I made it worse

I found an old poem this morning – one from the vaults.

Here’s the information you need to know:

  • I believe that autism may be the next evolution of humanity
  • at the time I wrote the poem I did not know that I was autistic
  • I knew my offspring was autistic
  • in 2002 there wasn’t the open talk about autism that there now is
  • I didn’t agree with the abiding view that autistic people were cold and robotic, but there wasn’t much else being presented to me in literature, media, etc. I just thought my offspring was unique, and I was broken.

So, I wrote a poem about rigid thinking, robo-talk, being a cog in a universal machine.

I got the poem out this morning, because I’d made a promise to my neuro-diverse accounta-buddies that I’d rewrite an old poem today.

Readers, I made a huge mess. Huge. I don’t have a vision of what the next evolution might look like. If it’s me, we’ll have a humanity that’s overly sensitive to smell, noise, crowds, vibes in rooms and around people, textures, who can see below the surface of what people are saying and doesn’t have the sense to ignore it. I’m the person who sees the disconnect between what a group says they’re about, and how they’re actually behaving, and asks awkward questions about that.

If it’s my offspring, we will be non-verbal, highly amused by a lot of humanity, quietly going about their own pursuits, and not giving a hoot what anyone else thinks.

Likely, as a species, we will have a hard time expressing and identifying emotions. Sort of like Mr Spock from Star Trek, who was a role model in my formative years.

Will we get to the stars that way? We might well do so, since there’s the cliche of autistic people being superb at computers, tech, and the like (not me). We might be a kinder species, a more honest one, acting as we think and believe, rather than social niceties.

I wanted to marry this nebulous idea somehow to the Age of Aquarius, at least in the draft I have now. Not only the hippie, sharing, caring, save the earth side of Aquarius, but the ‘needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one’ loss of individual freedoms and rights that we are seeing as we move into the Age of Aquarius.

Honestly, as the poem evolved on the page, I realised that I didn’t have a concrete vision on which to extrapolate and fly. And it showed.

Ah well, back into the vaults you go, wee poem, and let me haul out another ragged old thing. I hope this isn’t a ‘make everything I touch worse’ day. Because I have some housepainting, a penpal letter, and some witchery to do.

Mid week writing prompt

From Poets and Storytellers United, mid-week Magaly asks us to write to: ‘war is over, if you want it’.

The war on drugs,

the war against covid,

Wars We Will Win,

let’s not talk about wars lost.

The war isn’t over for some.

Paul Hogan, comedian,

once declared himself king of Australia,

and said he was taking the country to war.

“I’m not saying where,

but I wouldn’t go to New Zealand for your holidays.”

Everyone laughed,

because he was a funny man,

with a tv show,

and ANZACs unite our countries forever.

“I’m waging a war on aphids!” says a neighbour.

I am repelled at her language,

even as I loose ladybirds in the garden,

and spray liquid garlic everywhere.

Aphids suck the life out of roses.

War sucks the life out of me.

*****

I’m afraid this is a bit of a nothing poem, or jagged piece of prose. I’m not feeling it today, but I can at least say, now, that I’ve dipped my toe into writing.

Poem – The Damaged Chalice

Even looking at the cat’s pink nose

leads to a cascade of thoughts,

then memories,

that wend their way into trauma.

The cauldron of the mind pours

until I am sweat-bathed,

tense in my comfortable bed,

seeing but not seeing the window,

suddenly afraid of the day

and what fresh trauma may loom.

I have twisted myself yoga-style

to insist on something happy.

The cup tips itself upright,

supplies nothing,

says it is as empty as an old tea mug,

with used leaves crumbling to dust.

The damaged mind drifts along

the flow of the past.

This morning, the cat on my chest,

I cannot remember

when my daughter first decided pink

was the only colour for her,

and my amused laughter at the cliche.

Poem – In My Body

Prompt from Poets and Storytellers United.

My pelvis wide as ocean,

with bladder flowing along, of course.

Ovaries shrunken down

after forty years of storms.

Those tiny things starved of estrogen,

clung on like barnacles,

month after month screaming like seagulls.

Legs are whales,

belly a rolling wave.

Breasts whole islands

that the sea is reclaiming.

Tectonic plates moving south.

Shoulders hang around like anglerfish,

huge, waiting to snap

should I so much as sleep crooked.

Brain a whole coral reef of life

with sharks moving through.

Why the oceanic theme?

This morning, my body is a grey bay

of barely moving water,

sandbagged,

as slow as an outgoing tide.

Poem – Halfway

Behind me, the road

of chocolate.

Ahead of me, the road

of carrot sticks and celery.

