Switched to overload

by Gillian Swain

when listening to The Boomtown Rats undoes you
when the door is open and you can’t go out
when your throat is tight like the belt has no buckle
just a slip-ring
when the days have no punctuation
and yes it’s that song again
you still don’t like Mondays
everyone’s at home now
all things to all people
family time has a serrated edge
there’s a reason we want a home
and a cog that moves us out of it
it’s got to be gone-back-to
nowhere to go
tell me why you’re choking
on a song

Welcome essay:
In 1979 The Boomtown Rats released the song ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ which was Bob Geldof’s response to a U.S. high-school shooting by teenage student Brenda Spencer. Late at night after days of news of the new Covid 19 global tragedy, I flicked the tv over to Rage (the ABC music video program) for a bit of musical relief. ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ began. All of the shock and sadness of the school-girl shooting from all those years ago was amplified in my body. All the angst and bewilderment of this new virus situation hit me. The groundhog days of staying home, the curious challenge of not relaxing into full-time-family-stuff as comfortably as I’d expected to. To my own surprise I sat and wept. And the next day was Monday. More of this to come. It was all too much.

Poet biography:
Gillian Swain spent her childhood exploring the waterfront of Lake Macquarie, mainly around Warners Bay and Speers Point.

Gillian has a poetry collection “My Skin its own Sky” (Flying Islands Press 2019) and shared first place with Magdalena Ball in the MacLean’s Booksellers Award (Grieve Project 2019). She was the curator of all things poetry for the Indie Writers Festival ‘IF Maitland’ in February 2020.

Gillian lives in East Maitland with her husband and their four children, two dogs, and a few fish in the pond out the back.

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