Gregory Corso continues from here
GC: I’ll try to give you my weirdest shots, just to make you happy, let me give you my weird games here. Okay, Gregory, weird ones… oh, arrogant ones, I want to get the arrogance, yeah, I like arrogance, arrogance, arrogance, because I’m a tough fucker, man, I can do it. I’ll give you two arrogant poems and it makes people unhappy these poems (I don’t give a ..) ..alright, here we go.. oh Gregory, get the arrogance, arrogance, arrogance, (it’s coming!) – Well before I (read them) I found this poem, this is a good one – “Proximity” – and this one I caught, this one, I . know I have a good head – watch this. – “A star is/ as far…” – “A star is. as far/ as the eye/ can see./ and as near/ as my eye/ is to me.” Do you get it?
GC: Yeah yeah yeah, I’m there, I’m up with the stars! – What do you mean “Yeah”? – you never thought that before! When you’re looking at a star, right? and it’s very far away, right?, you can see it, right? But it’s close to your eye. Alright… Like I’m on this planet.. if I was on another plane,t I’d probably the same thing we see here
Here’s a sweet one – “When A Boy” (“When a boy/ I monitored the stairs. .. ” I kissed the moon/ in a barrel of rain”) – Now that’s a sweetheart, that’s nice. I mean, you know those barrels where the rain falls on the belly and there’s a barrel that catches the rainwater? and then it’s very smooth and little bugs float… flitter across it, and if the moon’s over it, if it reflect heavily, that’s when I kissed the fucker. How many times have you kissed… how many times have you kissed?… Ah! ( Gregory looks in his book) now we’re getting to the heavyweight – yeah here we go, here we go
“Ah … Well” – This poem is called A-H dash, dash, no, dot dot dot – well – okay – “Ah … Well” (“People…nobody loves them…” – (that’s a good one, “nobody loves them”) – “not even people…“….. “the apothecarian earth blooms the poppy/ at best”) – (now that’s a sad message to leave the world, but I have to say that that poppy’s going to ease you all. .Well, you’ve got to admit, on the base of it, that life’s been here a long time and it still sucks . That’s why.. I mean.. We’re not (in) a good place. And you’d think, eventually… that if we’ve only got a hundred years here, it’d be ok. You think, fine, you have kids being born and everything is nice – and then (they) die! (Ah, something’s wrong there, isn’t there? the whole equation. is (something fucked-up (that’s why you’ve got me, that’s why you’ve got poetry, that’s why you got the screw-up). Like he (Ron Whitehead) said about me, earlier. Okay, “Spirit”, this is what I feel about Spirit (“Spirit/ is Life…”…”unafraid/ of becoming/ the sea”)
Here’s the arrogance. Now this where I took it on. If they’re going to make Gods, then let me play the shot.. (It’s) called “I Gave Away…” (“I gave way the sky/ along with all the stars, planets, moons…” “And so I gave the Gods away”). – It was fun doing it, hey why not? “because I give it away?” – why not? you want? you want the Brooklyn Bridge? you got it, I’m not even gonna sell it to you, right?, you can have it. You want the Gods? You can have them (I don’t want them)
Oh! I’m in a Bible-belt place! – a place, you talk about the Gods here and they get all screwed up. You people are all screwed up with Gods, right? My God! right right right right. Well let me get the other arrogant one and then you’ll see what I feel about the Gods!
“The Whole Mess Almost”. (“I ran up six flights of stairs…” “..and all I could do with Humor was say “Out the window with the window”)
Now here’s a poem that should be read privately, because the big ones, Faith, Hope, Charity, God, I use capitals, but money I use lower-case (money wasn’t a big one, I put money after humor. Obviously, there’d be no money to throw out the window, obviously that’s not the biggie, that’s not there) I mean., all the money that you can have.. It’s what they make.. to use money for, and how much can you get? I mean how many of anything, diamonds, do you want? The only thing I thought equable to money was drugs (and that’s an honest shot – I’m going to tell them, beware! you know, but that’s a fact of life.)
