Cheer-squad tv news/ is telling us that/real men/ have accomplished what/they have accomplished My mother tries/to cook/the cat chews on the carpet my mother gets/ angry/at the cat/gets under her feet when she tries to cook/then chews/on the carpet I pick up the cat/he wants to/bite me there there/in front of the heater/not/ under our feet when we try to/cook Cheer-squad news/ accidents, wars my mother tries/to cook I/pick up the cat/put him near the heater there’s a good cat/there there the cat tries to/bite me Cheer-squad news/ from telling us what/we have accomplished my mother tries/to cook I/pick up the cat from/chewing the carpet Cheer-squad news/from under our feet the cat has gone/to sleep we/have accomplished what/we have accomplished Cheer-squad news/is telling us my mother/ has cooked what/she has tried to cook the cat has gone/to sleep there there’s a good cat from/under our feet from/chewing the carpet there there’s a good/ tv news in front of/the heater my mother/has cooked what/ she’s tried to cook the cat/has gone/to sleep.
‘Frisian Waltz’ (first published as ‘Mother’s creative tempat’) and ‘My mother and the cat’ were included in my latest collection My mother and the cat (Melbourne Poets Union, 2020). ‘My mother and the cat’ is a sound poem and has been a performance favourite for many years… poetry about my mother who tried so astonishingly hard to be a caring mother, in spite of everything. My mother was a bit of an enigma, even to her own children. When I was a teenager, my mother confided in me that she thought she was suffering from Autism. She asked me whether I was able to “think clearly” and was adamant that, throughout her life, she herself had to “learn everything off by heart”. ‘in overdrive,’ (from the chapbook: ‘oh yes, and the emergency button’, ftloose productions, 2019) is an expression of intergenerational trauma experienced by me, from my parents.