Gregory Corso was born on March
26, 1930 in New York. He has spent time working as a manual laborer
in New York City and as an employee of the Los Angeles Times.
In addition, he was a merchant seaman on Norwegian vessels and
has had some acting experience, including an appearance in Andy
Warhol's film, Couch.
As a writer in the 1950's and 60's, Corso became a key member
of the Beat movement. He pressed for social and political changes
and Allen Ginsberg even called him
an "awakener of youth".
Even though he may have reached his apex in the 1960's, Corso
today still continues to have an influence. According to American
Book Review's, Dennis Barone, "despite doubt, uncertainty,
the American Way, death all around, Gregory Corso will Continue,
and I am glad he will."
Like many other writers or notable persons, Corso has in his
past, a rebellious period where he even experience incarceration.
During his time in prison, where he was granted a three year
sentence for stealing, Corso became familiar with many classical
writers. It seems that this experience was quite an inspiration
to a man who may have, under slightly different circumstances,
In an interview with Contemporary Authors, Corso spoke of his
jail experience. "When I left, I left there a young man,
educated in the ways of men at their worst and at their best.
Sometimes hell is a good place - if it proves to one that because
it exists, so must its opposite, heaven exist" .
Corso's vocabulary has been described as eclectic. He is said
to be a poet who has a well refined knowledge of the classics,
classical diction and form, as well as a poet who possesses a
street wise sense. One critic called him "an urchin Shelly"
Although he did not participate in the infamous reading at the
Six Gallery, the one in which Ginsberg
read his well received poem, Howl, Corso quickly fit into
the San Francisco Beat scene. He moved there in 1956 and was
soon elevated to celebrity status and considered one of the major
Bomb ( Top of Page
Budger of history Brake of time
Toy of universe Grandest of all snatched sky I cannot hate you
Do I hate the mischievous thunderbolt the jawbone of an ass
The bumpy club of One Million B.C. the mace the flail the axe
Catapult Da Vinci tomahawk Cochise flintlock Kidd dagger Rathbone
Ah and the sad desparate gun of Verlaine Pushkin Dillinger Bogart
And hath not St. Michael a burning sword St. George a lance David
Bomb you are as cruel as man makes you and you're no crueller
All Man hates you they'd rather die by car-crash lightning drowning
Falling off a roof electric-chair heart-attack old age old age
They'd rather die by anything but you Death's finger is free-lance
Not up to man whether you boom or not Death has long since distributed
categorical blue I sing thee Bomb Death's extravagance Death's
Gem of Death's supremest blue The flyer will crash his death
with the climbor who'll fall to die by cobra is not to die by
Some die by swamp some by sea and some by the bushy-haired man
in the night
O there are deaths like witches of Arc Scarey deaths like Boris
No-feeling deaths like birth-death sadless deaths like old pain
Abandoned deaths like Capital Punishment stately deaths like
And unthinkable deaths like Harpo Marx girls on Vogue covers
I do not know just how horrible Bombdeath is I can only imagine
Yet no other death I know has so laughable a preview I scope
a city New York City streaming starkeyed subway shelter
Scores and scores A fumble of humanity High heels bend
Hats whelming away Youth forgetting their combs
Ladies not knowing what to do with their shopping bags
Unperturbed gum machines Yet dangerous 3rd rail
Ritz Brothers from the Bronx caught in the A train
The smiling Schenley poster will always smile
Impish death Satyr Bomb Bombdeath
Turtles exploding over Istanbul
The jaguar's flying foot
soon to sink in arctic snow
Penguins plunged against the Sphinx
The top of the Empire state
arrowed in a broccoli field in Sicily
Eiffel shaped like a C in Magnolia Gardens
St. Sophia peeling over Sudan
O athletic Death Sportive Bomb
the temples of ancient times
their grand ruin ceased
Electrons Protons Neutrons
gathering Hersperean hair
walking the dolorous gulf of Arcady
joining marble helmsmen
entering the final ampitheater
with a hymnody feeling of all Troys
heralding cypressean torches
racing plumes and banners
and yet knowing Homer with a step of grace
Lo the visiting team of Present
the home team of Past
Lyre and tube together joined
Hark the hotdog soda olive grape
gala galaxy robed and uniformed
commissary O the happy stands
Ethereal root and cheer and boo
The billioned all-time attendance
The Zeusian pandemonium
Hermes racing Owens
The Spitball of Buddha
Christ striking out
