Happiness is Poetry: Gregory Corso

Happiness is Poetry: Gregory Corso

Gregory Corso, poetry, poet

Gregory Corso

I remember the people I knew in prison; I was very fortunate to know them – they came from 1910, 1920, 1930. ~ Gregory Corso

Another poet I found via the American Bible of Outlaw Poetry.  I love the picture above it really seems to fit his words.  The second poem, The American Way, was written in 1970, if someone had told me 2017, I wouldn’t have blinked, funny that. ~ Rev Kane

The Whole Mess … Almost

I ran up six flights of stairs
to my small furnished room
opened the window
and began throwing out
those things most important in life
First to go, Truth, squealing like a fink:
“Don’t! I’ll tell awful things about you!”
“Oh yeah? Well, I’ve nothing to hide … OUT!”
Then went God, glowering & whimpering in amazement:
“It’s not my fault! I’m not the cause of it all!” “OUT!”
Then Love, cooing bribes: “You’ll never know impotency!
All the girls on Vogue covers, all yours!”
I pushed her fat ass out and screamed:
“You always end up a bummer!”
I picked up Faith Hope Charity
all three clinging together:
“Without us you’ll surely die!”
“With you I’m going nuts! Goodbye!”
Then Beauty … ah, Beauty—
As I led her to the window
I told her: “You I loved best in life
… but you’re a killer; Beauty kills!”
Not really meaning to drop her
I immediately ran downstairs
getting there just in time to catch her
“You saved me!” she cried
I put her down and told her: “Move on.”
Went back up those six flights
went to the money
there was no money to throw out.
The only thing left in the room was Death
hiding beneath the kitchen sink:
“I’m not real!” It cried
“I’m just a rumor spread by life … ”
Laughing I threw it out, kitchen sink and all
and suddenly realized Humor
was all that was left—
All I could do with Humor was to say:
“Out the window with the window!”

