Strength in Fragility and Cirque D'Etoiles (revised)

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Strength in Fragility

 

(A response to this poem I saw on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/vzSE0mwRHj/)

 

You put up such a strong front

Proud as a peacock,

strutting your stuff for all to see.

Inside, you see yourself as fragile

Using a stranger’s love

to fulfill some validation or need.

 

I understand the yearning for someone

But look at the truths that surround you

They speak of your true strength,

not the facsimile of pride,

but the beauty you have within.

 

You may be fragile, but you haven’t broken

In movement, you build up a warrior’s strength

Like a star, you shine brightly in the dark

and you don’t shine alone.

You are never as alone as you think you are.

 

It’s so easily to lose yourself

trying to gain a strangers approval,

to make an easy lie

with the click of a cameraphone.

Let go of all of that.

 

Jump over the fences blocking your way.

Keep dancing to the music

and go play in the street.

You’re just beginning to learn

how to follow your own beat.

 

 

Cirque d’Etoiles (Circus of the Stars, revised)

 

So many people have been passing away.

I wish it could stop.

Death has been constantly on my mind

ever since I first lost somebody I loved.

It was their time, I know,

but it hurt me because that person mattered to me.

I have people in my life who are growing old

I wonder when their time will come.

It’s never easy to understand.

It’s always sudden.

And it’s always painful.

 

What hurts more is when people lack empathy

when I try to make sense out of the senselessness of death.

Their empty hearts hurt

 

It doesn’t matter to me that I never knew these people

and that they never knew me.

These are people whose light shined into others’ lives.

Somebody out there

has just lost

a husband, a father, a son, a mother, a daughter, a wife.

They may have been as distant to me as the stars in the sky,

But their light still shined into my life.

And now their stars have gone out.

 

All things tend towards chaos

Life is the tightrope we walk to avoid it

Suddenly

Unexpectedly

Death arrives like the ricochet from a cannon’s blast

Throwing everything off-kilter

Down into the black without a safety net

 

Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints

Every life shines and fades as quickly as a meteorite in the sky

Millions of meteorites fall everyday,

yet supernovas are the ones that shake us up

We can understand the death of an old, worn out star

Yet when other stars die out, especially in quick succession,

it throws the universe off-balance

more than the deaths of little comets and meteorites

 

Is it just the succession?

The confusing juxtaposition between the end of one life

and the continuation of another?

The stars are supposed to be constant

yet they fall and they fade and they die

and nobody understands,

nobody explains why.

 

Maybe it’s not the fault in our stars

that throws us off our tightropes

Maybe each supernova

reminds us that we’re each a little infinity

and some infinities are bigger than other infinities

Stars fall and fade and die

but each supernova gives birth to something new

With each piece from the fallen stars,

we create an order out of the chaos

embracing the infinite

 

No safety net is needed

because our hearts are our wings

Love, the fuel that propels us to fly

You can take the stars out of the sky

but you can never take the sky itself

With love, we send a kiss out to the stars

Creating tiny pieces of light that shine in the dark

Conversations with a Bird

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Prompt: Things unsaid

 

What brought you here to my backyard?
Choosing the grapevines as your nesting ground?
How can you stay so calm
even as the rain pours all around?
When the lighting flashes and the thunder crashes,
don’t you get scared?
When will your little ones hatch?
Will I get to see them?

This wasn’t the first time a bird chose my house
as a makeshift nesting ground
Three years ago, there was one who gave life in the rain gutter
I always wondered what brought her here.
I wonder if you’re the same bird.

I understand why you didn’t choose the birdhouses
The neighborhood cats are sneaky.
But I’m still astonished that you chose my home
amongst all the other real trees out there.
Then again, the leaves on the vine look very tree-like
and the bamboo beams are as strong as any branch.

Enjoy your stay for as long as you need to be here, little bird.
The backyard is a good place, all things considered
Seeds are falling from the pomegranate tree
There’s a feeder full of rice, but you’ll have to fight the crows over it.
Most important of all, you are safe

I never really had a pet.
All the goldfish I had eventually died.
I’m allergic to anything with fur
and I can’t take care of plants, let alone reptiles.
I’m glad that you can take care of yourself
that you’re allowing my backyard to be part of your life
It’ll be sad to see you go,
but thankfully, I have photographs to help me remember.

The Cafeteria (Poem-A-Day Challenge Day 16)

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(Prompt: A Food Establishment)

 

Do you remember the cafeteria?
There was a patio right outside,
a small field where kids played soccer.
This was where we first met.

I found a book that belonged to your friend
You waited with me at the bus stop nearby.
I always knew from that day on,
that I could always sit with you.

Everyday, you were there,
with a smile
and a tuna fish sandwich,
ready with a tall tale to tell.

