Friday, April 30, 2010


Another Toy Story

If he had Woody, he would be ignored
the same way Andy eventually did
When Buzz Lightyear made a sound
he would run from the room
but he would love the sound of the cellophane
of the box he came in
my son never plays with plush toys, dolls or action figures
the way most kids have

Yet a wooden Eddie George stacking doll
that was given away at an Ohio State Hockey game
is one of his favorite toys
He disassembles them
tries to put them back together
then moves on to something else

A simple puzzle of a circle,
Square and triangle is the one he plays with the most
He will say the word out loud as he, slowly,
Puts the piece in the correct spot
Two year olds do this faster
I do not have the heart to throw it out

He will play with puzzles of letters, numbers,
Different types of cars and airplanes
Struggling to place the objects
Into the slot where they belong

In over confidence in his abilities
I got him a puzzle map of the United States
Every time he will take out the states of
Alaska, and Tennessee
Set them aside, then flip it over
As States fly all over the living room
Leaving us to clean up the mess, and learn
The state capitals as we do it

With my son, we do not look for the missing piece
He is complete, not a mystery
We try to put him together
Into a shape that can function
Not with smooth edges of perfection
But with strength, independence, language
In the end, as he always has been, a beautiful picture

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Almost a Resumption of the Usual

Last night was another Writers' Block preliminary slam for team contention in the National Poetry Slam. The last three slams I have drawn either first or second and have not been able to make it to the second round. Probably more for my lack of quality work than anything else. Last night, I was relieved to draw the seven slot (my Scottish Wife said beforehand I'd go sixth), which put me in the middle of yet another twelve poet slam.

Did a new piece about the recent cow escapes in Central Ohio. It's silly, fun and just want I wanted to do. Threw in a bit of 'Go Dog Go!' and a nursery rhyme and it scored high enough to put me in a third place tie to move on into the second round.

Have to give a shout out to Paula (no, not that one!) who not only cheated death last week but participated in her first slam last night, and ended up in the second round!

Brought out another newish poem about cell phones going off during slam which I did at first draft a couple of weeks ago. It's sinister, and evil, but if you know me you know my feeling toward cell phones. Had no idea how it went over as the crowd was very quiet while I read it. Where they wondering whether their cell phones were on? Were they waiting for someone's phone to go off to see how I'd react? We'll never know.

I stayed in third place, barely, as Louise had a second round charge that nearly overtook me. Congratulations to Vernell and Scott who finished one, two.

The third place point definitely puts me into the Grand Slam, which was a point cushion I needed. There is one more preliminary slam on May 19th followed by the Grand Slam on the 26th.

Tomorrow I will post the 30th poem relating to autism in thirty days. I'll say this April project is about done, nearly ready to put the final one here now. It will wait. It's been an interesting month of shorter poems, a few forms I never would have taken the time to do (thank you Scott and Joanna) had it not been for the support and encouragement of several people. I'm proudest that I did not take the easy way out and do one haiku. Go me!

Thank you all for taking part in this project, and for witnessing a bit of what it is like to live with autism.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Transcript of my Son Speaking
(Macaronic verse?)

for Joanna Schroeder

Boo tee wee
Grapes, apples, bananas
Do you want computer?
I want computer
I want pudding
Open please Daddy very good
Weeeee ooohhhh
Do you want lolly?
Bridge, mountain, volcano
Ba ba ba ba
Find baby burma
Ming Ming
Leeen ami
Thank you very good!
Dey might be giants?
Good job!
A dub a dub a dub ah
Bugga Bugga
Everybody ah hum
Circle, square, triangle
Say all done



Not one time has he pointed and asked, 'What is it?'
Now, he'll name all the letters but counting
numbers is what he knows, up to thirty
Nuances in food labels he
notices and he will not eat a label he does not approve
Neurons firing at all times
Never does he sleep

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Letters in a Row (alphabet)

A boy can discover every facet, gaining harmony, instinct.
Knowing language may not occur
Persistent queries regarding stimulating the underlying vocabulary,
when X years zoom.

