The Whole Shot
by Jack Hirschman
ln Memory of Gregory Corso
Most, given the death we've all been given
before we die, die.
Greg didn't, Greg wouldn't, Greg ain't.
He burned his being burned and being burned up
right in front of you,
in your face, he was a fighting little neighborhood,
I never saw him sing, he never sang, copper,
O but he sang.
And guzzled and fixed and trashed and mashed
Consumed. He was consumed by consuming,
from Maldoror through every lowdown kind of
kinahoor clear down to his own stretch-marks
I went to see him in the hospital once
when his head , 3 times its size, some blood
he'd dissed in the drunk-tank had kicked in.
Which was after he'd once right-crossed me
for no good reason, like my best friend the
Calabrese kid in my neighborhood in The Bronx.
Which was before a bull-dyke once decked him
For dissing lesbians, and for being monstrously cute,
- humiliating in public to women and men alike,
a self-styled "rotten fuck" who never cleaned up,
a nice guy who said, "No more nice guy",
all brag and loudmouth blow,
fame up his ass
"I'm Gregory Corso"
like at a horseshow,
provoking, stirring shit,
yelling, "Hey, Ginzy!" up to Shig's place on Grant St.
when Allen was visiting, for some dough.
Or: "Hey, Jackie, where's Neeli? He took
Mix for a walk..."
In this bar or that, running with this or that mug,
that chick or this,
toking in an alley or back in the john,
or cross-legged serious in the Caffe Trieste
reading the Chronicle or The Times
mixing it up with a mouth in a gallop
like Billy Hallop
with twinkle and charm out of hell,
he was one of a kind
of a devil character,
so you might never have known
he could precision an image
to its finest fain,
turn a phrase and make it sit in
with a combo of sounds
that unearthed a flagrant poesy
from ancient undergrounds,
write from a spring
without himself in it
and make the running diamonds
"the whole ball game"
or "the stiff arm of Cuba"
more than just sport,
"the whole shot"
in the senses that toppled
lying news reports,
taking one's breath away
and leaving a real agape suddenly
sprouting daisies in your empty spaces,
the way it is when you're met
by a pair of eyes on the street
above a mouth that might say anything
above a body that might do anything,
yet those eyes in a slow, smiling
recognition rise and wink:
"Hey you, human bean, you Poet,
you synechdochal yokel of All,
Cross my heart and hope to live."
The Kid is dead.
Long Live the Kid!
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