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Valse triste

(sad waltz)
Four movements with Prologue & Epilog

Overture (Prologue)

Raucous sounds from the wild calliope…
strike one, two, three - the rhythmic castanets…
sculpted horse-puppets pantomiming life,
chase a swirl of rainbowed incandescence.
Programmed familiar tunes steer emotions.
Passion’s flames are fanned mechanically.
Gears and chains grant loose-reign… the wild beasts!
When quiet dawns only machines remain.

1) Love’s Libido

Percussive beats lead the rhythm of hearts.
Pulsing lights make desire appear like need.
Faces materialize then vanish.
Eyes reflect the swarming electric stars
whose blazing dance comes falsely from within.
There is an indifference in the glow’s source,
be it in the eyes, be it in the mind…
Act now! Thinking only delays action.

2) Love’s Likeness

Masks are fashioned in the styles of drama.
Costumes: clothes, hair, and superficial speech,
character-connect each presentation
impelling each personage to play their part.
Habits of nature and fictional wants
nurtures self-love in the guise of others.
‘Romance is forever’ too often is spoke.
‘Forever’ may linger only ‘for now.’

3) Love Like

Up and down, the painted ponies ride
like rolling swells on a moonlit river.
They ride the moment of love’s illusion.
Visions in mirrors with faces too small
are blind to all matters beyond their frames.
Love hints nothing of life’s long stillnesses
or one’s unjustifiable demands.
Ride tickets run out, eventually.

4) Love’s Litter

Reality starts when the darkness ends.
The chase was too short, too long, way too fast,
way too slow, too quiet, too loud, too bright,
too dull. “I would have been better alone
or with someone who could be just more… more.”
The ears of the steeds reveal their chipped paint
as it is each time the riders dismount.
Singly they walk till their next need to ride.

Valse triste (Epilogue)

One…two…three, One…two…three, and…and again
they chase the lights on the programmed stallions.
Wanting to see magic in reflective glass
each wants, each time, each spark from the prism
to remain in ‘Dreamland’, not in the real.
Each in the ornate beveled mirrors sees
themselves on machines that they buy onto,
riding their own familiar tune, ‘Valse triste.‘


Written after 'Valse triste' composed for solo marimba.