Poetry

Appointment time

Panic. Pre-empting.

All the conversations in my head

overlapping, overcrowding

flashing up memories of childhood.

The willow tree. School gates.

My dad having to leave after accompanying the school

to swimming.

Her face. Her voice. Her screaming in my ears.

It’s all raw. Still raw.

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Poetry

Restraining a meltdown

Let me scream, let me go hoarse,

these emotions want to rip out through my body.

Crossing sounds and smells, yellow light shining in my eyes

 

and people all around

expecting me to speak in a calm manner

and diligently do my job.

 

My brain is on fire,

my mind just clinging to the vaguest comprehension of what I’m doing.

Voices turn into a babble my ears cannot take,

 

but I’m bound by this uniformed chain

to fulfill my role

so I keep my meltdown locked within.

A struggle covered over with a smile

that is kept from bursting out

 

from the fear of how they’ll react if

they see it fully formed.

 

Poetry

Waiter, there’s a wasp in my soup

I have white noise in my head.

It layers itself over everything my brain is trying to do

and the only way I can turn the screen

to a semi-smooth grey

is impair my senses

so my receptors can focus on one at a time.

I don’t want to be trying to read while having an audiobook playing

and a graphic novel flicking pages all at once.

I want what I see, hear, smell, taste and touch

to be a well-organised orchestra performing a waltz,

not one who’ve had their instruments switched with scrapyard junk

trying desperately to tune up what can’t be tuned.

 

Poetry

A story of trees

Like two phoenixes who have been mated their whole, long lives

we will rise up from our ashes

and carve out space for ourselves

in dark, lichen covered trunks.

Our arms will wrap around each other

in an eternal hug

which will become an eden for birds and squirrels and bees.

From the strength and solidness of our roots

we will remain side by side forever,

entangled in a shower of leaves and blossom.

 

Poetry

Shuffle Huffle

It’s been a while since the spark of my mind

and the images it carves in the grain of my imagination

have wanted to come freely out through my fingertips

and drip into inky life on the page.

Usually, I have to drag them. Wrap my hands around their horns and heave

to get them moving. But of course, that only makes them more stubborn.

I show them pictures of the tumbleweed rolling across my notebook,

pick up handfuls of dry soil

so they can see how barren it’s become.

Guilt-tripping them all the way until they grumble into a slow shuffle

one by one, and cause ink blots everywhere as they do so.

But today they danced out to a waltz,

a festival of colours and gowns and painted masks

because I chose to let them take control of my fingers

and make the shapes they wanted to,

and not force them to bend into mine.

Poetry, Short Stories, Uncategorized

A letter about autism to my childhood self

Hey. Try not to panic. It’s you from the future, and

I’m writing to say don’t worry. Everything

that’s getting to you at the moment will make sense in the end.

 

Like the times you wait by the fence watching the other kids play

wondering when they’ll ask you to join in, and what you’ll do if it happens.

How you’re confused at the ease they interact, talking freely,

while you stand their silently, their shouts and screams of joy

overloading your ears – until the whistle blows and hits you like ice up your spine,

locking you into rigid limbs and wriggling insides. The hold authority has.

And those times you’re unsure what Miss is asking of you, fretting about if you’re doing your work right

because she didn’t go through it fully first. So you wait

and watch the other kids, trying to guess their thinking as they set straight to it

and hoping you can catch a glimpse of their work so you can copy.

Then there’s the time you have to go to the dentist during rehearsals for the school play. Should you put your hand up? Should you just stand?

You ask around in whispers, and everyone says put your hand up. You do, but the teachers don’t see, so then you do stand.

And get told off for not telling them to put you on the end of the row, even though your form tutor read the note at registration.

How about all those times the kids take advantage of your attempts to join in? Sharing

your cat’s cradle only for them to run off with it and claim to the others that it’s theirs,

or when a girl steals your toy and tells the dinner lady you stole it from her

and you can’t speak up properly so give in and let them keep it?

When they’re supposed to share textbooks

and drag them away so you can’t see?

Let’s not forget how you can’t co-ordinate your body in P.E,

or have so much trouble learning in class that you take your work home.

When you have your nose in a book at the doctor’s because you can’t deal with what is going on, and get called rude for not paying attention.

Then there’s your many attempts to get the timing right on Mario’s jump and fail at every try.

When you tell a stranger about how bad mum’s morning breath is

and don’t understand why she’s embarrassed. It’s fact, isn’t it?

Why you can’t understand why people play with dolls when you can just make up characters in your head.

 

Like I said. It’s all fine. There’s a reason for it, a simple explanation:

Autism.

A condition meaning

your brain is wired slightly differently to most people. You notice

things they never will while missing the unspoken signs

they give each other all the time.

It doesn’t mean you’re strange, weird, stupid or a freak.

It means you’re you,

and though you haven’t met them yet, there are others out there

who are wired in the same way

and know just how this feels.

 

So remember, you’re not alone. If you explain

your difficulties (and your strengths)

then eventually the world will start to understand.

 

P.S. In the meantime, try sunglasses and earmuffs — all year round.