A little bit autistic?

Paula Sanchez

The UK’s Channel 4 is currently promoting its upcoming series ‘How autistic are you?’.The blurb asks if you “think you might be autistic?” as a precursor to a whistle-stop tour of reasons you might indeed be autistic:

“Struggle with social interaction, maintaining eye contact, or understanding the expressions and gestures of those around you? Do you have difficulty understanding other people’s feelings and managing your own? Or perhaps bright, loud or crowded places make you anxious?”

This isn’t helpful.

  • When free to create our own spaces for social interaction we form strong bonds and lasting relationships.
  • I have heard of too many children and adults refused assessment or diagnosis because they can do eye contact.
  • We are empathetic of others, we just might need them to communicate in a way we understand.
  • We often know exactly what to do to manage our own feelings, it’s just that external expectations…

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for my grandfather

[another prompt was ‘RIP a loved one’. had to use my imagination a bit since I have been lucky enough not to lose people very close to me – well, grandparents, but…it’s complicated.]

I still recall
running across the park
to ask

did you know Death and Water are brothers?

now, I stand
a mariner on the brink
looking out at the open sea;

grey as my intent,
Poseidon beckons water nymphs
to wait on him in the waves

slipping into waters unknown,
waves lap lovingly at lead feet,
between cold toes and unmoving lungs

I stand
in the park

I stand
in the park

is this what it is to die, grandfather?


[I asked people on Tumblr for prompts and one of them was ‘cherry blossom’. This was the result, which I am unusually proud of.]

here  I lie,
a cherry blossom sky;

sakura in bloom
pillaging the eye

let me be buried
under trees
that will cry
tears of fragile pink
when I die.

a return… of sorts

Well, here I am. I’m not sure why I feel the need to return to WordPress even after not using it for so long. Perhaps, like leaves in autumn, I am returning to earth. Tumblr is a wonderful place to share things, but it gets very crowded very quickly, especially if you don’t have separate blogs for things you share and things you create. In that sense, WordPress is great for actually showcasing content while presenting it in an elegant package. It still seems to lack the immediate (and gratifying) response from the social networking structure Tumblr has, though. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone who’s NOT used both before.

Anyway, to cut a long story short (as Procrustes would no doubt love to say), I’m back. I might not post as much as I used to, but I have begun various new things I feel I ought to share on here. More updates shortly!

for the girl who couldn’t see the stars

[this is a series I wrote for a friend who told me that where she lives, light pollution is so great that it’s impossible to see the stars at night]


eyes blistered by drops
of earthen tongues

thirsty for light,
you look skyward;

perhaps tonight
Saturn will wrap rings

around the universe
to keep your heartstrings

//and still the heart hopes
impossibly, inevitably
expanding to hold
the galaxy//


tonight is Hecate’s tender
breath landing on your cheek,

a caress of distress from beyond the
veil, silent as the splendour

of death-pale dawn. but the hour’s
late and you are so very tired; will

stars not rise to relieve flowers
of their dry-grounded


//and Nyx the moon shall devour,
yet the wolf still howls; how
else than by reading stars’
hopes in braille?//


dewdrops stain your face and hands;
invisible ink stabs eyes red:

no light, no stellar consorts
to keep you from your bed,

Ophelia’s ghost lips pour sweetmeat port
nothings into your head

‘my stars are life and
life is lavender

– wilted’

//thy stilted stars can wait
no more; hope’s flowers
blossom and grow
beyond the storm//


soaring above the clouds in
your head, your heart emerges

into the amber canvas, as the sun
sets on the divine with mirthful dirges;

your eyes, nightingales in migration,
stalk impossibility: another

rhyme without a poem, life without mitigation;
still, your skies yearn for Icarus’ starlover


//ghosts hold lanterns to ward
green monsters from under your bed
but who will save the stars
when Gaia is dead?//




by daylight, these weightless anchors
tether balloon thoughts to
piers of pages

by moonlight, these lead-bearing wings
strain against the gravity of
desert dreams

always I am the perforated
sack of wine, left bled by
these drunkards of words,
with a blistered cactus tongue

(yet even cacti wear flowers in the wild)

some poems about stars

I’ve been writing lots of poems about stars (partly because I’m taking an Archaeoastronomy course on Coursera, giving me ample excuses to love stars even more) so I’ve collected them all here for your perusal.  🙂

shooting star

how many stars fall while we sleep?
how many wishes go unwished?

fall with me
through stardrops into the
dewy sky of our obsidian wandering

let me write your name
in the constellations of
our ignited comet skin

aurora borealis

door broken down,
windows unlocked;

there stands
the topaz galaxy you’d hidden away within.

//you are the starsystem I wander in//

stars that never die

you were my imperishable star
the one that lit my path home

till you dipped below the horizon
not to surface again for the next

thousand years of leaving
me with unbrilliant bodies

to fumble my way forward
in the dark

-I’m going forward but never home-

afraid of the dark

I have always found it difficult
to fear the dark
because that is when
the stars come out.


I am condemned to love
her from afar

paying only short trips,
acute doses of visits

though I am ready
to rip out the safety tether

and float towards
her star forever.

fingertips a-shiver,
how can I write this starlight
pulsing through my veins?

falling comet

piercing the sky
I crawl my way back to
the earth, digging a
crater for a bed in this,
my corner of
the night.

//only hellfire can warm me
only hell can save me//

#poem for fear

my darling
do not be afraid of the dark

close your eyes
and I’ll kiss them; kiss away

the monsters they could
not see in our hearts. //

my darling
do not be afraid of silence

give me your breaths
and I’ll turn them into music

only we can hear.