More vintage NAROPA transcription. The first two classes in Allen’s 1975 “History of Poetry” NAROPA course (Allen being sick) were taught/conducted by Gregory Corso. Gregory Corso - Substitute Teacher!
GC: ….It’s a virus, that’s the shot. Now the virus hits the cell, once it hits the cell, you’re fucked. You can’t see the virus. Antibiotic – you know what antibiotic means? They’ll give it to you easy and you’ll take it. In a hospital, you feel ill, you call an ambulance, right? Well, call an ambulance, you’re fucked. So they give you antibiotics now, that’s anti-life stuff they’re putting in your body. The virus doesn’t die when they shoot the antibiotics in you because the virus is immune to it already. You get screwed up.
How are you, Mr Goldfarb? [Sidney Goldfarb - co-founder of the Creative Writing Department, University of Colorado at Boulder] - Right. So the next sling shot... I like music behind me when I rap on boring things. The boring thing is.. don’t feel this is an insult on my part, but your names, I have to check who’s here, who’s in the class, and all that shit. And so, while we’re doing that…
I know I told you, “I know all there is to know!”. And I asked him, "do they want to know why?" And he said, "Yeah, they want to know why (why) I "know all there is to know"." Now it’s all because there ain’t that much to know - see?!
So all I can do is give you the goods, maybe in one class. How much time have we got? I can teach you one thing very fast, that nobody knows. I studied this for about a year. Hieroglyphics, Ancient Egypt, right? And this is the simple shot that people have [draws on board]:
You know what they say that is? It looks a human thing, right?
[at this time, suddenly, an altercation almost breaks out] -
Are you crossing my words? I'm gonna say "excuse me" - it's my fuckin' class, William - this is another poet in America - like I am, right? - Mr Merwin here - But don't you think you (could) say "excuse me" when you pass a fuckin' desk of mine?
GC: Not afterwards, before! - It's my fuckin' class time now.
Alright, so dig, the dumb asses, because they think it looks more like.. well, they don't know what it is. Nobody in this classroom knows what this fucker is. You wear it on your necks? What is it?. I'll blow your heads by telling you what it is, and it's the truth - it's a sandal strap!! It's the big toe goes through here [points to the hole], this goes around.. In Ancient Egypt, the ankh, which means sandal, sandal strap. Right there. But because it looks like a human being, (with the head, right?) or the Jesus shot (on the cross, right?), they've got a thing that it's a real mystical hit. The Egyptians never did anything abstract, everything was concrete. All their fuckin' glyphs were concrete. That's one shot. Now you got that.
["Ida" - prehistoric fossil remains - image via National Geographic News]
What's the other shot? (they're just a little bent, but they're the things I know) - Missing Link - well, now that's supposed to be a biggie, right? Missing link is supposed to be a biggie? No way. Old anthropologists are trying to find these skulls to match.. to get some connection between.. ape man and primitive man. Well, I know what happened between those two brains (I gave you the word, right - "brains"). It wasn't a skull change, it was a brain change, and what made the brain change between ape and man is very simple (Because I checked it out scientifically). Planet of the Ape(s). The first seed family was born at the time of cave man, so he got zapped on morning glory seeds! - There's your "dawn of consciousness". The brain expands and opens up through what they ate, through getting high, but they can't find the brain because the brain rots away (the skull stays there, the skull's bone). Where did the change come? through bone shape? - bullshit! - through brain-change. And morning glory seeds were the first seed family. Write that down so that you can check it out - first seed family. And you know what seeds do, right? [continues writing on board] Seeds. Morning glory family (What a nice name, huh?, Morning glory).
That's the first seed plant. All plants before them were born divisional, all born of themselves. Alright, that's the second shot that I know...
Gregory Corso's remarks have been transcribed from his June 9, 1995 class, and can be heard as the first, approximately, four-and-a-half minutes of http://www.archive.org/details/Gregory_Corso_The_history_of_poetry_June_1975_75P002
Eleven years ago today, Gregory passed away.
More from this 1975 class tomorrow.