Parallel Existence

In your world the light is cheerful,
    In my world the light is painful,
Sounds caress: a background murmur.
    Sounds assault: a foreground clamor.
A crowd of friends; you rush to join them,
    A crowd of friends; I can’t avoid them,
Slip into the conversation.
    How to join the conversation?

You read the tone and body language,
    Non-verbal cues: a foreign language,
Instinct means no mental load.
    Too much input: overload.
You do these things without a thought,
    I try to cope, my efforts fraught,
The world and you: a perfect fit.
    The world and me: it won’t remit.

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5 thoughts on “Parallel Existence

  1. I wish I could write like you, Ben. Your poems and your posts are so poignant. You can really get to the heart of a subject. I found it very compelling the way you compared, shined some light on, the differences between the way we on the spectrum experience things and the way NTs seem to be able to just drift through it all without much care compared to how difficult and painful it can be for spectrum folks. That's what it does feel like at times: that it is non remitting.

  2. Thank you Bird: that means a lot to me. On the subject of writing styles, yours has an honest, from-the-heart directness that I find transcends mere semantics to convey a startling depth of emotion.Going back to the above work, I was trying here to present the same scene from two different perspectives; to provide a contrast between AS and NT experiences of the world and how the same events affect each of us in wildly different ways. Our lives can be parallel in the strict sense – traveling side by side but never meeting.I'm pleased that the composition works. I wanted the physical layout and almost-repetition in each couplet to reinforce the similarities – every second line is like a distorted echo and draws attention to the differences. Perhaps as a side-effect of my strongly visual way of thinking, I sometimes like to use the physical arrangement of words to augment the meaning. In my mind the two interleaved halves of this are superimposed but I couldn't achieve this on the page while leaving it legible…

  3. That is incredibly interesting to me, Ben, the way that you created this poem. I get very worked up when I try to do things like that. I think the point of frustration remains in the engineering of the writing- sometimes knowing so clearly what it is that I want to convey but not being able to engineer it to look the way I would want it to appear to others. Sometimes I get so worked up in thinking about how most people wouldn't be able to understand what it is that I'm actually trying to convey that the mechanics becomes a place where I get stuck in and can't move past. I think that's why I write free verse so often. It helps me a little bit with not getting caught up in mechanics so much as getting out my feelings and the situation. I wish I could do what you do. I've always thought people who can write such amazing poetry with the mechanic working for them as well really have quite a unique and wonderful gift that remains a mystery to me.

  4. Hi Ben. I have spent the afternoon reading your blog, and it's been a huge help to me. I feel that I can finally, after 15 years, get some grasp on what's been going on in my own marriage. I have never really understood what's going on with my husband, and I've never been able to work out a way to communicate with him about how I'm feeling… without it all turning crazy. What you've written on this blog has given me insight into the stress he's experiencing and his reaction to it. This is Gold. THANK YOU very much. This poem really sums life up perfectly. I will now be much more aware, and hopefully a lot less irritating to be around!!

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