Ginsberg and Corso – 2

Gregory Corso & Allen Ginsberg, 1985 – photo: Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso (in conversation, from 1989), continues from here

GC: Let me tell you something. We’re now in our years, right, we’re grown men.  It went petty fast, didn’t it? I mean, did you ever expect me to be fifty-nine years old facing you, and you’re what?, (your) sixty-fourth year ? sixty-third?

AG: I always anticipated that we’d be wise old men, with just the kind of salt-and-pepper beard you’ve got now, and..

GC: Yeah, I got the salt-and-pepper beard.

AG: …and the silver threads among the gold (atop your) skull.

GC: Okay. What I feel about you, it’s scary too, I can’t get the young Allen back!

AG:  How could I possibly be young Allen again?

GC: But I’m young Gregory still.

AG: Well…

GC: I can never lose that. How can you lose what you are? Like there’s a clock?

AG: You’re not quite young.. no, not yet..  You’re not quite young Gregory yet. I guess , there was a little more innocence about you then.

GC: Oh, I’m not an innocent anymore?

AG: Yeah.

GC: Okay. That’s a pre-requisite.

AG: And there was .. there were.. I remember the first time you took… I showed you a needle, with junk

GC: My god, my god!

AG: You.. you.. thought it was terrible..

GC: Yeah.

AG:  ..and by hindsight, I realized it was.

GC: Yeah..  I tried, because…

AG: I used to..chippy with junk.. in the pre-AIDS (days)..

GC: The first time I saw you do that, that was in Mexico, with a guy named..

AG: That was in Mexico?

GC: .. Bill Garver

AG: I see. I thought it was back in New York, in ‘Fifty-three.  You injected…

GC: Oh that’s right, no, no, no, I got you.  But we went to Mexico, when?

AG  That was “Fifty-six.

GC: ’Fifty-six, yeah ’Fifty-six. Yeah, there was a time in New York, that’s right, that is right but I don’t remember much about it.

AG: But that time in New York you were very much anti-junk.

GC: Very much anti-junk. In fact, the only time I ever had anything…

AG: No, I was..I was always interested, why were you anti-junk then?

GC:  ‘Cause I didn’t..    the spirit was pure then, that the work, the enthusiasm, for what we had was a natural shot, and..

AG: I agree, that’s true.

GC: And if people were still taking this stuff, then I never.. It bored the hell out of me.
But the when I got into it, I so loved it.. So I’ll read, so I’ll read (my book)..  I so loved it.
Then when I tried (it was in Mexico City  and you had..  (down) with Montezuma’s (revenge)..?

AG: The flu.

GC: Yeah, something.

AG: I had a really bad flu and diarrhea.

GC: Right, right, by the end.. And you took the best medicine in the world for that.

AG: And Bill Garver, who was..

GC: ..gave you morphine.

AG:  ..Bill Gains in (William) Burroughs’ books..

GC: Bill Gains or Bill Garver

AG : ..or (in) Kerouac’s books..

[Editorial note – Garver also formed the basis for the character Bill Gains in William Burroughs’ books Junkie, Naked Lunch, The Soft Machine and The Yage Letters. In Kerouac’s work, the character Bull Gaines in Desolation Angels, Tristessa and Book of Dreams was based on him. In Visions of Cody he was Harper, and in The Town and the City, Al. In Mexico City Blues, “Orizaba 210 Blues,” Pomes All Sizes and Some of the Dharma Kerouac refers to simply as Garver.]

GC:  He’s the guy.. Kerouac’s books… (I think in Burroughs also where he used to steal the coats, and a Harvard man, a very elegant man, who would always go to the Harvard Club, or the New York Athletic Club..

AG: ..or Longchamps

GC: .. Longchamps, and always take a better coat than he came in with. He left with a better one.

AG: Yeah, I used to go with him sometimes to watch him.

GC: Ah!

AG: But not so many times, three or four times, I went,

GC You see, you were an accomplice. So you accompanied a coat-stealer!?

AG: Yes.

to be continued

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