Category Archives: Beat Poets

Soul searching on demand

“Which is mshutterstock_101939362ore ethical:  sticking to one’s principles or being willing to compromise?” Saturday, June 8th at 7:00 p.m., I’ll be onstage at the Regional Cultural Center in New York Mills, alongside three other “Great American Think-off” finalists, to publicly debate this philosophical question. John Forde, host of the PBS show, “Mental Engineering,” will serve as the moderator. Whether I’ll get pummeled or walk away with the gold medal and tongue-in-cheek title  of “America’s Greatest Thinker” doesn’t matter. It’s an honor to participate, and it’s all in good fun!

Naturally, this deadline-driven reflection and contemplation brings to mind, a poem . . . .

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!”


                                         — Gregory Corso, 1973 —
Here’s to the grassroots philosopher and beat poet in all of us!

(Wish me luck.)