Lame ending, I know.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Spell it Out (Acrostic)

As he looks at imaginary lines in the wall
understand that he
things in pictures or sees
images out of the corner of his eye
Slowly, at his own pace, he learns how
many ways there are to survive

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Five Left

First I see that Scott Woods wrote thirty poems in one day!

Show off!

Like I say. Crazy Hardcore Scott Woods. He also gave me some ideas on how to end the month. So thanks for refilling the well, son.

Then I saw the amazing Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz at Wild Goose Creative along with Charlene Fix.

It's one of those nights you just want to throw away your pens and paper, burn your previous work, pack it in and watch reality television for the rest of your life.

Instead you scribble a few things in notebooks in the Giant Eagle parking lot, find a six pack of Genesee Cream Ale in sixteen ounce cans, and hope for the best.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


A Silent Prayer to Electronica

He once called a hippo a pig
An igloo a house
This morning he thought a digital picture frame
was an iPod Touch
He broke my heart, a little
when he pressed on the screen
expecting the same results
The way I borrowed the iPod Touch,
downloaded some communication apps,
tossed a coin to see if he'd react
If this would be the miraculous thing that
transforms his life
Instead I received giggles he could not explain
Repetition of words on the screen
A happy child
No further away
No closer


Where the Sand Meets the Ocean

The beach is a straightaway
He runs along the shore,
avoiding the water with a seagull's skill
His direction, forward
His speed, full
Only using one gear
When he reaches the lighthouse,
where the Earth ends
He melts down
There's nowhere left to go
Nothing new to race by and through
He does not want to look back
or trace his footprints in the sand
but to create new ones
Every impression he makes is unique
Every color of the spectrum

Friday, April 23, 2010


The Night Crooner

At 4AM his eyes are open wider than yours are at noon
For seven years he has owned the pre-dawn hours
He has owned you

All your attempts to wear him out before bedtime,
at letting him sleep early late or not at all have failed
the way your marriage to his mother did

You stare back at him, knowing he will not respond
to your pleadings that he shut his eyes
To pack it in for now
Secretly you want him to talk back to you
with a smart-ass remark
But there is nothing

Nothing but hazel eyes that at this hour
have turned to unblinking slate
When he finally succumbs,
you summon all your energy to write this
Remembering you love him

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The Tender Boy

He sees out of the corners of his eyes
in the places your shapes have been
He does not look directly at objects
but behind them
He knows more about your past than you ever will
He looks at the seed that was you and
plants it in his brain -
Where it stays dormant,
waiting to be fertilized, germinated
by a gardener
only he can know

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Condition: Gravity

Born small
We could not hold him without his connection to
heart and blood saturation monitors
A life providing oxygen tank
outside of the plastic and metal box he called home

With a feeding tube going down his throat
he was not able to breast feed
(ask his Mother how that felt)

When he came home,
we thought it was colic
causing his restlessness and profound parental stress

There were few eureka moments
of first steps, the first pulling off of my eyeglasses
Crawling came naturally, slowly
Words with little frequency
Eating right, not at all
An occasional pretzel, sucked on, never chewed
He never chewed on anything
even when he teethed

We knew something was not right
much sooner than we found out
There was no crushing death sentence revealed
by his doctor
No denial
Yes, my son has autism

I'll admit the world turned upside down
in more ways than a hard diagnosis could make the world shake
There was an affair, divorce - personal dramas
my son handled better than the adults in the room
It took some time
but I did learn how
to gradually figure out
the art of
standing on my head
while making sure, he did not fall on his

