Dying/broken/forgiven.... now I begin

Born: 17-06-56....gemini.... monkey
re-born: 3-09-80
born again\found: 14-04-08
other notable dates: 10-03-68; 03-09-87; 23-03-96;
1-05-98; 31-01-02; 5-04-04

Interests: movement, stressed/transgressive embodiment, lived experience (body\space\time\relation)
expression ( word, dance, text, image, story, music, poetics)
learning, yielding......

Hopes for the blog:
offer up the wild intersectedness of lived experience and engage others in creative, expressive, perhaps irreverant, hopefully playful, and respectful encounters....
enact kindness
create moments of pause for disclosure, discovery, stillness

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tales of Autism Camp: Temporary Closure Triolet

Rage into action rage hard fought
Fuel in the tank not the fire / (If)
work's the crucible, change is wrought
Rage into action rage hard fought
Feces, urine, puke, drool and snot
Autism's bodies dance the wire
Rage into action rage hard fought
Fuel in the tank not in the fire

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dazed(?) yeah(!); view(ed) reluctantly spewed: TRIOLET

I knew it was the story all along
I didn't think I'd find it in a rhyme
I figured I was past it, much too strong
I knew it was the story all along
I'm howling* and pretending it's a song
A princess and the pea tale out of time
I knew it was the story all along
I didn't think I'd find it in a rhyme

* you can insert any of the following words for torment or distress in here as well: weeping, crying, sobbing, sighing.... the list goes on... two syllables, however!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Allegory... from a time before

imagine luminous black
wings stretching into golden
a silent fall into the arc of world
all seeing ravens
a bird of your choice
imagine you are the bird
swooping over a crest
of black and white hill
close enough to hear melodies
horses hooves
creaking armour
knights striving & heaving
crosses in all directions
daring sweep
diagonal rush to save ... or capture
uneasy alliances of church & state
dive into the mist, closer
closer still
near enough to taste
copper of blood and soldiers
murmuring a thousand sighs
sacrificed for a king
victory or gallantry
a queen's tranquil insolence
the hush of the castle at day's end
a tactical lullaby
this in two dimensions...
or one...

No; don't

Monday, October 12, 2009


In one of my lives, I'm a competitive
of muscle, movement & guile
and aware of it, oh yes
all the while
I'm spinning and unraveling
I know I also dwell in it
careful to conceal
as much as I reveal
not falling prey to the cheesy grins
& easy smiles
littering this landscape
At the end of the day
I do a routine to music
I choose
the music is more important
than you might think
it is misdirection
indeed, it can be
Tango is a complicated
wildness and control
barely contained
intensities of shape, proximity & speed
instantly recognizable by its rhythms
Roxanne is not a tango
in the traditional sense & yet
a stylized version had more
heart, movement and guile than I had felt in a time
It grabbed me by the throat
taking my breath away
compelled & captured
I yielded
to its

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Memory resides
not only
in mind
but also
in breath, bone and gesture
in the muscle &
sinew of life
when these become
untethered time becomes
a fog in which hooks and anchors
can be
in bewildered, terrifying wonderment
time is of the essence
not only spending... nae, moreso doing
doing, doing mundane forgettables
carries them back to the meanings they held
as long ago

