«Hurricane», Bob Dylan

A finales de los años 70, una de las razones que me llevaban a Santurce era que en la calle Capitán Mendizabal había un bar con una máquina de discos Würlitzer que solía tener una selección musical notable. Se me ha olvidado el nombre del bar, pero allí solíamos escuchar el «Hey, hey, my, my» de Neil Young y también su reverso acústico «My, my, hey, hey», que nos ponía melancólicos y vagamente hippies. Creo recordar que también tenían «A Horse With No Name» (Caballo sin nombre), de América, con ese estribillo que tanto nos ayudaba a aprender inglés: «na na na-na-na-na-ná/ na-na-ná, na, na».

Pero si hay una canción en la que me he gastado monedas es el «Hurricane» (Huracán) de Bob Dylan. Ni siquiera entendía lo que decía, pero su ritmo galopante y la cantidad de letra que llenaba sus 8:33 minutos me fascinaba: allí se estaba contando algo importante y se estaba contando bien. La sensación se confirmó cuando entendí la letra, y es la que me suele acompañar con Dylan, que cuenta cosas que me interesan y lo hace de una manera que me resulta atractiva. Que sus versos y su música lleguen a una millonaria audiencia pop (que es apócope de popular) debe ser algo muy malo. Al premiar a Dylan con el Nobel de Literatura se premia, de alguna manera, a todos los juglares que en el mundo han sido y que han contribuido a expandir por el mundo eso que llamamos cultura.

Entiendo la decepción de los exquisitos. Tantos años destilando aforismos cumbre del pensamiento occidental para que al final se lleve el premio un tipo que toca la armónica, canta mascullando y escribe canciones como quien hace churros. No somos nadie.

Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
Sees the bartender lying 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 something that he never done
Put in a prison cell but one time
He could have been the champion of the world
Three bodies lying there does Patty see
And another man named Bello
Moving around mysteriously
«I didn’t do it» he says, and he hold up his hands
«I was only robbing the register, I hope you understand»
«I saw them leaving» 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 flashing
In a hot New Jersey night
Meanwhile far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and some friends are driving around
The number one contender for the middleweight crown
Had no idea what kind of 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
Unless you want to draw the heat
Four months later the ghettos are in flames
Rubin’s in South America fighting for his name
Arthur Dexter Bradley’s still in the robbery game
And the cops are putting the screws to him
Looking for someone to blame
Remember the murder that you happened in that bar?
Remember you said you saw the getaway car?
Had you liked to play ball with the law?
Think it might have been
That fighter running that night?
Don’t forget that you are white
Arthur Dexter Bradley said «I’m really not sure»
Cops said «a poor boy like you
Could use a break»
We got you for the motel job
And we’re talking to your friend Bello
Now you don’t want to have to go back to jail
Be a nice fellow
You’ll be doing society a favor
That son of a bitch is brave and getting 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’s cards were marked in advance
The trial was a pig-circus
He never stood 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
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
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
Yes, 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 have been the champion of the world