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Carrying a Needless Load

This condition, we fight for it to not control us,
Not to lock us inside our homes the way he can stay in his head
We go out, with him, we have to, for him, for all of us
We worry more about what people think of his behavior
Than what he is actually going to do
He wanders
All kids wander
He makes noise
All kids make noise
He does not throw food
Use abusive language
Treat anyone with disrespect
If he does not like where he is
He lets us know
We all go out to eat
He gives us about forty five minutes
Then he’s out the door
You fit your life in his life
And make it work
Why do we worry about what others think?
He’s fine

Monday, April 19, 2010


The Checkout Line of Anywhere

So how old is your baby?
The cashiers ask as they ring through a few dozen
jars of baby food
I admit they're all understanding when I tell them
he's seven and has textural issues with food
They get very apologetic, say "I'm sorry"
when I say he has autism
He's not dying, hooked up to a ventilator
or in a wheelchair
He is not broken, there is no need to be sorry
I do worry about the stares, what people will say
when he whoops, or does not speak when spoken to
by those who do not know him
Worries that are not his, but yours
The autism baggage you carry for both of you
A trip you so desperately want to unpack the bags of
but a journey you understand will never end
After my card is swiped, I am grateful
she did not mention the diapers

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Saturday Mornings at the YMCA Pool

I remember the first time I put him in the water
He ran in place, paddling his skinny arms to propel himself forward
Not one ounce of fear in his eyes
Yelling with such joy he was not able to keep his head above water
Eventually he would sink
I'd be right by him to pull his head out of the water
With his face wet, coughing up chlorinated liquid, there was always a smile
on his face as he'd start his engine back up

After a few weeks we took the floats off him,
they were no longer necessary
A week later, this four foot tall kid was moving around
in the twelve foot part of the pool like it was a puddle

He still will not jump in on his own
He'll go right to the edge, pretend to make the leap
then laugh as I pull him in
But he loves it when one of the lifeguards,
or his father throws him in
With arms spread wide he flies forward,
deliberately landing in a belly flop
I've never seen a forty pound child
make a bigger splash

You're Scottish, Fry Something

Hope all the poems are not completely tuning you all out.

Went to the Winking Lizard for the first time today. I was not completely sold. For all the screens they had and not one was showing soccer. Come on, Spurs and Chelsea were playing and they had on cheer-leading and women's beach volleyball.

Oh, it's that kind of sports bar.

The draft beer selection was adequate, if not predictable. The bottled beer selection was a bit pricey but there were a few interesting selections. My eyeballs keyed in on a German Berliner Weisse. It's a very rare thing to see in this country so I ordered one. It's not brewed in Berlin, so it's not a true Berliner Weisse. Back in one of my previous lives I actually made a home brewed beer in that style, without having ever tried one. That's how obsessed I was. Did it all grain, if that was poetry, I would have been reading it off paper. I even went mail order for the special yeast and the lactobacillus culture that soured the beer. Yes, it was quite hardcore. Yes, I buried a few bottles in the backyard.

When we got around to trying it, well it tasted quite sour. The color was very pale. A very light beer, low in alcohol. We still had no commercial example to compare it too, it was not until that beer was long gone that a commercial version (Kindl, I think) was available for us to drink here. It was decent, sour, and we had the special syrups and unique glassware for customers. By then the business was starting to go bust and my memory gets a bit fuzzy.

Back to the Winking Lizard though. Had a decent, but not especially memorable burger. Doubt I'd go back, unless I was meeting someone there.

One thing they did have was a large, live iguana.

It's quite the sight when you exit the men's room. His name is Barley.

My Scottish Wife and I avoided the torrents and streaming websites and watched the Dr. Who premiere on BBC America, good cable viewers are we!

I'm a recent convert to the phenomenon, never watched it on PBS or wherever it was aired here in the seventies and eighties. First time I ever saw any of it was in the bar at the Hotel Belhaven in Glasgow on Christmas Day 2008. I think the barman was watching too and Emma noticed it was on and went over to watch. All I remember was some weird cheap special effects and Kylie Minogue's face taking up the whole screen.

