[Image: a light-skinned person with long golden blond hair walks towards the background of the image, faced away from the viewer. They are wearing a medium bright blue dress and carrying a large, light blue tote on their left shoulder. They walk over a rough, rocky landscape.]
TO THE WOMAN WHO SAID MY SEIZURES MADE HER “FEEL TRAPPED” by Wil Gibson At times, my world is gone. I do not exist. I become a large twitching dust bunny, unaware of the contents of brain and bladder. I am movement without purpose or explanation or reason. I am gone. I am always almost gone, or I do not exist. You never don’t exist. I could never explain my time to you. There is no understanding this senseless twitch. You have too few years for this medicine, this medication is too young for you. This roar too loud for your precious ears. These sandpaper hands too rough for your porcelain skin. You will never know this uncomfort at the sight of stairs, this nervous bathing and swimming, this piss-soaked fear of my every day. I am aware your thought scares you more than my mind could ever allow itself to absorb. If I lived in that fear, I would never leave the house again, trap myself in soft foam, and become the stain on the kitchen floor. You have never been just a stain. I have marked myself a beast as bad as any label or hatred you could force at my melted feet. All those I love yous met with cold shoulders and I’m fucking sleepings will drown and float like the dead weight that it is. You wanted a reason to listen as much as I wanted a reason to be treated like an unwanted houseguest. Your bitterness a waisted window in this unsmogged grey town. I am not a torn boxing glove for your broken hand. You cannot hold anything until you heal. You have not been good at holding onto things. I used to have the confidence to leave. I don’t have the confidence to get left. I have (nothing) left (to give) myself. Somewhere.
PIKE by Robert Beveridge Here was a man who loved his work; the scaling of fish, the draw of the blade over flesh, arcs of scale beneath light, a hundred tiny rainbows from a shad, a thousand from a trout. Halibut: endless. At home, he peels carrots, eggplant, bitter melon. Only vegetables; he has never consumed a fish.
DANGER: ALLISTIC POETS EMPHASIZE MEMORIZATION AS THE ONLY WAY TO PERFORM by Lucas Scheelk I envy those capable of memorization I envy the masters unrolling words off their tongues Words fly away from me if I cannot see them on the page They don’t fly like Icarus racing towards self-destruction My words fly like Captain Martin Crieff landing a plane on one engine, Desperate to keep control in the face of DANGER [People = DANGER, overbearing light = DANGER, audience clapping = DANGER, audience snapping their fingers = DANGER, bass music = DANGER, fear of my body flying away with my words = DANGER] I envy those without involuntary pause I envy the masters unrolling words off their tongues My written words are more solid than my verbal speech, Which, in comparison, slows, slurs, pauses, stutters, confuses, Endorses pity, races, and creates a disconnection with the audience Words fly away from me if I cannot see them on the page I must always see the words, from start to finish, to Have visual confirmation that my words won’t fly away And be replaced with new words, strange words, Words that could be mistaken for someone else’s, Words that could be mistaken for an Allistic poet’s I envy those who socialize without a script I envy the masters unrolling words off their tongues Words fly away from me if I cannot see them on the page And it took me months to auditorily process Cabin Pressure And it took me months to remember plotlines from Cabin Pressure And it took me months to echolalate Cabin Pressure And it took me months to script Cabin Pressure My reading, grounding, my words from the page is like My scripting, socializing, with you using Cabin Pressure Both take preparation and DANGER, and it Doesn’t make me any less of a performer
HOPELESS by Robert Beveridge The more beautiful the nurse, the less chance she’ll respond to char. Bad enough they're made to serve that slop the kitchen calls a square meal. The first thing you tell the newbies is what, on that menu, is edible. Most of the time. You’ve heard the joke, you bite into the apple and find half a worm? Welcome to the wing. Art therapy, bad folk music, overworked doctors, and the same face. You hang around long enough, you’ll find you know all the regulars. Here beyond the airlock, only certain people thrive. After a day or so you will know them, seek them out, for they are your tribe. The delusional, the depressed, the neurotic, the beautifully insane. The ones who spend morning group in contemplation of the ghostly visitors to their room the night before, or those who spin conspiracies the way a spider spin a child when dosed with LSD. These will be your friends, your half-worms, the ones who make the beautiful nurses bearable.
THE AUSKETEERS by Lucas Scheelk Ah, I got a joke! Like, it’d actually be offensive if YOU told it, but I can tell it. An autistic spoken word artist, an autistic poet, and an autistic musician walk into a bar. Code Name: FLUFFY, the spoken word artist – Looks you in the eye, laughs mischievously, and stares you down until you hand over the uselessness that is your ego and hypermasculinity. Pajamas and plaid kind of queer. Denim vests underneath black jackets kind of queer. White skin, green thumb, with a golden heart and a grey soul kind of queer. Wields the Power of Sustainability. Code Name: LUCASIMO, the poet – Chants TRAINS in monotone for shits and giggles, in between long periods of uncomfortable silence and highly specific media references, with a lack of patience for those not in sync. Aggressive white twink. Questioning gender specifics. Understands cats more than humans. Wields the Power of Tenacity. Code Name: JOS-PEH, the musician – Singing voice as seasoned as the eyebrow makeup. Twink. Korean. Most believe they can access the musician, know the musician’s thoughts, and capture the musician’s heart, but most never hear the laughs, see the hand flaps, smell the foods made, or converse with while creating outrageous characters. 99% never see the fury. Wields the Power of Credibility. They make the AUTSKETEERS. The Autsketeers walk into a bar – Armored with Adderall-infused 4-hour get-out-of-executive- functioning-hell free cards, vodka straight Monday afternoon pick-me-ups, self-rolled cigarettes, energy drinks, and weed, the Autsketeers convince themselves that under such conditions, socializing in public can be achievable. Wait, I didn’t catch that. The punchline? What? OH! Sorry! I got distracted by the idea of Autistic Musketeers! They’d travel on the lightrail to get to the bar, you know, because TRAINS. They’d battle puzzle pieces and STEM stereotypes because, well... Yeah, you’re right. I guess I need to work on my humor.
Mania Poem #1 by James Moran You’re running through the fire, burning in the fire. Everything about you, around you burns – wild. You have all the water you could ever need, enough to put out the flames. But you drink the water, keep drinking, even though you’re not thirsty. You believe that you’re the fire.