Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dave Cole & Rose

                              Dave Cole

It was going to be a good year, the stars were aligned that way, the astrologers said.
Bobby pleased Sanchez, playing clarinet when DG couldn’t make it
and filling in for Rose when she needed a night off. He managed the Black and Tan
so Rose could sing. Bobby’s head was always full of images and Cathleen said
he remembered everything. He knew he could not forget her.

Dave Cole played piano and wrote songs with sounds only, never with words.
He wrote an instrumental piece he called "Rose," and Bobby asked him why
he left out the words. I’m not a word man, Dave said, would you like to try?
I don’t know Rose, Bobby said, all I know is she’s a blues singer, the best in town.
Blues is the only word about her that I know too, Dave said.

Bobby went to the New Congress every chance he got now, the hired man was fine,
a black man who quickly became a brother at the Black and Tan.
Bobby was asked to play the clarinet, so he did when he could hear Rose’s voice,
what he came for. She’d also started singing when Tony played piano.
Laurie always came with Tony. Listening, she glowed.

Dave said one day he was seeing less and less of Rose, he was on the outs
with her. She told him he was trying to contain her life in a thimble full
that once was a cup overflowing. She said she always knew love
was like that, but why did he have to be like all the rest, Rumplestiltskin
lording over her with a piano instead of a loom.

If I didn’t love her as much as life I would start over, Dave said more than once.
Bobby knew he was speaking from his hurt, his admission she might be right.
I know she is, he said when Bobby came clean with him. Yet Rose stayed
living there, Lu Ann knew there was trouble between them, and once Bobby
looked in on her and found her alone, weeping.

Lu Ann loved Rose so much she filled up with tears hearing them fight at night.
In the daylight they didn’t say much to each other. Lu Ann thought it was okay,
she would rather hear silence than listen to chaos
between the two people she loved most in this world.
To Bobby she said, I won’t last much longer.

Dave was at the piano one night saying, I wrote this for Rose; then played the song.
After it was over, he said to the audience, I wrote that for Rose
because she knows what love is and this is how I tell her how much I want to know.
Soon he came up with something on paper but did not sing.
Bobby asked him if he could see what was on the paper.

Dave had written nothing down. It’s all in my head, he insisted, and I imagine
the music will change every time I play the song. He said to Bobby, I hope Rose
will take what I say to heart. I don’t want to lose her. I don’t care about the song,
the music’s still there, I have no other way to tell her
I love her and to be heard by her.

Melindra came to the Black and Tan one night Bobby was behind the bar.
He announced to the room that she was as Irish as he and would never
get away now that he’d found her. When business ebbed he asked
if she would sing on the little stage if he played the clarinet.
She said she would if he knew "All of Me."

(18 March 2012)


music by Dave Cole, lyrics by Bobby St. Clair



You can’t just let me go like that,
I wore my own best dress and hat,
You love me anytime you want,
I need your love like I wear my coat

When we found each other the music poured
all through our bodies while the thunder roared,
When summer came we let our love grow cold
though life went on, but not so loud



Rose, Rose, Rose, I must have you back,
I play your songs, you sing Good luck,
baby, I loved to love you in the dark,
you made our music anything but work

I never knew that life could be this rough,
I hope you stay, baby, I’m not so tough,
I know better than say love’s not enough,
I want to wake with you and hear your laugh


Rose, come love your Mister Cole, let him play
your song and hear you sing and have his way,
Rose, hold your head just right so I can see
the scar I kiss until it goes away


poem and song copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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