ArchivesSite MapSubmitOur GangHot Sites
tearing the rag off the bush again
Picnic Game With Nudes PDF E-mail
We women are naked, men ill suited.
In the game “picnic,” a designated leader creates a secret rule concerning what other players may bring to a picnic. Players must attempt to guess what rule the leader (Player 1) has created in order to participate in the picnic.  PICNIC, a conceptual play by the author (Player 1), is a reworking of her part (interior and exterior monologues, plus the omniscient voice) in the unfinished collaborative play, PICNIC, co-authored by four players who departed from the playing field.


It is picnic time thinking. We women are naked, men ill suited. Children are fluttering in breezes like daffodils, la dee da la di da da. Should the Players bring a hippopotamus or pantaloons, strawberry shortcake, Slivovitz or plums before they're pickled? How should we know? You ask. YOU have the information; you see we have nothing but empty hands. That is not our fault.  It’s expected.

One of you whispers we are at war, awaiting orders. We cannot begin yet. Wait! Electricity is dead and the planet remains inaccessible. Ice water is everywhere, molting fast and spilling over

the rims of seas onto continents. Wait! Can we find it on Google Earth, whatever it is?

Some claim I burned with fever, or was it an effect of summertime in war? Rumor says Grandmother left the information amongst the lavender sachets in a boudoir drawer. Some time ago unknown and then soon after, inevitably, the Romanian relatives opened the grave to look inside her drawers, then, shamelessly opened her up.

Imagine delving all that way into the voluminous folds of Grandma, untying the rainbow of ribbons wrapped around her organs. Many aver she was a deity, the head of a cult somewhere in Bavaria. I come from a long line of leaders, have Grandma pride, adhere to my heritage bereft of extension cords.  

There is a taped statement by a relative, a portion of a memoir, date deleted:  “We were all there peering into the open coffin where Grandma lay in a gay yellow dress. The Romanians sang and snickered, shouted Dada, Dada, confusing d’s with t’s.  During the opening ceremony they became so tipsy on moonshine and violin music, they lost our children. We were tipping so much over.  We may have lost the information.  There were so many losses during the war.”

Define information, what we'll need, you command.  

I say the information is data coming from hearts and intestines and ears and asses, data from clitorises and cerebella, warthogs, potatoes, rats and solar systems. Everything inside and outside Grandma is information. Someone once said. Imagine in early summer, artichoke season, olives o lives singing swinging on vines.  I say everything arrives from collective memory, emerges from selective memory.

May we bring olives? You ask. So literal you are, Player 2, so impatient, Player 3.

Remember? We proceeded to a park a field yes a field everywhere planted ourselves in that field, park, perhaps pasture, we with our voices, subject to the elements, storms of stones and broken bits of bones from falling stars, sharp spurs from asteroids. We exposed our selves to hysterical winds and loud rains.

We planted ourselves and sang a song, forget which. possibly a lullaby.

Out of the exquisite corpus of Grandma and appearing from air and cosmic gasses there could come anything, adhering from gravity or unbecoming with levity. Voila! Now arrives a donkey bearing a basket full of ashes.  The burden is unbearable; in time the donkey must be returned.

The music is clangorous, as gauche as the times. There are children everywhere asking for fast food and aliens. Someone forgot nappies and nannies. Tut Tut.

Player 1 (I in denial they say) is already rosy in the cheeks and the champagne has not been uncorked. There are battles to be won, announcements to be made, antes to be upped, rulers to be uprooted. The stench of leftovers hangs out in the corridors. From this field on the top floor of the tallest building we see oceans coming, a putsh rising with ghoulish grace off the Asian coast afar. We will be overcome by pirates and terrorists from the outside. We must guard our own.

We must guard our pirates and terrorists!

We need information, phone taps, black lists, grenades, and torch. All we have are olives and pickles, black bread and a picnic basket.  You cannot eat without the information.  We cannot partake.


is peeved . . . is ripping rhizomes from the field as if they were hairs on her head. Herr Doctor’s daughter states Diagnosis: Trichotillomania.

But I name it weeding the tangents, preventing the spread of malignancies, warding off maelstroms. Player 1 wants to execute Grandma's will; indeed, she must. She wants smooth gliding, gladiolas and sextets.  She wants a Wagnerian style execution.  The skies darken with terrified birds as the winds grow fierce.  This is not a picnic.

I shout: Why does there have to be all that when there is this? You're all over the place but here, you with your I-pods, guns, and cell phones. Your world is a cell phone booth of bullet-proof glass. You can barely see your own feet! You want information, yet attempt no answers. You want free admission. You want Grandma's breast, want more and more of what she has given you. You wouldn’t get a clue if it flew into you.  

In uncertain terms, you are late and sneezing at the donkey, Player 2. You must never sneeze at an enslaved beast. Shame on you, a mess with your waffling, piffling and wanting, aches and pains, tonsillitis, tinea . . .  existential groans! Waffles for breakfast --made with whole-fat butter-- maketh the rectum and memory stutter. Your intestines coil about your brain like a clique of leeches.  How about a colonoscopy, free of fee? You've arrived at the wrong picnic, one of the thousands full of other people's children, yet again. Perhaps a lobotomy on the house?

