Poetry

Imposter

The pages of drafts and edits could decorate my walls,

each finished book a paperweight, a door stop,

decoration for the shelves

and hideaway for the mind after a long day.

Above all, evidence.

 

Surely I can’t dispute clear fact?

 

The voice of blank bears down on me,

drawing up every negative:

comments, remarks, comparisons,

the scattered and scribbled notes in my journal,

scratched out because they weren’t good enough.

 

Weren’t good enough. Weren’t good enough.

 

Do I prove it right? Or plug my ears,

gather my notes and map them into sense

just like I did last time?

Poetry

Splinters

The splinters of the branch slid into my fingers

as it snapped at the force of my hand as I tumbled into the tree.

Blood beaded down the bark and caught on the tip of a serrated leaf.

The red mirror showed

how little I’d changed

despite being shoved out of line, convinced my place was over here, not there.

My hair was ruffled, but still mine.

My clothes were covered in cobwebs and lichen, but still mine.

My eyes were wet and open, but still mine.

The blood dripped from the leaf and was instantly swallowed by the soil.

I stood up.

Poetry

Attached

Enter: a shadow, the basement

of a person, painted solid by their ledger.

Hushing for silence

that doesn’t exist.

The audience sees it clearly under the bright stage lights,

but its owner is blind.

They feel so transparent, they’re not even sure they have a shadow anymore.

It sneaks up behind

and photographs them, panoramic view,

and leaves the print at their feet.

Evidence. Opaque as can be.

Poetry

Inner Art

Choose your canvas carefully,

not too large it might swamp you,

not too small so your vision spills from the sides.

Measure it, carefully, then study its texture.

Find all the bumps, irregularities

and note them down

so you can take extra care. You may

even wish to make them a feature,

and if not, then certainly don’t let them hinder

your self-worth.

Next, you must sketch out your idea,

adding to it once you’ve gotten used to each part.

Once it’s all clear to you,

you can add colour, add certainty.

Gently layer it on.

When the piece is finished, step back

and know that everyone will view it differently,

with no opinion weighing more than another.

Be proud of it, and let it show.

 

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.

Poetry

Prime numbers

I’m no good at maths, not the quick mental part anyway.

Or most of the other stuff. But I do like

the puzzling out, finding keys and pathways

if I’m left to pick through it on my own

scratching pencil notes in the margins of textbooks and on graph paper.

But what I really like is prime numbers.

The solidness of knowing they cannot be divided (evenly)

to make themselves smaller.

They are what they are. Unique and separate,

proud to command their value as it is.

 

I wish I was a prime number.

Wish my attention wouldn’t be split

over and over

or shoved into some complicated equation

I can’t even begin to wriggle out of before time runs out.

Poetry

Say it

Say it. Let the sound fill your mouth

like curry, full on flavour and spicy

enough to set your breath on fire.

Then spit it out. Let them know

the wine is sour,

and the alcohol content cannot make up for it.

Bottle their gasps for later,

you can use them at the lightshow

when they try to blot you out.

And, with their retorts,

take off your cloak and mask

so their ice-words melt from your brightness.

Show them the spectrum,

not the gradient.