Corso's Marriage (2011)

by Thomas Oboe Lee

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Music by Thomas Oboe Lee

Poem by Gregory Corso

© Departed Feathers Music, Inc. - BMI

Used with permission of New Directions Publishing.


released June 12, 2012

Tim Krol, baritone
Holly Chatham, piano

Kamilo Kratc, sound engineer and editor
Soundworks Recording Studio, LLC

Photo credit: Thomas Oboe Lee



all rights reserved


Thomas Oboe Lee Cambridge, Massachusetts

Thomas Oboe Lee was born in China in 1945. He lived in São Paulo, Brazil, for six years before coming to the United States in 1966. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, he studied composition at the New England Conservatory and Harvard University. He has been a member of the music faculty at Boston College since 1990.
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Track Name: Corso's Marriage ... Should I get married?
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 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?

Track Name: Corso's Marriage ... O God, and the wedding!
O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends 

and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just waiting 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 

The winking bellboy knowing 

Everybody knowing! I'd be almost 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 climatic 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.
Track Name: Corso's Marriage ... How nice it'd be to come home to her.
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! 

Track Name: Corso's Marriage ... Yet if I should get married.
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
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 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 

[And] 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 and I should never get married! 

But--imagine if I were to marry a beautiful sophisticated woman 

tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves 

holding a cigarette holder in one hand and highball in the other 

and we lived high up a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days 

No I can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream—
Track Name: Corso's Marriage ... O but what about love?
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 furnished room with pee stains on my underwear 

and everybody else is married! All in 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.