This is an app designed for you
to play around
with the music of PLAY OFF,
by Vasco Mendonça.
Compose your own piece.
Or just have fun
exploring the sounds.
If you're curious
about the original music:
or about the poems:
Explore the poems in American Settings, a piece for countertenor and percussion by Vasco Mendonça.
This ink. This name. This blood. This blunder.
This blood. This loss. This lonesome wind. This canyon.
This / twin / swiftly / paddling / shadow blooming
an inch above the carpet—. This cry. This mud.
This shudder. This is where I stood: by the bed,
by the door, by the window, in the night / in the night.
How deep, how often / must a woman be touched?
How deep, how often have I been touched?
On the bone, on the shoulder, on the brow, on the knuckle:
Touch like a last name, touch like a wet match.
Touch like an empty shoe and an empty shoe, sweet
and incomprehensible. This ink. This name. This blood
and wonder. This box. This body in a box. This blood
in the body. This wind in the blood.
The umpteenth thump on the rump of a badunkadunk
Stumps us. The lunk, the chump, the hunk of plunder.
The umpteenth horny, honky stump speech pumps
A funky rumble over air. The umpteenth slump
In our humming democracy, a bumble bureaucracy
With teeny tiny wings too small for its rumpled,
Dumpling of a body. Humpty-Dumpy. Frumpy
Suit. The umpteenth honk of hollow thunder.
The umpteenth Believe me. The umpteenth grumpy,
Jumpy retort. Chump change, casino game, tuxedo,
Teeth bleach, stump speech. Junk science.Junk bond.
Junk country, stump speech. The umpteenth boast
Stumps our toe. The umpteenth falsehood stumps
Our elbows & eyeballs, our Nos, Whoahs, wows, woes.
Light: lifted, I stretch my brief body.
Color: blaze of day behind blank eyes.
Sound: birds stab greedy beaks
Into trunk and seed, spill husk
Onto the heap where my dreaming
And my loving live.
Every day I wake to this.
Tracks follow the heavy beasts
Back to where they huddle, herd.
Hunt: a dance against hunger.
Music: feast and fear.
This island becomes us.
Trees cap our sky. It rustles with delight
In a voice green as lust. Reptiles
Drag night from their tails,
Live by the dark. A rage of waves
Protects the horizon, which we would devour.
One day I want to dive in and drift,
Legs and arms wracked with danger.
Like a dark star. I want to last.
You flinch. Something flickers, not fleeing your face. My
Heart hammers at the ceiling, telling my tongue
To turn it down. Too late. The something climbs, leaps, is
Falling now across us like the prank of an icy, brainy
Lord. I chose the wrong word. I am wrong for not choosing
Merely to smile, to pull you toward me and away from
What you think of as that other me, who wanders lost among ...
Among whom? The many? The rare? I wish you didn’t care.
I watch you watching her. Her very shadow is a rage
That trashes the rooms of your eyes. Do you claim surprise
At what she wants, the poor girl, pelted with despair,
Who flits from grief to grief? Isn’t it you she seeks? And
If you blame her, know that she blames you for choosing
Not her, but me. Love is never fair. But do we — should we — care?
We are here for what amounts to a few hours,
a day at most.
We feel around making sense of the terrain,
our own new limbs,
Bumping up against a herd of bodies
until one becomes home.
Moments sweep past. The grass bends
then learns again to stand.Tracy K. Smith, Eternity: Selected Poems