Gregory Corso Reads “Poets Hitchhiking On A Highway”

Gregory Corso (1930-2001)

GC: Now there’s a story about this one, though. (Allen) Ginsberg and I were going to see Henry Miller, and we were in…. this was in (19)56, and we were going to see Henry Miller, and we didn’t get to his house, who we stopped to see was (Edward) Weston, the photographer, a very old man, who took lots of pictures of William Carlos Williams and all that, Edward Weston, and pictures of Carmel, out there, and dead birds, and what-not. Well, it was raining, and when we were visiting him, when we were leaving, he says, “Don’t get wet. I was a bohemian once!” (and the smell of prunes coming out of the house!)[aside to John Logan] – Hey Logan, do you know about Weston, right?, in Williams’ day? pictures of Williams? (He’s the one who spoke about Williams very beautifully to me – he died about six or seven years ago)
JL: Guess not
GC: – Weston? – alright – a damned good photographer. Where is that poem you’re talking about?
(JL: Aphrodisia?)
(GC: Are you sure?)
JL: Page twenty-eight [in Happy Birthday of Death]

GC: Alright. This is an admission now, I tried to remember, when I put Ginsberg on, just getting him on, I don’t exactly know what he said, because I..I was never like (Jack) Kerouac, (man-alive, did he record so beautifully! I mean, he could go ten hours with you and he could get every word correctly). And I know we start walking along the highway and then suddenly we just start flipping out and screwing (about) …not seeing nothing or anybody, just talking as it were…

okay… “Poets Hitchhiking On A Highway”

“Of course I tried to tell him/but he cranked his head/without an excuse/I told him the sky/chases the sun/And he smiled and said:/”What’s the use”/I was feeling like a demon/again/So I said: “But the ocean chases/ the fish”/This time he laughed/and said: “Suppose the/strawberry were/pushed into a mountain.”/ After that I knew the/war was on – /So we fought:/He said: “The apple-cart like a/broomstickangel/snaps & splinters/old dutch shoes.”/I said: “Lightning will strike the old oak/and free the fumes!/He said: “Mad street with no name.”/I said:”Bald killer! Bald killer! Bald killer!”/He said, getting real mad,/”Firestoves! Gas! Couch!”/I said only smiling,/”I know God would turn back his head/if I sat quietly and thought”/We ended by melting away/hating the air!”

[The above excerpt is part of an upcoming release by the UK-based Ragged Lion Press, from their series of “original, previously unreleased literary recordings” from the collection of the late Allen DeLoach. The recordings are and will be released as mp3s. A limited edition CD run (with extra material, including a booklet with previously-unpublished photographs of the author) is planned for later, in the summer. See notice of other Ragged Lion Press audios here]

Edward Weston (1886-1958) – Dead Bird, Point Lobos, 1942 – via The Center For Creative Photography, University of Arizona

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