Category Archives: Writing

Autism in the Trenches

AUTISM IN THE TRENCHES
BY KIRI L. K. SALAZAR

There is a foe, I cannot see
Wired with hair-trigger senses.
Conflict borne in infancy
     Camouflaged in normalcy
My heart is sore, my soul fatigued
Fighting Autism in the trenches.

My Janus child walks a line between his world and mine
I cannot cross his no-man’s land, the battle never ceases.
Nor can he find his way to me
Along a treacherous path 
Where every wrong step may carve him to pieces.

Some days, the screaming never seems to end.
Severed nerves send SOSes.
Signals get crossed, get lost in transmission
It might be joy, but why take chances?

The silence is worse.
Laying traps of false expectation.
A minefield of hope and regret
With a route that daily changes.

I have waged war against tics and compulsions
Aiming for inclusion.
Making I.E.Ps into I.E.D.s
Is not an error in transcription
But a battle plan with no excuses.

I am tired of this war.
I am raw.  I am defeated.
I have forgotten, 
Who am I really fighting for?
If the one I love is the one who is bleeding?
I cannot fight it any more.

In the Land of Normal, Autism is the enemy.
There are no victors and no survivors.
Unless I surrender completely to the pain of what is
and make peace with what will never be.

Instead of making war on his differences,
I will raise the white flag
And embrace those moments of calm.
For, if all I know is war, how can I ever come home?

__________________________________________________________________________

The artwork entitled Autism in the Trenches which is based on the above poem is scheduled to go up for auction via Miedema Auctioneering, Inc.  at the conclusion of ArtPrize 2021 and the proceeds are to be donated to the local organization Autism Support of Kent County. Installation will take place September 11 at Veterans Memorial Park 22 Sheldon Ave, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

Search for Lot 90-70454

For more details go to this link: https://www.artprize.org/70454

The Death of Sleep and Falling Pickles

There is a freight train shrieking in my bedroom. It’s the only explanation that makes any sense when I am thrust awake by the most horrible noise at an ungodly hour.

QWERNK… QWERNK… QWERNK QWERNK…QWERNK…QWERNK…QWERNK

Continue reading The Death of Sleep and Falling Pickles

When You’ve Got that Sinking Feeling…

I think my sink had a heart attack this week. I could be wrong, but the thousands of hours of medical dramas I’ve watched suggests otherwise. You be the judge.

***

Continue reading When You’ve Got that Sinking Feeling…

IT’S ALIVE!!!!

I’ve been living an absolute nightmare. For TWO WHOLE DAYS!!!

But finally, after a weekend of anxiety-drenched trauma, I am back to tell the tale. It’s mercifully short, but not, I think, an insignificant one to any who has experienced the horror. Mary Shelley only dreamt of such nightmares as this!

Continue reading IT’S ALIVE!!!!

Walking Buck Creek Trail

There was no plan before we left.

We just took off together—as if lured by sirens singing.

Beneath the stars, you steered me to the places that you love,

made mysterious by the flare of rockets red glaring.

Through the cemetery and down the hill

To where the waters waited,

And the path was still and free of people.

We walked along Buck Creek Trail that Fourth of July.

Chasing fireworks just out of reach.

The flash bang of concussions meeting us in the dark.

As slick, silent waters slid past a fallen tree.

Fireflies flickered, semaphore signals, beneath a gibbous moon.

When I was younger, I thought it was called a ‘Gibbon’ moon.

I couldn’t help but wonder…

Do monkeys dance bathed by lunar luminescence thinking it is day?

Or does the Man in the Moon wear a simian grin?

My, how that mischievous moon loomed large.

A low-hanging pendulum ticking in the tree tops.

Playing peek-a-boo behind Earth’s shadow

While the jealous sun searched for its hidden lover.

And as we walked through the humid musk

Of night smells and sulfur from plentiful explosions.

Every inhalation left an acrid taste upon the tongue.

Around each curve we anticipated the next cascade to come.

But we never quite caught the pattern of their detonation.

Overhead, we spied

…A glimpse.

…A spark.

A flickering emanation—a sky lantern floating.

The softness of a scene unmarred until…

BANG!

Followed by an emptiness–ears still ringing.

Eyes straining for a light in the dark.