Ah, here’s a haiku – “Alchemy” – (“A bluebird/ alights upon a yellow chair/ – Spring is here) – Now, any of you angels (here) know what that says? – Why is Spring there? – I knew it, you fuckers don’t know shit about poetry, man, you don’t know anything. It was a compound here. What did I say? I’ll give it to you again – “Alchemy” (now what does alchemy mean? it’s magical isn’t it (but) it’s also a chemistry) – “A bluebird/ alights upon a yellow chair/ -Spring is here” – Why is Spring there?
Audience (member): Yellow and blue make green.
GC: Yeah! …Who said that? Spring. She gets the prize.. Who’s the guy who gives out the prizes? I say, “Yo! here you are,! You’re up here!” She gets a vacation to..where? Transylvania? great! – God almighty! – great!- (I’m just having fun with you!) – god almighty! – yeah, yellow and blue maketh green. Come on Gregory, I should do some… Alright, here’s. what I wrote..to the woman..the second one I married (“For Lisa, 2) (“I saw an angel today/without wings/with human smile/.and nothing to say”)-
Alright..you won’t… what time is it? when am I going to get out of here – oh, no, I got it, I got it, wait a minute, let me keep on, let me keep on here. This is heavyweight. I wrote this thing very fast and somebody wanted to print it, a newspaper in New York City, and they didn’t correct it, they really screwed this one up. It’s not a poem, its just something that I wrote very fast because I had dreamt it. the night before, it was a heavyweight dream. And I was 30 years old, it’s called ‘Thirty Year Old Dream” – this one I should give you – and I’ll show you how I screwed the poem up – (“I dreamed a man unknown to me in a city nowhere on earth…” …”skipped down a winding street”) – Oh my god, you know, I went down that street, it’s true, and all the buildings looked alike. I thought I knew the building, I didn’t, I thought I knew the building.
I’ll tell you why I’m skipping all this because it’s just bull. I’m talking about the streets, how I made them.. (But) if you dream something .. (Lets say), you’ve never been to Paris and you dream Paris, you’re building there in the dream. And that’s why I screwed up this poem, by saying that I was dreaming when I should have gotten back the nitty-gritty of this man giving me this white paper saying “Christ wants to see you”, and I saying ‘”I know where he is, and I’ll go” – and I didn’t take the white piece of paper, then I ran back to him, and he wasn’t there to get the paper. I didn’t know his address and I.. So I cried “denied denied”. This held me a long time, I’d go upto priests, Episcopalians ones, Catholic ones, Jewish ones, rabbis, and they would always give me the same shot that I was warned, it was a warning. Anyway, just to say how something can be screwed up.
Well, I’ll show you how it’s screwed up. I’ll read it. I’ll read it (till) you see – alright? – (“I dreamed a man unknown to me in a city nowhere on earth…” … “steam-rollered it?”) – See how I screwed up? – I’m going there (but then I say) “I’m making this street I’m running on, I’m dreaming it.” And that’s how I fucked up the poem. Alright, “still I am the architect of this else here world…..”…..”greaseball, Shelley, dopey fuck” – “Dopey fuck” (that’s what I called myself), I called myself a “dopey fuck”. You know, who has power in dreams to hug the hand of yourself when you’re dreaming? I only did it once. I think I won on that one. They were coming after me. They were coming after me and I just held my ground, and they disappeared, that’s the whole Buddhistic thing, to hold your ground, don’t be afraid – but it was a guy named George Sanders, who was an actor, a good actor, a lively big actor. He had killed himself, committed suicide. I saw him in a dream, where he wore a big belt, bare-chested, sweating and all that, with a key, a whistle, and a saw. And I said “Hey, you died, you killed yourself. What are you doing here? – He says “What?” – and it scared the hell out of me. I ran and these people came after me, and that’s when I stood my ground, and I no longer had nightmares after that. The nightmare happens and he gets scared. So you win out on this one. This one, I was so dumb, this dream. I could have seen Jesus Christ in a dream!. It was like (I told you) when I came out here, I dreamt I could walk along this ground – (why I feel that is because I dreamt that many times). And I said to the people in the dream. “You know, I dreamt that I could walk above the ground. (this is saying it in a dream ) ” I dreamt that I could walk above the ground, Let me show you”. That’s what blew my mind – that I could do it but it’s still a dream. I came out. “I can do it”, right? How did I come out? – You think I came out like something (Gregory mimics running onto stage) hero hero? – no, I wanted to get the fuck up there – I can’t do it (Gregory mimics a quick skip onto stage) oh god!