What I have come to appreciate and respect is that the show is a huge part of British culture. It's been on for well over forty years and it's now up to the eleventh Doctor. I'll miss David Tennant in the role and regret that I did not see any of Christopher Eccleston's shows. The new guy, Matt Smith, seems well suited for the doctor and Karen Gillian is certainly an eye pleasing companion.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Steven (Coupling) Moffat does with the series.

April's been quite busy with life and writing projects. Sleep has been hard to come by, that's what I should be doing now.


What He's Working On

He tries
He's only seven
The spoon goes in the sink
Cereal bowl in the trash
He tries hard
His sippy cup ends up in the garbage
The zipper on his coat gets pulled up
Without it being put together
He's working on it
Cleaning up spilled pudding by dropping a tissue on it
He'll learn to wipe, someday
He removes his shoes, and socks
The laces and Velcro are odd to him
He tries really hard
Adjusting the water in the shower
Then stands out of the flow when it's too cold or hot
He swims, in the deep end, with no assistance
But lacks the strength and dexterity to open his yogurt
He is a thinking boy
Numbers go to thirty now
Letters are easily identified
Spent lollipop sticks end up in the trash,
No longer left on the closest bed
He tries, after all
He's only seven

Friday, April 16, 2010


Rearranged from Miss M.

He giggles when he touches the puppets we play with
Gets wound up during the day sometimes while
playing a fast paced Candyland
He knows all the colors, calls them out like crazy
He likes being surprised but has some toileting accidents
We need to figure out a way to get him
to hold it for just fifteen more minutes

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Pit Stop

He runs around the house the way a lost count does in his castle
Growing hands press on the recliner's arm,
he bounces up and down on an invisible pogo stick -
shrieking phrases from dora the explorer
When you plead with him to stop, or slow down, he does not hear
Next is a sprint from the living room to the back door,
using a foot stool as a balance beam for his belly
Hands and feet on the ground, he's up again
With a sudden pause at the refrigerator, a six pack of yogurt is pulled out,
The boy walks it to the dining room table and sits,
waiting for someone to open one small tub and bring him a spoon
This is as still as he has been in two hours
I wait to bring him the spoon, on purpose, not to starve or punish him,
but to appreciate these few moments of quiet,
which stop the moment I hear the yogurt go into the trash,
followed by the metal clink of the spoon falling carefully into the kitchen sink

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jim Morrison's Twitter Page


Wednesday, 11:58AM: Woke up this morning and I got myself a beer

1:26PM: Booked my trip to Paris, going to be so much fun!

2:27PM: Hangin’ at the Whiskey: Tell all the people that you see to follow me down

2:39PM: There’s a dusky jewel at the end of the bar, hoping to pluck her, Heh heh.

3:05PM: Her name is Pamela. Breaking on through baby!

3:50PM: Another kiss, another kiss

4:32PM: You men eat your dinner. Eat your pork and beans. I eat more chicken
than any man ever seen, yeah.

5:39PM: Band practice, Could Ray would turn it down a little? That organ can be so annoying

6:17PM: I wish Dinsmore would go DIAF sometimes. Drummers *eyeroll*

7:48PM: When the music’s over, turn out the lights ‘kthnx

8:12PM: Hanging out on Love Street, waiting to see what happens.

8:29PM: If I get my hands on a dollar bill, gonna buy a bottle and drink my fill.

9:07PM: My crystal ship is being filled, yessssssss

9:48PM: OMG! It was raining, and faces came out of it. So strange.

11:12PM: RT@RobbieK: Do it Robbie, do it!

Thursday, 12:09AM: i’M so StOn’D..qYiLj.,..iMMAculAte*74@22

2:31AM: There’s blood in the streets, it’s up to my ankles! No one here gets out alive!

4:47AM: This is the end my friends ttfn.

12:49PM. Woke up this morning, got myself a beer.


