Allied, Unallied, Re-Allied

Allied forces grey and green and flying

Technicolor on the television
our memorabilia reflecting
reminiscing
that our father’s father’s (father’s)
alliance was not based on the same
wants needs expectations
of our allies…
And today I sit in a sea wider
Broader than the Atlantic that frothed
at Nomandy when my “grandfather”
climbed
the beaches soon to be wet with
a fluid that is NOT ocean
contemplate wonder self-doubt
me as ally…
My ancestral family rose up out of
Normandy and conquered and pillaged
presumed dominance
over those whose father’s fathers were kings
In the name of our own prides
to subjugate the pride of a culture still rebuilding from
the last invasion…
I have to ask myself if their blood runs
too hot within my veins? Does it
spoil
my heart beats, my ancestral privilege?
Does conquest or obliviousness run in the
double helix of my fathers and again
in me…?
As my Grandfather’s brothers walked into
a camp teeming with death unpredicted-
unimaginable-
did they feel the foot of their soul sink
into the quicksand of realization?
Or did they allow pride to restablize
them as heros….?
When we cast our roles as heros
denying how we conquest or ally without
perspective
how is that any different than the ignorance
we declare ourselves fighting to conquer?
Good things do sometimes come from our ignorances-
but should they?

Originally posted August 6th This was written more as me considering my feelings and inner conflicts when I think about what it means to be an ally for those whose communities I’m not a part of. (Specifically, I was thinking of my Women of Color, Trans, and Asexual friends.) But I think that it does apply to anytime we claim to be allies of a group of people, and in particular I post it as a challenge to those taking part in the shutdown. Think what it really is you are doing, and does it meet the needs of those who you are declaring yourself an “ally” to?

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To Inspiration: Accessible Interpretation

When I published “To Inspiration”, I had to come up with a way to make it more accessible for people with cognitive, intellectual, and Learning Disabilities. I firmly believe in each person taking what they need to from a work of art, but I also wanted my core message to be accessible. So I wrote this along side interpretation/study guide which was published along side the original poem.

I.

I let myself become frustrated, and my words to become “dry” when I take how I feel from what I am trying to say. I have difficulty saying in words what I mean, and I feel like my meaning is lost when I try.

Sometimes, I cannot write in Prose, or sentences, what I mean. There is too much moving from images (how I think) into “understandable” words. So I write poetry using the images I think in. But I only allow myself to write it in private, where people can’t see how messy and difficult words are for me.

This is how I make the two parts of how I think set apart.  My emotions and experience of a thought I put into poetry and hide from people. The facts and exact meanings I put in the words I write in public. This is difficult, and makes my emotions a stressful thing when I write instead of a positive thing.

II.

Art can have a strong effect on how we feel. This art does not need to fit into how people think art “should” be. It can be more powerful when it is not. Speaking, hearing, or moving like other people isn’t needed to make art.

I have difficulty saying aloud words. This is even more true when I talk about things that have had a strong effect on how I feel. This does not mean I have nothing to say. The feelings that other people’s art give me help me worry less about people’s thoughts about how I make art. It is okay the way I am.

III.

Some people make jokes about the number “69” but this is serious so I remind you not to. A woman who thought about the hows and whys of how women are treated said “the personal is political”. This was when people put down people talking about their problems. They said it made no change. Carol disagreed.

For a long time, maybe longer than we’ve been human beings, Art has been a way to say something without talking. It allows people to talk about things that are hard to find words for. It allows people to let others know about things even when it is uncomfortable to talk about. Some things cannot be put into words properly, but art allows these things to be “said” without speaking.

People tell us- sometimes with strong words- that the negative feelings and our unmet needs are private. These are things we are told not to tell people about. When we are allowed to talk about them, we can only tell them to certain people or professionals. We are told that the things we feel are just what we feel. we are told not to look at how the people around us treat people like us.

I think that instead of limiting ourselves to what others say is okay to share we should share what we want to. We should take our experiences and put them into our art. Through art, we can take all the bad things society teaches us to feel about ourselves and change something. We can recognize our differences and our shared experiences and show people who we are, rather than who they think we are.

