Muhammad, Bob, le parole e molto altro

Bob Dylan with-muhammad-ali - Rolling Stone Photo by Ken ReganBob Dylan e Muhammad Ali (Photo Ken Regan)

Una foto in bianco e nero: Bob Dylan e Muhammad Ali nel backstage del Madison Square Garden. Uno ride divertito, l’altro sembra farsi gli affari suoi. Ed eccoli lì, due miti del Novecento, immortalati in uno scatto semplice e privo di artifici.
Il poeta e il pugile che danzava come una farfalla.
Le parole, che entrambi sapevano usare con maestria.
Riecheggiano da un paio di giorni le frasi celebri di un uomo che è stato mito e simbolo:
“Vola come una farfalla, pungi come un’ape.”
“Sono il re del mondo! Sono bello! Sono un uomo cattivo! Svegliati mondo
“Cassius Clay è un nome da schiavo. Non l’ho scelto e non lo voglio: io sono Muhammad Ali, un nome di libertà, ora dovete usare quello”.
Non ho nulla contro i Vietcong, loro non mi hanno mai chiamato negro”.
Ha usato le parole come pugni, colpendo allo stomaco l’America.
Scriveva anche poesie Ali, come questa per esempio:

Last night I had a dream

Last night I had a dream, When I got to Africa,
I had one hell of a rumble.
I had to beat Tarzan’s behind first,
For claiming to be King of the Jungle.
For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And throw thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad.
just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
I’m so fast, man,
I can run through a hurricane and don’t get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
He’ll pay his debt.
I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.
Wait till you see Muhammad Ali.

Sul sito http://www.poetrysoup.com se ne trovano altre: una curiosità, ma non solo.
Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. che si cambiò il nome in Muhammad Ali, Robert Allen Zimmerman che si cambiò il nome in Bob Dylan.
La musica, le parole, la danza sul ring, il sangue, il rifiuto della guerra, la lotta per i diritti civili, la caduta, la rinascita, la leggenda, la fiaccola tremante.
Bob Dylan dedicò una delle sue canzoni più belle, Hurricane, ad un pugile: Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, uno che si fece ingiustamente quasi vent’anni di galera.
Anche Rubin Carter era afroamericano, come Muhammad Ali ed ecco che tutto ritorna al punto di partenza, a quella foto in bianco e nero. E le parole non servono più.

 

Di seguito il testo di Hurricane:

Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees a bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out my God, they killed them all
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin’ that he never done
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world

Three bodies lyin’ there does Patty see
And another man named Bello, movin’ around mysteriously
I didn’t do it, he says, and he throws up his hands
I was only robbin’ the register, I hope you understand
I saw them leavin’, he says, and he stops
One of us had better call up the cops
And so Patty calls the cops
And they arrive on the scene with their red lights flashin’
In the hot New Jersey night

Meanwhile, far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are drivin’ around
Number one contender for the middleweight crown
Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down
When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
Just like the time before and the time before that
In Paterson that’s just the way things go
If you’re black you might as well not show up on the street
‘Less you want to draw the heat

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the cops
Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowlin’ around
He said, I saw two men runnin’ out, they looked like middleweights
They jumped into a white car with out-of-state plates
And Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head
Cop said, wait a minute, boys, this one’s not dead
So they took him to the infirmary
And though this man could hardly see
They told him that he could identify the guilty men

Four in the mornin’ and they haul Rubin in
They took him to the hospital and they brought him upstairs
The wounded man looks up through his one dyin’ eye
Says, wha’d you bring him in here for? He ain’t the guy!
Here’s the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin’ that he never done
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world

Four months later, the ghettos are in flame
Rubin’s in South America, fightin’ for his name
While Arthur Dexter Bradley’s still in the robbery game
And the cops are puttin’ the screws to him, lookin’ for somebody to blame
Remember that murder that happened in a bar
Remember you said you saw the getaway car
You think you’d like to play ball with the law
Think it might-a been that fighter that you saw runnin’ that night
Don’t forget that you are white

Arthur Dexter Bradley said I’m really not sure
The cops said a poor boy like you could use a break
We got you for the motel job and we’re talkin’ to your friend Bello
You don’t wanta have to go back to jail, be a nice fellow
You’ll be doin’ society a favor
That sonofabitch is brave and gettin’ braver
We want to put his ass in stir
We want to pin this triple murder on him
He ain’t no Gentleman Jim

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much
It’s my work, he’d say, and I do it for pay
And when it’s over I’d just as soon go on my way
Up to some paradise
Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice
And ride a horse along a trail
But then they took him to the jailhouse
Where they try to turn a man into a mouse

All of Rubin’s cards were marked in advance
The trial was a pig-circus, he never had a chance
The judge made Rubin’s witnesses drunkards from the slums
To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum
And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger
No one doubted that he pulled the trigger
And though they could not produce the gun
The D.A. said he was the one who did the deed
And the all-white jury agreed

Rubin Carter was falsely tried
The crime was murder one, guess who testified
Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
And the newspapers, they all went along for the ride
How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool’s hand
To see him obviously framed
Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell
That’s the story of the Hurricane
But it won’t be over till they clear his name
And give him back the time he’s done
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world
(Autori: Bob Dylan e Jacques Levy)
(dall’album Desire, di Bob Dylan. 1976).

La foto di Ken Regan è tratta dal sito http://www.rollingstone.com, il testo di Hurricane è tratto dal sito http://www.metrolyrics.com.


 

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