lead puffs

incessant inundation

weight of the world

mired in fetid swirl

demanding bits bobs

flotsam jetsam

to you

but me

pieces of my body

painfully sliced

piece by piece

shred by shred

excruciating agony

but no

have to

look here

look there

no, this

oh, that

chat, chat, chat

 

smile

wave

read this

listen to that

what do you think?

any advice?

here’s cake

eat

there’s steak

feast

be grateful

be happy

be cheerful

be merry

but most of all

BE VERY VERY VERY CLEVER

you’ve a PhD

… right?

 

all I want to do is just sleep

accommodating Self

 

Yesterday afternoon, a friend took me to a little nooky cafe, tucked inside an industrial estate. A former hardware shop, the entrance decorated with eclectic vintage clutter served as a thematic introduction to the atmosphere within. As soon as we pushed open the creaky door, I felt a draft of musty, humid, cool air blow directly into my face, then wrap around me like a nebulous mouldy snake. My skin tingled, as my olfactory senses picked up the various miasmic odours emanating from each visually charming piece of history on display.

The waiter ushered us towards the back. Slipping within a split second into a bubble of wordlessness, I followed obediently, semi-somnambulant, my sensory system already engaged in a (routine) contrapuntal wrestling match with the onslaught of smells, sights, and sounds. As we were about to sit down at the allocated table, speech suddenly returned, and words fell out of my mouth like marbles, tumbling down and bouncing sharply against the concrete floor.

“I don’t want to sit here, it smells funny. I don’t like the smell here.”

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creating clement space

 

As the BIG Anxiety festival draws ever nearer, I am plunged into a flurry of making, musing, more making and more musing. While crafting the installations for Clement Space in the City, contemplating the concept itself, and trying to find spaces of clemency along the way, an old song of mine wove its way into my consciousness.

The road is long and the dark night is lonely“… A line from one of my songs, “To Touch the Edge” written and recorded 1998/1999. I did not realise it at the time, but it was a plea to find Clement Space: a place – mental and/or physical – where mind, soul and body may dwell, even for a few brief moments, without threat or assault to intrinsic Beingness. (Click on title of song to access on SoundCloud.)

Days are now filled with the sensory textures of netting, organza, cotton, linen, yarn, thread, pinpricks on fingers, and the whirring gargling rattling of my mother’s trusty old Singer sewing machine. Continue reading

extempore

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Sashimi Set @ Ichiban Boshi

I am autistic. I really do prefer order above chaos, routine above last minute spur-of-the-moment excitement. And dinner outside of home base is actually not something I enjoy very much at all. In fact, these days, I rarely accept dinner invitations, almost never attend concerts and exhibition openings unless I was performing or exhibiting. The sensory struggle is just not worth it anymore, and I am too old for this kind of neuronormative mimicry anyway. Yet, there I was, clutching a generous gift voucher in my hand, expiring in 24 hours, dashing off to dinner in a somewhat dishevelled state: shorts, T-shirt, canvas shoes, no make-up and messy hair. Most unglamorous. But Foodie Bunny must not let this go to waste! I was on a mission! Continue reading

paradox

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Little Petruschka… Flipping and flopping between blessed clemency and blasted captivity… Pros and cons of proximity… Pandering to the overarching artifice of the collective… Losing autonomy… Gaining ease of living… Teetering between screaming to break free and relief at the measure of rest afforded by prison walls…

Dancing on bed of nails ablaze, celebratory fireworks lighting up the night sky obscuring seething agony of feet… hands flailing in air, mimicking gestures of cheer… If you do not conform, you will be lonely, says Other… but perhaps Petruschka wants to be alone? … Whose loneliness do Other and Self own?

 

bff or wtf?

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Are you offended by my expressions and paradigms of love? Have you ever stopped to wonder if I may be hurt by yours too? What are the different paradigms for connectivity and forming interpersonal bonds? How do we each express attachment and intimacy? Do we ever ask ourselves these question when we interact with friends? How about friends we have known for decades? Continue reading

foul

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rose, rose… beware those insidious piercing thorns

“Fair is foul and foul is fair: Hover through the foul and filthy air.” – Macbeth.
The normative social world is at best a confusing nightmare for a straight-thinking autist, and at worst a cesspool of toxic madness. What is to my mind a maelstrom of twisted and bizarre social drama, is “normal” to the players in this neurotic theatre, where too few are capable of speaking directly and honestly as a matter of habit. People say one thing in private, and a completely different thing in public. They promise one set of parameters, but once inside their frame of charity, they change their minds and proceed to do as they please. Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that autistic people are capable of causing great offence too. But in my experience, they do so in a much more direct and predictable (to me) way, making it easier for me to deal with.

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sensescape

After the foggy, damp start, the sun broke through with a forceful brilliance. A great day for washing, washing, and washing! A mission it was, after all, to breathe and touch cleanliness once more. So here, today, the full languid process unfurls.

How glorious is a gentle, warm shower, twice shampoo-ed hair, conditioned,  soaped and scrubbed down all over, turning slowly, touching cool smooth tiles, toes wriggling, and twirling carefully inside happy space. An old bathroom, just like the other one, but scrubbed and maintained. No cloying stink of rancid human embedded in threads of unkempt soggy towels, no dust or grime smeared across floor tiles, and no running out of water mid-way through. A little luxury too much taken for granted – basic, unhindered access to hygienic practice. Ah, the wonderment of squeaky clean hair! Continue reading

reboot

Four months of chaos, disorder, sensory assault and social dissonance. The autistic constitution can only be this much resilient. I wonder often how much an average neurotypical is able to endure the same dimensions, levels and consistent torture – and do so with the panache and persistence that many of us autistics execute on a daily basis?

Time to retreat and reboot. If only for a mere four and a half days.

Saturday bruncheon with Rick at our favourite Not Just Coffee – nourishing noshment and conversation, providing vim and vigour for the adventure ahead. It was so good to be back in our old neighbourhood of Paddington too.

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return

Return. To gentleness.

Amidst tumultuous churning, a clement space, meekly tucked inside the cosmic comic-tragic drama, a woolly mammoth opera buffa of epic girth, length and ponderous weight.

For a brief few hours, we went ‘home’… But it is no longer home for us. Continue reading