         the light.