A school for autism. Or autism at school.

April 10, 2016 § 3 Comments


(A poem about one event, but also about growing up autistic in a neuro-dominant society. The photograph is a detail from my painting – Departure, 2015.)


I drove.

I thought about writing for the second time.

Titles flitted, skittered, played about. Dead leaves in a squall. I know why the caged bird sings returned, having appeared the night before. As I turned the wheel I saw my friend Jon carrying small child on his shoulders. A face from beyond. Digging deep into all my yesterdays. Friendship’s saddest song.

The song of my soul/ How my soul dances, appear too. I know I won’t use them.

I reflect. Pause. Breathe.

Timing. Jon’s face appears, (at random?) when I know why the caged bird sings, sings to me.

I turn the wheel, speed by and he is gone.

Making the transition between inner and outer is me in my car on this fine day, driving.

Today I am not crushed. My soul not expired. That was yesterday. Another day. Another time of my crushing.

So I turn the wheel, Jon appears, and the caged bird, singing sweetly. I drive, he walks, the caged bird sings.

This moment will not recur.

This moment is my signal.

To write. Too right. To plunge toward the crusher. I plunge in. In.

I go inside my crushing to sing it. I sing it. It sings. The caged bird.

How it longs to swoop and soar. These are my wings, my span, glancing against cold gold bars. Caged.

I am swift. I gallop (a horse?). I dance and spin. I have a pulse. I am alive. But you cannot see me.

You see order, lines, measures. One way. THE way. That way is SLOW but correct.

That way is weighty. It weights me. I go down, Submerged when I should float. Polystyrene is buoyant. I should be buoyant. I am light as polystyrene but…

THE way is the cage. CAGE.

Pressing me in with polite no’s. No, be quiet now. No singing. No pulses please. No live souls in this place.

We can’t see THAT working. It won’t work THAT way.

I slip away silently. Remaining absent. Quite gone but visible still. I can move and talk. This is my ghost. Ghost me. But they don’t notice.

I sit on my pulse. I hide in the shadows. It won’t work. You don’t work. You don’t exist. You must be SLOW, measured, and walk in straight lines.

Your way is no way. Tut, tut.

No swooping. No dancing. No singing.

And so I wait, hours pass. I sit on my pulse. Until I am free. Alone.

What agony.

Dim your colours, slow your step.

Spend your time with us. You will learn something.


I learned it.

I learned to sit on my hands and slip away a long time ago.





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§ 3 Responses to A school for autism. Or autism at school.

  • alexforshaw says:

    I hear your beautiful song of freedom carried on the air over the walls of the prison of orthodoxy. The sadness here, the death of dreams. Dreams interred behind the mask of compliance; the decay of what-might-have-been poisons the soul.

    The self, the individual, needs to be accepted, celebrated. Not confined, exhibited like some prized possession, but free to fly wherever and however she will.

    Your words here are powerfully melancholic and I love this piece immensely. xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

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