Protestina: A Poem for Autism “Awareness” Month


for Autism “Awareness” Month 2015

I read once that autistics love sestinas
because perseveration. We’re mindblind; we don’t know
we bore you with our endless brainless echo,
our flapping, our collections. We’d know this
if we listened, but we don’t; to listen
requires a sense of audience we don’t have. We’re literal

(metaphorical) animals, empty buildings; literal
puzzles missing pieces, fractured code, sestinas
without the number six. To get to six, first listen
to one through five. Development is linear. You cannot know
six without savants. This
is self-evident, an endless brainless echo.

So we touch nose, touch nose, touch nose. Echo
touch nose until the mental drill is literal.
That’s if we’re lucky. If we’re not, this –
“this,” “therapy,” becomes a prison, a sestina
of iron bars and shocking silence (literal). You don’t want to know,
and you don’t have to listen,

which is good, because what you call “active listening”
we call a farce of speech, in which you echo
a speaker’s self-importance. How can you know
a damn thing except that talk is king? (That’s literal,
recall: a real king in an imaginary sestina.)
We’re mindblind so that you don’t have to see this

hypocrisy you call the self. You see the joke in all of this?
That’s good, ‘cause we don’t. Listen,
we’re bigger on the inside; like sestinas
our shadows multiply, don’t merely echo.
(You’re counting shadows now.) That’s literally
A joke on you, find outs for you not to know.

First of all, forget all that you “know”
from blue light specials, Drs. Oz or Google. This
is blinding bullshit, meant to open your (literal)
wallet on the way to dusty deaths. Listen:
follow with your eyes and touch the echo
of a thousand thousand bodymind sestinas.

The sestina drops a marble in a basket. Listen
as it pings on what you know, or knew. Ignore this:
it is a literal echo of your soul.


5 thoughts on “Protestina: A Poem for Autism “Awareness” Month

    1. Yes! It’s a portmanteau of “protest” and “sestina.” I also considered “Protesestina,” but I liked “Protestina” better, ultimately.

      Currently, I produce about one poem worth reading every five years. I’m trying very hard to improve that average, and now that I have a few months free, I might actually be able to do it.

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