FOR MATURE READERS ONLY
Margaret Durante, former publicity director of Macmillan Publishing, describes the book as street edged blood & guts.
S Meringolo: Like the Irish writer James Joyce, the author uses language in a unique way to create a personal world. Stay with the book for an interesting ride through an Italian-American neighborhood in the 1960's, and accept the inviting opening that will unveil an intense and whirling story of self-abuse and illness, an internal struggle to survive against relentless forces of two emotional collapses. And accompany John on his quest to understand his ex-marine father's journey towards madness that had no name, after WWII, as the dark side of medical history explodes in a surreal way. It's worth a read just for the metaphors and similes that create an environment not to be forgotten. It took many years to write, but the final product was worth the wait.
During the 1950's divorce slept as a beleaguered exception, not a fatuous rule of an experimental society, just one more personality forming twist to haul upon a laden back, and as a family process neared fruition, I denied reality of the parental breakup, not understanding what would become painfully obvious many years later; dad was mentally ill.
Passionless jaws of a Cold War had already invaded street-energies of a tarred Brooklyn, biting a gripped nation through dread of nuclear confrontation, while a panicked New York City Board of Education hastily issued ominous labels shown off like grim jewelry, metal 'dog tags' containing names and addresses, dates of birth, schools attended, and the sex of each student, although never actually used as identification for radiated bodies of defenseless children. Apartment building basements equivalently met criteria as Fallout Shelter's, yet no one detected a melting psyche masquerading as such vigorous innocence beneath phenomenon to suppress, a possible annihilation in a nuclear war using some Soviet psychopath catalyst, and maturing, partially naked, minus a father; vivid pictures of an intact family, a basket of memories from those formative years, don't exist. An escapist's modus operandi then became daydreaming, which felt like a comfortable shoe, or a ready vagina.
Maybe almost twenty years on psychiatric medication erased all that was sacred, or could it possibly be a domino effect of an undetected illness, which wasn't even named yet; or perhaps pot smoking, numerous Bamboo inhalations, deleted precious visions, or even worse, it was an unconscious repression of verbal and physical abuse. Was it fate, self-inflicted or just bad luck, an air pollution effect, or maybe some unknown government experiment like the secret tests conducted during World War II, Frankenstein trialing to determine how a human body would react to an atomic attack? The glowing victims, nine of them in upstate New York, and three others in California, Illinois, and Tennessee, were injected with Plutonium. The federal government later on paid $4.8 million for injecting a dozen human guinea pigs with atomic bomb elements, without their knowledge, as a Cold War era radiation experiment. You never know, so it doesn't hurt to be a little paranoid. What I don't remember seems a circle of emptiness; what does remain becomes pulsing fixation, a needed purging of emotions, and a passageway into everlastingness.
Every Wednesday afternoon at precisely two o'clock I jumped on a bus parked outside grade school, headed for an hour of instruction and guidance at Saint-Simon & Jude, and whatever it said in the Bible, whatever reformulated as practice or ceremony, had to be swallowed on an empty stomach, no logical questions allowed inside so many rituals. If anyone ate meat on Friday sin-reducing repent confessed that heinous act to a forgiving priest, but to evade bottomless guilt I could suck on a hot dog after 12 midnight, adore dissenting thought as a mutineer holding a training bra flashing breasts of restless nonconformity.
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May 25, 2007
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