Lines from the Spectrum - Autism Poems
(Some of these poems are also included in my other collections)
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At the age of 50 I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. However, a look at my poems may have given that fact away a long time ago.

Part 1: Oblivion consists of poems I have written long before finding myself on the spectrum but which already bear witness to the condition.
Part 2: Transition is made up of one poem which I wrote right after my discovery. I wasn't sure whether to describe myself or autists in general, so The Detached is a bit of both.
Part 3: Lucidity contains all the poems I have composed on the subject since then.


Part 1: Oblivion

Xiphias sylvanus

He was a swordfish who lived in the wood -
he couldn't sing or hunt mice
or do anything that the others could,
but with his long snout he could slice
the others' portions; each evening they stood
around him and shared which was nice.

And oft he would talk of this magical place
where he just like all others could be,
and where he'd be moving with ease and with grace
in his element, cheerful and free;
the others would sneer, or they'd tell him to face
the stern reality.

And oft he would stand on the cliffs at the shore,
and he'd watch the wide ocean and pause,
but his sylvan friends would know the score
and hold him back with their claws,
'Don't jump! There's so much worth living for,'
but they'd never reveal what it was.


When Home Is Like a Latin Test

When home is like a Latin test,
your mind is always strung,
and little buzzing imps infest
your bowels with their young.

When home is like a Latin test,
your folks will stay at bay:
their looks are narrowing your chest,
the things they do not say.

When home is like a Latin test,
you'll ask (and ask again)
for their applause - a painful quest,
and just as well in vain.

Instead of giving your very best,
you should desert their hells:
if home is like a Latin test,
your place is somewhere else.


Travel Companion

We all who are hiding her corpse in the cella
are temples of secrets too sacred to tell,
and those who were born with the Grey Arabella
will die with the Grey Arabella as well.

She teaches why man won’t be human nor clever,
why pleasures weren’t meant for disciples of her,
why only despair will be lasting forever,
while all of us listen without demur.

She gave us a backbone, a solid patella
and a bedridden spirit with whom we must dwell,
for those who were born with the Grey Arabella
will die with the Grey Arabella as well.

Phlegmatically chairing our minds’ torpid senate,
she always is with us – we still feel alone,
endure all the pains that are known to this planet
and make the world’s suff’rings our very own.

There’s no Before Midnight, still each Cinderella
must dance for the queens in the Ballroom of Hell,
and those who were born with the Grey Arabella
will die with the Grey Arabella as well.


Birds

There are birds that quack or coo or croak
and that teach their little chicks:
Birds don't sing!

There are birds that hide their heads in the sand
and that teach their little chicks:
Birds don't fly!

There are birds that dwell in solitude
and that teach their little chicks:
Birds don't flock!

There are birds that stay throughout the winter
and that teach their little chicks:
Birds don't move!

There are birds that build their nests in trees
and that teach their little chicks:
Birds don't swim!

There are birds that live on fruits and seeds
and that teach their little chicks:
Birds don't kill!

There are birds that sit in lonesome cages
and that teach their little chicks:
Birds aren't free!


Angst

A roof above me, I await the morrow,
have clothes and food - I have a happy lot,
but pensively I hang my head in sorrow,
aware that there are billions who have not;

A malady affecting fools and sages,
and through my angst my pleasures must decline:
I've perished with the world for many ages,
I've tried to bear a weight that is not mine.

I should embrace my fate, be glad and merry,
just like the others turn my heart to stone
in Lethe, but like Atlas I must carry
the burden of my weltschmerz all alone.

The suff'rings of this planet are too many,
too heavy for a single man to bear:
I wish like those around me, blind and canny,
I could refuse to carry and to care.

Though men have changed, mankind has never altered
and swells my burden while I'm on the road.
The shoulders of my heart are weak; I faltered,
and once again I lift my heavy load.


