Sugar Blues

December 27th, 2013

Lester 1943






I began to laugh when he started singing
on the way to the San Francisco zoo.
I was shy and embarrassed, his voice sweet
and the world was on the way to war.
He sang sugar blues with it’s jazz rhythm
in the crowded bus with just room for two.

The words made a circle around the two
of us alone as he kept on singing
dah, dah, dee, dah, dah, dah is the rhythm.
So many people going to the zoo
while over the land there were winds of war .
There will be fighting can life still be sweet?

“Sugar blues, my loving gal is as sweet
as can be,”  but in nineteen forty two
the whole world is exploding in war.
He did not deny it but kept on singing
knowing the world was becoming a zoo.
Gone is the sweetness gone is the rhythm.

Feet that march have a different rhythm.
It was spring in Berkley when life was sweet
and we took the Muni bus to the zoo.
The sun was shining just for the two
of us in love and he felt like singing.
We had no cares and knew nothing of war.

Yet the airplanes and tanks were rolling to war.
Tactics are set to a different rhythm.
A marching song is what troops were singing;
to motivate soldiers it wasn’t  sweet.
The sugar blues made a circle for two
in love who were going to visit the zoo.

I don’t remember why we went to the zoo
while the generals were plotting the war.
We knew that our studies would stop in two
months and we needed to find a new rhythm.
Lives would be changing and not be so sweet;
we would learn new ways and keep on singing.

That day we two  made a trip to the zoo
though our hearts were singing the world was at war.
Sugar blues are sweet; you will thrill to the rhythm.