You are veering off the course, chasing after your own balls, Player 3. Off the course, what course? You might ask naturally, always asking yourself questions you don't understand. You are breaking o lives not bread. You are full of static. I cannot hear your voice amongst the many. I heard you ask Grandma: Is it essential to stick to a course, to go from A to B, B to C, logically? Decide for yourself -- don't bother me. Do you know how to ride a donkey? Do you know how to see? Watch the Valentine roses and beware. Their mouths open, displaying eloquent pink tongues.  Flies swoon and drop, head first, into the roses. Promises promises.  When will the primaries end?

In these fields of mine, Player 1 loses score of the supplicants. What does Player 3 say? I lost my hearing aide. Who is coming? No one is really here.  I am looking for nourishment, as usual, so boring I am. No one has brought anything of use to the Picnic. The Players come and go. Those who drop by cough and stutter, claiming helplessness, inoculation, family crises, weddings and anniversaries. There are CEO's around. We are afraid to speak. What did you say, Player 4? Focus!

I hallucinate Players in a fog, cough from the stench from the oil refineries belching the new fuel: lard from the bodies of prisoners, the cellular energy of the putrefied dying and dead. When will the hurley-burley end?

Don't lose the evidence. Place it in baggies as if it were peanut butter sandwiches for the detainees.  Continue to drown them, but keep them alive: they’ll talk sooner or later.  Tell me what they say.

Yea, these are grave times in deed and thought. The survival of the saps is a roll of the die, dying is a child’s game. Pin the head on the tail of the donkey.  

Unsettled in her grave, Grandma snores in the mansion built in place of donkey dung, high on the hill overlooking the dead. In the valley, children rip daisies out of her breasts. We are all here, nitpicking in the cemetery plot, plot less amongst loose stones and mausoleums.

In a dead zone of sleep, Grandma opened up her olive eyes and removed her gown. Her body was a polluted mound of desiccated soil.  She cried for water. Maggots fell from the sky.

What was your question? Player 5 queries, non-committal with his parenthetical opticals, a product of bad mom and popping, blighted fruit of unwanted pregnancy. Mother was devout, the rumor goes, so Player had to come out, ready or not, was premature. Her fault, his, fissure. Father would not tolerate the child's crawling back into the womb, disappearing into vacancies he could not see. So many empty residences beyond our selves, Player 1 ruminates. Too much real estate, too many supermarkets.

Thinks Player 1, I think: poor petrified Player 5, polishing his pistol, a person of thought not deed, persona non grata without a set number, an identity of her or his own, could be their own, unwanted bastard, name and capitol dropper, poor self image/s flatulent from a surfeit of Wagner and lard or hip hop and hops. Not to forget the media stars on play stations.

I feed my donkey sweetmeats and sour dough, shoo shoo the coughing Player 4, fly in the champagne, away you go into your pyramid, but don’t forget your Bavarian hat to ward off clogs in the arteries. Danish cheese hardens the heart, someone warns. Dutch cream, as well. I'll take my green tea dark in the comforting shade of the belladonna tree, its poisonous fruits tinkling seductively in the summer wind.

Someone always gets sick at these picnics; most complain of insects and summer. It's the foul air of war, you know, says Player 3, leaping over the fields of mines with his orange parasol, in his staccato style, pas de deuxing in the dew. Player 10 suggests Schubert. Player 10 is a delusion.

Players 2, 4, and 5 sit on Grandma's crotch with their guns, listless and afraid. They fill the churches and pray Oh merciful Lord, I have sinned. Any moment, the bird of the apocalypse is coming. A common crow arrives with a worm in its beak.

Nobody gets it. Nobody knows what to bring to break the wind, to brake it before . . .  Reason and Heart have been banished to the outhouse can. PowPow paw pow, there goes Iran!

Everything is rational, the Players believe, even the number chosen for a lotto ticket when a cashier says, "Your total comes to $9.94," and that number wins; that's rational, they say I can figure it out. And this is rational, too: making babies who will make more babies. See them at it in the fields of mines.

Instinct paralyzes the populace with numb plumped lips, viola hips, deals the finishing touch with its sting.  No matter that rations dwindle in recession and there’s naught but figments left to bring to the picnic. The Players believe they will find the solution.  It’s a cinch, really, they say, Greek chorus style:  Where there’s a will . . .  

Oh, yes, cock your eyebrow; cock it like a gun. Now lower it, lower it. Admit it.  I am not the enemy.  It is not my fault that everything will not be alright.  It is not my fault you have nothing to bring but rhetoric.

Like old money, you want the information fast and inherited.  You want it, no effort. A baker’s dozen of data and you will figure it out.  You will sit at the picnic table and partake of the spoils. What spoils?  Whatever.  I see your pouting lips trying to kiss themselves.  You know you could easily end up alone with yourself, as they say Grandma once said.

You cock that eyebrow again, so coquettishly. You'd like to shoot me now, wouldn't you!

< Prev   Next >