The Fanfare

The perfect parents with the flawed children who are gaining perfection
like to throw the guilt at you
Their child has an forty hours of intensive interactive therapy in addition to the college aged aides who comes to their home for even more applied behavioral analysis

That is only during the week.

On the weekends there's a onslaught of art, music and sensory therapists who
come to the specially prepared space in the living room
 - and starting in two weeks there's going to be hippotherapy!

Didn't you see the Horse Boy at the special screening the local support group arranged?
Don't you go to the meetings, walks for awareness, fund raisers and golf outings for hope?
You lose so much time for your child if you miss just one networking opportunity.
Every day your child does not have his whole day planned out to the second is another week lost
Where's your lapel pin,
the magnetic multi-colored puzzle ribbon on your car?
Don't you want your child to be cured?

When does the child have a chance to be a kid?
To go to the playground, swing and climb,
Or sit on the floor with a picture book and dream?
When do the parents have time to go to their jobs so they can afford this, let alone have a life?

These organizations of obsessive advocates fail to understand that it costs real money
for untried therapies or medical tests from exploitative laboratories
that insurance companies will not cover
There are only so many grants, scholarships or trips to the trust fund,
even that is not enough to pay for it all
What happened to Jenny McCarthy's kid with her easily affordable posse of handlers
may not happen for mine, or anyone else's
Chelate the drama, the celebrity endorsers who provide little except for
blurred images of the cause, giving the condition a style with no function
No voice other than that of, the pretty people
Autism speaks does not speak for me or my son

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Non Numerical Post

Not much to report. Spring is here in Ohio. The days lengthen, the temperature is warming up, the Mets are sucking and the Blue Jackets are golfing.

I'm actually leaving work early tomorrow to go to the local and watch Everton play Aston Villa. If the Toffees can't win this game, chances of the Europa League are slim.

I'm thinking the song of the summer is this one.


I want to point because he does not
point at the God that made him and shout mean things at it,
the way I do
Can I ask one question because my son does not ask me questions


After seven years you start realizing that nothing is going to change quickly
or the way you want them to
You have to let him be who he is and not what you want him to
Autism does not take away your dreams
Sometimes you think it does
But they're altered
Imperfect, yet sweet
The way he puts his whole face
Into his smile.

When I hear him stir at 4AM
Both of us now unable to fall back asleep
He and I
We are more alike than I care to admit
I'm able to get up quietly
To turn on the laptop and surf to sleep
or pull something potent out of the cabinet to get me there
He has to take all the covers off his bed
to sing himself to back to sleep
or jump up and down to tire himself to slumber

This one needs work, more than the others.

In other news, you can find the Columbus Arts Festival Poetry Corner schedule here.

I'm leading it off, again.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Playing with Patience

He stands by the shed door on a sunny afternoon
"Do you want truck?" He asks me
Translation: I want my wagon
He loves when I pull him around the back yard,
which probably seems bigger to him than to me,
although I tire after six laps
He does not seem to mind when I stop
Sitting back, he watches the sky or
plays with the handle, studying its path
as he drops it to the grass
Bored, he'll flip it over,
spin the wheels
Then go into the house, open the refrigerator door
Pull out a cup of yogurt or pudding
Take it to the dining room table
and wait

Sunday, April 11, 2010


His Feet Keep Growing

After you find three or four pairs of shoes that he never wore
You start thinking they walked away into the corner on their own
along with the clothes he outgrew before he could even try them on once
The time flies, and you, as his dresser had so many distractions
divorce, the job switch, car repairs, keeping the roof over your head
Shoes you bought on sale at Target got put aside for him to grow into
Found, about three months too late for him to wear
Shame, they would have looked good on him at the wedding
Sighing as you bag them up for Goodwill,
searching for anything else that you bought for a future
you keep forgetting about

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Body of Fun

He treats me the way Buster Keaton treated the women in his films
I am his prop
A ladder, trampoline, back to climb up and over
An arm to grab to get out of his way
He studies the lines on my forehead,
the ones he caused,
like mysterious hieroglyphics only he can decode and reveal
as he giggles without translation
The left eyebrow is a dime store toy
My eyeglasses a shiny mirror to peer into
The shirt pocket a place to warm his small hand
Either eyelid is something to poke
Ultimately, a father to love

A third of the way there now!

