Blue Letter Days (2008)

For voice and piano, text by Matthew Doherty (2008) – 5 minutes

World Premiere: 2008, American Opera Projects Composers and the Voice series, Matthew Garrett, tenor; Jennifer Peterson, piano


When you can’t show your face

in your local anymore, when you think

you remember everyone from somewhere,

when you grow tired of having to eat, of

cleaning dishes, eating again, buying bread,

cigarettes, something to read, enough

to drink, when you want nothing more but what you have

runs out and out you run

for more and each day you wonder how what little

you do is enough to sustain this weary

chain of days; when all this happens,


I am in a rut.  Typical

day:  I see the sun go past my window

and then it’s night: late night

TV, same old news over and over,

a girl from my town is in movies

and I’m supposed to be happy,

and I’m drinking myself awake

and I don’t feel any different

but there I am again

in the 6th-floor window,

yelling down on the swollen ranks

of morning-coffee America.

I want a more enjoyable life.

I wish I were old, Gladys,

calm and serene, so I wouldn’t

slobber over warning labels,

tether blue handguns to white balloons.

Not that I do these things now,

Gladys; just don’t ever want to.

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