A Hole In My Knee Pants – 1975 NAROPA Class Improvisation

We’ve featured two of these before (“Death is…” and “Marijuana makes”, here’s a third -compositional roll-calls, (NAROPA) class collaborations. This particular one dates from July 28, 1975.

AG: If you’re not on the roll, see me after (the class). If you are on the roll, answer. Just fill out (complete) the sentence – “A hole in the pants at my knees..”,”A hole in the pants at my knees..”, No, it’s not [Allen corrects himself] – “A hole in my knee pants…” And you can fill it out any way you want. Like -“A hole in my knee pants makes my head feel it’s full of oatmeal”.
Student: A hole in my knee pants?
AG: A hole in your knee pants.
Student: A hole in my knee pants makes you cold.
AG: A hole in your knee pants is covered with flower print patches.
Student: Right.
Student: A hole in my knee pants makes me take a tea stance, waiting for Bonnie to patch ’em.
AG: Makes you “take a tea stance, waiting for Bonnie to patch ’em”?
Student: Right.
Student: A hole in my knee pants lets me see my pretty bony knees.
AG: So you see your pretty bony knee – that’s pretty good.
Student: A hole in my knee pants is a hole..
AG: What?
Student: A hole from my knee pants is a hole from falling out of trees.
AG: “A hole from falling out of trees”? So that’s pretty literal. “A hole in my knee pants fell out of trees”?
Student: A hole in my knee pants explains why I have no knees
AG: “A hole in my knee pants explains why I have no knees”
Student: A hole in my knee pants makes my pants feel like a chimney during the winter.
AG: Makes your pants feel like a chimney during the winter?
Student: A hole in my knee pants is a chance for decoration.
AG: What?
Student: A hole in my knee pants is a chance for decoration.
AG: “Is a chance for decoration”? Well, hop it up a bit, “tantric decoration”, or something..
Student: A hole in my knee pants reminds me of cold Canadian air.
AG: “Reminds me of cold Canadian air”
Student: A hole in my knee pants makes a kaleidoscope of hair.
AG: “Makes a kaleidoscope of hair”?
Student: A hole in my knee pants somewhere, someplace, in the future
AG: “A hole in my knee pants somewhere, someplace, in the future”. Okay.
Student: A cigarette burn, perhaps?
AG: Huh?
Student: A cigarette burn perhaps.
AG: “Somewhere someplace, in the future, a cigarette burn, perhaps?”
Student: A whole in my knee pants, rememberance of Gregory.
AG: “A whole in my knee pants, rememberance of Gregory”. Incidentally, Gregory Corso is in San Francisco.
Student: A hole in my knee pants. I wonder if anyone knows this.
AG: “I wonder if anyone knows this”.
Student: A hole in my knee pants is better than two in the bush.
AG: “A hole in my knee pants is better than two in the bush?” Right on. Richard B Weary [student’s name?], fill in the hole.
Student: A hole in my knee pants because birds have plucked it
AG: “A hole in my knee pants”?
Student: Because birds have plucked it.
AG: Well, now. Finish a regular sentence. “A hole in my knee pants is because..
Student: Yeah
AG: You want to put an “is” in there
Student: Yes
AG: Or not?
Student: Dash?
AG; Okay. “A hole in my knee pants – birds have plucked it. Richard Waring? [calls to the student]
Student [Richard Waring]: That was me.
AG: Oh, that was you? There’s a hole in my head.
Student: A hole in my knee pants is not material.
AG: “A hole in my knee pants is not material”?
Student: A hole in my knee pants is embarrassing.
AG: That’s too abstract. Who does it embarrass?
Student: It embarrasses my mother.
AG: “A hole in my knee pants embarrasses my mother”. “A hole in my knee pants…”
Student: A hole in my knee pants is immaterial
AG “Is immaterial”? Didn’t someone say that already?
Student: – Non-material.
AG: Is non-material. Is immaterial.
Student: Okay, “A hole in my knee pants for air down there”.
AG: Okay. But remember, it’s like a poem. So we’re trying to get each line a complete thing. “For air down there”? It might have a verb, you might throw a verb in, unless you want to put a dash – “A hole in my knee pants – for air down there”. Visualize what you’re doing, as if it’s written on a page, too. [Allen addresses the next student] Larry Leahy, “A hole in my knee pants…”
Student [Larry Leahy]: ..means nothing at all to me.
AG: Larry Leahy, [recalling a previous class collaboration] “Marijuana makes…?
Student [Larry Leahy]: My knee pants sprout holes.
Student: “Marijuana makes..” “Marijuana makes me broke”
AG [continuing] – Kay Waldo? – “A hole in my knee pants…”?
Student [Kay Waldo] – A hole in my knee pants like a sunflower desperado
AG: Dash? – ” – like a sunflower desperado”. Okay, that’s not bad. “Robs banks like a sunflower desperado”. Gotta get a verb in there.
Student: A hole in my knee pants is like a lost weak caboose
AG: “A lost weak caboose”?
Student: Yeah
AG [calling to student] – Tom McGee? – where are you Tom McGee?
Student: [Tom McGee] – A hole in my knee pants lets my spirit wander
Student: A hole in my knee pants begs to be detached from the whole W-H-O-L-E.
AG: Now we gotta get one (from you) that you haven’t written down. Tom Savage [calls to his student] – “A hole in my knee pants…
Student: [Tom Savage] – A hole in my knee pants I got from a sniper in New York City.
AG: Okay. “- I got it from a sniper in New York City”. Anybody I missed? Anybody didn’t get a chance to have a hole in his knee pants?
Student: A hole in my knee pants makes me able to see.
AG: Makes you able to see? That don’t make sense. You failed. Are you registered in this class? What’s your name.
Student: Alex Dunne.
AG: Alex?
Student: Dunne D-U-N-N-E
AG: D-U-N-N-E – I guess I don’t have it written down that’s why.
Student [Alex Dunne]: I was too late.
AG: Okay, D-U-N-N-E. You passed then. If you registered – “Makes me see” – See what?
Student: Outside.
AG: Too vague. What do you see? I’m just saying to fill in the line to make it interesting – “Makes me see.. microphones”?
Student: [Alex Dunne] – Makes me see my shoes.
AG: Makes me see my shoes, Makes me see….?
Student: Makes me see other knees
AG: Okay, “The hole in my pants makes me see other knees”. [Allen moves on to other matters] – Those who didn’t get a questionnaire, ask for one at the next class.
Student: You’ve forgotten me.
AG: Oh.
Student: My knee-cap, it’s ok, the microphone.. “Makes me want to (scrape?) my knee…

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