Words Over Music (spoken word tracks)

by Kathleen Martin

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Spoken word tracks: From Limericks and Poems to Polemics


released August 18, 2015




Kathleen Martin New Albany, Indiana

For music fans who think outside the boxy confines of genre labels, find here my original work arranged for and performed on a variety of instruments for sounds ranging from sweet to sassy and reedy to brassy; from lofty to lowdown and soulful to hoedown; from serious to silly and urban to hillbilly. I urge you to click on my production notes/lyrics before or as you push play. ☼♥ ... more

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Track Name: Composure
I. [Handel's Bar]

The result of some nasty Bartok
Was a Mahler's Fauré Offenbach.
. . ."Now aren't these Menotti,"
. . .Said Handel Scarlatti,
"Haydn these Sessions in Bach!"


An arranger from old Düsseldorf
Was a rude, confrontational dwarf.
. . .When his work was refused,
. . .He had stood and accused,
"You cannot Telemann to fugue Orff!"


Frescobaldi, a Barber for Boyce,
Shoeck the Bloch with his Weill singing voice.
. . .Des Prez he'll move on
. . .And not Karajan
Cutting hair so Carulli with noise.

IV. [Poor Richard's Rung Cycle or, Whiz Kid]

When Herr Wagner was no longer young,
Eine Hode was still hardly hung.
. . .As a teen top a ladder,
. . .He emptied his bladder
And slipped off the Götterdämmerung.


My Moroccan friend, Benjam, is smitten
By wanderlust, thus I have written:
. . .Segovia Spain,
. . .Khachaturian train,
'Ere long you'll be, Benjam, in Britten.

VI. [Eine Kleine Nacht Fugue]

Sprach die junge Frau Bach to her spouse:
"Ich krank of your fugueing heraus;
. . .Mach your fugueing herein,
. . .Und maybe you'll find
Some more kleinen Bachs in den Haus!"

© 1985 KAM
Track Name: Ballad of the Bard (or, "How Will Hath-not-a-way with Anne")
Will's newlywed wife was distraught,
So A LOVER'S COMPLAINT she upbrought:
. . ."I do WHAT YOU WILL,
. . .AS YOU LIKE IT and still
Thy rod and Falstaff comfort naught."

"If thy MEASURE FOR MEASURE's oblique,
'Tis thy four plays before that be weak
. . .'Spite a fine frontispiece
. . .For the RAPE OF LUCRECE."
Then she brought his bare bodkin to cheek.

"To be or to not!" she did scream.
All the HAMLET could hear it would seem:
. . ."A pill of grim passion
. . .Is not what I fashion

Their TWELFTH NIGHT of marriage drew nigh:
"Something Moor," said dear Anne with a sigh.
. . ."If thou shew me the skill
. . .Thou possesseth with quill,
What a merry young wife would be I!"

© 1984 KAM
Track Name: The Ballad of Wally and Maud (or, The Shape of Things to Come)
The Shape of Things to Come

A robotics researcher named Wally
Built a robot bombshell he dubbed "Dolly"
. . .With a bountiful baud;
. . .But his jealous wife, Maud,
Removed baud-y bits, now it's "Ollie."

Then to make Wally jealous, Maud bought
A robot called "Rod Megawatt."
. . .She's so hot for her Rod,
. . .Wally queried of Maud:
"Just what hath Rod got that I've not?!"

© 1985 KAM
Track Name: Busted Rhymes: A Nhyming Narrative
Mean Sean Devane from Spokane

This is the tale of Sean Devane, who as a youth
Blew clean from Spokane and headed down south.
Bought himself a Buick that he wasn't much into
So exchanged it real quick for a silver Ford Pinto.
After the car swap, he rushed right through Kansas.
Wearing his war cap, he pushed on to Arkansas.

In Mena he met a model who said "Hi, my name's Judy!
I've a mighty fine yodel, and I act as an understudy
In an amateur drama playing across the road.
I'm portraying some Panama con-artist broad
Who's only pretending to be a lily white waif
But instead is very wily, not at all some naif."

No break to perform it, she brought that broad home,
Taking a turn for the worse along the road to come.
Her cons created an ocean of cost in deceit,
And soon confirmed Sean had most to forfeit:
Badly got a bum's rush as she drove off in his Pinto
Her penultimate push to prove what he'd stepped into.

He dialed Judy's dad to ask "Where is your daughter?"
"Somewhere in Texas," her dad chortled in laughter.
So he finally tracked her down to one of Waco's
Crummy cantinas where she'd been slinging tacos.
But Sean didn't follow her there for her food
So clean on his mind he was here for her blood.

When he walked in the joint, she dropped a tamale
From shaking in shock and then drained ashen pale.
She cried out, "Sean, baby, hey, there's no quarrel!"
But two strides later, she stared down his barrel.
He plainly had no plans to take Judy hostage;
He dispatched her to sender without any postage.

It was hardly any wonder when a Texas jury
Took no time to ponder; nor the judge to bury
Convicted Sean Devane with a ruling to inter
His mortal coil in Spokane the upcoming winter.
Yet the Waco weather was still mighty warm
When that needle of poison went into his arm.

Now, should Sean's fate feel a bit too untoward,
Know that at least no one called him a coward.
Track Name: Getting Real
Okay, all right. Gotta admit, you got us good. I'm talking to YOU, the loud, materialistic majority who smirk at us bent on our bicycles or cramped in our compact cars as you cruise around in your roomy, gas-guzzling SUVs and minivans. Who scoff at all the extra time and effort we take to recycle and compost over the decades, while YOU fill the ground with your mounds of trash. YOU, who luxuriate in your long hot baths and chuckle at us shivering in our stream-off-as-soaping showers. YOU, who fill up your swimming pools and hot tubs with utility rate breaks, while we use collected rainwater on our locavore gardens. YOU who sneer at the "eyesore" of clothes hanging to dry on lines while running your washer and dryer for that one pair of jeans you just gotta wear tonight. I could continue ad nauseum with this laundry list of compare and contrast, but you get my drift.

So now, when it's 100 degrees on the first day of autumn, and natural disaster after natural disaster follow upon the heels of man-made disaster after man-made disaster, you get to gloat about us all winding up together in the same oil-filled boat after all. You can smile smugly to yourselves and think, "Tree-hugging suckers! At least WE really lived it up and enjoyed the spoils of the planet before we spoiled it for everyone! Ha-ha! You took all that extra effort and you sacrificed creature comforts for decades yet, in the end, you won't suffer any less from our selfishness just because of your responsible behavior. Nah, you just bought us all a little more time to party on. And besides, we'll just crank up the A/C even higher and go take a dip!"

But here's a truly sobering thought for consumerists who have done little-to-nothing as stewards of this great Earth: If not your children, then your children's children, and whatever generations may survive beyond that, all still alive will curse you and your lethal legacy left to them with every labored breath they try to take. And the band plays on, with Nero on first violin...

[Please, if you can, translate to other languages and pass along this SOS]