Bone Dry


Apathy is an attractive place to live. It’s safe, it’s detached, it’s padded like the walls of an asylum. But, it’s as dry as a desert. It’s empty and numb, and ultimately whenever I’ve bargained with myself, I’ve ended up choosing the tumult of life’s highs and lows over the sensuous monotony that apathy has to offer.

Bone Dry was written at that decision point (which I return to every now and then…when will I learn?!) when once again I decided to embrace the rainy, tearful parts. Musically, it was a challenge to flirt with dull stoicism without creating a piece without a shape or much of interest, so I leaned into a parallel melody structure that hovers in the same range with only a few deviating notes that seem to tease the opportunity for escape. The repetitive “moh moh” rhythmic accompaniments in the verses felt to me like finding the electric fence that lines the edge of apathy’s property. Bumping into it feels as wrong- footed as triplets against duplets, and after fighting it for a few stanzas, we take a soaring leap into a more feeling territory. It’s accepting, emerging from its previous melodic confines, but also its wings are new. Me and Bone Dry aren’t completely sure that the lows are worth it. But by singing it we’re reminding ourselves to try.

Duration: 3 – 5 minutes

Voicing: SATB a cappella

Dedication: Commissioned by the Herriman High School Chamber Singers under the direction of Andrew Howden


Bone dry
Safe in my cape I keep bone dry
Not good and not bad but I get by
Bone dry

So numb
Perfecting the pattern of so numb
Immune from wherever the rains come
So numb

Here in between hill and valley
Apathy built me a boundary
Impervious to what could drown me
Drown me, drown me

Skin deep
Digging a grave only skin deep
Buried in sand till it’s windy
Skin deep

Blood red
I almost miss being blood red
Broken but open and wingspread
Blood red

Welcome the storms and the sun, I’m open
I’m here to feel another one, I’m open
If tumult’s the price that I pay, I’m open
I’m here to live one more day

Finding I’m flooded in both eyes
Letting it out with a low cry
Finally I’m no longer owned by
Bone dry. bone dry

Bone dry