Poetry

Trust exercise

Experience minds, not just their vessels.

Let them help you peel away your layers

while you do the same for them.

The walls of your fortress will crumble, but that’s okay.

Share the past; stinging words, flashbacks. All.

Allow the memories to be, allow them to mature

and disperse into momentary fizzles.

Know that time eases, but is no ointment.

Keep a jar handy to soothe the welts if

and when they rise.

And communicate. Any way you choose.

Being voiceless does not make you mindless.

Understanding is sourced from so much more

than words.

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

Reawakening

It’s a firecracker with karate oomph.

 

No lace involved at this point.

No webs spun, no leaf skeletons

to be collected, analysed, stamped.

 

It took a while to create the right mix

of mineral and powder,

testing and re-testing until the colours were held high,

shouting, ‘we are to return to our maiden voyage.

We are to return

to the sea and its torrents, its salt and seaweed

and the lights of anglerfish in its belly.

 

We are to fight the storms and ride them through

until the calm

spreads her fingers across the surface

and we find the land

we’ve always searched for

bit could never find until now.

 

The homeland of our hearts,

where our roots can be unwrapped

from their protective cloth

and left to spread as they wish.

 

 

 

 

Poetry

Hat Stand

‘What hat shall it be today?’

the woman asks herself as she eyes

up the stand, the helpful monitor beside her

flashing with images of the latest trends.

 

‘Shall it be one that paints me an object, a soulless statue

worth only my measurements? How about the even tempered

diplomat, with no passion of her own, no dreams of her own,

no meaning of her own? Maybe the career minded robot

would like to be displayed?’

 

She lists them all, but none of them match her today.

 

None of them ever matched her, she realises,

and begins to wonder why she has hats at all.

She doesn’t remember buying them.

Were they gifts? Or suggestions?

 

She assesses the weather outside: mild.

 

She decides. She won’t wear one,

to see how it feels to be herself.

Poetry

We weren’t ready

I know we weren’t;

the clouds were still grey

and the chambers blocked, a dam within

a dam

where words which weren’t our own

leaked out to be the wall we tried to pass off

as our foundations.

When time passed and they

eroded

and we pieced ourselves back

from the rubble.

That’s when we were ready.

So that’s when it happened: not before.

And we have eons without hourglasses

sewn into each touch.

Poetry

Sorting Hat

A name is simply a thing to be called. It doesn’t define you. Doesn’t own you. Doesn’t always fit. If you want, you can hide behind it. Be just a name, a name with no face. Be a mask, a separator of lives. One name for a close relationship, another for those that are distant. Barely associates. A name can change over time. It isn’t a static thing, once decided, there forever. It is fluid, changing as often, or little, as you like.

Poetry

As seen through a round tank of water

Fill up the glass tanks, wear them on ours heads like giant fish bowls. If we spill any, we lose our worth and have to crawl on the floor with those dressed in rags, furiously mopping up after others and trying to fill our bowls once more.

The rags disintegrate, we are naked and no no-one cares. We are filthy and no one cares. We are hungry and no one cares. We have brains and no one cares. We have no glass tanks and everyone stares.

Poetry

A funny thing, hindsight.

I didn’t know you’d be there for me.

I didn’t know that you’d see the things every one else missed,

help me without thinking,

come to stand beside me when I needed to stay grounded.

 

I didn’t know how much you would help me.

I didn’t know how much I would help you.

 

I didn’t know I’d bring you back to yourself.

I didn’t know I was the only one you’d share your deepest thoughts with,

be the inspiration for the words coming from your heart,

be trusted with your past, present and future.

 

I didn’t know any of this.

But if I could tell my past self it would happen,

I wouldn’t.

I’d stay quiet, and let her experience it all fresh,

gently strolling

hand in hand with you

on this adventure that’s still going.