2015, New York: UpSet Press (2006, New York: Non Serviam Press)
Young, clueless, cannibalistic revolutionaries are attempting to take over a serene suburban hamlet—and they are using some very unique methods. A satirical romp through the suburban landscape, Drive-by Cannibalism in the Baroque Tradition is also about a dead man and his remains, about riding in shopping carts in humongous grocery stores selling at wholesale prices, about cruising on highways and watching passersby pass by in shopping malls. But it’s about a whole lot more of course: the dynamics of revolutionary upheaval, the processes of formal and linguistic invention, the very art of character creation, story-telling, fiction-making, and the fashioning of artistic artifacts out of reality. Really though, more than anything else, the book is really ‘about’ this: parking lots, and traffic flow. Most especially, that’s what it’s all about: parking lots and traffic flow, parking lots, and traffic flow: that’s that the book is all about.
The conduct of the revolutionaries post establishment of their regime after victory, or even post first coup, has not heretofore been the subject of a wise man’s how-to-book. No best-sellers with titles such as: what to do before, during and after takeover of your community – or the more radical, Etiquette for the Real Revolutionary. No. The volumes gracing the shelves of our libraries and our bookstores do indeed cover such topics as how to get somewhere and how to behave when you get there, but only when the ‘somewhere’ constitutes an established locale or position – within a system, an established paradigm. Nary a word, sadly, on how to behave when your ‘somewhere’ rests on the assumption of the total undermining, voire destruction, of that system.
No way to criticize, therefore, our carousing couple as they ride their Jag down the lonely boulevards of the sprawling landscape. Windows down elbows out, both sides. An occasional automobile passes, they shout out, depends who’s inside, of course, a duo of horny (and hornier) schizos on the prowl.
To an elderly couple, a smart aleck comment that makes the man (driving) shake his head but not respond (for fear) while wife (surely) in passenger seat (pulled way up) stares ahead and pretends she’s heard nothing (to which apparent indifference – which Mappolo knows to be an attempt at ignoring him – he says, ‘smile old witch’). To a young man driving in a Porsche Mappolo sends kisses, bunched up fingers released to air bouquet-like, and says: ‘Where to cutie?’ To a red Honda with two young yet extremely pretty ladies, the boys begin with some clever flirtatious quips. Both of the girls smile – then feign indifference. ‘Don’t play that game now,’ Mappolo says, ‘you know you love it!’ The girls smile again (grin, hands on wheel for driver, grin, twist of the head for rider). ‘Why don’t you follow us,’ Mappolo unrelenting suggests, ‘we’re going to the Market get some booze.’ The girls giggle, look at each other. ‘Yeah?’ – Mappolo says, asking, suggesting. ‘Go,’ the driver-girl says. ‘You comin’ or what?’ Mappolo throws out. (Driving all the while, these exchanges? Fearless and without conscience? Should they not, at least, park?) ‘Go!’ the girl answers giggling still, both hands on the steering wheel. (Why the tease, thinks Mappolo, betaken, bewitched, beholden – why not just make life simple!)
He turns, smiling, speeds away. The girls switch lanes, go right behind. Soon, Mappolo makes a turn, drives down a mere four hundred yards, turns left, slowly drives another two hundred, left again and into a parking lot. The girls are no… O yes, they are, behind. The lot is full, as usual: lots of customers in these parts, what with wholesale prices on most items, and giant sizes. Mappolo finds the first parking and howls: ‘You guys go,’ he mumbles to the girls since they’re behind. The driver thanks him and rolls right in between the two white lines while Mappolo slowly goes on to – oh, a Jeep pulling out – puts the blinkers on, wait, good, Jeep diver waives to Mappolo, ‘what, not leaving?…’ mumbles our hero, ‘yes, yes!’ seems to gesture the bloke, going out, ‘So go!’, Mappolo thinking, ‘freagin’… The jeep pulls out, Mappolo turns.
A. has been, as the narrative has made clear, quite silent. Tired, for sure, but preoccupied also – although he’d promised to let loose… Just that he knows, Mappolo cannot be a worthy heir, no way, there are going to be big problems, he keeps demonstrating it, how are we ever going to… No, A., decidedly, just cannot let loose, not tonight, some strange vibes in the air, premonitions, call them, just that peculiar, ba-ha-had, feeling in the air…
‘Let’s go,’ Mappolo tells A. as he swiftly and as if in one motion, takes keys out, exits and slams door. A. walks out in more orderly manner and sees Mappolo walking towards the girls. The four get together finally, right there in the parking lot. Introductions. Mappolo: Mappolonius Rei, folks call me Mappolo, Map if you prefer; Elaine Johnson: Elaine Johnson; Jennifer Hotkoss: Jenny, you’re funny (to Mappolo); A. dry, curt: A., just like that; Elaine: just like that? A.: yep, just like that. Please to meet you A. (Elaine), please to meet you (Jenny), ditto (A.), let’s go (Mappolo). What are we gonna do in there anyway: Jenny, seriously, but with a good attitude, and a sexy voice. We’re gonna shop, Mappolo smiling, joking, ‘s’, ‘h’, ‘o’, ‘p’ – shop.
Inside though, they do that (s-h-o-p, shop shop shop!) and a whole lot more.
