Hi guys. As some of you will know by now, on the 17th of June I’ll be launching a hand bound, hand decorated book of poems called The Poetry of Autism: Eyes of Perspective, which I wrote with Andrew Smith and Joshua Williams. The book will be sold through Etsy, and through various Bradford based poetry readings. To celebrate the launch event, every Monday and Friday leading up to the 17th of June I’ll be posting a poem from the book on the Seeing Double blog. Think of it as a countdown to the books official release!
Without further ado, here’s the first poem I want to share with you…
Something is Missing by Andrew Smith
The Dog walks past but does not bark,
Silently it continues its journey.
The bird opens its beak but does not sing,
Silently it perches on its branch.
The cat is content but does not purr,
Silently it waits and listens.
Something is missing,
My sixth sense is overflowing,
Flooding me with the
Message that the world is
Not as it seems.
Not what I hear
Not what I see
Not what I touch
Not what I smell
Not what I know
Or believe to be true.
Reality is metaphorical.
I am on stage with no script,
Nothing to inform or direct me.
Interpretation is open and closed.
Communication is alive and dead.
I understand nothing and everything.
Something is missing,
And I pick the needle up-
This has to be one of my favourite poems by Andrew. When he submitted it, he included a note explaining he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as an adult and found this experience ‘life changing… I always felt something was missing’. This poem conveys that sense that of something being missing, as the narrative voice struggles to understand and relate to the world around him. I love the line ‘I am on stage with no script’ because it sums up exactly how I feel when I’m trust into a new social situation. People often ask me if I get nervous doing drama or performing my poetry in front of a large audience, and I can honestly say that I find going to a bar or a party much more terrifying. When I’m on stage I get to hide behind my character, and I know what to do because every social interaction is scripted. When I go to a party there’s nothing to hide behind, just me, completely exposed with no script to tell me how I should be performing. I also think the ending of this poem is really strong because it’s so ambiguous. ‘And I pick the needle up-‘ is the narrator about to inject himself with heroine? Does he self harm? Or is he simply doing a bit of arts and crafts to relax himself and engage with the world on a simpler level? There could be a million different interpretations of that last line. Everyone who reads it puts their own spin on it, and that’s what helps us relate to the poem.