Asperger Poetry –
I don’t mean poetry written by Asperger individuals or verse about Asperger’s, the disorder, but verse that expresses an Asperger perception of reality.
Poetry is a strange category of expression, caught between skill and spontaneity, between cultures young and old, a “grab bag” of “whatever” – at least in the U.S. It’s become political, like everything else in American life. The popularization of personal gripes, perceived slights, bitterness, victimhood and the urge toward psychological exposure frankly leaves me cold. “Pants Dropper” is the American expression for the inability to create from one’s disability or hardship, but instead to merely expose oneself in vulgar display.
It’s just a function of the human condition: Life is a tragedy. The question us, What are you, the individual, going to do about? Transformation is in our power; so is defeat.
In my prowls around the Internet I have come across poetry that I noted as “revealing” of an Asperger POV, but collecting examples has not a project I’ve pursued; maybe I ought to.
In the meantime, when I first located in Wyoming (1995), new experiences tempted me to write “verse” (a friend who teaches English Literature dismissed my trials as vague and too short and lacking human subjects), but in true Asperger style, this criticism was no deterrence, and in addition to pieces of creative nonfiction that were published, my brief poems found some success with publication in regional journals. It was a passing phase. Poetry is not “natural” to me at all; it’s a matter of words not being the original form of thought. Words are almost an “afterthought” – after the cloud of sense and emotion have cleared.
Barren town, barren land, sand in my boots, a cobble in my hand; fifty million years is a short trip into earth’s history, but it’s an even greater distance from humanity.
Small tasks become precious ways to gather time; a thread, when pulled, makes emptiness into a pretty ruffle. On sunny days, when isolated clouds throw shadows across the land, it may be said to be pretty, as a plain woman may be pretty if she takes pride in a plain face.
Sagebrush stains the air a chemical color; a smell that is dark red and orange and concentrated, like piss. A lone receptor in my nose approves of the bitter stink and passes it to my brain, where it connects to a memory of all Octobers.
Beyond the simple life, my capacities are wanting;
I know my house, the rocks and flowers in the garden,
the dogs’ cranky defense of our mundane perimeter.
I was made for this dry place, and insist on the right
to set my limits low, but my horizons high.
Idling on a ridge top miles from town, waiting for heat,
and far to the west, the windshield on another wandering truck
glints like a sequin pinned to the cold distance.