width=61 height=87> Billy Corgan
Featured Poet



Billy Corgan
Billy Corgan rose to fame in the nineties as singer/songwriter for the multiplatinum band Smashing Pumpkins. Along with the music, his often edgy, at times profoundly poetic, and invariably inspiring Pumpkins lyrics helped earn him a large following of devoted fans. In 2004, Billy Corgan released a book of poems entitled Blinking with Fists (Faber and Faber, Inc., an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Four poems from this collection are compiled below. Billy Corgan is currently back at work with the reunited Smashing Pumpkins producing new music and touring (2008).

(Photo Copyright © 2007 Scott Fuller)


On the Maypole

around the maypole with childish eye
rushing thru autumn days 
wrapping blankets around frames
wishing in the sky
no matter where you stand
you stand here with me
missing simple times
mixing blood with rose oil
we are leaving too soon
to make new friends
we shall not remember
Copyright © 2004 Billy Corgan

The River Runs Foul

The river runs foul
from the gates where my father once stood
down to the apple trees
from mirror to the gutter
we run streaks of stardust
and funny dumb dreams of shattered warmth
happiness is nothing but a smile
I detect her here in the warm night air
I move silent, I do not wish to be seen
The river runs south 
Thru ghettos and starched neighborhood squares
And everywhere the dogs howl
I don't even trust the hum of my own voice here
My own impermanence haunts me
But this thought alone relieves the pressure
From the mirrors to the gutters done
Gutter tongued, my heart speaks to the silence in me
Let me walk alone, home
As the dead stoplights wave good night
Copyright © 2004 Billy Corgan

Blinking with Fists
(and other caterpillar tales)

A poem, if you will:
Gentle waves rise
just off the fingertips
All I breathe is mine
By name alone
Shape-shifter questions
To strip skin off slow
Devoid of sex
I mix up unions in the offering
The hushed-up voices are here
But they are sated full
Waiting for the stumble
That must surely come
"this time," he declares loudly
(annonymous town square)
"this time there will be no stumble"
and the crowd, on cue, errupts wildly in unison, "hooray"
while I sleep they come in pairs
to pat my head and teach old verse
I try to tell them my life is redundant
By placing my finger to my temple to show knowing
With bruises at the ready I am
Blinking with fists
The chorus lines up to sing
A deep breath, ready to begin
A crying baby breaks the silence
Awkward laughter ensues, on cue
"divine order," says someone
falling down chimneys, thru veins, out limbs
into masterpieces drawn in dirt
the figures are portrayed in a stunning act of repose
their bindings on their wrists
they are still blinking
Copyright © 2004 Billy Corgan

The Poetry of my Heart

Revealing now the poetry of my heart
Think birds in flight and you will start to come close
As faces come from the darkness familiar
To greet you hello again
They pluck those strings and sing those refrains I know so well, and
     hold so close
Now follow these birds faithfully, keeping those faces in mind
Over rivers and dales and soft greens until we come to the edge of 
     the vast ocean
The biggest sea you may imagine and more
Lift your hand and let those birds soar with this sweet music
Fast we fly over these waters
Faster and faster until we blur, and our words blur, and memories
     of lost things blur too
The sun catches you flying
Imagine this from the perspective of the sun
Those birds and you moving the speed of light over the blue
Well, if you were the sun, you'd laugh too!
Finally, after such a momentous journey
You slow upon a deserted island, lush with life
And on its barren shore you find a worn sea chest
Polished smooth by years of coarse handling
Open that chest and you would find inside
A single valentine and the poetry of my heart
Dragging that sea chest around the bend
Thru sand into a jungle dense with flower and shade 
We take the forgotten trail up the hillside
Up towards the laughing sun
Catching its wisdom as it's given
Past the ghost whispers and relics of another past
Climbing to the very top
Because time will not stand still for us
But it will pretend every once in a while
And up here, forgotten, is just you, me
One sea chest holding a single valentine and the poetry of our
A single bulb lights this room
It's dark in here all the time
If the ceiling had only captured my dreams and nightmares alike,
     What stories it could show
She is here, the one
The one I love, desire, devise, rescue, all to my heart's own sorrow
I'm lost in this room, but this is the place the valentines are written
The site of my greatest thought and saddest song
There are no birds here to take flight
No oceans to fly over, no islands to reach
No sun to catch me crying
This is the gift of oblivion and opaque dance
Revealing now the poetry my own heart
its sorrow and the nameless wish I called bliss once
Stripped of its title and junked for show
The bulbs swing, the kids sing
The rooster crows and I seek sleep
Somewhere past the scars and empty cars and endless bars filled
     with reminders
I want to climb from this hole 
And dash myself upon the rocks below
But still it requires your push
Because a push requires intent
And intent requires desire
And desire registers in this body as need
Do you need me?
So push me over, my sea chest and me
The birds will follow me down
Retrace the steps, up to the ceiling
Back thru the bulb, into the electric wires
And out of Manhattan
Coming out another side
To a kid, a dream
A scrawled valentine with an x and o if truth be told
Revealing now the poetry of my heart
Rage and the canopies it paints
And the drawings it frames
And its real cage, me
Copyright © 2004 Billy Corgan


“Blinking with Fists,” “On the Maypole,” “The Poetry of My Heart,” and “The River Runs Foul” from BLINKING WITH FISTS by Billy Corgan. Copyright © 2004 by Billy Corgan. Used by permission of Faber and Faber, Inc., an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

CAUTION:   Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.








Archives   Search   Terms   About   Submit   Link Exchange   Poetry Links   Newsletter   Contents   Home