The Clock

With every breath he took in life,
a-tic, a-toc, a-tic, a-toc,
he felt a restless beat inside,
the ticking of an inner clock.
When as a child he played alone
or was asleep or having fun,
the clock inside kept telling him,
It must be done, it must be done!

When he grew up to be a man,
a labourer of rising stock,
he felt obliged to pay his dues
and tried to satisfy the clock
by keeping time and working fast,
yet all his efforts were outrun
by that device commanding him,
It must be done, it must be done!

The working rhythm took its toll,
and still the clock kept racing on,
so he decided to ignore
its beat, pretending it was gone;
but when he stayed in bed till noon
or lazed inertly in the sun,
the clock inside reminded him,
It must be done, it must be done!

It ticked and ticked as he grew old,
accompanied his dying breath,
and once again it picked up speed
to mark the moment of his death.
And if there is an afterlife,
continuously the clock will run
inside the spirit of a man
who still won’t know what’s to be done.


Away

Away I must be from the mainland,
away to the turbulent sea,
for Fame rewards average people,
and Love's too expensive for me.

Away I shall sail from conversion,
get rid of the gag and the gyve:
away from the docks of existence,
away from the harbour of Life!

Away, away from this country,
away from the planet of speed,
away with the speediest vessel
from the place which has naught that I need!


Solitude

When early in the morning
the sun is shining in,
my unrequired companion
will wake me with a grin.

Wherever I am going,
wherever I may be,
my unrequired companion
will spend the day with me.

When later in the evening
I look for company,
my unrequired companion
will have a drink with me.

After the pubs are closing
I dread the night when he,
my unrequired companion,
will go to bed with me.

(In order to avoid misunderstandings it should be mentioned that the ‘unrequired companion’ is not autism but the isolation that comes with it.)


The Chipmunk’s Rest

In the dead of the year with its dim sombre skies
that clothe us with blankets of wind laced with rain
we cling to the cold barren earth that denies
us the bounties it rendered before on the plain.

And the sun veils itself in a tenebrous robe;
he allows his disciples no glimpse nor a glance
and refuses to generate life on this globe,
and everything happens tomorrow, perchance.

And I’m like the chipmunk who hides underground
where he fears not the frost nor the eagle’s dark wing,
where he lies for the winter and cannot be found,
and nobody knows if he’ll rise in the spring.


Quandary

They've got their maps, they follow signs
or travel in a group,
they close their eyes and twirl around
or join a marching troop.

They're led, they lead, they change their ways,
they ask their heart and soul
for guidance, but the lot of them
appears to know their goal.

There's many a voice that’s asking me
to flee or to sojourn:
a crossroads every hundred yards,
I wonder where to turn.

Sometimes I'd like to cut a path
through woods on marshy ground,
but then again I might get lost
without a friend around.

The others seem to have no doubts:
some run and some go slow,
some care, some don't, but nonetheless
they have a place to go.

I look at them and at myself
with a despairing smile,
for as there are so many ways,
no goal can be worthwhile.


Evening Prayer

Shut the day! I'll have no more;
lest the dragons should return
and their sacrifices burn -
shut the day, I'll have no more!

Call the night! My only friend
waited for the sun to drown
in the ocean of my frown -
call the night, my only friend!

Leave the dreams! For they are mine;
I will close my eyes and live
what the day refused to give -
leave the dreams, for they are mine!


Dreams of Awakening (DOA)

In dreams of my awakening
I hear the mission bell
of Love and Freedom; with its ring
it breaks the torpid spell.

I taste the sun, I smell the rain
after the clouds have passed:
I feel the joy, I feel the pain,
I feel myself at last!

The Bird of Promise starts to sing,
rewarding thus my strife:
in dreams of my awakening
I even get a life!

I watch the Rose of Heaven grow
and bloom for me, but when
I come to life, a voice says No,
and I wake up again.


Thus Spake Zarathustra (Summary)

To follow in my footsteps, you’ll have to go ahead:
you cannot follow me if you follow me.


