by Gregory Corso

An excerpt:

O this political air so heavy with the bells 
and motors of a slow night, and no place to rest 
but rain to walk—How it rings the Washington streets! 
The umbrella’d congressmen; the rapping tires 
of big black cars, the shoulders of lobbyists 
caught under canopies and in doorways, 
and it rains, it will not let up, 
and meanwhile lame futurists weep into Spengler’s 
prophecy, will the world be over before the races blend color?
Al color must be one or let the world be done—
There’ll be a chance, we’ll all be orange!
I don’t want to be orange!
Nothing about God’s color to complain;
and there is beauty in yellow, the old Lama
in his robe the color of Cathay;
in black a strong & vital beauty,
Thelonius Monk in his robe of Normal charcoal—
And if Western Civilization comes to an end
(though I doubt it, for the prophet has not
executed his prophecy) surely the Eastern child
will sit by a window, and wonder
the old statues, the ornamented doors;
the decorated banquet of the West—
Inflamed by futurists I too weep in rain at night
at the midnight of Western Civilization;
Dante’s step into Hell will never be forgotten by Hell;
the Gods’ adoption of Homer will never be forgotten by the Gods;
the books of France are on God’s bookshelf;
no civil war will take place on the fields of God;
and I don’t doubt the egg of the Each its glory—

OF THE PEOPLE is fortunate and select
FOR THE PEOPLE has never happened in America or elsewhere.
BY THE PEOPLE is the sadness of America.
I am not politic.
I am not patriotic.
I am nationalistic!
I boast well the beauty of America to all the people in Europe.
In me they do not see their vision of America.
O whenever I pass an American Embassy I don’t know what to feel!
Sometimes I want to rush in and scream: “I’m American!”
but instead go a few paces down to the American Bar
get drunk and cry: “I’m no American!”
The men of politics I love are but youth’s fantasy:
The fine profile of Washington on coins stamps & tobacco wraps
The handsomeness and death-in-snow of Hamilton
The eyeglasses shoe-buckles kites & keys of Ben Franklin.
The sweet melancholy of Lincoln.
The way I see Christ, as something romantic & unreal, is the way I see them.

etc.

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