Ginsberg & Corso – 4

Gregory Corso, New York City, 1989 – photo: Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg-Gregory Corso conversation continues from – here

GC: Right, let’s get something clear, and..

AG: …(and) he (Barry Miles in his Ginsberg biography) never gives you credit for the scope of your poetry and the intensity and brilliance of your language.

GC: Can I get something clear in that book also, like he said I stole your television set, I never stole your television set, did I?

AG: That I don’t remember, even.

GC: Well you should remember, man!  Did I ever steal your television set?  I mean.. Now how did he get to say I did it?

AG: I don’t remember you stealing my television set.

GC: Then how does he know?

AG: I don’t know.

GC: See what I mean? Right. He says it’s in a letter.

AG: Maybe.. maybe maybe it’s in my journals.. I don’t know

GC: Why? I never.. why would I take your fuckin’ television set ?

AG: What I’m saying (is), in present consciousness conversation, I don’t remember.

GC;  I think.. the only thing, that I can be screwed up but I don’t remember, is that it’s in your journals, because you don’t lie

AG: Yeah.

GC: Yeah, ok, so if it’s in your journals, then I did, but I never did, why would I..?

AG: But I don’t remember – either!

GC: Me neither, man.

AG: What year was this?

GC: I don’t know The fuckin’ television set? – I don’t know,  I mean,anyway…

Henri Michaux ( 1899-1984)

GC: Remember when (Henri) Michaux pissed in his..but, well, not Michaux, we pissed in his sink, somebody pissed in the sink.

AG: No.. I believe it was me, actually.

GC:  Alright, you pissed in the sink, and he (Miles) says I complained about it. I didn’t complain about it! I was laughing. I was saying “Here’s how the French think of Americans”, you know.

AG: Well those are little shadings..

GC:  Of him not liking me.  I used to break a plate..

AG: ..Little shadings that any biography can err on, one way or the other.

GC: Alright. Another thing that hurt me…

AG: First biographies are always full of errors.

GC: I know, I hope he’s going to do another one. Shit, I hope it’s fuckin’ out of my view.

Another one I wanted to get cleared up. I always feel about my family, that’s touchy ground. Now I don’t recall ever my son Niles being, living, in your house and your care – ever!

AG: Now where was that? Niles?

GC: Niles was born in San Francisco,

AG; Right

GC:  Five years ago

AG: That’s was Kaye’s (sic Kaye McDonough’s)

GC: Yeah.

AG; No I don’t remember. Where? What does she say?    

GC: They ask her in the book where you had to take care of us and all that shit –

Okay –So all that, you’re a good man, and you were, certainly, in life, were beneficial to me, Al, (and I’d hope the same in return). I’d hope that in those early days of the Beat Generation, when we were reading poetry and all that, that I contributed something too – The readings that we gave – we faced lots of audiences early in the game – I made them laugh, you made them think.  Right?  – We did things. I read my “Marriage” poem, you read your “Howl”

AG: Wait a minute, we both made them think.

GC: Yeah, (I) made them think too,  But we were there, doing so.  The way he sounds in that book, it’s like you made the whole thing, like, if it wasn’t for you…

AG:  Yes, except, like I say, it was a pyrrhic victory.

GC:  Yeah, pyrrhic victory, but also it might hurt you in a funny respect because..

AG: Because?

GC: because people are going to get down on your ass.

AG: Because?

GC:  anybody with stuff to get down. Not that it’s his fault. but, then again, not all his – but this is why now.. – You let him into your fuckin’.. Miles.. you let him into your journals, your heart vault.

AG: Yes, yes,  yes.

GC: That’s why I couldn’t sue the fuckin” what do you call it Simon And Schuster {publishers of the Ginsberg biography), because if you, well, if you wrote to Neal Cassady, as he said, that you seduced me..  (you better believe you seduced my soul. I love you, Al, but that’s it – and you and I spoke about what sex is, right?  that we were not lovers, and all that kind of thing.) Okay,  but .. I don’t know! –  You think it (the book) says anything about your work? Does he know anything about poetry?

AG: Well he’s written on  my work really well,  because he edited all the…

GC:  Put things like “Howl” together, all the, what did you call it (the Annotated..)  (Editorial note – Howl Original Draft Facsimile, Transcript & Variant Versions, Fully Annotated by Author, with Contemporaneous Correspondence, Account of First Public Reading, Legal Skirmishes, Precursor Texts & Bibliography)

AG: He also listened to and edited all the tapes I made from 1948 to 1970 and made a compilation of like thousands of hours into…boiled down into sixteen. So he knows.

GC: Did he get a swell head from it? I mean you can get a swell head from doing this fuckin” thing.

AG: No, no …you know, it’s like it’s said that..  You know that Shakespeare phrase, “Every third thought shall be my grave”

GC: Uh-huh.

AG: “Every two-hundred-and-seventy fifth thought I remembered for my biography”. So how can you get a swell head out of one out of two hundred and seventy?

GC: Well.. the swell head., but. your childhood, then, let’s say. How many people can have their childhood so laid out as he laid yours out?

AG: Well  that’s marvelous, that’s the one part of the book I really dig.

GC: That’s what like. I saw you clearly, He got you good.

AG: The whole first third  of the book, The whole first third of the book…

GC: Yeah, he got you true and good as a kid.

AG: …refreshed my memory for any number of details..

GC: There you go.

AG: … that were mystical or mysterious, or misty, or incomprehensible, or..flashes

GC:  ..Refreshed your memory, right?  refreshed your memory

AG: Very much so.

GC: That’s why, many times when I speak with you, Al, I say, “ do you remember when this..?” – and you never do!  You say “Wow it’s amazing you remembered that, Gregorio” .

Half the time, you know it’s amazing that I remember these things, so that was why I was happy now to think that you do write down your dreams. I don’t.  I remember any good dream I have about… I won’t have to write it down because I’ll know it, I’ll never forget it. But now I see you can forget these fuckin’ things.

AG: Sure.  I can forgot a lot. But, you know, everybody remembers different things. Like Peter Orlovsky has a fantastic detailed memory and he can remember things.. He mentions things that, when he mentions , I remember, but, I hadn’t thought of it in years and it was totally buried. But Peter has a remarkable memory. You’d be amazed. And a memory for detail too. More than people are aware of.

to be continued

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