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Riding the autistic bus

I can hear the bus before I see it. That can't be good, I think. Indeed, even conceptualizing it this way gives me pause... obviously, I do not hear the bus... I hear the unmistakable chorus of noises emanating from the 45 kids on the bus.
We are preparing to depart from the amusement park where we have spent a good part of the day, from 10:00am till now, around 2:45. The bus ride is our riskiest activity at autism camp. It's the only time we have all the campers together and only a dozen or so people in a supervisory capacity---my most trusted, most resourceful students and assistants and me.
There is an art to getting these kids on the bus, surviving the ride and getting them off with as little anxiety and as much personal safety and dignity as possible. Who sits where is important as is who sits next to whom. Some kids need facilitation so that they and others around them are safe. Other kids have more latitude. This past summer's group had inordinately high numbers of screamers, headbangers, spitters, biters, pinchers, thrashers, grabbers and " scrawbers" ("scrawb" : the Newfoundland verb that is a perverse hybrid of scratch and claw is quite appropro here...). Once these behaviours are triggered, the cascade effect can be quite remarkable to behold.
Here is what preceded my arrival on the bus: Aurora Borealis Celestial Darling, one of this summer's campers, is a 12 year old girl who exhibits all of the above described behaviours. I have no idea what her parents were thinking ( or smoking?) when they named her, but on this particular day there were few heavenly attributions that I or others could make about her. For some unknown reason, Aurora got on the bus ahead of the others, then lay in wait to launch a physical assault, then a thrashing performance and then a screaming demonstration of operatic proportions. Her screaming triggered the other screamers. By the time I got on the bus, I could count 1o silent, scared kids and everyone else was screaming or wailing.
I scan and find all the eyes I need and in that uncanny way that attuned people work together, we got busy on de-escalation without anyone having to say too much. Aurora is moved to the second seat from the front behind one of our other award-winning grabbers; one of the assistants hugs her tightly to help her calm down. Another assistant sits with the gal who was scrawbed and begins to comfort her; another one engages our headbanger and gets him interested in something else; another engages five very scared little boys in an ingenious game of hangman... and I convince a screamer that her singing voice is lovely and a boy on the verge of losing it that he can keep it together and help me out here.
Before the bus leaves the parking lot, the only one making noise is Aurora--and she continues to wail, spit, moan and trash; her assistant provides her with hug pressure and room to move, a tough balance and a difficult one for one person only, but the best thing the rest of us can do to help is to keep the other 44 calm and this bus ride as regular as possible. As we approach the campus, another round of eye contact and soft words helps us organize getting Aurora off the bus first.
We get her off the bus; it takes three adults. Not as dignified as we'd like, but safe for her and the others. As soon as her feet are on the ground she relaxes, smiles at her father and skips off in his direction with a sweet little wave of her hand. The other kids file off, not too much the worse for wear, and head home with their parents.
We collapse, laughing and teary -eyed, sweating, embarrassed at our relief.
Thank you so much, I say to them.
It's a good thing they're all afraid of you, one of my students says.
They're not, I say. They just know I'm not afraid of them.
I hug them all. I check in with them all one to one before I let them leave.

My son and I go for a booster juice. My neck hurts and I am a little shaky. He and I talk about the bus ride. I call my spouse and give the low down on what's on the go. My heart rate slows to where it usually thumps. "Be the duck" has been my mantra for many years.... smooth on the surface, paddling like crazy underneath. Be the duck.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Family Jewels

Felix stayed up all night staring at the moon.
Mrs. M. ( Felix's mom) announces this as she deposits the little man and his younger sister at the entrance to the gymnasium. Felix is seven years old, a cute cherub of a boy, already about 20 lbs too heavy for his somewhat delicate frame thanks to the pharmacological cocktail he is using for his anxiety and other autistic " behaviours". So far this year, his favourite things are swimming and hiking and he likes to get changed for swim a tad early for everyone's liking.... especially since he has a compulsive attachment to the little blue superman speedos he wore as a five year old. His mom packs his other swim trunks, and some days we actually get him into them.... not today!! We do not negotiate with Felix after a night of moonlighting .... he is dreamy to the point of silliness and this takes the edge of the absurdity of going on a hike with the rest of his group in those very small speedos matched with big sneakers and socks. You can't get much more glamourous than that...

I should back up for a bit and acknowledge that the Autism camp I have run lo these past 13 years has been located at a university in my community and it is a wonderful venue... gorgeous trails and fields and use of gyms and other spaces free of charge.... the president is a former track athlete and an avid runner.... he likes to get a run in just before lunch and often uses the running and walking trails on the campus. Thus the stage is set.

About a half hour into the hike, Felix's group come hustling back into the gym.... the students working with the group look a little flustered. What's up... I ask them.
We had a ... mishap. We think we just might have been the cause of your camp being closed down for good.
Unlikely, I say. Tell me what happened
And they do. It seems that Felix was a little more anxious than anyone suspected given his goofy and floppy state at the beginning of the hike. He had been ambling along and was all of sudden startled into peeing himself by a huge noise in the bushes along the trail. Great, I think... an animal and a nasty accident...
no! -- nothing so straightforward as that...
turns out el presidente came crashing through the bushes in time to take the full wrath of Felix's anxiety: the little guy swung and punched at the first thing that appeared in front of his face ... and since he is only as tall as a man's ... pelvis... well, needless to say, the president dropped to the ground like a stone and kind of groaned and rolled there for awhile.
I wait for the rest of it.
We checked to make sure he was Ok ... and then we got back here asap to tell you, the students tell me.
I 'll check into it, I say. I smile... a small, secret smile. Felix, I say, we better get you out of those wet trunks. At least we can salvage this.
and... I'd like him to be dry; there could be a long line of people who'd like to shake his hand.