Greenpoint, October, 2015

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Little Noir Music

Rainy nights bring dark thoughts and, sometimes, great poems. One topic you are not likely to find on the MTA's Poetry in Motion series is crime. Well, no one wants to think about crime on the subway, or do they? Have we erased if from our NYC vocabulary? Does anyone even use the word "mugging" anymore? Gregory Corso's "Birthplace Revisited" is about that and a whole lot more.
I stand in the dark light in the dark street
and look up at my window. I was born there.
The lights are on; other people are moving about.
I am with raincoat, cigarette in mouth,
hat over eye, hand on gat.
I cross the street and enter the building.
The garbage cans haven't stopped smelling.
I walk up the first flight; Dirty Ears
aims a knife at me . . .
I pump him full of lost watches.
Corso was born in Greenwich Village in 1930. He spent time in orphanages, foster homes, Bellevue Hospital, and, at 16, was incarcerated at Clinton State Prison for theft. Allen Ginsberg wrote in the introduction to Corso's Gasoline (1957), "He's probably the greatest poet in America, and he's starving in Europe."

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