Restricted Movement is an explosive collection of poems that document life as a daughter trying to support her artist father who is overseas struggling with dementia and drug addiction during a pandemic. Interspersed with the frantic cycle of overdoses, escapes from care, disappearances and urgent international phone calls are moments of reflection on her father’s artwork and her seaside surroundings.
‘Traci O’Dea has written verse that complements her old man’s visions like a tugboat pulling a freighter out to deep water’
‘Traci O’Dea’s Restricted Movement is timely, stirring, and sharp as a knife. A pandemic book, an addiction story, and a love letter to a troubled father, it defies the odds by also being really fucking funny. If you needed any further proof that form lends force to feeling, here it is.’
‘Unflinching in its portrait of filial devotion, Traci O’Dea’s Restricted Movement is beautiful and funny. This collection of poems--both love letter and intimate diary--is so skillfully wrought that the lines often seem effortless--almost casual--and yet O’Dea’s formal and emotional control is impeccable.’
‘This is a stunning work of art that layers harrowing narratives, acute social observations, and glorious moments of beauty, grit, and redemption-all impastoed until it is the truth itself that rises before us like paint bubbling out of a canvas. Beautiful.’
‘frank and deeply affecting, a vivid document of time out of joint.’
No order tells my dad what he can’t do.
You’d think he’d be the one most used to it,
but prison didn’t break him, only made
him value freedom more. He disappears
for days, to prove the laws do not apply
to him. Each time, my heart sours, afizz
like blue-green algae film on stagnant pond.
Neighbours ask if he’s okay. ‘He’s fine,’
I lie, or maybe it’s a prayer. I try
to recollect what it was like before,
what I worried about. Earlier still,
my whole childhood he spent in jail. I slept
just fine back then. I never dreamt of him.
You’d think I’d be the one most used to it.