Opera on the Half-Shell

Soprano:Seagulls, various
Basso Profundo:The Seal
Chorus:Beach bums
The Band:Banjofish, Harmonicafish, Washboardfish, Jugfish
Act 1, Scene 1:Dogman, walking the beach.
He contemplates, life, death, and hotdogs.
Dogman:This hotdog sings the mustard, sings the relish, relish the sky, relish the beach, my tongue in a pickle all day la la.
Beach Bums:Yes! Yes! Sing with relish!
Dogman:Sing with abandon! But abandon means bereft. I sing and am alone forever, my lungs lost in a forest of breath.
Beach Bums:No! No! He must not be lost!
Dogman:Like Popeye I smoke the spinach of storms. I flex my blimps.
The Seal:(Burps).
Dogman:A great fishyness fills the air…
Seagull:Yessiree yamma yamma fishfishfish.
The Seal:God said let there be squid, and there was squid.
Seagull:Yamma yamma squidsquidsquid.
Dogman:Clams are an open book of wagging tongues, shoal-mamas. I attend death at their pearly gates.
(Clam harmonica  plays…)
Dogman:I see the angry red kimono of sky open, naked sun flashing the sea.
Beach Bums:What do you see, oh what do you see?
Dogman:I see ramshackle clamshackle clamtastic fantastic hallelujah.
The Sea Hag tosses my fate like dice eyes.
Snakes in the house of Fate, spots scratched out, rolling blind.
Seagull:Yamma yamma
Dogman:The sky’s white lei’s of lightning, welcome to stormwash.
Flowers of heathen dance shock my neck.
My Popeye’s sailor pants are salted and scrimmed and scrummed.
Beach Bums:“O Fortuna
velut luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decrescis”*
Dogman:Oh monsterous fate! Whirling wheel, malevolent and vain.
(Clam harmonica, repeat)
Dogman:Is there no shelter from this sky? Is there no hotdog for those shriven of sin?
Seagull:Yamma hotdoghotdog. Absolution and Cheez-its!
Dogman:Fortune, speak plainly now. I beseech you!
(Thunder rolls in the distance)
Dogman:Lo! I have had a vision! I abandon this hotdog to the gulls. I craven crave crave but a Mermaid taco! This shall fulfill me at last. To feast on a Chimera!
Seagulls: (unison)Skree! Skree!
Act 1, Scene 2A simple cottage near the shore.
A mermaid hangs wash on the line
She, struggles to remain upright…
*"O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
ever waxing
ever waning"

-- Carmina Burana 

The Sunday Muse

24 thoughts on “Opera on the Half-Shell

  1. Let me tell you about Beachy Dogman and the Big Beat! He is stoned immaculate.

    I love this extremely imaginative format, and identify terrifyingly closely with the seagulls yamma yamma ding dong, or King Don, or wing dings.

    And O Fortuna! When I first heard it, it was an amazing and powerful piece of choral music, but after hearing it played at numerous hockey games, now i can’t hear it without expecting a face-off. If I ever own a hockey team, I will ditch “Rock and Roll Part II” and “Shout’ and replace them with this:

    Soon, all sportsing will be forgotten as everyone carries the singer out of the arena on their shoulders and takes him to the beach for some moonlight yamma yamma. Relish!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is fantastic. You are so funny! Especially clever are these:
    “Clams are an open book”
    “A mermaid hangs wash on the line
    She, struggles to remain upright”

    The kimono sky and flasher sun would make an excellent haiku.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. nice! i think this is the best poem you’ve written in this form so far, and i’m really liking the format. there is only one tiny little detail i might change, i would change the beach bums to surfer bros, i would love to hear surfer bros singing in latin with southern california stoner accents:

    “dude like O Fortuna, velut luna statu variabilis yo, and semper crescis aut decrescis… so righteous man”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “I see ramshackle clamshackle clamtastic fantastic hallelujah.”
    Love the word play on this line. The whole thing is clever and cool.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A lot of great lines, Randall. I’ll choose this as the best, though:

    “Sing with abandon! But abandon means bereft. I sing and am alone forever, my lungs lost in a forest of breath.”

    A true musical show piece — part Verdi, part Gilbert and Sullivan, part “Kill the Wabbit!”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. ~~~ as a second alto I can tell you I would deliver these lines quite well … ” Is there no hotdog for those shriven of sin? He contemplates, life, death, and hotdogs” Cheers! This is awesome, Randall (a treat using your first name.)

    Liked by 2 people

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