Friday, April 9, 2010


Divorced, with Special Needs

You live your life in shared custody
In separate homes you do your best
Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two Mothers
You memorize where they hide the lollipops

In separate homes you do your best
Your father lets you play with his laptop
You memorize when they hide the lollipops
In your Grandmother's basement there is a trampoline

Your Father lets you play with his laptop
On Tuesday nights you watch They Might be Giants
In your Grandmother's basement there is a trampoline
On Saturday morning, you go swimming

On Tuesday nights you watch They Might be Giants
You ride the short bus to school every morning
On Saturday morning, you go swimming
One of these days, you are going to speak

You ride the short bus to school every morning
Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two Mothers
One of these days, you are going to speak
You live your life in shared custody

Thursday, April 8, 2010

All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Wednesday Night

When you're doing well at Writers' Block, or performing something extraordinarily sexy, keys get thrown on stage.

I had keys thrown at me last night.

Everyone was on. One of the best quality open mics in recent memory. People were inspired by National Poetry Month, the 30/30's - whatever it was there was great work. Jeff, from his hospital bed wrote a poem that Vernell read.

Gina has to be singled out with her sexy books piece plenty of keys and a couple of books were thrown in her direction. She was pelted!

We're a Hell of a family.

Been driving around, listening to the new Sade album. Ten years? For that? Disappointing.

Then there's the new Tiger Woods ad in which he's being scolded by his dead father's voice. Really Nike? Really? Let the guy golf, fine. He's back to selling product again, and it's a stomach turning commercial. Anything to protect the brand. What a joke, and so creepy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Swings Inside the White Fence

This little boy I see, at the playground where I take my Grandson
He seems shy
He waits his turn, patiently, to go down the slide
Sometimes he likes to climb it, from the bottom
A lot of kids do that, even my Grandson
I've never seen him speak to anyone, not even his Mother or Father
They watch him close
He walks along the fence that encircles the play area,
but does not leave
My Grandson asked me about him, he tried to talk to the boy -
he walked right past him
This boy, he makes a sound like a motor cycle, or a boat
I'm not sure why he does that
I told my Grandson that he is the captain of a ship
on an ocean that is more important
than the ground he is walking on


Ok this is hard. I'm not sure I can continue this with its original intent. Might have to put in a few older, themed poems in here or give up. I'm not happy with what I'm doing.

Severe Warning, He Watches

You see in peripherals, practically looking behind you when you walk
Do you want to remember where you've been so much you do not want to see
where you are going?
Do you flap your arms to create thunder or to calm the hailstorm in your brain?
Do you see ghosts in the breaks between lightning flashes?
Sunshine inside of every drop when the rain falls sideways
Do your words appear in the branches that are blown to the ground

You are still when the sound of the crack makes the walls jump
The low rumbles in the distance energize you
There's a radar in your head that senses its arrival and departure
A barometer that determines when you will sleep
What appears out of your window is a curtain that rises and falls to your will
Do you want us to stand beside you, and watch the show?
Or is this another journey you must take, alone?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


No Bells Ring on Southwest

Ask for him to get wings
My Mother said before my son and I flew
to Long Island for an annual visit
He's good on a plane
Put him by a window, he sits, quietly
Passengers in front and behind him
remark how good he was at the end of the flight
It's the layovers
We both hate them
His way of coping is to run up and down the tarmac
Mine to find the nearest bar and hope there's a game on
Someday we'll mesh
So I ask the flight attendant if they have any wings
She tells me maybe, but it's a full flight
The drinks cart is heavy
My well behaved son is forgotten about in all the bustle
Which does not upset him at all, or me very much
but his Grandmother, the most

Monday, April 5, 2010


The Game of Numbers and Forms

One in one hundred and fifty
are being diagnosed with this condition that is not contagious,
not air borne, nothing like the trumped up fear of H1N1 - with no known cause
Shouting about vaccines being the hidden culprit invites divisiveness in the community and doubts in our parenting
Biomedical additives versus neurodiversity,
who gives a crap?

