I am always excited by enabling constraints and find that I come up with things I would never have discovered unless I was prompted to do so.  In that vain, here is a script I wrote for the English National Opera Mini-Operas contest.  This scene is meant to be an aria for a man who starts to discover the seeds of his own madness, and wonders whether to be afraid or excited.  It is inspired by a Neil Gaiman story seed.


The Song of the Dream Awake

Last night I buried my
head in my grandmother’s
neck–breathed deep of
the long afternoons we
spent idling beneath the
lemon tree by the
gravel lawn, the faint smell
of the sun mingling with
that musk that smells so
much like embalming fluid.
To my surprise,
she is still here, walking
beside me on the way to
work.  My stride is slower,
more ponderous, while the
man besides me rushes
ahead having been given the
gift of forgetting.
It appears that most
are that lucky–
firmly in today’s world of
their newspapers or at least
only temporarily aloft in
the cloud of their consumption.
I count myself among them
most days.
What did I forget this morning?
I dropped my coffee
on the rug, lingered on the
steam shadows in the shower
and imagined the brusk embrace
of an older woman–her skin
and bones a welcome luxury.
And these are only the moments
I remember, the ones I commit
to the page in my hurried reasoning.
There are more, hovering just
beyond my grasp, but there,
as the water retreats from the shore…