Luther stealing third
Planeterium Death Hosannah Bomb
Gush the final rose O Spring Bomb
Come with thy gown of dynamite green
unmenace Nature's inviolate eye
Before you the wimpled Past
behind you the hallooing Future O Bomb
Bound in the grassy clarion air
like the fox of the tally-ho
thy field the universe thy hedge the geo
Leap Bomb bound Bomb frolic zig and zag
The stars a swarm of bees in thy binging bag
Stick angels on your jubilee feet
wheels of rainlight on your bunky seat
You are due and behold you are due
and the heavens are with you
hosanna incalescent glorious liaison
BOMB O havoc antiphony molten cleft BOOM
Bomb mark infinity a sudden furnace
spread thy multitudinous encompassed Sweep
set forth awful agenda
Carrion stars charnel planets carcass elements
Corpse the universe tee-hee finger-in-the-mouth hop
over its long long dead Nor
From thy nimbled matted spastic eye
exhaust deluges of celestial ghouls
From thy appellational womb
spew birth-gusts of of great worms
Rip open your belly Bomb
from your belly outflock vulturic salutations
Battle forth your spangled hyena finger stumps
along the brink of Paradise
O Bomb O final Pied Piper
both sun and firefly behind your shock waltz
God abandoned mock-nude
beneath His thin false-talc's apocalypse
He cannot hear thy flute's
He is spilled deaf into the Silencer's warty ear
His Kingdom an eternity of crude wax
Clogged clarions untrumpet Him
Sealed angels unsing Him
A thunderless God A dead God
O Bomb thy BOOM His tomb
That I lean forward on a desk of science
an astrologer dabbling in dragon prose
half-smart about wars bombs especially bombs
That I am unable to hate what is necessary to love
That I can't exist in a world that consents
a child in a park a man dying in an electric-chair
That I am able to laugh at all things
all that I know and do not know thus to conceal my pain
That I say I am a poet and therefore love all man
knowing my words to be the acquainted prophecy of all men
and my unwords no less an acquaintanceship
That I am manifold
a man pursuing the big lies of gold
or a poet roaming in bright ashes
or that which I imagine myself to be
a shark-toothed sleep a man-eater of dreams
I need not then be all-smart about bombs
Happily so for if I felt bombs were caterpillars
I'd doubt not they'd become butterflies
There is a hell for bombs
They're there I see them there
They sit in bits and sing songs
mostly German songs
And two very long American songs
and they wish there were more songs
especially Russian and Chinese songs
and some more very long American songs
Poor little Bomb that'll never be
an Eskimo song I love thee
I want to put a lollipop
in thy furcal mouth
a wig of Goldilocks on thy baldy bean
and have you skip with me Hansel and Gretel
along the Hollywoodian screen
O Bomb in which all lovely things
moral and physical anxiously participate
O fairylike plucked from the
grandest universe tree
O piece of heaven which gives
both mountain and anthill a sun
I am standing before your fantastic lily door
I bring you Midgardian roses Arcadian musk
Reputed cosmetics from the girls of heaven
Welcome me fear not thy opened door
nor thy cold ghost's grey memory
nor the pimps of indefinite weather
their cruel terrestial thaw
Oppenheimer is seated
in the dark pocket of Light
Fermi is dry in Death's Mozambique
Einstein his mythmouth
a barnacled wreath on the moon-squid's head
Let me in Bomb rise from that pregnant-rat corner
nor fear the raised-broom nations of the world
O Bomb I love you
I want to kiss your clank eat your boom
You are a paean an acme of scream
a lyric hat of Mister Thunder
O resound thy tanky knees
BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM
BOOM ye skies and BOOM ye suns
BOOM BOOM ye moons ye stars BOOM
nights ye BOOM ye days ye BOOM
BOOM BOOM ye winds ye clouds ye rains
Go BANG ye lakes ye oceans BING
Barracuda BOOM and cougar BOOM
Ubangi BOOM orangutang
BING BANG BONG BOOM bee bear baboon
ye BANG ye BONG ye BING
the tail the fin the wing
Yes Yes into our midst a bomb will fall
Flowers will leap in joy their roots aching
Fields will kneel proud beneath the halleluyahs of the wind
Pinkbombs will blossom Elkbombs will perk their ears
Ah many a bomb that day will awe the bird a gentle look
Yet not enough to say a bomb will fall
or even contend celestial fire goes out
Know that the earth will madonna the Bomb
that in the hearts of men to come more bombs will be born
magisterial bombs wrapped in ermine all beautiful
and they'll sit plunk on earth's grumpy empires
fierce with moustaches of gold
Last Night I Drove a Car ( Top of Page )
Last night I drove a car
not knowing how to drive
not owning a car
I drove and knocked down
people I loved
...went 120 through one town.