Part 2: Transition

The Detached

We learned as children our emotions do
not matter, so we learned to switch them off,
we learned to live with others’ scorn and scoff
which causes hurt, but which we don’t let through.

We can’t read faces, gestures, nor between
the lines. We take what people say as fact:
until we find out elsewise we expect
what people say to be what people mean.

Sometimes we do not know how we’re supposed
to act, and so we just act weird: we’re far
removed from others’ mindsets, and they are
to us as we to them a book that’s closed.

We’re awkward when approaching others, thus,
while socialising on occasions, we
prefer to keep our selfown company,
avoiding any gaffes and any fuss.

When someone is romantically enthralled
by us we will not notice it, and if
they point it out to us we are so stiff
and clumsy that advances soon are stalled.

When someone dies who’s close to us, we feel
a sombre sense of loss but not the grief
and sorrow others feel with no relief
for months or years, and which they say won’t heal.

Should someone careless relocate or take
a thing to which we thoughtfully assigned
its place, our sovereignty is undermined,
our world turned upside down through their mistake.

We like things done a certain way because
routine provides security and saves
us from embarrassments while change just paves
the way to new ones, pointing out our flaws.

Our memories are kept behind a door
that's locked by keys we constantly misplace,
and so we may not recognise the face
of someone we admired the day before.

We live just for the present, for the past
is done and dealt with, and the future holds
no promise for our people and unfolds
uncertainty and change that, too, won’t last.

And when we talk, we often can not find
the word we need, and even though we keep
racking our brains, it's buried far too deep
somewhere in the abysses of our mind.

We get annoyed at trifles others slight
or do not even notice any more
but that offend our senses to the core
and make our head explode like dynamite.

We find it difficult to focus on
a random topic that does not excite
our minds while that which keeps our interest might
still be remembered when the rest is gone.

And in some cases we become so good
at one thing that we are considered pros
and masters in the field we freely chose
and where our minds are working as they should.

We do not see the purpose to compete
just to be disappointed or to leave
the others disappointed and achieve
some kind of satisfaction or a treat.

We’re daunted by responsibility,
aware of everything that can go wrong,
but you can trust us with your lives as long
as we accept the burden willingly.

Society leaves us confused and lost
with rituals to which one must submit:
in some small way we'd really like to fit
into your world, but not at any cost.


Part 3: Lucidity

The Nerds’ Paean

If you’re a nerd and know the fact,
rejoice and hold your head up high,
because the way you think and act
is but your own, and you don’t try
to be like others and fit in
where nothing fits you in the least:
you don’t compete nor care to win
to see your own prestige increased.
You do not fit on any shelf
as others say you ought,
because you’re thinking for yourself
and not the way you’re taught.

Like no one else you know your stuff,
and nothing leads your mind astray;
sometimes it’s tough to be a buff,
but that’s a price you gladly pay.
Your train of thought will always run
outside the mainstream rails and take
you out to places others shun
or never dreamed of while awake.
Attempts to put you on their shelf
are vigorously fought,
because you’re thinking for yourself
and not the way you’re taught.

You do not follow, you don’t lead,
and you despise it when you’re told
what you should do, and you don’t heed
attempts to squeeze you in a mould.
While others see you as a creep,
you find their arguments absurd;
others appear to you as sheep,
and you know well you won’t be herd.
The likes of you don’t need a shelf
to find the place you sought
because you’re thinking for yourself
and not the way you’re taught.


The Plant of Progress

There are seeds in the winds of the planet
of a plant that could alter its face,
but on reaching their marked destination
very few find a suitable place.

Some are crushed on the spot where they landed
till the life disappears from the germs,
and instead of providing a harvest
they provide a dessert for the worms.

Some are starting to grow in a garden
or a field with the soil that they need,
just to find themselves extirpated
by the ones who consider them weed.

Some are trimmed on a regular basis,
and they’re questioned, ‘Why can’t you just grow
like the other sweet flowers around you,
with some beautiful petals to show?’

