Categories
Autism Prose

Joyful Noise by Basil Wright

Boredom is standing in a line outside of an event hall. You and your sibling have planned this outing weeks in advance. The actual event itself will be memorable, even though you know every sound after it will feel like pins and needles on your brain, even though when you exit the building, the sun will be too bright for your sensitive eyes, and even though you’ll need to construct a blanket cocoon and nestle yourself into the heart of its warmth, you know it will have been worth it. “No one’s getting in here.” You will mutter happily to yourself, reciting a cartoon as well-worn and loved as the blankets that surround you.

All of those events are tasks set before your future self. Right now, you are bored. And when you are bored, you cluck. You cluck once, low and soft, testing the mood of the crowd around you. No complaints. You cluck again, louder and with more confidence. As you cluck, your brain sets off joyous sparks of light and color, pushing back the boredom and allowing you to focus better on your surroundings. Your sibling looks at you and you smile encouragingly at them. They’re not as much of a fan of making chicken noises as you are, but when you start to clap they join in, keeping you on time to the music you’ve constructed in your mind. Your sibling shimmies as you jerk your limbs into odd contortions, your soul glowing orange as you clap and cluck.

Others in line stare at your strange behavior, but your focus is captured by the notes whirling within your mind, crafting your bird call piece by piece. Life is simply too short to concern yourself with whether or not being a dancing chicken is appropriate behavior while standing in line.

Farther ahead, a woman turns around to see what the noise is about and your eyes meet. You mimic your sibling’s shimmy and continue clapping. You can see the bright glow fill her eyes as she begins clapping as well, bopping her head along to the beat.

To your delight, a few others join you in your clucking: a cacophonous choir of chickens, cheeping and chirping to the same shared song. You take turns clucking back and forth with the man ahead of you, before he succumbs to a fit of giggles. “This is so weird.” He admits, but continues with his bird song.

When at last the doors to the event hall open, an employee pokes their head out to look at the crowd. “Was it just me, or did I hear a bunch of clapping…and clucking?”

Your sibling looks at you with a good-natured smile and gives one last shimmy.

You throw back your head and belt forth a rooster’s cry of affirmation.

Basil Wright is a Black and Indigenous autistic queer writer that lives in Florida with their sibling. Their work has appeared in Perhappened Mag, The Daily Drunk Mag, and Disability Madison’s Black and Disabled Virtual Showcase.

Categories
Autism Prose

Fragments by Hester Dade

Do not stare. People had been very clear on that, endlessly repeating it. Do not stare. But do make sure to meet people’s eyes. Rude to stare, rude to look away.

Sounds congealed in the air around her; screeching metal, bird song, chatter, footsteps, forming a physical mass. Those footsteps came to her, bringing that din with them. Someone stood near and this decision primed itself to pounce. If eyes were a window, the blinds could be shut, curtains drawn.

Something about this person tugged at her attention, eking her thoughts and holding them taut. There was some peculiarity here that she had not identified, a snag in her subconscious, some hidden information.

What people hadn’t told her was the optimal duration of gaze wandering, tipped it over the brim from herbivorous curiosity to socially-punishable scrutiny, a mythical period of time that strangers experienced together, a blending of minds, each one yielding slightly before the other, look at my eyes, they spoke a language she could never hear.

The shoes. In the past, no one had been offended by shoe examinations. These were scuffed along the left side more than the right, one of the laces had a double knot, the other beginning to falter.

The lights at the end of the platform changed colour, her train heaved itself around the final turning and into the station. Orange LED lights to take her home.

Sitting down now, avoiding the table seat, facing the direction of travel, she noticed the person had not moved. They half-leant against the fence, hands in pockets, double-knotted shoe tapping on the floor. Finally she could examine their face without retribution.

Their eyes locked with hers. That was all she could remember afterwards; intense brown eyes fringed with long black eyelashes. A physical sensation of gazes slotting together, barbed, impossible to disentangle. Do not stare, for they might stare back.

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Hester Dade is an autistic writer and illustrator creating work to untangle the knots in their mind. Their works have been published in science-fiction and anthologies and they were a past contributor for Herstory Arc (now F-Bomb). Hester also wrote letters for other people to send, drafted healthcare policy, and made numbers add up. They can be found at @hesterdadewords on twitter and @spellfoxart on instagram.

Categories
Autism Poetry

Sensory by C.M. Crockford

The clapping hands 

(cannon fire)

thousands of them

battering his skull – 

sharp sickening shocks – 

 

all the boy can do – 

 

scream.

 

Mouth gaping 

fingers clawing 

at temples.

 

Fifteen years pass.

 

He hears music in a great city.

He’s changed.

He watches.

Listens.

 

The instruments 

build into white noise

 

inside – 

fevered cathedrals.

Delicate wombs.

 

He knows it is

a tower of sound

where he would live

in Prayer

 

to beauty.

The violent discord 

of this world.

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C.M. Crockford is a writer with credits in Neologism Poetry Journal, Oddball Magazine, Vastarien, and Toho Journal Online among others. He is on the autistic spectrum. He lives in Philadelphia with his partner Julia.