Troy lives in Richardson, TX, with his wife, daughter, and two sons. His older son has autism, which led Troy to the discovery that he has Asperger’s syndrome. Troy has a Ph.D. in the humanities, an M.A. in English, and a B.A. in recombinant gene technology. He is a poet and playwright. You can visit Troy’s poetry website at http://troycamplinpoetry.
Troy titles the following, Asperger’s and Other Poems. Indeed, one is “Asperger’s,” and the other is — of course — “Other.”
It started with a need to learn about
My son, his mind, cast ignorance and doubt
Away so we could help him speak and cope
And find in autism some little hope.
I shared my findings with my wife and brother,
The two who know me best, except my mother
Who is more sadly dead with children who
She wanted yelling, “Grandma!” at her through
The windows of our van as we drove up
The drive. The red brick house that filled the cup
Of me as I sat in my room, alone
And reading books and making lists to hone
Me into who I have become, the one
Whose neural structures, passed on to his son,
Intensified in passing on. I read
About my son, but then that learning spread
To insights into me. My brother, wife
Both saw a brother’s and a husband’s strife
In life explained. They told me, “You have that.”
Impossible! No speech delay. A brat
Who threw himself down on the floor to scream
With every little thing? You could not dream
Of having children who behaved so well
As I. But I lived in a shell, a cell
I made myself. I did not socialize,
But loved to learn and oftentimes seemed wise
When I was very young. Obsessed with sharks,
Then plants — the endless lists of orchids marks
Me with the patterns that my son will see
As he grows older. Cars lined up since three
The first to show us who he is. The stress
I felt through life make sense at last. I press
Into myself the more I learn. I found
Myself at last. I feel myself on ground,
Not sand, at last. I’m present to my past
And know the neural mold from which I’m cast.
What could I learn from mom, now dead so long?
What would she think of this? This woman, strong
In dying, would perhaps have shown her strength
In love and dedication. The length
I’ve gone to learn about my son to lead
To me to lead to her has truly freed
Me so that I can see how others think
Of me and of my son, to at last link
With all those people that I found so strange
So that I can expand myself, my range.
And what I learn for me I can pass on
So that my son won’t feel a helpless pawn.
I finally found my place here in the world —
A human not so human, so it seems —
An analyst among strategic minds,
Fragmented world sewn up in rhyming dreams.
I now know why nothing can touch my wrists,
Why lukewarm food is plenty hot enough,
Why I like eggs, but can’t stand scrambled eggs,
And why bare feet find most ground too rough.
I’m arrogant in my humility
And crowds of people overwhelm my soul —
Because I feel so overwhelmed by all
I meet, the feelings often take their toll.
I never knew quite where I fit. My son
Helped me discover who I am. I’d find
By learning who he was just how I thought
With this high-functioning autistic mind.