Today would have been the birthday of one of my favourite beat Poets Gregory Corso,11 years after his death I still remember him, here's two poems by the great man, I thought I'd share.
I Held A Shelley Manuscript
My hands did numb to beauty
as they reached into Death and tightened!
O sovereign was my touch
upon the tan-ink's fragile page!
Quickly, my eyes move quickly,
sought for smell for dust for lace
for dry hair!
I would have taken the page
breathing in the crime!
For no evidence have I wrung from dreams-
yet what triumph is there in private credence?
Often, in some steep ancestral book,
when I find myself entangled with leopard-apples
and torched-skin mushrooms,
my cypressean skein outreaches the recorded age
and I, as though tipping a pitcher of milk,
pour secrecy upon the dying page.
Tranformation and Escape
I reached heaven and it was syrupy.
It was oppressively sweet.
Croaking substances stuck to my kness.
Of all substances St.Michael was stickiest.
I grabbed him and pasted him on my head.
I found God a gigantic fly paper.
I stayed out of his way.
I waled where everything smelled of burnt chocolate.
Meanwhile St.Michael was busy with his sword
hacking away at my hair.
I found Dante standing naked in a blob of honey.
Bears were liocking his thighs.
I snatched St Michael's sword
and quartered myself in a great circular adhesive.
My torso fell upon an elastic equilibrium.
As though shot from a sting
my torso whizzed at God fly paper.
My legs sank into some unimaginable sog.
My head, though weighed with the weight of St.Michael,
did not fall.
Fine strands of multi-coloured gum
suspended it there.
My spirit stooped by my snared torso.
I pulled! I yanked! Rolled it left to right!
It bruised! It softened! It ould not free!
The struggle of an Eternity!
An eternity of pulls! of yanks!
Went back to my head,
St. Micael had sucked dry my brainpan!
Only skull in heaven!
Went to my legs.
St Peter was polishing his sandals with my knees!
I pounced upon him!
Pummelled his face in sugar in hioney in marmalade!
Under each arm I fled with my legs!
The police of heaven were in hot pursuit!
I hid within the sop of St Francis
Gasping in the confectionary of his gentility
I wept, caressing my intimidated legs.
They caught me.
They took my legs away.
They sentenced me in the firmanent of an ass.
The prison of an Eternity!
An Eternity of labor! of hee-haws!
Burdened with the soiled railment of saints
I schemed escape,
Lugging ampulae its daily fill
I schemed escape.
I schemed climbing impossible mountains.
I schemed under the Virgin's whip,
I schemed the sound of celestial joy.
I schemed to the sound of earth,
the wail of infants,
the groans of men,
the thud of coffins.
I schemed escape.
God was busy switching the spheres from hand to hand.
The time had come.
I cracked my jaws.
Broke my legs.
Sagged belly-flat on plow
My spirit leaked from the wounds.
A whole spiri pooled.
I rose from the carcass of my torment.
I stood in the brink of heaven.
And I swear that Great Territory did quake
when I fell free.
So thank you Gregory, and happy birthday, hope you're sleeping ok, whichever place the ride took you, running wild on Rabelsian spree, still mixing with the sharpest heads, still playing with misadventure.
Earlier post by me on Gregory here
Conversation with Gregory Corso,
music by Calexico.
(from the late 1980's)