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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 



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




            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.



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