People stare at you on the street, and you read put-her-out-of-her-misery behind their eyes. You try to count the stares; you lose track.
They talk to you in the voice of so many preschool teachers. You vow to never use that voice when you grow up and become a preschool teacher.
They are very kind about it, when they tell you you are unnerving, horrifying, not good enough. They are simply stating facts.
You make people uncomfortable. Sad. Desperate. You make people cry and donate money.
People wish you didn’t exist. They wish it for your own sake.
If you start to wish it, too, that is proof.


Writing Process Blog Tour

I am doing the awesome Writing Process Blog Tour! I got tagged by Irene: thank you, Irene! How the tour works is I answer three questions and then tag three (well, turned out to be one) people to answer the questions next.

Question One: What are you working on?
I’m continuing the poem-a-day challenge from April; I’m going to do this for a year. A lot of what I’m writing is a new form of poetry- not a new form, per say, since it’s all free verse- the closest I can get to an explanation is that if my usual poetry is a night sky this would be a cloud-cluttered sunset. Or I could go all synysthesic on you and say that the colors I taste when I write these poems have more fall leaves. I have no idea how to edit it yet, since I have no idea what shape I’m looking for. I’m probably not going to post it on my blog until I have at least a little idea what I’m doing because I shrink away some when I know people are looking at me and with something this new it’s best to explore it and be as expansive as possible.
I’m also trying to write more autism stuff for the blog. The closest I can explain for why I want to write this is that we all need to be a little less alone. There’s a big void, and I know no one of us can fill it, but maybe if we weave our voices together we can weave a giant tarp to cover it or at least make some bridges across.
And of course, I’m writing poems for Red Wolf Poems. Poetry exchange is my favorite form of interaction and these poets are some of my favorite people.

Question Two: Why do you write what you do?
I write what I write in hopes to make myself and others less alone. I write what I write because my life doesn’t fit any narrative, so I’m making my own. I write what I write because sometimes the world is a giant fondue of sounds and colors, and writing helps me make sense of it. I write what I write because I hurt and I want to hurt less. I write what I write because I have joy and I want to make it bigger. I write what I write because I hope people will like it, and me. I write what I write because the prompt said so. I write what I write to prove we (autistic people, dd people, neurodivergent people) are people, and worthy, though none of us should have to prove this at all. I write what I write because everything and everyone deserves a name.

Question Three: What does your writing process look like?
Sometimes I let an idea or prompt percolate for hours or days. Sometimes I pace and stim and talk to myself. Sometimes I jump off a swing into a pile of words and leave with my arms full of the prettiest ones. Sometimes I write the same sentence over and over until it turns into something else. Sometimes I write point by point, thought by thought, like a list. Sometimes I start with the physical feelings in my body, see what I can compare them to (a marble run made out of bones, chain link fences crouching in my throat), and go from there.
My process for turning drafts into finished work is: if it’s something for an online prompt, I edit the poem immediately to somewhere between second and fifth draft and post it before I can have a people-are-looking-at-me panic attack. I usually do similar for blog posts, but it varies- sometimes I let them sit for days or months. If I’m writing a prompted poem no one is going to see, I shoot words at the paper as fast as I can and then leave it in the documents folder. Weeks later I go through those and put some in the to-edit folder. The only poems I usually put in the to-edit folder after the first draft are the poems where I said something so important for me to say, that if it isn’t well written, I better make it well written.
Mostly the way I edit poems is memorizing them and repeating them, in my head or out loud, throughout the day, until I figure out what words sound better, feel better in my mouth, and give me a harder-hitting physical body experience.

Technically I was supposed to pass this on to three people, but I could only find one person who could do it who hasn’t done it already, so, the marvelous Puff of Smoke Poems! She says:
A few years ago, I took up the habit of writing a poem every morning. I didn’t revise them, or publish them, or show them to family or friends. I just wrote them.
This non-fiddling, anti-perfecting wasn’t at all like me. It felt like trying on being a different person. A cooler person. A person I’d want to be friends with if I wasn’t already walking around inside their skin.
A person who complained less, rushed less, did less micromanaging or grandiose planning.
A person who laughed more, created more, had more ideas percolating and more Technicolor dreams at night.
Here’s the thing, though. I got busy. Life kept filling itself up, an overnight bag trying to pack for a month: earplugs, Pop tarts, an accordion? Might need those. A curling iron, ice skates, another Master’s degree? Why not? Toss in those seventeen unread novels, the baby’s crib, and the shiny espresso machine. You never know when they’ll come in handy.
There wasn’t a day I decided to stop. Once, I just looked up and wasn’t a woman who wrote a poem every day any more. This is my letter to that woman, asking her to come by for a visit. To stay a while.

Thank you, Puff! Your turn!

The stars are baby teeth

A crystalline lullaby, God in a bucket,
played on the stars piano,
archs through the blackened trees.
Fish write the second and third verses,
in dog’s-tail cursive under the pearl surface.
A boat is shining.
A single leaf of paper is singing from the sky.
The fishes, in bewilderment,
lose sight of all their secrets.
They scatter from the broken doors of their mouths
like wild horses.
Three different girls put their ears to the water,
wake up with their heads full of mud.
Waterlillies are not like seashells;
they do not keep safe the vibrations
of this song.



When I was younger, my favorite dream
was to pick a waterlily. They lay across the swaying lake
like bananas sliced on oatmeal, fitting into each other
like locks, teeth. Trash and ghosts of oil
wrapped around their legs like clingy children.

I thought a green circle
would make a perfect pet. Imagined suspending it from the ceiling,
as if my bedroom was a lake, watching it float
like a UFO. I stared into the greengreengreen
like a crystal ball
and wondered what it would taste like.



This is a response to At The Mouth of Birdsong by Barbara Young. https://redwolfjournal.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/barbara-young/

ABA teaches kids how NOT to communicate

Therapist: “Where does grandma work?”
Little boy: “Um… she works at the house.”
“No. Where does grandma work? Say ‘library’.”
“Whee! Now you get a starburst.”

This is not how you teach three year olds to communicate in language.
Communicating is not about saying what you think other people want you to say. Communicating is about connecting thoughts to words the best you can and saying them (or typing them, or pick your pleasure).
This is not how you teach a kid “the woman who gives me many cookies works in a big building full of stories, which is awesome” this is how you teach a kid “when people tell me “blah blah blah” I should say “blah blah BLEE blah”.”
And this shows how, even “playful nice aversive-free” ABA is about having the kid be right, and not having the kid be a kid who mixes up “house” and “library”, or calls a library a “bookhouse”, or thinks Grandma’s “work” is baking him cookies. Don’t you want to say, “What does she do at the house?” and hear him say “Gives me cookies” and see him light up, and smile with him, or maybe he’ll tell you she stacks the books at the house and you can say “I think she does that at the library.” in a nice way, and also a way that actually teaches him something, because the way you’re doing it he just knows he’s wrong, and he doesn’t know why.
Being a little kid shouldn’t be about wrong and right. If a kid tells you he’s found a portal to fairyland, you aren’t supposed to say “No”, you’re supposed to say “Take me with you”.