All Fucked Up
Anyone Catch the Launching of Sputnik the Other Day?
"Read this," Mr. Driebelbis, the local art gallery owner
said, shoving the Los Angeles Times under my nose. "Corso's
making an appearance @ Beyond Baroque tomorrow night.
Suppose to give a reading." "I'm there!" I exuberated. If
you were a writer in Los Angeles in those days the only
place to be was Beyond Baroque on Abott McKinney in Venice.
It didn't matter whether you were a bum from Skid Row or
fuckin' Goethe-- as long as your fingers were callused and
shaped by the perpetual grasp of a pen, you were in
I wasn't the least bit surprised to see Mr. Driebelbis
there the next evening. The dude was awesome-- we spent
nights on end engaged in conversation concerning writers
and the aesthetics of art. Tonight he was dressed in a
kurta and printed silk tie. It was the gathering of the
poets and everybody who was anybody was there
"And finally, I am pleased to present to you the worldy
poet Mr. Corso!" a voice sounded from the depths. Rounds of
clapping ensued, giving way to silence, when, moments
later, there was still no poet adorning the stage. Then,
suddenly, an annoying voice proclaimed, "I hate this
fuckin' shirt! It makes me feel so sophisticated. Well, I'm
not. I'm just a fuckin' writer!" Corso for sure
Up until then I had no clue what Gregory Corso was like in
person. He came out w/an odd walk, wearing a bummy purple
shirt frayed w/holes. God. W/o guidance, he thus began to
talk about all the people he's ever slept w/starting from
the days of black and white film. Minutes into the thing, a
Bayond Baroque authority goes, "Uh...Mr. Corso? When are
you going to give the poetry reading, Sir?" He
snapped, "I'm not here to read poetry! You fools
specifically asked me to speak about my life!!!"
"No, we didn't, Mr. Corso, but being that you're our guest,
we'll give you that honor. Please continue." "You know
better!" Corso snapped. And his life wasn't all that the
dude talked about. He went off on things w/no relevance
whatsoever. The New York Yankees. Fidel Castro. Then, "Did
anyone catch the launching of Sputnik the other day on
television?? Gawd, in color too!"
Myself, thinking it to be a joke, outbursted in cries of
laughter. "Why are you laughing at me??!" he snapped in
confrontation, alerting me that he wasn't fuckin' around
but was dead serious. What also had me laughing was that
every five minutes he'd ask, "Where's my glasses?? Where
are they?" "On your head" was the perpetual answer. "Oh,"
he'd continue in a drone tone, "But where's my glasses?"