Then the skies rained down with jeweled profusions.

The distant constellations twinkling in the smokey aftermath.

When the pyrotechnics paused

We waited…wondering…

“Was that it? The last one?”

But no.

A serpentine hiss trailed an invisible propulsion

Launching upward, arcing toward the vault of heaven.

Earthbound, we held our breath in anticipation…

Will it wax with radiance, or fizzle, wither, and die?

Or will it flower, hanging time itself upon a belt of sky?

Silver sparks streak, descend.

Causing seizures of joy in small children.

Cascades of tinsel dripped down from a dark blue heaven.

You laughed and pulled me forward through the night

Following an ever-moving horizon.

You never caught them—the manmade stars you chased.

But then, that was never your goal.

You wandered the night in search of adventure.

Lured by a golden monkey moon winking down at us,

As if imparting a cosmic joke before we departed.

Back through the cemetery we went

Where the little chapel hides in hedgerows

Sparklers briefly crowning the trees in red, white, and blue tiaras.

And there was no tomorrow yet to fear.

There was only the night and the steps we took beneath a silvery moon.

While the fire flies danced to a tune only they could hear…

…in the dark

…on the path

…along Buck Creek Trail.

Sundown – A Poem

SUNDOWN

by Kiri L. K. Salazar


Memory is the golden shore where summer waters lap.
Where sanded children shriek like gulls,
And mothers shade their eyes and search
The ever distant beach for tears or missing faces in the surf.

There the castles build and fall, where triumph tragedy becomes.
And sticky mouths suck greedy gulps of sugar-saturated pops—
Rainbow colors melting down.

See criss-crossed marks burned into skin which will no permanent memory make
To keep from repeating the mistake of measuring the sun by an SPF span.
Boiled-lobster faces whine and belated zinc is applied in futile effort to rewind time.

Gritted bodies, tired, worn but happy with a day’s respite,
Ride the chariot once more toward the sinking orb
Which threatens little from its perch on the lip of the world,
Leaving a flip flop token of remembrance behind.

You’ll find no ribboned concourse marking childhood’s end.
It is fleeting, passing, and no trumpet heralds its demise.
So, measure well those steps you take on burning sands
They will the hourglass wind down and scorch tender flesh
In haste to reach Lethe’s waters.

A picture of the author’s son, back when he was little…a hundred years ago.
Continue reading Sundown – A Poem

A Letter to a Friend

I began writing and was interrupted by life. This is an expansion of a letter I wrote in the time that came before and the inspiration that followed…

To my friend K____, who lies bored in a hospital bed waiting for things to happen. May the butterflies find you.

Continue reading A Letter to a Friend

First Words

rock garden words 2

Cave paintings tell the oldest tales.

Charcoal impressions of a Neolithic age.

Ancient stone stories echo authors past.

Symbolic of the writer’s rocky path.

Once pried from cold, hard stone

You ask yourself, were they there all along?*

*-*-*
rock water melt snow

First Words

by K. L. K. Salazar

 

What siren song do fissures sing?

Elusive, mutable—so close, yet out of reach.

Can anybody hear you? See you?

Or do you speak only to my soul?

 

 

Hidden deep, in crevasses unknown.

Only found in shadows, on lichen-crusted clefts.

Under a winter’s sky—cold and blown.

A resonance of stone.

Falling, hitting, frozen things.

Echo shots creation brings, broken and rebuilt.

 

Etched in deep, where all words hide.

Unexpected meaning lies, unrefined,

Inside. Pitched to black and deeper reaches

No one knows what they may find.

 

When broken from the rock, words flow.

Released like melting snow

Warmed by sun’s beat.

Through erosion, exposition unfolds.

 

While I am weathered

Glacially slow.

Imperfections reveal

Dreams fragmentary and unreal.

 

 

Part hope.

Part defeat.

Cemented with faults.

I am stratified

Awaiting metamorphosis.

rock garden

 

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*I wouldn’t ordinarily have a footnote to my poetry. But I’ve never had this happen before. I don’t know what to call that little slice of word jumble at the top. I tried leaving it out and that felt wrong. I tried putting it in…even wronger. Is it a foreword? A prelude? A prequel? I’m not sure what to call it. So, I’m not calling it anything. It just is. And I hope that is enough.