Gregory Corso continues (NAROPA 1975 Class – 6)

Paleolithic cave painting of a shaman from the cave of Trois-Freres, near Montesquieu-Avantes in France – photo by Herbert Kraft

GC: Alright, so what else do you want to know, you people. Top of the head. I’ll do like (William) Burroughs does now, for show, I’ll answer questions. What do you think about all that I said in this classroom today? (because that’ll eat up the time and I’ll take it easy). Anybody? (can raise their hand). Don’t be embarrassed now (because I can fuck you up, you know it!) – You know I scare people from asking questions, so they won’t even do it, but…

Student: (I so agree) it go(es) by so fast (so) when you see it on paper. I agree, like, when you see it on paper, it’s easier to absorb. So much of what you said, (it) was like trying to catch the next image, and it was traveling in so many different directions.

GC: Well, I’m very fast, I’m a very fast man, and, but the idea is.. nonetheless.. I got that on when somebody told me, “Gregory, get a guitar, because rock n roll has killed poetry”, and I said, “Wait a minute now, wait a minute here”. I could see the person sitting by themselves and diggin’ poesy, reading it and checking it out, rather than hearing “yeah, yeah, yeah.. Dear Landlord“, or some shit. [responds to class laughter] – Wait a minute, here, ok, so you’re going along with it, beautiful. I wish someone would come along and attack me (but not physical!), give me something heavy. It looks like somebody’s gonna do it – oh god! – I’ll destroy you, I’ll destroy you!

Student: You get a feeling from the poem read out loud that you can’t get reading it yourself unless you’ve already heard it.

GC: That’s so, that is so.

So.. the ball-game’s over, so – hi – I love you all, it’s nice, I’ve had a nice time in your Boulder, Colorado. We’ve (I’ve) got a ticket waiting, to Venezia, to Palazzi Barbaro, on the Grand Canal, man, go to the Lido and gamble, and…
You guys ever been to Venice?

Student(s): Yeah

GC: Ah – I was going to go (their way).. two weeks ago, three weeks ago – but I said, “no, but come here, Gregory, to Boulder, because my two good friends here – (William) Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg (are here), and I said, “Gee, I can have Venice any time I want, but this shot won’t always be”, (so) I took it – that’s nice
With Allen coming.. When Allen gets better, you’re going to get from Allen some very beautiful.. (the man is getting well, by the way, I wanted to tell you that, Allen’s ok), so maybe Friday he’ll do it? – or not – or we’ll come together – that’ll be the shot, we’ll come together. Allen and I, on Friday. That’ll be my last shot with you people.

Student: I thought you were going to be in and around longer?

GC: Well, shit, we don’t really know, man. I’m impulsive, I don’t know.. either..what more..? I wanna get out of here, alright? – or stick around..
I tell you what I can do for you. One thing maybe of knowing some information.
I heard William (Burroughs) lecture yesterday, and his was real far out, his info was that you see people in the street before they see you, so you get them first and they don’t got you first (and what that means) and you file it away
And in dreams it’s the same way, when you dream of a human being that you never saw before, you saw that face in the subway or on the street, that was an image that you caught when you’re moving round in life, and got caught in your head and it came out in the dream. So the thing that he said, when he mentioned mafioso, (because I know them so well) was this – he said that they had (a way to know) who’s seeing whom or what, it’s part of seeing that I learnt through them, when I was a kid, when I was 17 years old, and I didn’t know what the hell that was at that time – “Who’s this?”. So, “Gregory,” – look, I am Nunzio – “Nunzio, if you see two people before you, make sure you see three”…(I always dig it so ..or something told me so). (So I say.). “Well, what about participation?, I can’t just stand there, nya, nya, nya, control or not participate, naturally, you automatically do. That means smartness (smartness was a heavyweight with those people). My father, I asked him, I said “Dad, how come you never joined the mafia?”, and he said, “Well, the Corsos don’t kill”. That was my big Daddy…My last name’s Corso – the Corsos don’t kill

What does Corso mean? What does Corso mean? Does anybody know? What does it mean?

Student: The course or road or something.

GC: It means the way, right? Right on
You know what my first name is?…(this is a goodie) Names are very important. If you have children, all you ladies and guys, make sure you name them right.

[turning, briefly, to poet Michael Brownstein, also attending the class] – so how are ya doin’ Mike? – so how much time..(do we have)..wanna get out of here?