I stopped at Hedgeville
and slept in the back seat
...excited about my new life.
Top of Page )
They deliver the edicts of God
And are exempt from apprehension
And with their God-given
Petasus, Caduceus, and Talaria
ferry like bolts of lightning
unhindered between the tribunals
of Space and Time
in human flesh
is assigned a dependable,
thoroughly poet existence
upon its sojourn in life
It does not knock
or ring the bell
When the Messenger-Spirit
comes to your door
It'll enter like an electric midwife
and deliver the message
There is no tell
throughout the ages
that a Messenger-Spirit
ever stumbled into darkness
The Mad Yak (
Top of Page )
I am watching them churn
the last milk they'll ever get from me.
They are waiting for me to die;
They want to make buttons out of my bones.
Where are my sisters and brothers?
That tall monk there, loading my uncle, he has a new cap.
And that idiot student of his -- I never saw that muffler before.
Poor uncle, he lets them load him.
How sad he is, how tired!
I wonder what they'll do with his bones?
And that beautiful tail!
How many shoelaces will they make of that!
Top of Page )
Should I get married? Should I be Good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustaus hood?
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky--
When she introduces me to her
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where's the bathroom?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap--
O how terrible it must be for a young man
seated before a family and the family thinking
We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou!
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a
Should I tell them? Would they like me then?
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter
but we're gaining a son--
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?
O God, and the wedding! All her
family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just waiting to get at the drinks and food--
And the priest! He looking at me if I masturbated
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue!
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going
then all that absurd rice and
clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates!
All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
The winking bellboy knowing
Everybody knowing! I'd be almost inclined not to do anything!
Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!
running rampant into those almost climatic suites
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner devising ways to break marriages,
a scourge of bigamy a saint of divorce--
But I should get married I should
How nice it'd be to come home to her
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen
aproned young and lovely wanting by baby
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair
saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf!
God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married!
So much to do! like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night
and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books
Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence
like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest
grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky!
And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him
When are you going to stop people killing whales!
And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust--
Yet if I should get married and
it's Connecticut and snow
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind
finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear not Roman coin
O what would that be like!
Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus
For a rattle bag of broken Bach records
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon
No, I doubt I'd be that kind
not rural not snow no quiet window
but hot smelly New York City
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls
a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job!
And five nose running brats in love with Batman
And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired
like those hag masses of the 18th century
all wanting to come in and watch TV
The landlord wants his rent
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus
Impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking--
No! I should not get married and I should never get married!
But--imagine if I were to marry a beautiful sophisticated woman
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and highball in the other
and we lived high up a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer
No I can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream--
O but what about love? I forget
not that I am incapable of love
it's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes--
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible
And there maybe a girl now but she's already married
And I don't like men and--
but there's got to be somebody!
Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,
all alone in furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married! All in the universe married but
Ah, yet well I know that were
a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible--
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so I wait--bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.
I Held a Shelley Manuscript ( Top of Page )
My hands did numb to beauty
as they reached into Death and tightened!
O sovereign was my touch
upon the tan-inks's fragile page!
Quickly, my eyes moved 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
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.