What is happening to these kids now?
What will happen to them when they are no longer kids?
Early detection, then what?
What will happen when these kids parents are dead?

You fall into the trap of searching for services
For referrals from doctors who are clueless, without weapons or know how
(and for anyone who asks me, "What does his doctor say?" Shut up)
Banging suggested expensive therapies that insurance will not cover
to see what sticks to the wall
Only to be denied a claim for covering a significant eating disorder
Because some bean counter decided that food is medically unnecessary
This is that makes it difficult for a parent, a loved one,
to live in the moment, to simply be
Why parents are not passive, and fight

Sunday, April 4, 2010


The Guilt of the Functioning

I want to stab myself
Over and over and over for helping create him
This boy who does not eat or speak
Stuck in place, yet always in motion
Dependent on others for everything
but oblivious to my presence when we share the same space
What part of my DNA tripped him over to the unreachable?
Which joint was it that I smoked which passed on the silence?
Which shot was it that I threw back which took away his hunger?
What part of my insane father did he inherit?
As for his mother and her chromosomes - I'm not going there

Saturday, April 3, 2010


For the Horse Boy

In a valley that is 12,000 feet above sea level
Near the border of Mongolia and Russia
A four year old autistic boy pointed
Rowan named the reindeer rode by the shaman.
Autistic children do not point
They may speak, but only in echoes
Nor do they name, anything
Rowan named the reindeer
My son pointed at a ferris wheel and called it a ride
He will call a dog a dog a hippo a pig and can count to thirty

After the eagle feathered shaman of the Dukha Tribe received him
In a smoke filled ger hut
Rowan pointed
Rowan played with other children for the first time
In his life in a field in Mongolia
My son waits his turn to go down the slide at the playground
My son brings a footstool into the kitchen so he can get to the Tootsie Pops
on top of the refrigerator
The red ones
Always the red ones
They're the only solid food he will eat
He is seven years old

After riding on horseback for days
Using his mumbled voice that was clear in its intent
with his father and mother watching with shock, with pride
Rowan named the reindeer
Rowan sorts his toy animals by species in boxes in his bedroom
My son lines up his toys on a bookcase
Junior Asparagus
Larry the Cucumber
Bob the Tomato
An Eddie George stacking doll

Rowan ran away from his father to his neighbor's farm in Texas
Where a mare named Betsy immediately bowed her head in submission to him
Animals connect to the light around him
My son will kiss his Grandmother's doberman on the head
But will run from larger dogs that bark
Rowan pointed
Rowan spoke for the first time when riding on Betsy with his father
My son makes sounds at all hours of the day and night
He does not converse with you

Rowan rode for days on horseback with his parents
into a world not known to any of them
into a belief system far from their own
looking for help they did not know would or could happen
Rowan spoke to horses, to reindeer, to his parents
My son calls me Emma and Emma, Daddy

After his journey
To an most unlikely and perfect place
Rowan was not cured of his autism
Rowan was presented with and accepted hope
With my son
We wait, take in the scenery
Point out what is good
Absorb whatever hope comes along
Then wait some more

Friday, April 2, 2010

Broad and High to Wirthman's

My son's spring break has begun and I spent the day actually doing something instead of archiving outrage on my blog.

Took my son to the Statehouse. We were going to stop at the Museum Shop, but they were busy and the people I wanted to see were not there. My son gave me a tour though.