While they may be abhorred or accepted,
they are never expected to thrive:
they’re regarded as plants with no purpose
which rely on largesse to survive.

One or two in a thousand may manage
to grow free into autism trees,
standing tall in the middle of nowhere
as convention’s revered escapees.

Each of these bears a fruit which is different
from all fruits that have yet been defined,
and their boughs dangle heavy and laden
as they benefit all of mankind.


Stone Age Boy

‘It seems that for success in science or art a dash of autism is essential.’ - Hans Asperger

‘What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool?
You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.’
- Temple Grandin

Karoo sat in the corner
from sunrise until dark,
he banged two stones together
and waited for the spark.

While all the other children
played hide and seek outside,
he didn’t feel like seeking
and didn’t want to hide.

The adults kept on talking
while sitting in a row
and eating food they’d gathered
from underneath the snow.

His father once went over
and asked the boy, ‘What good
is it to play with flintstones
and branches and dry wood?’

‘I’m trying to light a fire,
like that after the storm
in which we found the burning
tree branch that kept us warm.’

‘What makes you think that banging
two stones will light a fire
like thunderstorms are doing?’
the father did enquire.

‘I saw it at a rockfall
beside the little pit:
one rock dropped on another,
and a small spark was lit.’

‘Good luck,’ his father told him,
returning to his peers
to whom he told the story:
Karoo could see their sneers.

Karoo sat in the corner
from sunrise until dark,
he banged two stones together
and waited for the spark.

One day he saw a little
bright spark that lit the wood,
and soon the pile was burning
away the way it should.

The others gathered round him,
brought kindling and admired
his patience and his talent
and that he never tired.

Karoo was celebrated
and lauded by the lot,
‘Come sit with us, we’ll give you
the best of what we’ve got!’

He said, ‘I’m far too busy,
I won’t neglect my chore:
we’ll need a fire more often,
I need to practice more.’

Karoo sat in the corner
from sunrise until dark,
he banged two stones together
and waited for the spark.


The Manual

The curious young man was standing
at Nature’s workbench, made of pine,
as she described her many duties
and showed him an assembly line.

‘This is where I, without cessation,
produce the standard human brain
which I deliver with the body
and a short manual to explain.

‘But one in ten must be created
by hand, and that’s when I explore
new ways and try out new connections
that I have never tried before.

‘These function on a different level,
the brains with individual sights,
producing scientists and artists
and those who fight for human rights.’

‘Is there a manual for these then?’
the man enquired about her craft.
‘A manual?’ Nature snorted roughly
and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.


The Heron

Wedges of wild geese in motion
noisily approach their known
destination near the ocean,
but the heron flies alone.

Wedges of mute swans have clustered,
still but for the monotone
beating of their wings, unflustered,
but the heron flies alone.

Birds and humans of a feather,
as biology has shown
many times, will flock together,
but the heron flies alone.


The Evanescing Curse

The playful gods afflicted me
with many a waggish curse for fun
but spared me from the worst of all
they call the evanescing one.

There is a curse that makes you weird,
and one that never lets you win
at life, but there’s a curse that’s worse,
and that’s the curse of fitting in.

All the accursed ones have become
invisible, removed from view,
for none of them will change the world,
and none will fashion something new.

Thus for the life of me I can’t,
despite the trials through which I’ve been,
imagine anything that’s worse
than this: the curse of fitting in.


The Wolf Cub

‘Do as the leaders tell you,’
the wolf said to his son,
‘or else they might expel you,
for that’s how things are done.

‘Make sure you never trigger
their anger and stay back,
and you, as you grow bigger,
may head your own small pack.’ -

‘I’ll go my own direction,
a brave lone wolf,’ he growled.
‘Without the pack’s protection?’
his fearful mother howled.

‘It may be hard to swallow,
but this is what I need:
I wasn’t born to follow
and have no urge to lead.’


