The final aria from ‘Inferno’ based on the story of Paolo and Francesco in Dante’s ‘Commedia.’ Music by Peter Josheff, words by Jaime Robles. The staging at Thick House Theater in San Francisco can be found at YouTube.
You, poets, ask me what I have done.
What crime did I commit while licorice sweet earthly air
Still filled my lungs, rang through the long
Rhythms of my heart? What could I say? Why should I tell you?
Stories have unraveled me: false-hearted words now
Tangle across my tongue. Words, with breathless ease, undo
Us both, speaker and listener. I am restless to death
In this humid wind, I hunger for sturdy skin—
Thick flesh that could—with just a touch—stutter words and death
To a stop.
Let me breathe in
Solid skin, blood and bone, here in this icy air,
Where I dangle, hooked and shuddering like a fish,
Through eternal time, my hell-bound prayers
Chatter that love is no crime, no love is a crime.
Neither spouse loved us, ever: We thought we loved each other.
I, a girl they sold to a hunchback soldier—in time
Love’s pearl dissolved like a story told years ago.
—Speak new words to me.