Tag Archives: Poetry

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

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.