The Lone Wolf and the Feral Donkey

As they were running from the raging
bushfire to reach a safer spot,
a lone wolf and a feral donkey
commenced to talk about their lot.

‘I used to live and hunt with others,’
the wolf remembered with a groan;
‘their herd mentality annoyed me,
and I fare better on my own.’

‘I used to be a beast of burden,’
the donkey brayed, ‘but by and by
I figured out it’s not my purpose
to carry others’ loads and die.’

‘Though we’ve been burnt,’ the wolf concluded,
'our independence stayed intact;
it’s clear we were not meant to live as
pack animals, and that’s a fact.’


The Autistic Children’s Plight

Oh Mummy, please don’t bleach my anus
to break my spirit and enforce
your way of thinking and your murky
society’s unwritten laws.
Just give me freedom, space and choices,
explain the things I have to do,
and you will find that I am open
to reason once you’re getting through.

Mum, please don’t train me like a doggy
and make me fetch the sticks you throw
and pat me on the back whenever
I have performed like in a show.
Just treat me as a real person
whose agony you can relieve,
and don’t discourage me, no matter
what others think I can achieve.

Mum, please don’t let me die of measles
because you heard a quack who blames
vaccines for every sort of ailment
or other long refuted claims.
Just try to make your world transparent
and understand my point of view
and listen to the things I tell you:
work with me, and I’ll work with you!


Going Shopping with Mum and Sensory Overload

Voices, noises all around me
put my mind in such a spin
that it feels that they have drowned me
in a pool of sticks and tin.

Humming tremors from the freezer,
drumming fingers on the shelves
and the ringing tills are teaser
cacophonies in themselves.

People talking to each other,
people talking on the phone
and the background music smother
all my thoughts and things I’ve known.

Different smells of different persons
and of different brands incite
all my senses, and it worsens
with the fluorescent light.

While these stimuli affect me,
you complain I don’t obey;
how the hell do you expect me
to discern a word you say?


Non-Verbal Children

I may not talk, but I still listen
to everything you say
about me when you talk to others
and understand okay.

I may not talk, so you should listen
to what I try to tell
you with my actions and expressions;
it’s not that I rebel.

I may not talk, but if you teach me
to write or type, you’ll be
surprised at all the wit and knowledge
you don’t expect from me.


Waiting for the UFO

Let the other children play
in the yard, I’m off the boat;
since this world is not for me,
I’m content to stay remote.
I’ll be sitting on the roof
after supper in the gloam,
waiting for the UFO
that will come and take me home.

Do not pressure me to join
in their sports and learn their names,
for their sphere is not my sphere,
and their games are not my games.
I’ll be sitting on the roof
after supper in the gloam,
waiting for the UFO
that will come and take me home.

I forgot what life is like
where I came from and my past,
but my mem’ry shall be jogged
by returning there at last.
I’ll be sitting on the roof
after supper in the gloam,
waiting for the UFO
that will come and take me home.

(Inspired by a childhood memory of Tiffany Varro)


Autism Cured

Professor Meantwell found a cure
for autism that could
eradicate the feared disease
from humankind for good.

He also had a time machine
which he had learned to fly;
he took the potion and some nuts
and baked them in a pie.

He travelled back through space and time
and finally beheld
the cavern where the primal group
of Homo Sapiens dwelled.

A bunch of hairy cavefolk stared
at him, and when they saw
the flashlight he took out, they shrieked
and dropped their jaws in awe.

He gave them each a slice of pie
which (without fork, I guess)
was eagerly devoured; he deemed
his mission a success.

But when he flew his time machine
through dark foreboding skies
back to the present, he was in
for quite a big surprise:

A bunch of hairy cavefolk stared
at him, and when they saw
the flashlight he took out, they shrieked
and dropped their jaws in awe.


Great Minds

When Alfred Russel Wallace wrote
to his friend Charles, suggesting
how species may emerge and showed
it could be proved by testing,

His evolutionary idea
by Darwin wasn’t doubted;
he had, now for the twentieth year,
worked on a book about it.

