Friday, March 25, 2005

and five nose running brats in love with batman

I know that I've referenced Gregory Corso here before, but the search button isn't returning any hits, and I'm too lazy--ah, busy--to go looking for it by hand, as it were. Anyway, the title of this post is from my favorite poem of his--perhaps one of my favorite poems of all time--Marriage. Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries, etcetera etcetera.

So this morning I was modeling for a painter I've been working for once a week or so since the beginning of the year, and it turns out he knew Corso. Turp palled around with some of the Beats at Cafe Trieste back in the day, largely to irritate his teachers at the San Francisco Art Institute, who warned their students to stay away from those nasty poets. Turp still hangs around with Lawrence Ferlinghetti (for whom I have also modeled, although it's more accurate to say I've been naked in his studio while he drew other things and people in it), although things are apparently strained between them because of a painting Turp made twenty years ago. I didn't follow the whole story--I was up late last night listening to Mark Growden at the Dark Room in the Mission, and fighting desperately to stay awake this morning so I wouldn't fall off the stand and crack my head open--but it sounded like Allen Ginsberg was in there too somehow, as an instigator maybe. I'm a painter, Turp said rather plaintively at one point in this recital, what business do I have with words anyway? Then we talked for a while about how to create believable characters, which was a very strange question for a client to ask me, but he seemed to appreciate my answers, and the discussion made it easier for me to stay awake.

So what was Corso like? I asked at one point, both genuinely curious and trying to steer the conversation away from having to admit that I can't write plots worth shit.

In your face all the time, Turp responded immediately, dropping a wadded-up paint-soaked paper towel into the mound under his easel and reaching for the white paint.


The first time he saw me in Cafe Trieste, I was wearing nice clothes, because I was going to an Italian class. I was sitting there with my Italian books, and he came in and started yelling at me about middle class people with money...when he was done, he asked me if I knew the difference between snowmen and snowwomen.

And? I shifted a little to ease the pressure on my back. I could see cars streaming along the freeway on-ramp.

Snowballs! He was always saying things like that.