prison
Confucius says, real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance

Being a child of the 70’s…my dreams were held captive through sit-in’s, the proclamations of rights due to every color, creed, sex, orientation and religious belief.

In technicolor, sitting too close to the enormous 12 inch television…I believed and held true what Mr. Cronkite told me.

It is in irony, that I honestly, believed the story of the Hurricane…would right itself.

So much for the innocence of youth…

So much to be said,

about our not learning from the mistakes of our past…

 

Rubin, the Hurricane, Carter…

 

Pistols shots ring out in the barroom night.
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall…
she sees the 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 something that he never done.
Put him in a prison cell,
but one time he could-a been…
the champion of the world.

Three bodies lying there.  

What does Patty see?
…another man named Bello moving around mysteriously.
“I didn’t do it” he says and he throws 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 the hot New Jersey night.

Meanwhile, far away in another part of town,
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are driving 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 Patterson that’s just the way things go.

If you’re black you might as well not shown up on the street
‘Less you wanna draw the heat.

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the cops.
Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowling around.

He said “I saw two men running out.  They looked like middleweights.
They jumped into a white car with out-of-state plates.”
And, Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head.
220px-carterboxing1
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 morning and they haul Rubin in.
Take him to the hospital and they bring him upstairs.
The wounded man looks up through his one dying eye…

Says “Wha’d you bring him in here for ? He ain’t the guy !”
Yes, 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-a been…
the champion of the world.

Four months later, the ghettos are in flame.
Rubin’s in South America fighting for his name!
While Arthur Dexter Bradley’s still in the robbery game!
And, the cops are putting the screws to him looking 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 you saw running that night ?”
“Don’t forget that you are white.”.

Arthur Dexter Bradley said “I’m really not sure.”

Cops said, “A 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 wanta have to go back to jail be a nice fellow?
You’ll be doing society a favor.
That sonofabitch 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 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 DA 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 him in a prison cell…

but one time he could-a been
the champion of the world!
Rubin, the Hurricane, sat in that jail…zen-like, reading poetry, prose and determined to not succumb to the hate…we all feel for injustices perpetrated.  Released in 1985, after nearly 20 years of incarceration, Rubin continued to live his life striving for equality for all…until his death in 2014.
There is a Hurricane a comin’, again, and, still we sit obtuse, as if there had been no storm at all!
the hurricane
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