Me, here at the weigh station.

*****

This small poem came from a prompt from Poets and Storytellers United, to use the concept or words ‘way station’ in a piece of writing.

I am not dieting, but probably should cut back on the chocolate. Toddler mind screams: I’ve got to have SOMETHING!

Poem – She Travels For Work

She travels for work, my daughter.

I had the email the other day:

‘on my way home, Mum.

Set up my room.’

Which means ‘clear away your paints,

Mother.

I do not acknowledge that you call it

the spare room.

I do not acknowledge that you have grown,

or changed at all’.

Six months at home, six months away.

She heads south,

tends her kingdom there.

She doesn’t say much.

Doesn’t want to bother me,

she says.

As if I can’t see the worry lines,

how pale she becomes.

I suppose all women are queens in their own domain,

but revert to child again

in the family home.

She has a man there,

I know,

but I know nothing about him either.

Well, apart from the usual:

steady job, older than her,

has a dog apparently.

He can’t have kids.

There goes my fancies

of being a grandmother.

If he mourns her when she’s away,

she’s never said.

Towards the end of her six months here,

there’s a letter or two.

Fancy black and silver stationery.

She says to get over it,

not be sad when she’s gone.

I was crazy at first,

withdrew entirely from the world,

wept.

I’m fine now.

Sometimes, I dread her coming home.

Sure, things are more lively,

but who’s to say I want that

at my age?

She says I never want anything to change.

I smile to myself.

Oh Persephone, if only you knew

how much I love my spare room,

my new hobbies,

my life without you.

I see the daffodils are you.

You’ll be home soon,

and I must pack up my paints.

I was working on a nice winter scene, too.

Oh well.

It will keep for six months.

*****

Thankyou to Setjataset for the ‘prompt’. She has just posted her own Persephone poem, and it got me thinking about how the daffodils and jonquils are starting to push up out of the earth, we are past the Winter Solstice, and thus, Persephone is coming back from her six months in Hades, with Hades.

Demeter often gets a bad rap in the Persephone story, being the wildly possessive and over-protective mother. I, too, have an adult daughter who I have launched into the world. She now lives interstate with her husband and three children. It got me thinking about how women change once their children are grown, and how hard it can be for those adult children to accept that the mum they left at home is not the woman who welcomes them; who now has a separate life.

Covers

Whenever the band warmed up,

they played covers of other artists’ songs.

Imagine a folk band,

lead singer barefoot, with almost-obligatory long

Joni Mitchell hair,

pounding their way through Nine Inch Nails.

Afterwards, blinking in astonishment

at their own ferocity,

they asked the sound engineer:

“How was that?”

No one had the heart to say

‘so much better than anything else you play’.

The band readied their Peter, Paul and Mary playlist,

never knowing they were really

someones else.

*****

This poem came from a prompt on the Poets and Storytellers United website, where the writer talked about singers and bands covering songs. I’m a bit of a fan of covers. The prompt reminded me of the time I was in the room where a folk band was warming up.

Poem: Hestia

Today’s inspiration: Bloodline by C. Dale Young | Poetry Foundation

To be beloved of Hestia.

We don’t talk, we quiet ones

who tend hearth, home, stoves and ovens.

About our days early, and well past dark.

Our every moment a devotion to Her.

Every cook, chef, floor sweeper, fire kindler –

all of us worshipping She Who Is The Heart(h)

of the Home.

If only Eris had sent that apple rolling a little to the left,

Hestia would have picked it up,

smirked at the inscription:

To The Most Beautiful,

and baked that troublesome fruit into a pie.

A dessert worthy of Hera, Athena, Aphrodite,

and none of them pestering some shepherd boy.

I pour tea, place a scone on a plate,

heap up the good apricot jam,

the cream thick as ichor.

Hail Hestia, this one’s for You.

Poem – Mrs Mavis Wanczyk

Mrs Mars Wanczyk wants to send me money.

She has a large donation

from an anonymous benefactor,

and she wants this done quickly,

as she is retiring from the legal business.

Oh, what will you do, Mrs Mavis Wanczyk,

when you retire?

You’ve been busy handling all the cases left

on your shining desk,

and perhaps I’m the last one.

Mrs Mavis, will you take up fishing?

What will you do, Mrs Mavis,

when there’s just you in your house,

rattling around with money

and my bank account details?

Do the Swiss Alps call, with bank accounts in snow drifts?

What about a Carribean pirate destination?

Mrs Mavis, are you prepared

for long hours of Netflix and no chill?

Mrs Mavis, what will you do

for those thirty years until you die?

Is email enough, Mrs Mavis?

Is it?