A presentation was prepared
by scientists of a feather,
and Wallace and Charles Darwin shared
its authorship together.

The moral of the story (you
may find it chauvinistic):
great minds do think alike, it’s true,
because they are autistic.


Black Sheep

I’m black - so what? Diversity is nothing
to be ashamed of. I shan’t let you keep
your uninformed opinions; do you really
think that my colour makes me less of a sheep?

You say you sympathise and look for treatments;
I need appreciation and not cures.
I’m happy; when our fields get cold in winter,
my fleece absorbs more of the sun than yours.

And when, while you are getting sheared in springtime,
due to my colour I am left in peace,
do I not feel your anguish and allow you
to warm your trembling bodies at my fleece?

Still you insist that I become like others
and don’t stand out in your community.
An all-white flock is colourless and boring,
and I see nothing wrong with being me.

Bleat all you want, I shall not bleach my woolfell
to fit your standards, and I feel no shame:
you laugh at me because I am so different;
I laugh at you because you’re all the same.

(Inspired by the Jonathan Davis quote)


The Autist's Reception

Columbus left for Asia and was given
a letter to the ruling khan which had
been written by the ruling Spanish monarchs
but sailed to the Americas instead;
the king and queen impatiently awaited
the khan’s response and thought they’d been denied:
you see, the khan had not received their message,
or else he’d have replied.

The angry boss looks at my desk and shudders
and shouts at me, ‘Just look at this big mess,’
and so I look at it and then continue
my work. As he returns (enraged, I guess)
he screams, ‘How come that still you haven’t tidied
your desk as you were told? I’ll have your hide!’
You see, I may not have received his message,
or else I’d have replied.

With an affectionate smile you sit beside me,
ask my opinion of this little joint,
you ask about my interests and my background:
I answer truthfully and to the point
like in an interview. You give up, thinking
I brush your subtle overtures aside:
you see, I may not have received your message,
or else I’d have replied.


Asperger’s Wall

When my granny died I suffered,
having lost my only friend,
and I went upon a journey
- one that met a sudden end -
to my deepest inner feelings.
Something said, ‘You’ll carry through;
she is dead and gone forever,
there is nothing you can do.
Leave it be, or you will suffer
even more.’ – I saw a tall
wall that barred my way and calmly
read the writing on the wall,
‘For your sanity and reason,
stay away! You must avoid
thoughts that’d tear your heart asunder:
Turn or be destroyed!’

Once I met an older lady
with a spirit far from damp
who recounted all the horrors
of the concentration camp
where her children had been tortured,
starved and murdered in her sight
while she slaved for IG Farben
and got raped most every night.
As I listened to her story,
I was shaken to the core;
soon my world went into turmoil,
and I faced the wall once more,
‘For your sanity and reason,
stay away! You must avoid
thoughts that’d tear your heart asunder:
Turn or be destroyed!’

I have also seen the children
in the city of Bombay:
mutilated for the purpose
of arousing pity, they
roam the streets and beg for money
which their owners will collect
while a lot of these young children
die from hunger and neglect.
As my stomach kept on turning
I felt guilty being free;
close to tears, I felt like crying,
but the wall reminded me,
‘For your sanity and reason,
stay away! You must avoid
thoughts that’d tear your heart asunder:
Turn or be destroyed!’

Oft I think about the victims
of our wars and hold my breath,
starving and dismembered children,
men and women stoned to death,
people killed for their convictions,
the convictions of their kin,
for their lifestyle or their gender,
for the colour of their skin,
humans sacrificed to profit,
slaves who’ll never break their chain,
and I find myself, as always,
standing at the wall again,
‘For your sanity and reason,
stay away! You must avoid
thoughts that’d tear your heart asunder:
Turn or be destroyed!’


Fitting in a Box

There is a box for politicians
(which prolly should be dumped or burnt),
there is a box for the accountants
with inventory, or so I learned.