For four years, you were one of my constants.
Between overpriced lunches and bad dates
I could always go to the cafeteria
and talk to you.

Then one day, you had to leave.
Several months later, you left for good.
You left this world
and left me behind.

I haven’t gone back to that cafeteria since.
Although it comes to mind every now and then.
I wonder if there’s a cafeteria where you are now.
And if there is, can you save me a seat?

Ode To The Library (Poem-A-Day Challenge Day 9)

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Ode to The Library

Dear Library,
Thank you for being my favorite hiding place
All throughout the days that I called myself a student.
No matter what happened or where I was,
I knew I could find safety in your silent shelves.

In high school,
I could sit amongst the likes of Austen and Shakespeare
While reading romance novels or comic books
or whatever new book caught my eye that day.

In college, I would grab a small pile
(and by small I mean as much as my arms can carry)
and sit in the lounge that looked out at the campus
It was also a nice place to take a nap.

Nowadays, I have to make a drive for the library
And they weren’t the hideaways they once were,
but I can still go there whenever I need an adventure,
because I can always get lost in a good book.

My Sixth Grade Notebook (A Garland Cinquain)

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Prompt: Doodle poem

Doodles
I liked to draw
little five pointed stars
Pentacles, enclosed in circles
Dreaming.

I don’t
want to be here
I love to read and write
But adventure is out there and
I’m stuck

This is
the sixth circle of hell
A white-walled box called “school.”
Nobody understands me here
at all

Changing
All of my friends
have grown up or moved out
I’m stuck waiting for my freedom
Alone

I write
I make stories
Each story is like a star.
Scribbling in my notebook, I
Escape

Doodles
want to be here
A white-walled box called “school”
I’m stuck waiting for my freedom
Escape

Catch-22 April Poem-A-Day Challenge Day 5

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos

Prompt: Experience/Inexperience

Most jobs have “experience” as a requirement
People casting out lines, learning the art of enticement
But you can’t get experience without a job
Even with a degree, people have to lob
Getting a real job isn’t something we instinctively knew
No knowledge from school is enough to break through.
Do resumes really capture the full extent of our worth?
Can a cover letter give us an opportunity’s birth?
Every interview feels like a bad date
You’re expected to dress up, show up and wait.
Then they ask you questions and you put on a good face
You ask them a few questions and try to make your case
Then they say they’ll call, but the line’s always dead.
Why can’t they just say “no” outright instead?
It’s especially hard for the awkward and shy
Whose true talents lie hidden to opportunistic eyes
Or for artists who want to break out of the mold
Only to “sell out” and just do as they’re told.
Still, there is hope that a living can be made.
Just think out of the box and make up a trade.
Create the right words and phrases and the money will roll in.
It’ll just take a while, but new chances will begin.

Fools For The Word: April Poem-A-Day Challenge Day 1

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Fools for The Word
A Series of Limericks

All those who are gifted with writing
Have monsters we are constantly fighting
We have demons and doubts
And the pain we bleed out
Our misery is fuel for the vampires biting

These vampires are our constant mental block
We stare at the blank page, hear the tick tick tock
Counting down every thread
Every word, seeing red
Til we think we are mad, loony, laughingstocks

Every word is our weapon in struggles
It’s our magic, makes us more than muggles
We are fools for the word
But we long to be heard
And the resonance is the warmth for our snuggles.

Under the Surface: A Poem of Heartbreak

The worst part about falling in love

is that it makes you forget

about everything that happened before

The scars from a backstabbing

becomes smoother than silk

The cracks in the broken heart

are just chinks in the armor

And every new love that comes

Feels like the first time, every time

You want to tell the whole world

but instead, these feelings are hidden and secret

And when the love of your life walks into a room

your mouth is sewn shut

and you wish he could read the secret in your eyes

Instead he sees right through you.

 

Every emotion piles up inside

The desire to say what’s on your mind

The fear of his rejection and the inevitable fallout

The anger towards anyone who comes close to him

The jealousy of the women who own the room

The sadness and hopelessness of never getting a chance

And yet on the surface, everything is fine.

 

You wait until you are alone

And then you let the tears come down

Nobody comes to help

because nobody can hear the silent screams

or the shattering of your broken heart.

And no matter what you’ve felt before

The pain is still new

because you thought that this time

it would be different

 

Instead it just becomes another broken heart

another cycle of self-loathing and unanswered questions

All hidden beneath the surface

All kept secret

Because you’re the girl who keeps smiling

Even when inside, you’re silently screaming

 

The Best Words in the Best Order: Why Poetry?

April is National Poetry Month. According to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poetry is the best words in their best order.

But in the days of Top 40 music and young adult novels about post-apocalyptic worlds, what place does poetry have in the world?

