Friday, 28 March 2014

remembering rose

"life is one big bowl of cherries
you just gotta know which ones to pick"

i remember her saying that

i'm alive, i think - i remember tings
i remember her - a distant memory

my name is Henry
i'm really old now - tied and tethered
no not rememberin much anymo - but

r e m e m b e r i n g   r o s e

i was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in November 1925 
a drifter like everyone else was back den

bein black folk was bein bad news
we watches de white man and we keeps watchin
 de white man till we finds out which way 
de white man's gwine to vote 
an' when we finds out which way 
de white man's gwine to vote 
den we votes 'xactly de other way

only wees not allowed to vote

i growed up in a family of 9 chillins
ma and pa - they be field workers on a plantation
 just north of the city wheres I livin

rosie was 14 when i met her at a dance
de friday night congregation at the church 
where many showed up in disrepair
i was 17 and fell in love immediate
cause that's what young folk do at that age
fall in love and well - have more chillins

rosey was a shimmer of light in my dark hallway
my lil minnie mouse is what i called her
so happy to be alive - tears of joy
she cried a lot - like a lil girl
all the time

human beins can be awful cruel to one another
that's just the way it is with some people
they get down on a thing when they don't know
anythin bout it

i was full throttle, foot on the gas, didn't know what to do
at least i had an idea - had my arms and legs
my sinful soul and my empty stomach
a piece of paper, pen and something to say
later on a smith corona typewriter

most importantly
i had rosalie - my tadpole in the river 
my reason to live

de great depression came early on

my brothers and me gatherin coal that fallen
off the trains so we could keep warm in winter
even tho it was never that cold
grits and beans for supper every night 
dad stealing the canned beans
from a delivery truck
run amuck

we got married in the church a few years later
i was grateful to god that it happened
but i was still lost

often sitting in the moonlight - drinkin moonshine
alone down on the dock - gettin plastered agin
cause it was cheap and it got de job done
we had a bunch of little-uns

r e m e m b e r i n g    r o s e


livin in a shack on the bayou south of the city
for the longest time, i wondered why 
the stars and shadows wuddn't
givin me anythin to go on

cravin the hair of the dog early on - just like papa done
booze and well - a departure from deliverance
i fell off de back of a tractor when i was 22
and broke my neck, got up and worked agin
a week later, cause we needed the money
yeh drunk - as always

then came the plague - small pox in '49
i was in bed for 3 months
wakin up in places hot and cold
from de fires of fermentia
to the ice of de arctic
sweatin' the storm

i felt so lonesome i most wished i was dead
de stars was shinin, the leaves rustlin in de woods 
on the edge of life and death

ever so mournful;  one time, i heard an owl
way off who-whooing about somebody already gone
and a dog howlin bout somebody dyin
nearby - his master leaving us

i recoverin after 2 of our chillins passin
ben at 7 and allie at 3 both in a month
it was a bad time - time passin
havin them visions and shit

we'd be catchin catfish and talkin - rosie and me
we swammed in de river naked and fell asleep arm in arm

like nothin' ever happened to us at all that night or de next

sometime you gwyne to git hurt, en sometimes

you gwine to get sick but every time 
you's gwine to git well agin

i swear to god it be de music that kept me alive
the memories of them dances on friday nights
just outside the church in back
the moonshine moonin and de spirits croonin

rosie got the cancer early on

it was a tragic tumble that terrified me
holdin my breath and stayin solid

such a good woman 
she'd be passin in '82
havin found herself in the 60's an all
havin found her 
reason to live 

hell, even takin wid dat musician in '69
the guitar player in that blues band down at the club

lasted a few days and then she be comin home
i let it go

i'm thinkin notin'
i'm thinkin' there's notin' left
i'm thinkin there's no reason left to live
and then comes sometin' special

cab calloway - befriends me still

they got these tings now
iPods, and de ninernet an shit
nursin homes - i sit here and i sit here
they feed me grub i can't taste
and i go back to basics

r e m e m b e r i n g    r o s e


kids are gone all growed up and far away now
i'm wonderin if dey be doin ok
i wonder if i'll ever see em

jesus - do they even know i'm still breathin 
still believin in sometin dey be doin

this world is still spinnin an i'm still in it
don't let them tell you

don't let em get ya'll down
don't let em defeat you
fuck up yer shit

my name is Henry and i still see you
my little minnie mouse - rosalie
dancin' in dat lil dress, wantin to mess 
wid you somtin

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