Student: So what is your first name?

GC: My first one was Nunzio, and my baptismal name was Gregorio, and Nunzio I didn’t like, so I said call me Gregorio, Gregory (don’t call me Greg, tho’!)

Student: Do you have children?

GC: Yes, two daughters. One eleven and one four. Four-year-old will be here maybe in two weeks – blonde hair and blue eyes.

Student: Your poetry seems to be going through a period of a kind of paring down?

GC: Oh yeah, I said “brick mews house”. I get it real clear now.

Student: So you’re headed eventually towards a…

GC: Nice-ies, more nice-ies. These are goodies, or extras, extras for me, because I could have fucked-up many a time, when I shot drugs, I could’ve died, like that. Someone give me a bag of bad dope and I’d be dead, right? So I feel all is now “extras”.

Student: Could you read some Rimbaud for us, Gregory?

GC: Oh, Rimbaud. I loved him when I was a kid, but I don’t like him anymore because he did one thing I don’t like, which is, to pity the wood that becomes a violin – you dig it? what he’s saying? – pity the brass that becomes a trumpet. In other words, pity the human flesh that becomes a poet. I don’t dig that pity shit – but he was a kid, he died (he didn’t die, he.. forty-five, but he stopped writing..19..).
a href=””>Thomas Hood, well.. now here’s something I can give you. Check out Tom Hood – Hey, he was good. He really wrote (of) the people of his time..(he wrote about) the shirts..people working, making shirts in sweatshops, (the) “Bridge of Sighs” – “One more Unfortunate/ weary of breath/ rashly importunate/gone to her death” (the more modern (the rest of them), I should know it) – but check out Tom Hood, kind of Shelley, maybe a little before Shelley and Keats.

The Venus of Willendorf, pre-historic fertility symbol, 30,000-25,000 BC

What else should you know? You should get the essentials. Alright, I think the essentials should be, to know when the first human being was depicted.. what he looked like, what she or he (people say he, it wasn’t a she – they did the Venus of Willendorf …don’t say sssss to me… they did the Venus of Willendorf afterwards, but this is the first human being depicted). [Gregory begins drawing, on the blackboard] – this is his head.. the shaman wore antlers and.. trois freres, the cave of the three brothers, (in French, trois freres, trois freres) – now his bottom was like this – watch this bottom [Gregory continues drawing] – his dick was erected but it came backwards on this body (you see, I can do it small, but you can see the whole body). I think you should know the first human depicted, because for all the Paleolithic people did, the cave paintings, were animals, that was the deal (they never did the human being..) Why they did the cave paintings.. here’s a shot – where they did the cave paintings were in the most inaccessible part of the cave. It wasn’t (openly) painted, these pictures, they did it in the most back part of the cave, this guy, with those psychedelic eyes, would be there dancing over him and spear-holes were in the bison, or the… what’s that big cow called? – auroch – the great big cow – auroch, an auroch – and he’d be dancing, always smiling, he’d be dancing over it..(still). They killed the fucker before they killed it (in other words, they did sympathetic magic with it. The flame would be burning, from the fire, and, you know Paleolithic painting? you know it’s is very shimmery, the way the colors and the tones are, it’s very shimmery, right?, so they make the thing moving. Because they had to eat – to get you fuckers here today! – they had to eat, or..nothin’, right?
But that’s a know your sources. Write that down if you want – “Check out your source” (not S-a-u, S-o !). Yeah, if you check out your source, I think that you’ll feel much better, all of you, in a way, meaning way back, if you can go (way back)… It’s one thing, and I didn’t get it here, at this place, which is a Buddhistic shot, I’ve had that very early in the game from Buddhism – it was Jacky Kerouac who laid it on me, “Hey, Gregory, if you’re dying, think as far back, as far back as you can, from whence you came, from the cunt, out, right?”. So I said, “Wow, I don’t have to die to do that. I can be alive and be way way way back, right?” – That’s how I checked it out. It’s the source.
glances at the blackboard] – O, an empty board! – and “No Smoking” – I smoke.

The audio for this can be heard at:
beginning at approximately forty-eight-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty minutes in.

One comment

  1. well..after all Rimbaud was an adolescent when he was writing his best stuff…so give him a break for puerile angst/art – he probably would have liked "The Cure"

    Corso makes me nervous

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