To Inspiration

I

I allow myself to wither
My passions separated out from
the lyrical
The core of thought desiccated
in prose
While I try to ferment these thoughts
unassisted
into words.

From time to time the dam breaks open
and my need for poetry to
translate
out my thoughts, unable to
contain
my scratch work in my head
any longer
to describe.

In this way the disparate parts of me
I segregate the elements that make me
my passion
from my thoughts, and so I dwell in the
facts and figures
moving out my emotions through a
vent hole
in private.

II

There is a time that a story can move
words without sound
dance more powerful without music
ecstatic exhalations of
power, emotion and thought in one
gigantic swoop of expression.

My own words trembled and failed to pass out
the encompassing effects.
But though my speech doesn’t move
my thoughts do, my soul does
and, guided forward by the winds of fellows
already moving, I move too.

III

In 1969 (no jokes just now please)
Feminist Theorist Carol Hanisch declared
The personal is Political
A response to the idea that when a group
of people suffering under
oppression come together to discuss their
oppression, it is “Just group therapy.”

Throughout the ages (maybe longer than we’ve been homo sapiens sapiens)
art has been a method of non-verbal declaration
Expression of our interior into the exterior world.
To dare to speak the unspeakable,
Expressing in words-
or without them- that which might,
in fullness, not lend itself to language alone.

We are taught (Or is it demanded?)
that our desperation is private, our personal
a secret to be shared in dimly- or fluorescently- lit rooms.
Our pain is somehow ours alone,
to separate experience
from the cause and conditions that
create and foster the framework upon which we are suspended.
Instead, someday (soon?)
can we not take our experience and, raw as art,
push out our collective ill-conceived self-loathing
acknowledging our unified-
and diverse-
experience, as people whose lives
before “without” defined, bloom from within identified out.
Dedicated to the performers of Sins Invalid– who inspire me not only to take my personal into public/political, but to take my experience- my “art”- there as well.

Published in the Fall 2010 NYLN Newsletter. Visit the NYLN Website, or apply to join our leadership.

This is not ASD specific, obviously- This is about bringing our personal experiences and the way the world treats people- particularly those with disabilities- to our art and how we otherwise express ourselves to the world.

There is a guide/alongside interpretation for those with learning or cognitive disabilities.

Poetry and the Vision of Thought

I pour out these words

to describe the state of being
in my head
before I can make them form
the language that you all are speaking
Hours Days weeks at a time they build up
till over washing into this flood plain
of poetry
before fermenting, bubbling, then
coalescing into words that make sense
or seem to
Until I realize I’ve misunderstood your language again.

Originally posted August 6, 2010

Feet

The arch curling round

bracing around what is surely
those absences society sees in us
the lack- they say lack
lack, a word with so much of saying
that there is something that
should must be there
but isn’t-
of eyes touching
easy embrace
the societally explained expectations
that lead only to disappointment
when pursued-
in my experience at least.
Instead there is that space
of each of us being our own
beings
and yet united
continued, flowing, unlimited
by the bonds of societal affection.
our skills and wants and needs
uniquely ours and yet
a part and parcel of the drive
or desire of one whole.
United only by
the touching of our feet.

Originally posted August 4, 2010

Note: This poem is about being in a relationship as an Autistic, and how it contrasts with the ways that people think a relationship is “supposed” to look like. I debated posting this, but I think that it is important to recognize that Autistic Adults have relationships, and that many of our relationships don’t match up to what society tells us they should. I’ve dated several young people who were either on spectrum, or who had “cousin” Dxs such as ADHD or OCD, so this is SEMI-Autobiographical

Analogy>Smilie>Metaphor and Me

I. Analogy

Experience : is to

Once
I put my hand down
into a vat of wine that was fermenting
and felt the foam that was bubbling
up,
As the glucose broke down into
ethanol, and CO2 bubbled up
Exothermic
past the layer of sludgy
grape rinds.
:: as Emotion : is to

