AG: He was reincarnated, so he goes back thousands of years maybe.
Gregory Corso – But I never died. Top that!
AG: Oh, you never died?
Gregory Corso: Right. I’m saying I didn’t come back, I’m here. I really think your reincarnation sucks! (just like with the Egyptians – they wear beetles, you know, scarabs, it means re-incarnation, you gotta die to come back as something else – but I got the vulture and the vulture’s immortality, and it’s a sacred bird, and it holds the infinity stick, and I don’t have to die to come back). I don’t believe in death. I’ve always thought it was a big gimmick, one of the biggest cons laid on people.
Chogyam Trungpa: How about birth?
Gregory Corso: Birth? I don’t know mine.
Chogyam Trungpa: You don’t?
Gregory Corso: See. Here’s the ball-game. Where’s the fuckin’ belly-button?….
AG: That can’t be heard on the record(ing) [Allen explains for posterity]. You did a parlor trick. What time is it?
Chogyam Trungpa: It’s just about time.
Chogyam Trungpa: With just one reading?
Chogyam Trungpa: Because I don’t have my poems or anything like that (on me)
AG: Do you have your (notes)?
Choggyam Trungpa: Yeah
Gregory Corso: That’d be good, that’d be nice. I love talking, Allen. I just love it. Sometimes I get scared, though. I figure I’ll make a mistake. And then we go “ooh-ooh”..
AG: Yes, son.
Gregory Corso: ..and I get so embarrasssed.
AG: Yes, son.
Gregory Corso: Son? – shit! (although you are older than me)
[Allen and Trungpa talk quietly amongst themselves, obviously discussing the reading to follow]
Gregory Corso; He’s gonna do it. He’s picking ’em out. But, while he’s doing that, we’ll talk. You are older than I am, Allen, but you didn’t make a baby yet. [turning to Trungpa] – So, before you read, can you loan me a hundred dollars? I just want to borrow some money. I don’t have much money here while I’m here but I’m getting some.
Chogyam Trungpa: I didn’t bring my wallet.
Gregory Corso: But when you have a chance, do you think you could lend me some?
Chogyam Trungpa: Sure.
Gregory Corso: Alright.
Chogyam Trungpa: With interest!
[An audience-member asks Corso for a cigarette]
Gregory Corso: Sure. Take it. And cut out. No, you can’t smoke (here). Fuck ’em! – He [pointing to Trungpa] has been nasty to me, trying to be too.. more intelligent than I am. Fuck ’em! – It’s bad for you.
Student: I’ve got a question.
Student: You’ve talked a lot about the Beatnik movement and a sort of cultural rebirth with that whole Beatnik movement, and I want to know how you feel it originated, and what spontaneous things it went through in order to, like, bring about where it’s at now. Like, I’m especially curious about Neal Cassady, and a lot of Jack Kerouac stuff, and Ken Kesey stuff, whether you think that Neal Cassady is a bodhisattva
AG: I’m going to be dealing with later in class… and (it’s) too complicated to say any more than our own inspiration was a kind of tenderness, and awareness that we were going to die (which could be taken up later in class..)
Chogyam Trungpa: Okay, I’m reading [to David Rome, his secretary] (Are) you gonna read? – I’d like to read some samples, examples or samples, whatever, of three types of categories of poetry that I’ve done, and one is (a) traditional pattern, which is translated from the Tibetan and written in Tibetan in a very traditional sense, and that is maybe the first starting-point. And I’m not very good at reading, and David has been working with me all the time, and I don’t regard my poetry as my child, particularly. And, forget it, anyway. So we can read.
[David Rome then reads Trungpa’s poem, “Silk Road” – “Traveling, listening to the whistling wind, crossing thousands of ridges and still not seeing the end of the earth. Irritated by the gossip of the brooks, crossing thousands of rivers but still not seeing the end of the sky. Never reaching the goal of the black tint in the distance. It is too tiring for the horses and mules. Better to pitch our tent where pasture, fuel and water are plentiful.”
Chogyam Trungpa: There are some things written in Tibetan, but also free-style. And my particular poetry with the Tibetan language is.. particularly after the Chinese invasion, that people got very scattered, basically, and their languages tremendously reshuffled, that people from all provinces (began) speaking a mixed dialect, and all kinds of things, but (no longer) pure literature. And what I’m trying to do here, what I have done, is (a) free-style poetry (which is never done in Tibetan) but it has the classical terms in Tibetan, and, also, using a certain modern idiom, (the two) working together, so that it makes sense and makes good literature out of it. (So) you might see something of that here, but (much will be lost, I fear) in the process of translation. I have done the translation myself (so) hopefully something (may) still (be) preserved.
David Rome: “Cynical Letter”
David Rome: Yeah, okay.
AG: Boldly and clearly.
David Rome: Thank you, Allen. Okay. Now I can do anything!
[David Rome reads Trungpa’s poem, “Cynical Letter” – “Licking honey from a razor blade, eyes of the learned gouged out by books, the beauty of maidens worn by display, the warrior dead from lack of fear, it is ironical to see the dharma of samsara. Celebrities deafened by fame, the hand of the artist crippled by rheumatism, the moth flew into the oil lamp, the blind man walks with a torch, the cripple runs in his wheelchair, a fool’s rhetoric is deep and learned, the poet laughed himself to death. The religious spin circles in accordance with religion. If they had not practiced their religion they could not spin. The sinner cannot spin, according to religion. He spins according to now knowing how to spin. The yogis spin by practicing yoga. Chogyam is spinning, watching the spinning samsara. If there is no samsara spinning, there is no Chogyam.
Chogyam Trungpa: The last one is actually a spontaneous poem that I dictated to David Rome and it was done in English of course, and in a very social kind of mood, frenzy, maybe, somewhat. It was written last year, I think.
[David Rome reads Trungpa’s poem, “In the land of promises…“]
“In the land of promises, one flea bite occurred. In the midst of continental hoo-hah, one bubble occurred in a tall lager-and-lime glass. ‘Midst a spacious sand dune, sand swarmed. Lover with sweat primordial egg dropped from the sky and hit Genghis Khan’s head in the middle of the Gobi desert. Horny camels huffed and puffed to the nearest water. Desert seagulls pushed their trips to gain another food. Suzanne, with her jellyfish, volleyed back and forth by badminton rackets. Oh this desert is so dusty, one never gains an inch, not a drop of water, so sunny, almost thirsty, very thirsty, fabulously thirsty, terribly. Oh, it’s killing me this desert, this sand, preventing me from making love, preventing me from eating delicious supper with all-pervasive crunch of sand. I wish I could go to the mountains, eat snowflakes, feel the cool breeze. I wouldn’t mind chewing icicles, making the delicious cracking sound as I step on the prematurely frozen pond, making the satisfying sound of deep hollowness as I step on the well-matured frozen pond, making the undoubtedly solid and secure sound on a fully-matured frozen pond. Suzanne would love that because she is the punisher in the desert and she is the companion when we skate across this large fully-frozen pond. Let’s fly across the ice, let’s beat the drum of our hearts, lets blow the bagpipe of our lungs, let’s jingle the bells of icicles, let’s be cool and crispy. Suzanne, join us. What is gained in the hot deserty wretched sweaty claustrophobic sandy skull-crunching dusty world of Gobi? Who cares? Come to the mountains, Suzanne, oh, Suzanne.”
Chogyam Trungpa: I think we’re over.
AG: I think we’re over and I hope to see you at the poetry reading.
[Class (“Trungpa and Allen..and Gregory!’) and tape ends here]