But, you know dreams are half our life. Let me give you.. I wrote this on the airy-plane.. just to show you where my heads at, okay?, on the airplane coming here. and (I might tell you, it was) many hours – “On My Way Here” (“Here I be/in the air again…”… “No, it’s most vital not to die stupid/it’s reallyvital not to die”) – That’s why.. Yes, I had to put that last line in it, but, yeah, I don’t want to die dumb. If anybody thinks that dying’s smart by going to the Lord? I don’t know! Ok..
And this one’s called “Artemis”. Now Artemis, I had a feeling..I’m sorry, I had a feeling you guys don’t know who Artemis is. Raise your hands if you know who Artemis is [Gregory surveys the class] The women.. alright.. I’ll give it.. the Roman name Diana, the huntress (of) myth, because it’s very important you know this. Okay, I’ll tell you what, you’ll see the poem, you’ll know why. It’s on the airplane coming here, (why would I write about Artemis? ) (“The deerman…The deers-man? – (Gregory, noting the typo in his book) oh, they put an “s” in! , they did fuck up when they printed this – “The deer man antlered tall.. “… “..she was all of one day old” – One fuckin’ day old! –
These are the people we still know today. Those who raised their hands, these people never happened, but you know of them, And so many people happen and you don’t know of them, There’s the ball-game, huh? –
Now this one, “Leda”, another big lady (my grandaughter’s called that, so) – (“Her husband fled the room like a hysterical fairy fleeing a crowded burning gay bar. Let me out of here!” (Can you imagine a faggot bar and it’s on fire and all of the fairies, ” Yeah! Get out of here!”, they’re all screeching. And this is how this guy got out of the marital nuptial room – (“Now for the most difficult of amorous undertakings…”…..The swan raped her and when the egg hatched in her womb a tiny perfect figure emerged – Helen. Helen’s beauty was unbearble to men and a danger to the Gods. Mortals have never been able to forgive their beautiful women. This distinguishes the Gods from men” – Now there’s my statement! There’s my big fuckin’ statement here – Men have never been able to forgive their beautiful women – never! – that’s a good poem, Gregory…
“Her beauty (Helen’s beauty) brought nothing new to mankind, not even the disasters she caused..”. “Horace (if you know Horace, a Roman poet said – “the cunt has been a terrible provoker of wars long before Helen came on the scene”. And if you look back on the history, and even the mythology of it, there was always a rape, everything rape, “The Rape of Europa“, everything, it was all rape – “This daughter of Leda, this child of a swan and woman, not only did she compel Homer to write upon her, she actually composed a poem about the war she commenced, which Homer then used for his own (it’s a fact) – Napoleon began as a novelist. Helen wished to end up as the narrator of her own life. There was a profound affinity between Helen and poetry, but no woman in literature has ever been so exalted and so savaged. Helen lived surrounded by the love of a few men and the hate of both innumerable other men and all women. For centuries she would be subjected to insults and blasphemy yet she was the only woman Zeus, the great god, allowed to call him “father”. She resembled her two brothers, the twins, Castor and Pollux. She was of simple spirit, mild manners, splendid hair, a beauty spot between the eyes, small mouth, perfect chagongas! (why did I say “chagongas“? , perfect breasts”) -“When he burst…” – now dig this, “(her husband), when he burst into Troy to kill her, it’s said that no sooner had he glimpsed her naked breast, that he dropped his sword. All her life she did nothing but show herself off and betray. Leda and the swan, Helen, her sister, Clytemnestra , their brothers Menelaus and Agamemnon, their twin brothers, Castor and Pollox – they’re all related. (Helen and Clytemnestra were sisters, Menelaus and Agamemnon were brothers, the whole crew, they’re all related, sisters and brothers – that’s why I’m saying this) . Every story of two is always the story of three. Two pairs of hands grab the same thing at the same time and tug in opposite directions. This Helen, this Leda, this rapist Zeus, they never happen and yet they always.”