Often,
I read articles
constructed by “professionals”, families
supposed allies in my life, that then make
my
Emotions active, rising my blood pressure
and the heat slowly releasing
from my skin
in waves, stomach acids
churning.
II. Simile

My emotions then rise within me
like
CO2 from fermenting glucose;
my skin and thoughts release
as
the exothermic reaction of fermentation;
My physiological markers of distress feel
like
the bubbling yeast felt on my hands.
III. Metaphor
My rage and indignation
ferments as I read the words my
oft called
(by others)
allies have written
about, for, in lieu of me.
I release out my CO2 exhalations
In effort to respond to those who would
speak “for”
(how can they?)
me and mine
the heat, passion, held in frothing.
Bubbling up within me, I try to
translate out this emotion and find my
words lacking
(can words ever?)
to express the
emotion, sensation, feeling of you
and your presumptions of how far I can take this.

Originally posted August 9, 2010

Poem: Articulate

It is confusing when you say it-

Articulate.
Every time I hear it, I think
that maybe I do not understand the word
because it is not my experience of
how things rush out.
“1 divided into words or syllables meaningfully arranged”
Attempted.
I struggle to arrange these words
with only a “book” knowing of how they might mean
never knowing truly the meaning it is
arranging itself for you.
“2 Able to Speak” Sometimes or maybe even
Usually.
More often than I say, My thoughts
will not come into words, leaving me silently
wanting, tongue still yet wanting to
articulate out the within.
“3 expressing oneself readily, clearly, or effectively”
Hardly.
The words are sought for bitterly,
struggled with, and always- always- found lacking
in the ability of that first charge of
“expressing oneself”

Often these words are unwilling, jumbled, and ineffective to
Expound
the ideas that drive them;
my voice does not air readily the frustrations
laying between my thoughts and tongue
so you:
Fail to see the desperation of grasping for my words
Oblivious.
Failing to factor in affect
inconsistently portrayed, and routinely unprojected are
an accuracy of the emotion within, displaced
from line of sight.
That you do not hear my struggles does not mean they don’t
Exist.
That I fail to emote them does not
end them. Just because you see meaning and effectiveness
does not mean that it is always as my
Intended pattern.

Originally posted September 1, 2010

Autistics Speaking Day

In case you haven’t heard yet, an organization has been promoting “Communication Shutdown” to raise Autism Awareness. They have been encouraging people to not use social networking accounts today.  Supposedly, this is somehow supposed to help NTs understand our difficulties with communication and the resulting feelings of isolation.

What they are missing, though, is how much social networking sites have allowed us to connect. Some of us- like myself- do speak verbally, but have difficulties with initiation or understanding social ques, or might even on occation just not be able to get words out verbally. Some of us only speak verbally sporadically. And some of us don’t speak verbally at all.

But Autistics of all different types have benefited from social media platforms. Some of us were able to find communities that were inaccessible before. Some of us have found people who are willing to accept us as who we are, unorthodox communication needs and all. And for some of us, we’ve established our own communities and even developed our own culture. There are even those who have been able to maintain relationships- romantic or otherwise- in ways that would have been impossible before. All of these things are much much more difficult for us to do out in the “real world”.

And often, the real world doesn’t make space for our needs, or for our communication. Our communication might be labeled as overly aggressive, as “funny”, or even identified as problem behaviors and not recognized as communication at all. Online this isn’t as true- so how is this event supposed to help raise awareness for how our lives are?

Some people- including the wonderful Corina Becker- Have decided to have “Autistics Speaking Day” instead. We are sharing our stories, our communities, our thoughts, our art with the world. And you know, maybe we will actually be heard this time, since those who claim to speak for us are being silent.

****

I’ll be posting some poems of mine that are about my experiences as an Autistic person on this blog today, and linking once an hour over on twitter to them and to some of my friends and their works. I hope you join us!

Here are some other posts on this topic:

By Corina Becker: Real Communication Shutdown, Autistics Speaking Day, Preparing to be Loud, and Addressing Criticism.

Kim Wobbles: In Which I Get Pissed Off: Not shutting down.

Facebook Event: Autistics Speaking Day