Devotions to Gregory Corso

Note: Gregory Corso sadly passed away on January 17, 2001—after this issue of JACK came out in the summer of 2000. The next issue of JACK, out soon, will include a more extensive devotion to Gregory, with the reproduction of a rare work by Gregory titled "Way Out," published by Ira Cohen's Bardo Matrix, as well as tributes to Gregory and reflections by several artists and poets.


Night Vigil by Ira Cohen      
Overcast by Steve Dalachinsky      
Sleepless Night by Erik La Prade

Gregory Corso and his daughter Sheri, August 2000. Photo courtesy of Ira Cohen.



Gregory Corso and his daughter Sheri, August 2000. Photo courtesy of Ira Cohen, who has been sitting with Gregory.









Night Vigil
            for Gregorio Nunzio Corso

Make it one more
for my baby & one more
for the road
Gregory of the Golden Mouth,
Vigilant Herald of the Way,
unlike most men you will not die
but live forever
in the word & in the tender regard
of those who have been touched
by your unruly magic
Tousled & carefree,
a bird who never wert,
chained by life—
yet it was your will to be
You cannot but return
to claim the Way
which is rightfully yours.

           Aug. 25, 2000
           Ira Cohen

(for Gregory Corso)

you look like
all thin days
                         & ghastly nites
grey & rain threatening
                                        maybe Geronimo (looked like this)
not unseen sunsets
or forgotten years
the red white & blue flag           drooping
     & slowly unfurling   in a                         soft cool wind
sheltered yet vagrant

you say    "i can't breathe"               your back hurts badly           i mean badly
                "please" you say—
                                        you look like
the old pale brick     across the way
these white walls of your room
the grey carpet filled with cigarette burns
your ashen skin filled with tracks
the small red & blue tattoo
the brightest thing about this fairly airy room.

your long             still     perfect        fingers
                          she holds
—NO MORE STOMACH— you say      "yes it's still there" she assures you     rubbing it

your eyes roll up toward your brow
then down toward the cold glass of water
as it approaches you

you look like Socrates if he would have lasted this long       toga intact
or any fallen hero with an attitude
who might have been able to make it to the end of the line—

the end of the line
where is it? / chair / bed / unicorn /          "MY BACK" you say "MY BACK"

"the sky"       says chicken little the sky

           Steve Dalachinsky
           at Gregory Corso's apt. 7/24/00

Sleepless Night

A car radio blasts disco under
My window at 3 a.m., reminding me
The night is still young for some people.
I give-up lying in bed; take a shower,
Feed the cats, make tea and wash
The dishes. I have an apartment filled
With books, but I'm waiting
For it to get light out, to buy
An early newspaper. My last notebook
Entry, July 23, 2000, reminds me
Gregory Corso is dying at home from cancer
He weighs sixty-five pounds but asks
His nurse for "real lemonade"
My clock radio goes on at 5 a.m.
As I clean my shelves, I find
I don't have any of Corso's books except for
One poetry anthology, now forty years old;
I read the poems instead and finish my tea.

      Erik La Prade

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