ALONE, Jane Sproston

Alone, Jane Sproston
Alone, Jane Sproston

[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.]



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. 
have     (nothing)
left      (to give)


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, Robert Beveridge

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.


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

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.

DISCOMFITURE, Robert Beveridge

by Robert Beveridge

Heist botched. Withdraw
and plan again. Stuffed chicken
is added to the checklist.
Two men are on your tail,
Eurasian. One is named
Bin Hua; the other, Jack.

If thine eye offend thee.
Jerk. Clutches always fail
suddenly. Speak to terror.
Lozenges. Spank. Swallow
emeralds whole.

Ripped apart and half-
asleep. No one is allowed
to touch. There was a time once.
Self-cynicism is only useful
when known. Moody.

Crushed by water pressure.
Raven chorus. Anvil of dawn.
The gods could sing it
for all you care. Sonata. Half-
tones. Vagaries. Ship
in a slip, more cast
off. Feel it, relish. Take


by David James

“Children’s belief in immortality is universal.”
		from “Findings,” Harper’s, April 2014

Hell, we all think
we’ll live forever, even that old guy in hospice,
confessing to the nurses that it’s all an elaborate hoax,
that one day soon, he’ll stand up and dance his way
out the front doors, flashing his middle finger
at death.  Dying is an accident, something done
by people who aren’t careful,
people who are stupid and drive their cars into trees,
people who are in the wrong places
at the wrong times.
Most of my life so far, I’ve been in the right place
at the right time, and that’s how I plan to keep it.
No hospitals, no hospices. Ten and two on the steering wheel,
a decent distance between me and the car in front.
No heroin or cocaine, no crystal meth.  A baby’s aspirin
every day, vitamin C every other.  
No combat or war zones, no swimming with the sharks,
no tightrope on the 18th floor after drinking, no prostitutes
on Gratiot Avenue, no karaoke with gang-bangers,
no Russian roulette, dynamite, nuclear fission,
no Rottweilers, no knife-throwing friends.
I’m just a big old kid and immortality’s my middle name.
If I do die, by mistake, my belief in God and the afterlife
will hold me up, propel me into forever land where I can lounge
on a cloud, throw lightning bolts, fly through the heavens,
float down to earth and make wishes come true for those
who can’t see me but still believe. 
And if that doesn’t happen, if this is an elaborate hoax,
then when I die, if I die,
I’m going to be one pissed-off dude.


Birds Speak of Mysteries, Barbara Ruth
Birds Speak of Mysteries, Barbara Ruth

[Image: two large freeway lamps, one in the foreground and the other in the background near the lower right corner of the image. Both are slender poles bearing a long, curved metal arm extending to the left. On each arm, several small birds sit. The lamps stand out against a bright purple sky, with light thistle tones near the top graduating into a deep electric purple at the bottom.]