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
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.
Request perusal score or purchase