Friday, September 16, 2011

Poems by Kate Gladstone

I recently received some poems written by Kate Gladstone, an autistic woman who wants to participate in ASDay.  The poems are about incidents in her life related to autism. Kate's website, Handwriting That Works, is not directly autism-related but check it out if you're interested.

Workplace Interpersonal Skills
by Kate Gladstone
As I was heading homeward on the bus at 6:03,
I overheard two people, and they were discussing me:
My workplace supervisor, Ann, complaining to her boss
That, though I did my job quite well, I was a social loss.

"She does not like the office parties our department throws:
She comes, she tries to be polite — it's _trying_. Well, that shows.
She's helpful, kind, she stays on task. Subordinates and I
Depend on her for research ... still, we wish she'd quit or die."

Her boss asked questions. Then she said: "Yes, Ann, that type I know.
I cannot put my finger on just why they ought to go.
I do not care how well they do: when folks like that are hired,
If we can't make them want to quit, it's best to have them fired."

Ann said: "Oh, yes, she's got to go. I sure agree that's true.
I've planned a little accident. I'll share the news with you.
You know the First Aid training all our staffers have to pass?
Her name's been dropped discreetly from the roster for the class."

(I'd heard no hint of this before. In fact, I had been told
By Ann, that very afternoon: "Tomorrow you're enrolled
To take the First Aid session. Please be here by half-past eight —
The first floor auditorium: no credit if you're late.")

So I spoke up (in terror at how rude I must appear) —
"Why, Ann! And Mrs. Sánchez! What a pleasure meeting here!"
They turned and glared and frowned because they knew I knew they knew
I'd overheard each single word of what they aimed to do.

I kept that job — because by eight I'd memoed Personnel,
And "cc"ed several advocates the tale I had to tell.
(But other times I've lost a job, I've wondered: "Was it me,
Or was it conversation on the bus at 6:03?")

The Unforgivable Sin
by Kate Gladstone
Down in his playpen, early in the morning,
Stevie lines his toys up in a long straight row.
"How awful!" says the therapist — "Pay me to extinguish that!
Forty hours each week will make it go."

It's Autism Sunday (Pity Party at Church) 

by Kate Gladstone
It's Autism Sunday, that one day a year
We welcome in fellowship "those folks" 'round here.
We pray to become more autistic-aware
On this one special Sunday: the rest, we don't care.

We'll pray for you all, you're the cause of the week:
But please don't imagine that you ought to speak.
We pray you, speak for you, we shall decide —
We steer the course, you're along for the ride.

We'll pray you get healthcare and all of that stuff:
We'll pray once again — now, that should be enough.
Sure, come here next Sunday if help you still seek,
And we will inform you: "We prayed that last week!"

The service is ended, we rush to the door.
Till Autism Sunday next year, we'll ignore
The folks that we pray for, this one day a year:
It's Autism Sunday, we're SO glad you're here!

[NOTE: I am not, and never have been, a churchgoer or a Christian: I wrote this after having heard that some churches have an "Autism Sunday" service one day a year to pray for pity and healing to descend upon autistic people and/or their families. The person who first told me about "Autism Sunday" services told me what the one she'd attended had been like. She had wanted to sign up in advance to be one of the people who'd be called on during the service to read prayers and poems they'd written about autism, but the pastor and the "Autism Sunday" service committee told her they couldn't let her do that because they'd found out she had autism. It had only been okay the previous year, when she hadn't let anybody know yet. Then they tried to get her to donate to the "Autism Sunday" campaign — she is now no longer a churchgoer or a Christian either.]

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Beginnings of Autistics Speaking Day

Hi all!!  I wanted to let you know that I wrote a post on the beginnings of Autistics Speaking Day for the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism, and it just went up today.

So go ahead and check it out!