Poetry for Autistics Speaking Day

As I mentioned in this post, I will be sharing poetry as my way of speaking on Autistics Speaking Day. I invite you to read the following poems today:

Thank you everyone who is taking the time to read these poems today. We autistics *do* speak and communicate in various different ways. Hats off to everyone who is participating today — I will see you around the interwebs. And if you are sharing poetry today too, please don’t hesitate to post links to your work! You can leave them in the comments.

-Nicole

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2 thoughts on “Poetry for Autistics Speaking Day

  1. To our Autistic Family (Just keep those genius genes coming, baby)

    By the time we were old enough to toddle
    Off to kindergarden
    We had learned that the world was not made for us.
    Other people knew the rules and regulations, while
    We blundered through our days the best we could.

    When we noticed how people laughed at us
    When we weren’t even trying to be funny
    We discovered how much easier to pretend
    That we had just been joking all the time..

    Eventually we all had reputations for being trouble-makers
    At school, each teacher shuddered at our name.
    So what we did was take pride in our notoriety
    As kids who didn’t know how to get along.

    No one in authority could explain that strange ability
    That some of us were able to perform beyond all
    Expectations in the arts, like drawing things so real
    And beautiful they were (possible reluctantly) hung

    On bulletin boards and won prizes in the shows. While
    Others of us could write stories and poems, that teachers
    Swore must have been copied from a book. And the best
    Of all were our brothers who introduced rock and roll and

    Lead the music department in its solo contests. A few of
    Us were even whizzes at math. The principal begged “Say
    It isn’t so” when our star scholar was the district champion
    Chosen to appear at a local college’s seminar on early education.

    So one by one we all grew up, the world was not kind. We
    Blundered through relationships, at careers it was quickly
    Noticed that we did our best work all alone. Then someone
    Came up with a name for our situation.

    Our grandchildren have a label. Some parents point to it with
    Pride. Others shrug and say “Whatever.” They’ve seen it all
    Before, how these fads come and go. If they ever just take each
    Individual child and let him/her do what they can do best and
    Not deride, Never mind the testing and the label, just be
    Respectful to the person that’s inside.

    • Hi Marian:

      Sorry to respond so late — I haven’t been responding to comments lately, up until recently, but I did get a chance to read this when you first posted. And thank you. Your poem speaks a lot to a common experience — genius and gifted people who seem awkward, socially or otherwise…and the thing is, people are so quick to look at the challenges and then make their judgments until they see what we can do 🙂 I was the weird girl in the corner in Junior High, always on the typewriter, always writing in notebooks…the one who never picked up that people were making fun of her until it’s too late.

      I think if there is anything we absolutely MUST do for our autistic young people, it is this: 1) support, guide, and help them, and 2) tell them that it will get better after high school/secondary school/etc. It is so easy to fall into despair and think it is the end of the world when we are teeangers, especially if we are struggling socially, and this can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

      We are not only the present, but the future, as your poem points out. And the past, as well, though some would love to claim that autism is a recent development — but we can look to traits present in our parents/grandparents/etc. as proof that this is false. My dad could build car engines from nearly any mix of parts, as well as visualize and build things with his hands with wood with some simple yet detailed drawings, yet I don’t think he could ever get the hang of interpersonal relationships or marriage — turthfully, if he didn’t have a libido, I suspect he could have spent the rest of his life alone and very comfortably. And my grandmother had excellent language skills and taught elocution, but had a particularness about her that has been conveyed to me second hand. My dad was born in 1920, and my grandmother in 1889. So there you go.

      Thank you, Marian, for sharing this poem with me and the readers of WWA. Hope to see you around here again.

      -Nicole

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