Roger Bourland: Alarcon Madrigals, Book 3 (2006)

September 13, 2007

A year ago I spent 10 days in Maui with Mark Carlson working on the third installment of settings of poetry of Francisco X Alarcón. The first set was commissioned by Vance Wolverton and the Cal State Women’s Fullerton Women’s Chorus. Books 2 and 3 were commissioned by Iris Levine and Vox Femina/Los Angeles. (All are available from Yelton Rhodes Music.)



Music by Roger Bourland
Poetry by Francisco X Alarcón
Performed by Vox Femina/LA, Iris Levine, conductor (May 2007)



1. Body in Flames

I want to abandon

go and awaken
the senses

I want
no memory

rather to embrace
every instant
to a frenzy

I want to think
with my feet

I want to cry
with my shoulders

I want to set
my body on fire


2. Lamentario

es triste ser vaso y nunca llenarse
ser puerta y siempre quedarse trancada
ser cama sentirse mortaja no lecho
es triste ser uno y nunca sumar dos
ser ave sin nido ser santo sin vela
ser solo y vivir soñando abrazos


3. Like a crazed flower

there has never been sunlight for this love,
like a crazed flower it buds in the dark,
is at once a crown of thorns and
a spring garland around the temples

a fire, a wound, the bitterest fruit,
but a breeze as well, a source of water,
your breath –– a bite to the soul,
your chest––a tree trunk in the current

make me walk on the turbid waters,
be the ax that breaks this lock,
the dew that weeps from trees

If I become mute kissing your thighs,
it’s that my heart eagerly
searches your flesh for a new dawn


4. Face and Heart

may our ears hear what nobody wants to hear
may our eyes see what everyone wants to hide
may our mouths speak our true faces and hearts
may our arms be branches that give shade and joy

let us be a drizzle, a sudden storm
let us get wet in the rain
let us be the key, the hand, the door, the kick, the ball, the road
let us arrive as children to this huge playground ––
the universe


5. Guardian Angel

When I felt so sad and all alone
Wanting to cry in the classroom
The girl sitting next to me
Suddenly held my hand
And with the darkest and most tender eyes
I’ve ever seen
Told me without a word
“Don’t worry, you are not alone.”

Poetry © Francisco X. Alarcón

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