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Cooper Must Die

by Chris Black

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COOPER MUST DIE //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 1: Eyes and Fingers Cooper is full of eyes and fingers, and is always with me, inside my shadow. He eats my heart, a little every day. He runs through my veins. He knots my nerves. He scratches from the inside. He rings in my ears. Cooper gives reasons and explains why, always looking and pointing. He chews things over. He ruminates. He mulches. He makes the sound of ashes. He makes the sound of birds. He is my oldest friend. Cooper must die. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 2: Cooper Watches the Clock Cooper watches the clock. It's 3:00. It's 7:30. It's August. It's April. You're forty. It's fall again. The sink is full of beer cans. Nothing moves but the sun. He looks, he points, he feeds. I broke promises. I slept late with strangers. It's only us now, in this empty house. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 3: At the Bar Cooper rubs the back of my neck. He bears down. Others laugh and enjoy each other. They enjoy themselves. Cooper wants me to enjoy myself. He says I deserve it. He lists my virtues and reminds me of my triumphs. Why am I so hard on myself? He makes it hurt. I raise my finger. I call out a name. I drink. Everything is soft and easy. My shadow shines like Christmas Eve. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 4: Morning It is morning. I'm not alone. Cooper is having his second cup of coffee and going through my pockets. He finds credit card receipts. He goes through the pictures in my phone. He reads the emails I sent last night. He chuckles. He picks my keys up off the floor. He sighs. I pretend to sleep, but Cooper is inside me now, having breakfast. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 5: My Shadow Thunders My shadow thunders. It's heavy. It grrrrinds across the floor. It last for hours, broken occasionally by silence, or pitiable weeping. Then again the thunder. It's hard to focus. My eyes are dry, and I am so tired. He'll be bloody and dirty. He'll want a glass of water. He'll look at me, exhausted, his hatred like a wind. Then he'll go away again. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 6: Gristle and Fat Cooper shows me pictures. Cooper hoards perfume. He holds my heart tight for her, full of old love. Nothing else will fit in it. He guards it like an animal. This is hers, he says. It's not for you. But I see where he's been at it and the scraps he leaves are nothing but gristle and fat. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 7: Rattle and Shake I don't just sit at home. I go out. I meet people. People have a sudden stillness, a graceless effort not to run. They smile, frozen and pleasant, but the eyes in their frozen, pleasant, thoughtful faces are telescopes pointed inward, capturing their startled souls in the very act of vowing never to become anything like me. In that aching moment of panic and silence we pretend and say Oh and Ah, How nice, and Cooper throws himself howling against the bars. I rattle and shake. Run, my eyes say back. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 8: Every Bent and Broken World Every bottle empty. Every bent and broken world shines through it. Every night cashed, flushed, murdered, leaving no trace but a scummy film in the mouth and a long, aching sunrise. A moment of resolve ruined by the screaming. The sun rolls across the dirty sky and leaves a trail. It crashes and burns, and another bent and broken world dissolves in flames and darkness. Cooper smiles now and breathes close to me, and I am so grateful and relieved. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 9: Come Home (Fall Back) Fall back into my shadow. Come out of that bright distraction. Come see the place I've made. Come home. I want to come home. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 10: The Cloud of Birds I dreamed. I dreamed of birds. I dreamed of clouds of birds. They covered the sky. They flowed from a hole in the sky. They surrounded me, and took hold of me. Everywhere. Everywhere. They lifted me up. They lifted me up, into the sky. They carried me away. They carried me away through the hole in the sky. They carried me away, and I was gone. I was gone. I wasn't anything anymore. I was gone. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter 11: I Am Cooper I AM COOPER and my teeth shine with gristle and fat, and I step out into the wide, trembling, delirious world. And I'm all alone. ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


A live version of this piece, with similar cover art, was previously available for download. This is different! This is a new studio recording, and I like it much better, and I hope that you will, too.


released September 8, 2017

All music composed by Chris Black. Recorded by Gabriel Sullivan. Mastered by Jim Blackwood.

Chris Black, double bass; Samantha Bounkeua, violin; Anne Gratz, cello.

Cover art by Chris Black.


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Chris Black Raleigh, North Carolina

Chris Black is a multi-instrumental composer and performer living in Wake County, North Carolina. He has been a member of such groups as Shoulders (Austin, TX), Les Wampas (Paris, FR), Golden Arm Trio (Austin, TX), The Wedding's Off (L.A., CA), and the Taraf de Tucson (Tucson, AZ). He is the founder of the alt-classical, D.I.Y. chamber music concert series ChamberLab. ... more

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