Tom Waits é um personagem da Ópera do Malandro E é um compositor fantástico. Olha a história que ela conta a partir dos tais anúncios da Burma Shave:
turned a gun metal blue
scrawled across the shoulders of a dying town
the one-eyed jacks
[apelido do “valete” do baralho e, de acordo com Waits, carro com um farol queimado – um “jack é um burro]
across the railroad tracks
[área da cidade com gente pobre, barra pesada, do outro lado da linha do trem]
and the scar on its belly pulled a stranger passing through
he was a juvenile delinquent
never learned how to behave
but the cops would never think to look in Burma Shave.
And the road was like a ribbon and the moon was like a bone.
He didn't seem to be like any guy she'd ever known.
He kinda looked like Farley Granger
[ator de “Rope” de Hitchcock e “They live by Night”, predecessor de “Rebel Without a Cause”]
with his hair slicked back.
She say, “I'm a sucker for a fella in a cowboy hat.
How far are you going?” He said, “Depends on what you mean.”
He says “I'm going thataway just as long as it's paved,
I guess you'd say I'm on my way to Burma Shave”
And her knees up on the glove compartment,
she took out her barrettes and her hair spilled out like rootbeer
[root beer é um tipo de refrigerante que indica que o cabela dela é castanho],
and she popped her gum and arched her back.
“Hell, Marysville ain't nothing but a wide spot in the road.
[Marysville é um fim de mundo no norte da Califórnia]
Some night my heart pounds just like thunder,
I don't know why it don't explode
cause everyone in this stinking town has got one foot in the grave
and I'd rather take my chances out in Burma Shave”
“Presley's what I go by. Why don't you change the station?
Count the grain elevators in the rearview mirror.”
She said, “Mister, anywhere you point this thing
has got to beat the hell out of the sting of going to bed
with every dream that dies here every mornin’
and so drill me a hole with a barber pole.”
I'm jumping my parole just like a fugitive tonight
“Why don't you have another swig and pass that car if you're so brave
I wanna get there before the sun comes up in Burma Shave.”
And the spider web crack
and the mustang screamed.
Smoke from the tires and the twisted machine.
Just a nickel's worth of dreams and every wishbone that they saved
lie swindled from them on the way to Burma Shave
And the sun hit the derrick [guindaste manual]
and cast a bat wing shadow
up against the car door on the shot gun side. [assento do passageiro no banco da frente]
And when they pulled her from the wreck,
you know, she still had on her shades. [óculos escuros]
They say that dreams are growing wild
just this side of Burma Shave.
Encontrei a letra "anotada" nesse site bem legal onde também encontrei esse trecho de entrevista de Tom Waits sobre essa canção e sobre os anúncios Burma Shave:
- Tom Waits (1985): "Burma Shave is an American shaving-cream company, like Colgate. They advertise on the side of the road and they have these limericks which are broken up into different signs like pieces of a fortune cookie. You drive for miles before you get the full message. "PLEASE DON'T"... five miles... "STICK YOUR ARM OUT SO FAR"... another five miles... "IT MIGHT GO HOME"... five more miles... "IN ANOTHER MAN'S CAR - BURMA SHAVE." They reel you in. So when I was a kid I'd see these signs on the side of the road - BURMA SHAVE, BURMA SHAVE - and I'm young and I think it's the name of a town and I ask my dad, "When we getting to Burma Shave?" So in the song I used Burma Shave as a dream, a mythical community, a place two people are trying to get to. They don't make it." (Source: "Dog Day Afternoon" Time Out magazine (UK), by Richard Rayner. Date: New York, October 3-9, 1985)