Dark Things

by John W. Snyder

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released April 15, 2018

music by John W. Snyder
text by Novica Tadić

soprano – Amy Foote
soprano – Holly Sedillos
baritone violin – Lisa Liu
piano – John W. Snyder
percussion – Michael Schlotter
electronics – Jonathan Snipes

engineer & mixer – Andy Hay
master - Thomas Dimuzio

recorded at Emoto Music
cover art – Nathaniel Smith

Novica Tadic, "Coat of Many Colors," "Armful of Twigs, Dream," "Ten Fingers," "Someone Whispered to Me in a Dream," "Straitjacket," "Sheepskin Coat," You Are Mighty," "A Bird Started to Sing," "Out of Some Old Thing," "Rabbit," "Book, Dream,"" Dark Things," and "Hatred" from Dark Things, translated by Charles Simic. Translation copyright © 2009 by Charles Simic. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of BOA Editions Ltd., 250 North Goodman Street, Suite 306, Rochester, NY 14607, USA, www.boaeditions.org. All rights reserved worldwide.


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John W. Snyder Los Angeles, California

John W. Snyder is a composer and pianist in Los Angeles.

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Track Name: Coat of Many Colors
I found on the dump
a coat of many colors
and put it on.
I shrieked with happiness
and whirled around
for a long time.
To show myself off
to people and starts in the sky
is my wish now.
And as I walk the streets,
to see my reflection in shop windows
full of miserable novelties.
Track Name: Rabbit
A man once lost his mind
and because of him – many others did.
He bolted over a stubble field into the wide world,
far from his madmen,
he could no longer stand.
In a dark forest, alone at last,
He sat on a stump and started to think.
The devil snuck behind him, tapped him
on his head, spat in his ear.
The man spun around, saw no one,
only a rabbit dash across a clearing.
Track Name: A Bird Started to Sing
A bird started to sing
on a clear day
over the gallows
A branch stirred
in a small grove
next to a smoldering fire
A stream babbled
over the bodies
of the ones struck down
Wind lifted the ashes
and spread them
over other ashes
Track Name: Ten Fingers
In dead silence, in prayer,
you crossed on your forehead
ten fingers for your ten sins
At a table made of wood
far from everything
in a cottage next to a lake
with fat swans.
Once you were young,
hale and handsome criminal.
You talked like a crazy man,
did crazy things.
Time races on, bearing you along
toward your last
wretched breath.
Track Name: Straight Jacket
A straitjacket
is being woven
and cut to measure
on you.
Track Name: Out of Some Old Thing
Out of some old thing
(a hideous ruin of a building)
people peek outside
They slap their heads,
chatter, stick their tongues out
Twist their mouths
in every direction
Blink, make
moaning sounds
And move their ears
like dry ivy leaves.
Track Name: You Are Mighty
You are all-powerful, you are a giant.
No mother gave you birth.
Every street is too narrow for you.
You pull back your shoulders, burn holes with your eyes.
Everyone gets out of your way.
The beggar’s wealth, a dish full of small coins,
you spilled on the sidewalk – damn you!
If someone were to bring nails to a human body
you’d be the one swinging the hammer,
ripping out the flesh with pliers.
Today you are here among us,
tomorrow you’ll be somewhere else.
Track Name: Armful of Twigs, Dream
Armful of dry twigs
I carry to the fire
through busy streets.
I can’t see the stake,
don’t know who is being
brunt alive or why.
Flames rise and the glow
beyond the ecstatic crowd
singing, shouting and firing guns.
(This dream, I am not
bound to forget.)
Don’t sway like that, O my curtain.
Track Name: Dark Things
Dark things open my eyes,
raise my hand, knot my fingers.
They are close and far away,
in a safe hideaway
beyond nine hills.
Night is their kingdom,
and this day, just breaking,
is their cloak of light.
No force can revoke them,
untangle them, explain them.
They stay where they are,
in our breasts,
stirring in our hearts.
Track Name: Sheepskin Coat
Winter, Strangers came and took my sheepskin coat.
Now, what will I cover myself with?
Only with prayers and with the light, trembling wings of a moth.
With so many thoughts and feelings, let my mind drift.
My name has been blackened; it opens; it whispers.
Track Name: Someone Whispered to Me in a Dream
Someone whispered to me in a dream
that on this Earth, there’ll be no
more water, only blood.
We’ll drink each other’s blood
as we have always done
and won’t dream of it anymore.
Over dried out springs,
bones of dead animals and last humans
will pile up.
Young hyenas with our faces
will titter and fight
around their gnawed and dry remains.
Track Name: Book, Dream
On a low chair, the book
opened by itself.
A gust of air blew –
it was the Lord’s breath.

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