Kathy Acker, My Mother
By Peter Acker
(Peer Press; 617 pages; $45.00)

Trashing Punk Kin

( 996 words, posted September 20, 1996; not to be read before September 20, 1999)

Kathy Acker's been trashing her poor father for almost half a century now, so it's only fitting that a bastard son should turn up to carry on the family tradition and trash the fuck out of his mother.

And Peter Acker, doesn't waste any time, beginning the preface with "My whining, career-obsessed, cunt of a mother..." and continuing on with tales of abuse and abandonment, exploitation and psychological manipulation.

cker describes, in excruciating detail, the perverse sexual acts his mother made him perform for the entertainment and amusement of the endless stream of lowlife strangers she picked up daily on the street.

Of course, those are just the stories. But what's more telling is Acker's exposure of the underlying architecture of a reality his mother was only a symptom of.

In the epilogue, Acker talks about trying to understand a short stretch of continuum defined by Gore Vidal at one end, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec at the other.

This piece of continuum is part of a much greater parameter, and exhibits difference along only a few restrictive sub-continuua -- so, overall, the similarities are more striking than the differences, which in turn makes the differences harder to study.

In the end, of course, the real subject of this book is reincarnation, and cognitive performance before, during and after reincarnation.

Kathy Acker, My Mother, among other things, will therefore answer the age-old question about whether, during astral projection, everything suddenly appears in wireframe.

ut the reader should be forewarned -- about halfway into the book, Acker suddenly forgets his mother and confesses that both she and he were lying and are really just nice upper middle class kids from Westchester that just happened to luck into lots of trust fund money they could rail against the source of. After that, the remaining 250 pages of the book are blank.

Despite that, or maybe because of it, suddenly you can't escape the notion that there has to be terrorism and there has to be genetic defects of all kinds, otherwise the species would die out.


"I'd started with nothing, and now I was losing even that -- though all the meters and graphs and digital readouts said I wasn't.

"Even my heads-up display was quiet where, normally, it would've blipped on some short-range, short-term, corrective, instructional video, had any one of my key parameters started to slip outside acceptable bounds."