There is a sable box for clergy
as well which slowly gathers dust,
there is a box for secretaries
where current fashions are discussed.

There is a box for lots of different
inhabitants. Without a doubt
this is the box for wayward autists:
here we fit in by standing out!


Why We Oppose ‘Person First Language’

‘It’s not something that I have, it’s who I am. It makes me me.’ – Matt Rhodes

We guess you mean well when you call us 'a person
with autism'. Frankly, we don’t want to whinge,
but if someone would call you a person with maleness
or femaleness, wouldn’t you shudder and cringe?

Did you ever call someone a ‘person with blackness’
or a ‘person with left-handedness’? Surely not;
it conveys the idea something’s wrong with that person
and their feature, and you’d be rebuked on the spot.

To separate us from our trait is demeaning
and futile. You’re putting the person first?
Our personalities are autistic,
now let your old bubble eventually burst.

When parents of autists expect you to call them
‘a person with autism’ just as they do
while autists would like to be simply called autists,
then who is it you should be listening to?


Let Me Stim

(Tune: Let it Snow)

Oh, the noises around are taxing,
but my flapping is so relaxing,
my senses are filled to the brim;
let me stim, let me stim, let me stim!

Now you tell me we’ll be stopping
all our games to do some shopping;
when you change our plans on a whim,
let me stim, let me stim, let me stim!

When we finally kiss goodnight,
how I'll hate looking at the bare wall
until dreams are at last in sight,
calming my mind from it all.

With the thoughts that will be creeping
through my head until I’m sleeping;
when you’re turning the light down dim,
let me stim, let me stim, let me stim!


The Autistic Poet Reads from His Works

Although the days are gone when I’d stand frozen
before the audience and clench my sheet,
afraid my hands and voice might start to tremble,
reciting still remains a taxing feat.

First I remind myself to take it easy,
because the listeners appreciate
a poem that’s not rushed while I am tempted
to get it over with at any rate.

So I start reading from my compositions,
afraid I’ll get my tongue in quite a twist,
which I will anyway. And when that happens,
I read the line more clearly and persist.

A truck drives past; due to its booming engine
I can not hear myself and speculate
whether the others do. ‘Would it be better
to read the verse again?’ I self-debate.

I pause and think, ‘Should this not be a plural?’
My eyes scan back to see if it was wrong
to use the singular and find it wasn’t;
relief! - I hope I didn’t pause too long.

Somebody whispers. Would it be related
to my recital? Did he take offence
at something, did I mispronounce a certain
word, or did what I’ve read fail to make sense?

Again I hesitate, this time reflecting
on whether I have missed a beat when I
composed the poem, so I count the stresses
and see I got them right; this cup passed by.

‘He built a little hut where he was hiding;’
have I explained the reason why he hid?
I check the poem’s first and second stanza,
and soon I’m satisfied to find I did.

The air conditioning comes on. Its buzzing
makes it a challenge not to lose the plot;
not knowing how the others feel, I wonder
whether to subtly raise my voice or not.

‘The heir was shot point-blank;’ I read and ponder
what ‘point-blank’ means, for clearly the tycoon
had not been shot with blanks, so I decide to
look up the source of this expression soon.

After my turn I do my best to listen
to those performing after me that night,
but think, ‘Have I made one complete and utter
fool of myself or did it go all right?’


Frankness

To be Frank, I am unable
to comply with any norm
since my independent nature
wasn’t programmed to conform.

To be Frank, my views are steadfast
if not challenged logicwise
since my strong determined spirit
wasn’t made to compromise.

To be Frank, some things I utter
meet reactions unforeseen
since my unperceptive frontal
lobe expresses what I mean.


The Recipe

The recipe straight from our manifesto:
you take some gold, titanium and just
a smidgen of samarium - hey presto,
here is an individual to trust!


Views

Pointing out our views are strong
does not prove our views are wrong.


© Frank L. Ludwig


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