Walk In The Park (2008)

For spoken voice and ensemble (cl, pno, vln, vc), or also available for voice and piano, text by Matthew Doherty (2008) – 3 minutes

World Premiere: 2008, American Opera Projects Composers and the Voice series, Matthew Curran, bass-baritone; Kelly Horsted, piano



Walk in the Park



Is all pleasure perversion,

Gladys?  Am I bad?

She was a goalie in the park

soccer league.  I was out walking.

They were going to have to forfeit. 

She had beautiful legs and arms.

She ran up and said, “Hey, I know you

don’t know me, but could I wear you shirt

for, like, an hour?”  She needed a different color.

Oh, I pulled off my green longsleeve,

the one with the Sputnik dog on the front,

and held it out to her.  She put it on over

her blue shirt and, as I watched,

plunged her arms inside, pulled out

a blue shirt, handed it to me.

O unbidden grace!

It was like driving past a drive-in

movie, seeing it briefly, for free.

I saw how her breasts were

strapped in, muzzled against her body.

I watched her the whole game.  Afterwards

I stood again half-naked in front of her,

handed back her shirt.  She asked my name

while she performed her Houdini act.

“Unbidden,” I said.  Oh, Gladys,

I am a fool.  But get this:

I pretended that was my name, that I was

German.  “I could launder your shirt

if you like,” she said.  “Vhere do you do

your vashink of thinks?” I asked.

“Right by my building,” she said.  “I could

give you something to wear while it’s washing.”

What to say?  I walked away.

“Goodbye, Unbidden,” she called out.

You hear that, Gladys?  Goodbye,

my unbidden, forever.


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