Meditation: On Minding the Store

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Fabulous and furious, we come to New York ready to hit the town and storm the scene. But the city, if we're lucky, sands our hubris into humility. Real New Yorkers are less Bobby Flay on the tabletop, more deli guy behind the counter.

The real godsend, as Robert Creeley said of Gregory Corso's nurse and daughter Sherry, is in "steadying the ambiance, just minding the store with great love and clarity." Here's a Corso 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

photo credit: ginatolentino via flickr