We Phoenician Sailors

Soprano, Harp, Clarinet, Double Bass, 12 mins, 2016

Large Ensemble

1. Oyster

Watching you drink me, feeling you think me, I drown in the threads of your

thoughts as they struggle to sink me.


Notes trill through my teeth like krill through a reef and I atrophy.

Barnacled bricks stuck limpet slick,

Knuckles are shredded, my blood runs thick,

Breathing the depths of your full fathom eyes, my oyster flesh pinking in sympathy.

2. Agua Dulce

My roundels and mounds were yours to be found

You scaled them at speed

And then slid down my downs and you drowned.

Deafened by the toll of your principles

I dream of a lake

(And I) wait for the ache to abait.

Sun glimmer on the brown shimmer

Hear the low-flying flock and let go,

let me drown

For the deep, reckless call of the infinite blue

Speaks to my spine

To my hot, live marrow

3. Delta Song

Liver soft plum licker glids the satin mushroom cap

As somewhere south of leather, soft fruit begins to grow.

Slithery grip on catfish hips

Their whiskers a whisper from molten lips

Your sideways jive hums in my muscles

Mammalian jazz, a two-step hustle

Swallow my screams as a citadel falls

Where hills are flocked in velvet green

Your body an atlas, but I've lost my map,

Soul bent in two by your wild, wild gravity.

We Phoenician Sailors is a song cycle written in collaboration with poet Octavia Bright for The Hermes Experiment. Octavia and I wrote Oyster, the first song in the cycle, for The Hermes Experiment in 2015, and New Dots commissioned us to create a short cycle around that song.