Trungpa and Allen..and Gregory! – 2

Parisian door carving  – photo by Tonya Ricucci

AG: Then there’s also the problem with that kind of completely irresponsible approach, that (evidence of) no social responsibility, what do you do with very great poets, like (Francois) Villon or (Paul) Verlaine or Hart Crane, who are total fuck-ups, who are completely suicidal?

Gregory Corso: Milarepa was a fuck-up. He built that house how many times, Rinpoche? –  how many times?

Chogyam Trungpa: Four times.

Gregory Corso: Four times!

AG [to Chogyam Trungpa]: So at that point of irresponsibility is, I think, is the intersection point of where you have been talking the last several weeks..

Chogyam Trungpa: Yeah

AG: …naming poets as one of the causers of nuisance, confusion and aggression in America. And there is too, there are, aggressive mad poets..

Gregory Corso: I think you’re right, Rinpoche.

Chogyam Rinpoche: Thank you

Gregory Corso: The modern poet did fuck up the scene, but he did fuck up something awful. He used humor and humor is a divine butcher. Humor got rid of all the bullshit. In America they can laugh at something that’s true and (it’s) proved false. Once they laugh at it, it’s fake. That’s what the “beatniks” did – and I’m a beatnik, man! You don’t think I’m going to let you put me down, do you? You see why I jumped up that night last night?  [to Trungpa] – he (Allen) gave me a tape of yours that you read that other time, another lecture, where you..,

AG: The public lecture.

Chogyam Trungpa: Yeah

Gregory Corso:  ..and I listened to that, and I said “bullshit, man”. Like, wow! – I went through enough crap in life to know that. At least I came with poesy to America, where the woman I married..(her father thought my business was poultry not poetry!).. and then I get my beautiful broad, with a hurt eye. Alright, one thing I learned from last night – that when I jump up and scream, it doesn’t mean that you hear.

AG: Literally.

Gregory Corso: Oh yeah, I heard, of course. Not myself, but I heard you. Also, poetry. Excuse me now, I’m going to keep on going, because it’s top class and I know poesy, poesy has the muse. Muse is music, you see? Poesy is music.

AG: Then why don’t you sing?

Gregory Corso: But I do, I do sing!

AG:  But you vocalize. Music with notes, you’re not doing that, and you’re mad at me because I started singing!

Gregory Corso: Your singing is put on because you want to sing. I sing with words. I know language. And I’ll make music out of words – My magic. Who am I, Allen?

AG: Gregory Corso.

Gregory Corso: Beatnik poet.

AG: Is that what you want to be?  Even I didn’t settle for that . I thought we sort of honored “beatnik” by going on and doing something vaster.

Gregory Corso: I can give a truth on this. Didn’t I not always say, I want to out-step poetry?

AG: Well now you’ve got a chance. Actually, now you’ve got a real chance to outstep it.

Gregory Corso:  Now to outstep it?

AG: Yeah. So the question is, do we really want to outstep poetry? or is poetry Buddhism?, or is Buddhism bigger than poetry? – Is poetry bigger than Buddhism?

Gregory Corso: There you go…there’s the ball-game..

AG: …or is Buddhism a form of poetry? or is poetry an adjunct and a handmaiden to the practice of Buddhism?  (They’re all verbal set-up’s, so you don’t have to choose any one of them, actually)

Gregory Corso [gesturing to Trungpa] – Here’s the Buddhist.

AG: But there is a slight vocalized…

Gregory Corso: Here’s the Buddhist man, he’ll tell you.

AG:  Yeah, well, okay. I was just saying that there’s a slight vulgarized form of the polarity circulating, like trench mouth, from head to head, and I don’t think it’s a real problem – [to Trungpa] Have you detected any essential dangers in the practice of poetry that you think are inimical to ego-less awareness?

Chogyam Trungpa: Well, I think they have a lot of troubles, yeah, problems, dangers. Do you hear what I’m saying?

Gregory Corso: What’s older, Buddha or poetry?

Chogyam Trungpa: I think the problem is people would like to write poetry because sometimes they feel belittled by the world, and then, out of that, you want to build yourself up, but there’s not enough rhythm that’s taking place with the world and you, so a few lines might come out extremely good, but the rest of the lines are just a big drag and trying so hard. That sort of becomes a problem. I think there is a poetry that can be written without writing, psychologically, but actually you might write something, if there is a confidence between pen and ink and your paper, and, well, you don’t just make up something, “lets think of something nice and clever and put (it) down” (and obsess with that kind of thought all the time, while you drive, while you eat, and try to search for the clever term, the clever sentence). That tends to become problematic, then ultimately becomes garbage.

Gregory Corso: Equal. Because Buddha sat forty fuckin’ years under the tree to find out the cause of death

Chogyam Trungpa: Six.

Gregory Corso: Forty. Under the bodhi tree. He said, “I know the cause of death. Life”. And they zapped him up.

Chogyam Trungpa: Yeah

Gregory Corso: Well, I’m only 45 years old, and…

Chogyam Trungpa: Oh, that’s alright

Gregory Corso: I saw that when I was 16 years old.

Chogyam Trungpa: Yeah

Gregory Corso: So I’ve got a little more time to go, right?

Chogyam Trungpa: Yeah

Gregory Corso:  So it’s equal.

Chogyam Trungpa: Well I’m not talking about which is best..

AG [to Corso]: You’re not talking about which is best?

Gregory Corso: I don’t care what’s best.

Chogyam Trungpa: Yeah

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