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1—Milieu Unique construction of body and mind My niche in human pack not quickly found Raw young heart of a curious design The empty mirrors for my soul abound Subjectively a bit odd to myself A jangled, disconnected kind of sense You’d really have to feel it for yourself Bare toes in rougher grass, my side of fence Surrounded by like minds, we all assume This world of beings whose outsides look like ours Belonging, my soul’s dream bound straight for doom As if I’d flown a rocketship from Mars I turn my back, but yet still feel their grins At times it seems a penance for past sins 2—Hairshirt At times, it seems a penance for past sins This hairshirt of discomfort I have worn Beneath my skin, wool sweater’s itch within As if my past lives’ sins remain unshorn My senses prone to overload, expend Just like my mind, to peace they must return A t-shirt tag could bother me no end Yet bloodied elbows would escape concern Vast sea of neon lights, eyes howling bright My skull reverberates with common sound A thousand Vegas strips eclipse my sight Exquisite dullness, daggers soft abound Bright deluge, hard sensations’ stormy squall At times, my soul would fade into the wall 3—Fledgling At times, my soul would fade into the wall When I could not march to their beating drum Fictitious rules apparent to them all Ignored by most, my fate, hated by some My heart is scalded, social asper-steam Within me builds a silent asper-scream The years of clumsy efforts don’t redeem Relief, a frothing mug of aspercreme I try to find the beat I cannot plumb Although my overloaded senses hum The human presence looms, I seek the numb A frenzied fumble for my aspergum The fairy tails I chased once seemed unmatched To grow up in a dreamy world detached 4—Sinking To grow up in a dreamy world detached Illusions and delusions spread their wings Again, again, my boyhood dreams were dashed Stray child in charge of life, no good will bring The poisoned rain did fail to bring relief To run and hide within was my great lie A deepened torrent, dark implosive grief All sorrow that’s submerged is magnified The spirit’s life for which I’d never reached Until the fateful day, my first real prayer Strong hallowed reed my drowning arm beseeched Through desperation’s gift, my soul did dare From darkness did my vagrant soul break free Becoming the man I’m supposed to be 5—Integration Becoming the man I’m supposed to be A task not as straightforward as it sounds The years drew mantle of success to me Yet still my larger clan could not be found My social self I’d tried to disavow So often did I wish these needs would die But luck, this curse my fate would not allow Through many trials, my error rate so high Within this maze, the rat had found no cheese So weary now of feeling out of place Their foreignness cannot be grasped with ease Where are my people? I don’t see a trace In this soul, vital difference would it make For all the years I’d spent perfecting fake 6—Tribe For all the years I’d spent perfecting fake My heart, in large part, cowered underground To ape the things that never could be mine To be my own self seemed a risk profound Occasions bring more friends across the rift In parts and pieces, forming near a whole A rare woman who can accept my gifts Our small tribe hatched with love and kindred soul At forty, I learned how to read a face Such basic things with which you’re all endowed My common sense uncommon, but my place Becoming solid in my micro-crowd Great challenge finding home where my heart sits To figure out with my unaided wits 7—Of Understanding and Diagnosis To figure out with my unaided wits Awareness blossomed when I first did see “Non-neurotypical,” whatever its true meaning, doubtless it referred to me Atypical, the wires under my skin Atypical, my needs for contact too Atypical, the fires that burn within Atypical, these seeds my life imbued Despite the careful wording in their books The shrinks disparage us, their words betray The path I find innate, it just might look Compared to you, pervasively delayed The Others you don’t get are not Unclean Some scientists draw parallels between 8—Neanderthal Dream Some scientists draw parallels between Neanderthals and Asperger’s today How ancient cavemen’s lives just might have been The features, mind and body, seem to say: Creative loners who seek their own place Extinct, though hiding somewhere in our genes An ancient mind lurks just behind my face It seems we’re born to live in worlds between Neanderthal projected forward, I’m A lone wolf among pack dogs, number prime In step and tune to my unique heart’s rhyme A living museum piece who’s lost in time This unexpected journey helped me find Unique construction of body and mind 8/6/16 © Thomas W. Quigley

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016

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Date: 5/9/2017 2:23:00 PM
Being an Aspie myself, combined with a lot of other goodies like Tourette's, I was immediately drawn to this poem. Wooly clothes, T-shirt labels, holding a newspaper or a potato. A constant sensory overload, not exactly comprehending what is being asked, and mimicking, be a parrot, a copycat. Which works :) And it's all in there, in this constellation of Iambic Pentameter Sonnets. I love it.
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Date: 8/14/2016 10:13:00 PM
That was truly great, Tom. Enjoyed immensely -- and I can, partially, relate (when it comes to missing family, if I read you right). :-)
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Tom Quigley
Date: 8/15/2016 11:38:00 AM
Thanks, Tom! Appreciate you plowing through it!