… okay, “Gregorian Rant”, this is a repetition, this is repetition. Let me read you what I really like and end this game here, alright? Let me really get something here so it’ll be happy, right?
I just.. .God, it’s not painful getting to read here, it’s just – why? what do I have to say to people, you know? In the beginning, when we read, early days, in the ‘Fifties, when we got up to read – America didn’t dig poetry. What the fuck was poetry to this country? Nothing, niente – yet we were saying something that got big because something was being said. We didn’t take in any money to begin with because we said “Hey, if we take money, that will stop us from saying what we want to say”. So we.. But after a while…. And Allen was smart enough to say, “Gregory, take the money, we take it and we help our kind out, rather than what they have to do with it. Alright, but it got to be where it was a social thing and not so much poetry anymore, Beat Generation. I thought it would be a soulful change, great, but as life went on, what right do I have now to get up here, what have I got to offer you. One thing I have, but that’s in my own head and it might not be so, but I’m up here so lets lay it on – “We’re all on Death Row. We’re going to die. The way my head works is to say if I’m on death row and going to die I’m going to break out – Okay now – I find a way to get out. Now can I get out of this life alive?. So parents and all that tell you “You know, you’ve gotta die one day”, and so you take it and you die. Something’s wrong there, I don’t like it, something very wrong. And if I can’t win out on that, then I know something else is going to happen. So this is the way I see it
Three people supposedly in history got out alive alive – or maybe four . The Count St Germain was seen three times in a period from the year 786 AD to 1248 AD to.. Gregory.. was in the Eighteenth Century. three times he was seen.. Mary, the mother of Jesus. never was buried. So she was what assumed? assumption? – Muhammad – up in a horse, he was never killed, Jesus was killed, so you can’t claim him, I mean he got wiped out, I’m talking about the ones they didn’t wipe out, the Old Testament, who’s the guy? – Ezekiel. Three of those fuckers made it out of here alive! – Got it? – So I’m (looking at it and saying), “Gregory, hey, I’m ass-bound, I’m stuck, I’m fucked, I can’t get out,” – like breaking out of a prison on Death Row, so I caught the best next best shot, and this is what I think it is.
We has the dinosaur, and it’s very big in kids heads, they love the idea of the dinosaur, and they were wiped out At the time that the dinosaur continued life was this. Something was there that thought, “I really don’t want to be that big. I don’t think I want to be as big as my unfortunate brothers are” – or were – and so we became.. now where did that go? – but something’s got to come out of us. And what’s the thing we always talk about? – the angel side of us, the god, some shot. That’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to go. But there will be, the better part of it… (I don’t know how many hundreds of millions of years, kiddos! – but it seems very fast these days, everything’s going very speeded up). That’s just my, that’s my fixation, right?, that’s it I mean if you wanna die and go to heaven, take it, but, once you’re dead, you’re up shit’s-creek, guys! I think you’re not going nowhere, none of you. When you’re dead, you’re out. And how dare I say that? Why not? I can say it. – I had it. Goodnight. Finito . Its over. So how the hell you gonna haul your assses when you’re alive?, stop worrying about when you’re dead. Me, because I’m getting old, I like that, I’m a poet, I can play with death, one of the big subjects. But you guys are alive, hey – “If I had to say the dinosaurs and then came us (and then.. that’s bad.) – Okay, thank you very much.