The Rose a Razor

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Some say love it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed

2015 09 16 Amanda McBroom says she wrote The Rose in 1977. Never heard of her, but what a great song: one of the greatest, ever. By 1977 I had long closed my ears to pop music. I can’t say when I first heard The Rose. Oh, I’m sure I heard it again and again, without it registering. I can say when it first registered on me: at least by 2008 August 14: that’s when, stunned, I saved the lyrics to my Mac. I can’t say when I first realized that Bette Midler was more than a disgusting diva, was a real person, funny, a first rate personality, actress, comedienne. Actually I knew that quite a bit earlier when I read a profile of her performing before the queers in Manhattan bath houses: just the central fact rates a lingering look.
Read around K. and you should see why I am more than justified in hating lots and lots of things, particularly things related to the repression of jazz, blues and the forcemeats of white-barf counterfiet aural emotion.
I can tell you exactly when I first saw the movie The Rose: Today, a half hour ago. That is to say I’ve now seen the first five minutes of it. Barf.

McBroom English

I know what my grade school English teachers would have said had they heard The Rose in the 1940s: “Some say love it is …” is incorrect: you’re already specified “love”; you mustn’t add “it”: it’s redundant. Just say “Love is …” Lose the “it”. No, no: Professor pk says that it doesn’t matter what the state appointed experts say, people talk the way they talk. Understand there to be a pause between “love” and “it” and the it becomes fine, necessary almost.

The Rose is supposedly based on the drugged-out alcoholic raucous scream-singing of Janis Joplin. When I was a kid Charlie Parker was the poster drunk junkie. By the 1960s I was damn fed up with white-barf imitations of real experience, real emotion, real suffering. Elvis had talent but the white kleptocrats had no business puttng him first. A zillion hillbillies should have made a living at being musical hillbillies or put-upon black cotton choppers before Elvis made a dime. You wanna see a sexy drunk junkie, saturate yourself on Billie Holliday; there’ll be no room for Janis Joplin.

Janis Joplin got a concert evening at Colby when I was teaching there, 1968 or so. The student reaction didn’t surprise me but I was revolted by the suit-following of the faculty response. When I was an art dealer people clamored louder for the fake Miros than they did for the real Miros, the fake Calders over the real Calders.

Macro-Contradictory Information

I quote The Rose again, this time the entire song:

Some say love it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love it is a flower
And you it’s only seed

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance

It’s the one who won’t be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul afraid of dyin’
That never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose

Claims for the nature of love are listed: Love is a river, love is a razor … They say, I say. Well, which is it? Does anyone know? Rome and Carthage contest the world the Jews say is theirs: what does God say? Then, after God has spoken, how do you know it was God?

The rhythm of The Rose is tremulous, last-gasp: amazing. They say / I say. The singer says that love is a flower: and you it’s only seed: God help anything in nature with only one seed: doomed. Especially if I’m the seed.

But did Amanda McBroom ever come up with an ear-worm: it’s in my head, and won’t leave.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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