Guest poem sent in by Aseem
(Poem #1569) Marriage
Should I get married? Should I be good? Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood? Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries and she going just so far and I understanding why not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel! Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky - When she introduces me to her parents back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie, should I sit with my knees together on their 3rd degree sofa and not ask Where's the bathroom? How else to feel other than I am, often thinking Flash Gordon soap - O how terrible it must be for a young man seated before a family and the family thinking We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou! After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living? Should I tell them? Would they like me then? Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter but we're gaining a son - And should I then ask Where's the bathroom? O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded just wait to get at the drinks and food - And the priest! he looking at me as if I masturbated asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife? And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue! I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha! And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on - Then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates! All streaming into cozy hotels All going to do the same thing tonight The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen The lobby zombies they knowing what The whistling elevator man he knowing Everybody knowing! I'd almost be inclined not to do anything! Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye! Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon! running rampant into those almost climactic suites yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel! O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of bigamy a saint of divorce - But I should get married I should be good How nice it'd be to come home to her and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen aproned young and lovely wanting my baby and so happy about me she burns the roast beef and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf! God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married! So much to do! Like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky! And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him When are you going to stop people killing whales! And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust - Yet if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn, up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me, finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear nor Roman coin soup- O what would that be like! Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus For a rattle a bag of broken Bach records Tack Della Francesca all over its crib Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father Not rural not snow no quiet window but hot smelly tight New York City seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job! And five nose running brats in love with Batman And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired like those hag masses of the 18th century all wanting to come in and watch TV The landlord wants his rent Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking - No! I should not get married! I should never get married! But - imagine if I were married to a beautiful sophisticated woman tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves holding a cigarette holder in one hand and a highball in the other and we lived high up in a penthouse with a huge window from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days No, can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream - O but what about love? I forget love not that I am incapable of love It's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes - I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible And there's maybe a girl now but she's already married And I don't like men and - But there's got to be somebody! Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married, all alone in a furnished room with pee stains on my underwear and everybody else is married! All the universe married but me! Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible then marriage would be possible - Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover so i wait-bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.
One of my all-time favourite poems. Every time I get invited to a friend's wedding (and that happens with distressing regularity now) I pull out a copy of this poem and read it. It's not just that it's a wildly funny poem (though it is that too - I still can't keep myself from laughing out loud every time I read it) or one that, unlike many other beat poems, doesn't take itself too seriously. It's the balance of it - the combination of a faux yet visionary ecstacy ("Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust") with snatches of quiet, understated yearning ("But there's got to be somebody!"); the juxtaposition of these simple yet vivid everyday scenes with some truly startling imagery ("telephone snow, ghost parking", "take her not to movies, but to cemeteries"); the vicious lampooning of stereotypes interspersed with lines of true poetry ("woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky" or "I see love as odd as wearing shoes"); the emergence of almost universal themes from amidst some fairly contextual references. It would have been easy for Corso to go too far here - he could easily have made this just another juvenile rant against marriage. Instead he pulls of a real masterpiece of a poem. Aseem [Links] Biography: [broken link] http://www.poets.org/poets/poets.cfm?prmID=421 Some more Corso poems: http://www.rooknet.com/beatpage/writers/corso.html A tribute by Robert Creeley: http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/creeley/corso.html