The Tree Outside My Window (circa 2004)

The tree outside my window is rooted in the ground
It looks immobile from a distance
But I have seen its branches
Grow, bend, break, be hacked off, grow again
And I have seen its leaves
Grow, twist, change, fall, and grow again

Compared to the tree, I move a lot, and quickly
Compared to other humans, I don’t move much, and slowly
I spend years of my life lying down by the window
In those years the tree tumbles in through my eyes
The jumble slowly etches a deep pattern in my brain

The tree outside my window is not immobile, inert, or unaware
It understands warmth and cold, sunlight and rain
It has an understanding not contained in a brain
A sedentary, ordinary understanding
But one too foreign for most of us rapid creatures
To do more than, one way or another, distort or deny

A woman recoils from the mere thought of how I live
She says my pain and weakness steal time and life from me
I had no words to make her understand
But unbidden the tree forces its way into my mind
Flashing bright, demanding to be recognized
It is not wasted, and neither am I

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The White Institution (circa 2002)

I walked down the street
With my eyes on the building of white
I knew they were like me
Autistic and trained not to fight 

They rocked behind bars and
I knew I belonged there not here
Not out on the streets
With the ones who had never known fear

My body moved forward 
To ocean with sand and with stars
But my thoughts, they went back
To the white institution with bars 

As slugs we might be
But the world it had fashioned a shell
Not home anymore
Not here, not on earth, but in hell

[Events 1999, first written circa 2002, written from memory 2014, May contain errors.]

The Watcher (circa 1995)

She leads me down the street
And lets me watch the people passing
Lets me look into their eyes
As we walk on

I see glimpses of their worlds
Each immense beyond describing
I reach out but she pulls back
And we are gone

She bids me not to speak
For to do so would ensnare me
And drag me into their worlds
To lose the light

My mind wants to explode
With the weight of all the people
But she will not let it show
Our face is tight

So submitting I walk on
Leaving all the worlds behind me
Never knowing if just one
Would understand

And while facing straight ahead
I hope one will recognize me
And break through their own disguise
And take my hand

[Posted because it explores some of the same themes as my last post, and I’d forgotten I wrote this at all. The ending is different because I was young and still very much in the grip of this, rather than an adult looking back.]

In the Name of Memory (circa 2002)

They say life on the battlefield is sink or swim
And only the strong survive
And those of us who survived, we survived
And we say to the next
As they’re standing in line:
We’ve done our time, now it’s your turn

We’ve learned our lesson too well
We’ve taken our hell and passed it on
It will make you strong
We say as we turn away

And how easy is it to forget
The ones who walked with us, talked with us
The ones we fought alongside
They didn’t survive, they fell

They were as strong as we
But we can’t see this to be so
For it would show how little power
We had in the hour that they died

And we honor our fallen comrades
With a rousing inspirational speech
You are our successors, we say
And there’s no room to be weak

Because life on a battlefield is sink or swim
And only the strong survive
And those of us who survived, we survived
And we say to the next
As they’re standing in line
We’ve done our time, now it’s your turn

We’ve learned our lesson too well
We’ve taken our hell and passed it on
It will make you strong,
We say as we turn away

And how easy it is to forget
The ones who walked with us, talked with us
The ones we fought alongside
They didn’t survive, they fell
Consumed by the hell
We recreate
In the name of memory

The Rock In My Hand (circa 2005)

Hand holding a rock

Hand holding a rock

The rock in my hand tells me
That there is a world out here in this swirl
The rock in my hand tells me
That things will not disappear

The rock in my hand tells me
That there is a world out here in this swirl
The rock in my hand tells me
That things will not disappear

The rock in my hand sings an avalanche song
To the rocks in the ground all around
It sings fearful power and boldest delight
And of death and of sand and of love

The rock in my hand tells me
That there is a world out here in this swirl
The rock in my hand tells me
That things will not disappear

The rock in my hand tells me
That there is a world out here in this swirl
The rock in my hand tells me
That the world has a place I belong

Hand holding a rock

Hand holding a rock

Summer Balloon Mind (2004)

Forgotten fireflies in the dark
Dew shoved hot into my face
The balloons and my mind
Soared high with a short tether
Air thick with the certainty
Hypnotic draw of the unspoken
But alas, not the unspeakable

Punched holes in a muggy brain
Thrust and pinned against a tree
We bounced against the branches
Searched up in the sky
Flitted with the air currents
Chased the misty mirages
Never expected the sun

“Good” Institutions (2004)

The visitors came and talked today
About how wonderful this place was
No bars on the windows of this cage
Sparkling walls showed no shit or blood

They said everyone was treated well
The food was fresh and tasty too
The people could walk outside if they want
And then get better and go home

They extolled the virtues of this place
In language amazed and sickening
For it held its secrets, just as dark
As any torture chamber you’d know

How do I know this? Because I heard
It all from my table in the back room
Chained and drugged — invisible —
For the comfort of visitors everywhere

The Singing Tree (2004)

She said the ocean, she was sure
We retraced our steps down the rocky cliff
Stars staring down pinpricks into my head
The human condition, she said
The fog obscured my frantic blundering
World whirling in the rain at the top of the tree
We sang a wordless melody
The air sang back to us
She said the ocean, but I was sure the tree
Dug roots into our hearts

Everyone’s secret the same (2004)

Mind-secrets blow through the air like dust
Secure but surprisingly uniform
Some fly through the cracks of universal masks
Some sink through crevasses of fear
People wander in, exploring the twists and turns
Grasping at the dust, forgetting plain sight:
The biggest secret, no secret at all
Waits patiently under our feet

Taut, searching minds
Huddled at a run in artificial dark
Turning at breakneck speed
From what they fear the least

Not over there. Here. (2004)

I saw an outside world
Filled with ideas and people
Who treated me as if I wasn’t there
I dug deep into my mind
Crafted words with my bare hands
To tell the world:

I am here.
No, not over there.
Here.

Those who noticed at all, told me:
You are not trying hard enough.

No, no.
Not over there.
Here.