It’s kind of like asking what purpose beauty has in the world, to be honest. Poetry, to me, is one of the most beautiful forms of storytelling. It doesn’t always come in the form of a romantic sonnet or a funny limerick, but poetry always tells a beautiful story. Sometimes, it tells the author’s story or it tells a story of someone completely fictional or a situation or some kind of idea.

In spite of what some people believe, people with autism are capable of being creative. It’s just a matter of figuring out the right creative outlet. For me, it came in the form of writing. And although the neatness of my handwriting is somewhat subjective, I always had a love of words.

Like any angsty teen, I wrote my fair share of poems. I even won a high school poetry contest. But until I graduated college, I always thought that I had to be at a high emotional state in order to write what I thought was good poetry.

It turns out that poetry, no matter how lame it can be, is still a wonderful form of expression. Yes, even bad poetry can be beautiful, as evidence by this one from a certain bloody awful poet:

My soul is wrapped in harsh repose,
Midnight descends in raven-colored clothes,
But soft… behold!
A sunlight beam
Butting a swath of glimmering gleam.
My heart expands,
’tis grown a bulge in it,
Inspired by your beauty… 
Effulgent

Oh it’s bad. But I’ve seen worse, trust me on that. In spite of the bad rhyme at the end, the poem started off well. And I’m not just saying that because I have a crush on the character who wrote it.

Take a look at one of my first poems, written back when I was 12 years old. This was written the year that I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, but at the time I had no idea.

 

Blind and Naive

 

Sometimes I leave the world

When I duel with my cards

Or when I’m reading comics and magazines

When I omit the world, I quickly return

To hear the sounds of unfriendly critiques

Why are they so naive of the beautiful world beyond their own?

Blind are the kids for they aren’t full-grown

I yearn for the world that I love.

They’ll never learn, they’ll never know.

The “perfect” ones are trapped within their world

Not knowing of an outside place

They talk of war and say

“Those frightened are wimps.”

I am undecided.

I remember what

A famous fallen angel sings

“I am beautiful, no matter what they say.”

Those words are etched in my heart,

And then I know who I am.

I wish that they’d see through my eyes

And see the beauty of a cloudy day,

But they are what they are…

Blind and naïve.

 

There is a lot of irony in this poem, given that I was actually blind to the fact that I had a neurological disorder and had the naivete of your average sheltered 12-year-old Catholic school girl. And yet my 8th grade teacher shared it with parents of autistic children and teens and she told me it resonated with them.

Compare that to a poem I wrote this year that’s also about having autism. This time, I have the perspective of a young adult and have been aware of my autism/Apserger’s for about ten years.

 

The Autistic Machine

 

Many people have this misconception

That autism is a mental illness

The media diagnoses,

playing doctor and psychiatrist

Even while carrying on the belief

That people only use 10% of their brains

In reality, our brains are always active

Even when we sleep

Such is the case with autism

 

For autism is not a disease

Created from a brain’s faulty software

Instead autistic brains are merely different hardware

Wired differently, with different programming

It’s like the average human brain is a PC

and those with autism are Macs and Linuxes

 

Some people with autism

are more user friendly than others

Some of us are great with many languages

While others lose translation in similes and metaphors

Some function well in schools and offices

While others struggle to even speak

Some can handle rooms of thousands

While others hide at the sounds of strangers

What we have in common is how we are seen

For none of us could be perceived as normal

 

I am one of these “machines,”

Programmed with Asperger’s

I am somewhat user friendly

But I only work for certain types of people

I open up more with common interests

Instead of wasting time with small talk

I’m more comfortable with friends

And strangers who share a love for things

Than with my family, who speaks in their own language

Or with acquaintances who talk of people instead of ideas

I’d rather hide in the anonymity of the internet

Than look a person I don’t know in the eyes.

 

There are those who are surprised

And others who’d rather judge

But the ones I love the most

Are the ones who listen when I ramble

Those who I can be with

Without saying a word

Those who share my love

For ordinary things like books and tea

And extraordinary stories, people, and words

 

When I can be myself

I am no longer a machine

I come into life

I dance and sing

Not like a robot

But as a human being

Because autistics aren’t machines

We are as human as everyone else

 

I’ll leave your interpretation of my current poetry up to you, but I hope to share more poetry on this blog throughout this month.

How To Be An Adult: A Sonnet

You think adulthood starts when you turn 18

Or when you move out or graduate college

You look for work, you primp and preen

But finishing education didn’t give you much knowledge

About how to file taxes or pay the bills on time

Or finding the right significant other

Being happy seems like a steep hill to climb

Nights are haunted by the naysays of your mother

Eventually, however, things start balancing out

Life becomes the school you never really had

You learn on your own and you forget your doubt

Finally accepting that growing up isn’t all bad

All adults make the rules as they go along

You learn how to make your own, you learn how to be strong