Indeed, as soon as they’ve entered, Mappolo already playfully has his arm around the Jenny, and he takes a shopping cart and tells her, hop in, she blushing, saying no, really meaning yes, does hop in and adjust her body inside, A. shaking his head, Mappolo’s inconsistencies baffling, even to him, but he’s tagged along, he politely speaking with Jenny’s friend, they were obviously not much into each other and besides, A. was still smitten with the girl from the seven-eleven, could not get her face (or body) out of his mind. Mappolo pushing the cart with Jenny inside her legs like frogs’ hanging out over the front, increases the speed and zigzags through the aisles. He yahoos and ballyhoos and screams as they ride through the pet food sections and the refrigerated section and through the front section with all the fruits and the little salad bar, and doth doff his imaginary cowboy hat and even giddy up high step kick steps while he picks up salt (they needed more for Steve) and two types of sugar, lofts them high into the air shouting Catch and Jenny playing along bringing her hands up in that way some girls who don’t play sports awkwardly, in an uncoordinated kind of way, half turning head and half-closing eyes, letting object come to them and only then gripping, catch. Through the breads section they go and Mappolo twists around and juggles loafs and a couple of smaller rolls and lobs behind his back a pita bag that he himself catches, then approaches Jenny and smiles and deposits the variety in the cart and says gotcha. He wants to kiss her, the proximity ignites a weird fire within, this improvisational clowning around, and plus, she seems to like it. They’re hitting it off, no doubt, somehow, and she does too, it seems, want him to kiss her, but he refrains, respect factor, and plus, after all, Mappolo is, sort of, taken even though they have a deal with A., the open relationship and all, especially since… In front of the lobster tank they stop and Mappolo approaches face to tank and goes kootchy kootchy with his fingers tapping piano-like on the glass and Jenny laughing and then Mappolo turning around and doing an approximation of a lobster face and lobster claws in movement and Jenny laughing some more and Mappolo saying, you like lobster my dear, and Jenny still laughing not answering and Mappolo adding, ’cause I’ll be your lobster all you want and you can munch on me all day and night, I promise. Mappolo wheels around and Jenny laughing he stops at the front of an another aisle and picks up a disposable camera and says smile to poor Jenny slung in the cart and she plays along and does a grimace and an ugly face and Mappolo pretends to take a picture and says, beautiful, beautiful, but then he does, indeed, take the camera, and places it, in the cart. Then, right there in the middle of the aisle, to the imagined hip hop beat, and a whole bunch of folks gathered swaying arms and limbs in front of the stage, what the world will hear soon, recites his
Shouted sememe II
performance poetry, in the form of a rap: (finger twisted meekly in a mini version of what would truly be, on the stage, one of the greatest shows on earth, a much more pronounced bend, along with an angry and anxious face, with mike quasi touching the mouth, almost swallowed, switch of hands, gestures contortions and – )
They say it can’t be/ all a mystery/ Who are you to see/ where you’ll be/
But I’m just free don’t join no gangs/Hate the greed will show my fangs/
And they will see can’t mess with my plans. I’m all I need ’cause I just kill yo! Dang –
No more beep/cause I am
A revolutionary/a king to be/ A thing to see/a prophet with glee/
That will be/ my destiny/Cause the revolution
Is coming and I am
And will be
One with the people!
No more: oppre-shun!
No more: depre-shun!
No more: devasta-shun!
cuz I’m the lord.
That will be,
Mappolo after getting a quickie applause from a scattered few who’d gathered or were going through items in the aisle themselves, bows and bows again and says thanks thanks and then wheels the cart around and now Jenny saying Mappolo get me out please I’m getting tired and Mappolo jokes are you sure and wheels her around doing a Tchoo-Tchoo train sound and she laughs but she insists I’m serious Mappolo my back, my legs, and Mappolo says, ah but my dear, you are my prisoner, bringing one arm up and lowering his pitch and doing like a monster-creator from somewhere like Transylvania and then comes back up (in pitch) and says, just kidding, and then, gentleman that he can be, stops, extends arm in gentlemanly way and pulls her out and bends and curtsies and kisses her hand and then says, your wish is my command. Then he says, wanna get some free snacks, they give out lots of freebies here. Jenny laughs and before she’s even answered she’s whisked away to Mappolo’s favorite stretch, where the employees dutifully make and distribute miniature freebies, and folks make lines to snag the items, chicken salad on a cracker here, a mini taco there, the latest in salsa sauce served on tortillas, everywhere. Jenny, stuffing herself and once even fed by Mappolo who then dusts off the saucy onion that fell on her shirt, laughing says to Mappolo, again, you’re funny. Then, looking about, says, where’s your friend… and Elaine. Mappolo says, I think they stayed up front. And so the two walking slowly, stuffed and with cart, walk up and sure enough, by the cash registers, looking bored, A. leaning against the front end of one of the cashier’s ramps reading a magazine (well, ‘reading’…), Mappolo seeing him and Elaine to the side says, yeah, they’re there, and so they continue that way and then as the approach, Jenny, to her friend: ‘You guys! Why didn’t you come with us?!!’ Her question is ignored as A., now surveying the content of the cart, sternly, to Mappolo, says: where’s the booze? Mappolo says oops and is turning already and heading to the back and walking away says be right back. Indeed: quickly, he’s back, with two six-packs. Which he deposits directly unto the belt, already occupied with the items Jenny and Elaine, in their kindness, are helping A. take out from the cart.
Lots of shopping going on in this surreptitious tale, I know: all I’m trying to be’s a realist – really.