He really liked climbing up and down all the steps.

He also wondered where all the money went.

He had a busy day. Later, I went looking for a part for my car that vibrated off on I-70 one night. Been looking online and I saw it going for fifty bucks.

It's a bezel for the headlights. Was told where the Volvos were in the junkyard, brought my pliers and was wished luck. Found an '87 740 that still had an intact front end and pulled out the bezel. Score! No luck finding the rear windshield wiper arm though as all the wagons were totally stripped and gutted.

The junkyard is a sad and bleak looking place, I nearly got hit by a piece of plastic off a car being sent to the crusher. But there's something very cool about going back there and harvesting a part for your twenty two year old import.

Ed From Ohio Says...

Spring has arrived and I hope I'm able to sit and write a bit in this beautiful weather. Too sweet out there to coop up inside. Took my Scottish Wife to work, waiting for my son to arrive for the day. I'm looking after him during half of his spring break. A shame we could not go to Daytona, or Cancun. I'd make a decent wing man for him.

My friend Sue's new book arrived in the mail yesterday.

The Autism Mom's Survival Guide is a necessary book for parents who are struggling to cope with how to function at anything resembling normal where there is an autistic child in the house.

Upbeat and honest, but never condescending or perky. The book manages to be very supportive but keeps an arms length from the dark places autism can take a family. It does offer real, balanced advice from someone who has been and will always be there. She and her husband have three children, one of whom is autistic. Susan is a great guide to have as she leads you through some effective methods of handling the day to day activities with a special needs child.

This is Susan's second book on autism. This is not a sequel though. Her first, Making Peace with Autism, is also worth seeking out.

I found the book to be geared mainly toward autism moms, (although there is plenty for fathers to get from this) who are the true heroes in the struggle to understand this condition.

If you have a child with autism in your life, you may find yourself nodding your head with many of the stories Susan and the parents she writes about have experienced. If you're new, you will find out very quickly what it is like to be a part of an autistic child's family.

Full disclosure: I'm one of the autism parents that were interviewed for this book.

To conclude this morning.

2/30 He Poops?

Like his Dad, he reads on the same throne
The material is not the same, nor is his purpose of the visit
It's social hour! Time to see how creatively hands can touch the floor
How to sit as back or forward as he can without drawing the wrath of parents
A test of the room's acoustics is part of the agenda
The purpose, is avoided, until fifteen minutes after the visit has ended
Occasionally, the mission will be a success
Yet praise and promises of extra computer time are not remembered
Each visit a blank slate resulting in a usually empty receptacle
The whoops and yells he makes are repeated back by his father
The volume and sounds become more and more ridiculous until
He looks his father directly in the eye
With a smile on his face he says,
"You're silly!"
Unprompted and natural
Before bending over the side of the seat
The one closest to the wall

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Month of Narrowing

April is National Poetry Month. April is also Autism Awareness Month. Many of my fellow poets are taking part in a 30/30 project for the month. Thirty poems in thirty days. I'm going to attempt to do this. At one person's suggestion (Tony Brown) I am going to try and write a series of themed poems. My seven year old son has autism and I'm going to dedicate these poems to my son and all the children and families who live with autism every day.

There may be a few days with a couple of posts this month.

NaPoWriMo Challenge: Poem 1/30

Cables and Wires

He listens closely
Listening is hard when noises bounce through your skull
He makes sounds to comfort himself
Dialogue from television programs or commercials
Songs from school
Songs his Mother taught him
Inside all the oral friction and electricity that happens through him
there is a fine tape recorder
It remembers everything, records perfectly
The playback though, moves too fast, too slow
or not at all
He is not, no he is never silent
Always in motion
Always paying attention and careful where he climbs
He rarely makes a false step
If he slips, you catch him
Because you have to
You are his net, his microphone, his connection
He, is the speaker
there is always a hum coming out of