If you really need to do a straight SELECT and grab a bunch of data without making objects, then you can just get the dbh and do exactly what you did here. Nothing prevents it. What you were looking at is for people who want to get back a set of objects that can be written back to the db or have further queries performed on them.
Common applications of DBI involve a lot of boring CRUD operations on single objects. Using Rose::DB::Object for these turns lots of boiler-plate code about tracking data changes, generating slightly different SQL for INSERT vs UPDATE and for just the columns which need to be written, preparing queries, and executing them with bind values, into one-liners.
If you don't want to use an ORM, I'm not going to waste time trying to convince you, but I think you're way off the mark if you imagine the point of these tools is to avoid writing SQL. Like most reusable code, the point is to avoid repetitive and mindless work.