Songs

George

by William Bolcom From Cabaret Songs (1978)

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Text

George
English source: Arnold Weinstein

My friend George used to say
“Oh call me Georgia, hon,
get yourself a drink,”
and sang the best soprano
in our part of town.

In beads, brocade and pins,
he sang if you happened in
through the door he never locked
and said, “Get yourself a drink,”
and sang out loud
till tears fell in the cognac
and the choc’late milk and gin
and on the beads, brocade and pins.

When strangers happened through
his open door,
George said, “Stay,
but you gotta keep quiet
while I sing
and then a minute after.
And call me Georgia.”

One fine day a stranger in a suit
of navy blue
took George’s life with a knife
George had placed
beside an apple pie he’d baked
and stabbed him in the middle
of Un bel dí vedremo
as he sang
for this particular stranger
who was in the United States Navy.

The funeral was at the cocktail hour.
We knew George would like it like that.
Tears fell on the beads, brocade and pins
in the coffin which was white
because George was a virgin.

Oh call him Georgia, hon,
get yourself a drink.
“You can call me Georgia, hon,
get yourself a drink!”

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