Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Rimini:
    Coda di lupo - Tail-of-the-Wolf

Quando ero piccolo
m'innamoravo di tutto
correvo dietro ai cani
e da marzo a febbraio
mio nonno vegliava
sulla corrente di cavalli
e di buoi
sui fatti miei
e sui fatti tuoi

e al dio degli inglesi
non credere mai.

E quando avevo duecento lune
e forse qualcuna
è di troppo
rubai il primo cavallo
e mi fecero uomo
cambiai il mio nome
in "Coda di lupo"
cambiai il mio pony
con un cavallo muto

e al loro dio perdente
non credere mai

E fu nella notte
della lunga stella
con la coda
che trovammo mio nonno
crocifisso sulla chiesa
crocifisso con forchette
che si usano a cena
era sporco e pulito
di sangue e di crema

e al loro dio goloso
non credere mai.

E forse avevo diciott'anni
e non puzzavo più
di serpente
possedevo una spranga
un cappello e una fionda
e una notte di gala
con un sasso a punta
uccisi uno smoking
e glielo rubai

e al dio della scala
non credere mai.

Poi tornammo in Brianza
per l'apertura della
caccia al bisonte
ci fecero l'esame
dell'alito e delle urine
ci spiegò il meccanismo
un poeta andaluso
- Per la caccia al bisonte - disse -
Il numero è chiuso.

E a un Dio a lieto fine
non credere mai.

Ed ero già vecchio
quando vicino a Roma
a Little Big Horn
capelli corti generale
ci parlò all'università
dei fratelli tute blu
che seppellirono le asce
ma non fumammo con lui
non era venuto in pace

e a un dio fatti il culo
non credere mai.

E adesso che ho bruciato
venti figli sul mio letto di sposo
che ho scaricato la mia rabbia
in un teatro di posa
che ho imparato a pescare
con le bombe a mano
che mi hanno scolpito in lacrime
sull'arco di Traiano
con un cucchiaio di vetro
scavo nella mia storia
ma colpisco un po' a casaccio
perché non ho più memoria

e a un dio, e a un dio,
e a un dio, e a un dio
e a un dio senza fiato
non credere mai.

Coda di lupo © 1978 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola

"Coda di lupo" must be understood in the context of the failure and dissolution of various protest movements in 1976 and 1977, including the Metropolitan Indians, anarchists who wore face paint, dressed like hippies, listened to rock music and enjoyed acid and weed, and who protested bourgeois values through urban guerilla activism, occupying universities, factories, etc.

When I was little
I used to fall in love with everything.
I used to run after the dogs,
and from March to February
my grandpa kept a watch
over the movement of horses
and of oxen,
over my business
and over your business.

And in the god of the English
don't ever believe.

And when I was 200 moons old -
and maybe that's
a few too many -
I robbed my first horse
and they made me a man.
I changed my name
to “Tail-of-the-Wolf.”
I exchanged my pony
for a silent horse.

And in their losing god
don't ever believe.

And it was in the night
of the long star
with the tail
that we found my grandpa
crucified on the cross,
crucified with forks
that are used at meals.
He was dirty and cleaned
of blood and cream.

And in their greedy god
don't ever believe.

And maybe I was 18
and no longer stank
like a snake,
I owned a rod,
a hat and a sling,
and one gala night
with a pointed rock
I killed a tuxedo
and robbed it from him.

And in the god of La Scala
don't ever believe.

Then we returned to Brianza
for the opening
of the buffalo hunt.
They made us take
a breath and urine test.
He explained to us the workings,
an Andalusian poet.
“For the buffalo hunt,” he said,
“the number is closed.”

And in a god of happy endings
don't ever believe.

And I was already old
when near Rome,
at Little Big Horn,
General Short-Hair
spoke to us at the university
about the blue-suited brothers
who buried the hatchets.
But we didn’t smoke with him,
he didn’t come in peace.

And in a work-your-ass-off god
don't ever believe.

And now that I burned
twenty sons on my grooms bed,
that I unloaded my rage
on a sound stage,
that I learned to fish
with hand grenades,
that they sculpted me in tears
on Trajan’s Arch,
with a glass spoon
I dig around in my history.
But I’m striking a bit at random
because I have no memory anymore.

And in a god, and in a god,
and in a god, and in a god,
and in an out-of-breath god,
don’t ever believe.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Rimini grew out of De André's disappointments with the political events of the previous couple of years. In close collaboration with Massimo Bubola, a young 24-year-old who had just released his first album, De André explored several social and political themes, including abortion, homosexuality, and how the petty bourgeois attempted to move into the ranks of the powerful and rise above the political and social turmoil of the times. The music has more influence from American rock and pop music than previous albums, and includes his first forays into ethnic music, which will eventually come to full fruition in his masterpiece album Crêuza de mä.
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