The American Way

I am a great American
I am almost nationalistic about it!
I love America like a madness!
But I am afraid to return to America
I’m even afraid to go into the American Express—
They are frankensteining Christ in America
         in their Sunday campaigns
They are putting the fear of Christ in America
         under their tents in their Sunday campaigns
They are driving old ladies mad with Christ in America
They are televising the gift of healing and the fear of hell
         in America under their tents in their Sunday
They are leaving their tents and are bringing their Christ
         to the stadiums of America in their Sunday
They are asking for a full house an all get out
         for their Christ in the stadiums of America
They are getting them in their Sunday and Saturday
They are asking them to come forward and fall on their
         because they are all guilty and they are coming
         in guilt and are falling on their knees weeping their
         begging to be saved O Lord O Lord in their Monday
         Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
         and Sunday campaigns
It is a time in which no man is extremely wondrous
It is a time in which rock stupidity
         outsteps the 5th Column as the sole enemy in America
It is a time in which ignorance is a good Ameri-cun
         ignorance is excused only where it is so
         it is not so in America
Man is not guilty   Christ is not to be feared
I am telling you the American Way is a hideous monster
         eating Christ   making Him into Oreos and Dr. Pepper
         the sacrament of its foul mouth
I am telling you the devil is impersonating Christ in America
America’s educators & preachers are the mental-dictators
         of false intelligence   they will not allow America
         to be smart
         they will only allow death to make America smart
Educators & communicators are the lackeys of the
         American Way
They enslave the minds of the young
         and the young are willing slaves (but not for long)
         because who is to doubt the American Way
         is not the way?
The duty of these educators is no different
         than the duty of a factory foreman
Replica production   make all the young think alike
         dress alike   believe alike   do alike
Togetherness   this is the American Way
The few great educators in America are weak & helpless
They abide   and so uphold the American Way
Wars have seen such men   they who despised things about
         but did nothing   and they are the most dangerous
Dangerous because their intelligence is not denied
         and so give faith to the young
         who rightfully believe in their intelligence
Smoke this cigarette doctors smoke this cigarette
         and doctors know
Educators know   but they dare not speak their know
The victory that is man is made sad in this fix
Youth can only know the victory of being born
         all else is stemmed   until death be the final victory
         and a merciful one at that
If America falls it will be the blame of its educators
         preachers   communicators   alike
America today is America’s greatest threat
We are old when we are young
America is always new   the world is always new
The meaning of the world is birth not death
Growth gone in the wrong direction
The true direction grows ever young
In this direction what grows grows old
A strange mistake   a strange and sad mistake
         for it has grown into an old thing
         while all else around it is new
Rockets will not make it any younger—
And what made America decide to grow?
I do not know   I can only hold it to the strangeness in man
And America has grown into the American Way—
To be young is to be ever purposeful   limitless
To grow is to know limit   purposelessness
Each age is a new age
How outrageous it is that something old and sad
         from the pre-age incorporates each new age—
Do I say the Declaration of Independence is old?
Yes I say what was good for 1789, is not good for 1960
It was right and new to say all men were created equal
         because it was a light then
But today it is tragic to say it
         today it should be fact—
Man has been on earth a long time
One would think with his mania for growth
         he would, by now, have outgrown such things as
         constitutions manifestos codes commandments
         that he could well live in the world without them
         and know instinctively how to live and be
         —for what is being but the facility to love?
Was not that the true goal of growth, love?
Was not that Christ?
But man is strange and grows where he will
         and chalks it all up to Fate   whatever be—
America rings with such strangeness
It has grown into something strange and
         the American is good example of this mad growth
The boy man   big baby meat
         as though the womb were turned backwards
         giving birth to an old man
The victory that is man does not allow man
         to top off his empirical achievement with death
The Aztecs did it by yanking out young hearts
         at the height of their power
The Americans are doing it by feeding their young to the
For it was not the Spaniard who killed the Aztec
         but the Aztec who killed the Aztec
Rome is proof   Greece is proof   all history is proof
Victory does not allow degeneracy
It will not be the Communists will kill America
         no   but America itself—
The American Way   that sad mad process
         is not run by any one man or organization
It is a monster born of itself   existing of its self
The men who are employed by this monster
         are employed unknowingly
They reside in the higher echelons of intelligence
They are the educators the psychiatrists the ministers
         the writers the politicians the communicators
         the rich the entertainment world
And some follow and sing the Way because they sincerely
         believe it to be good
And some believe it holy and become minutemen in it
Some are in it simply to be in
And most are in it for gold
They do not see the Way as monster
They see it as the “Good Life”
What is the Way?
The Way was born out of the American Dream
         a nightmare—
The state of Americans today compared to the Americans
         of the 18th century proves the nightmare—
Not Franklin not Jefferson who speaks for America today
         but strange red-necked men of industry
         and the goofs of show business
Bizarre! Frightening! The Mickey Mouse sits on the throne
         and Hollywood has a vast supply—
Could grammar school youth seriously look upon
         a picture of George Washington and “Herman Borst”
         the famous night club comedian together at Valley
Old old and decadent   gone the dignity
         the American sun seems headed for the grave
O that youth might raise it anew!
The future depends solely on the young
The future is the property of the young
What the young know the future will know
What they are and do the future will be and do
What has been done must not be done again
Will the American Way allow this?
I see in every American Express
         and in every army center in Europe
         I see the same face the same sound of voice
         the same clothes the same walk
I see mothers & fathers
         no difference among them
They not only speak and walk and think alike
         they have the same face!
What did this monstrous thing?
What regiments a people so?
How strange is nature’s play on America
Surely were Lincoln alive today
         he could never be voted President   not with his
Indeed Americans are babies all in the embrace
         of Mama Way
Did not Ike, when he visited the American Embassy in
         Paris a year ago, say to the staff—“Everything is fine,
         just drink Coca Cola, and everything will be all right.”
         This is true, and is on record
Did not American advertising call for TOGETHERNESS?
         not orgiasticly like today’s call
         nor as means to stem violence
         This is true, and is on record.
Are not the army centers in Europe ghettos?
         They are, and O how sad   how lost!
The PX newsstands are filled with comic books
The army movies are always Doris Day
What makes a people huddle so?
Why can’t they be universal?
Who has smalled them so?
This is serious! I do not mock or hate this
         I can only sense some mad vast conspiracy!
Helplessness is all it is!
They are caught   caught in the Way—
And those who seek to get out of the Way
         can not
The Beats are good example of this
They forsake the Way’s habits
         and acquire for themselves their own habits
And they become as distinct and regimented and lost
         as the main flow
         because the Way has many outlets
         like a snake of many tentacles—
There is no getting out of the Way
The only way out is the death of the Way
And what will kill the Way but a new consciousness
Something great and new and wonderful must happen
         to free man from this beast
It is a beast we can not see or even understand
For it be the condition of our minds
God how close to science fiction it all seems!
As if some power from another planet
         incorporated itself in the minds of us all
It could well be!
For as I live I swear America does not seem like America
         to me
Americans are a great people
I ask for some great and wondrous event
         that will free them from the Way
         and make them a glorious purposeful people once
I do not know if that event is due   deserved
         or even possible
I can only hold that man is the victory of life
And I hold firm to American man
I see standing on the skin of the Way
         America   to be as proud and victorious as St.
         Michael on the neck of the fallen Lucifer—

About Michael Kane

Michael Kane is a writer, photographer, educator, speaker, adventurer and a general sampler of life. His books on hiking and poetry are available in soft cover and Kindle on Amazon.
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