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Handles

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An uproarious affirmation of the multifarious “handles” which adorn women’s bodies, minds and spirits
Commissioned by CHARIS, The St. Louis Women's Chorus / Stuart Chapman Hill
Poet/Lyricist: 
Elizabeth Alexander

I don't know how to begin to describe this song! On one hand, it's a complete hoot. And also sweet. And also - as when making clear exactly who controls said "handles" - mighty serious!

The final pages includes the opportunity for your choir to "speak out," using the spoken couplets given in the score - or creating your own.

This piece is so new - just premiered in May 2018! - that as you can see, I haven't written a "formal" description of it yet. But I did make a music video, so you can take a look-see for yourself!

(What a blast this song was to write! A special thanks to CHARIS and Stuart Chapman Hill for taking a chance on a pretty far-out concept for a commission. Y'all sure did the song justice.)

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https://www.seafarerpress.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/works_variant_audio_files/recording-alexander-handles.mp3 SSAA, piano - Choral Score
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Handles

Elizabeth Alexander

You say you can’t, just can't,
Just can’t get a handle on a woman.
You don’t know what she’ll do or say;
Surprises are her natural way, this woman.
Not solely governed by her mind,
Her heart will not be left behind.
And so you tell me that you can’t, just can’t,
Just can’t get a handle on a woman?
But before you give in to outright despair about this
Impossibly hopeless, futile, cataclysmic, and not so very great scenario,
Let me tell you something that you might not know:

There are some handles on this woman.
I got ’em here and here and here.
There are some handles on this woman.
They ain’t about to disappear.
Handles, handles, handles:
Seems I get another every year.

Some of them were made for earrings to dangle on,
Some of them were made for bangles to bangle on,
Some of them were made for tattoos to tangle on,
Twang, twang, twang!
Some of them were made for combing and braiding,
Some of them were made for skipping and wading,
Some of them were made for bodacious bumpin’ –
Every one was made for something!

Wink and wiggle, dance and dandle,
If I jiggle that’s no scandal,
If you need a helpin’ handle,
Call me up; I’ll understandle!

Handles, handles!
I’ve got more than one or two.
Handles, handles!
To sing about them’s not taboo!
Handles, handles, handles:
They will always be right here for you.

Some of them were made for good friends to cry on,
Some of them were made for lovers to lie on,
Some of them were made for babies to latch on,
(Don’t know why you’re being so slow to catch on!)
Some of them are feisty. Some are fizzling.
Some are sweet. Some are sizzling.
All of them are miracles to behold!
Gonna have more when I get old!

Handles, handles!
They’re doubly-dimpled by design.
And if a someone takes advantage,
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
I’ve got a topnotch bottom line.
Make no mistake:
These handles are completely mine all mine!

Firm or floppy, flat or flexed,
I never quite know what they’ll do next.

Unique right down to every fold.
After me, they broke the mold!

Every wrinkle, every scar,
Beautiful is what they are.

So don't tell me that you can’t get a handle on a woman.

Performers: 

PREMIERE: CHARIS, the St. Louis Women's Chorus / Stuart Chapman Hill

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