“I think that with autism often the focus has been on our limitations, which has given rise to assumptions and myths that we cannot create artistic works of value. Every autistic artist, writer, filmmaker, and musician proves that those myths and assumptions are wrong.”
Now 34, Nicole writes “to communicate, engage minds and hearts, offer different ways of seeing and feeling, and help others find their way back home.” Her work has been published in Young American Poets and Strong Verse and in two chapbooks: Raven Feathers and word. She regularly blogs her poems at Raven’s Wing Poetry and is a contributor to We Write Poems, an online community of poets. She also blogs about her Asperger-related experiences at Woman With Asperger’s. Most recently, her poetry was published in Poets for Living Waters. Nicole recently received a Naturally Autistic Award from the ANCA Foundation in the International Adult Literary category for an unpublished collection of poems, aptly entitled Novena. Nicole currently lives in Columbus, OH, with her fiancé.
“I’ve encountered other autistic people who think primarily in pictures, or moving films, and I am also primarily a visual thinker. I see what’s happening within each poem inside my mind, and I tend to concentrate on sensory data – sights, sounds, smells. I use these sorts of details to reconstruct and translate the pictures in my head back into words.”
You Don’t See It
By Nicole Nicholson
You don’t see it, but some days
I drag moonlit danger behind me like a veil of milky dust
casting itself off of my crown. I balance
armies of fire on the backs of my arms and
use them for wings. I hear
the stars rubbing their legs together for the want of music
and hanging gold fiddled notes on Venus’ earlobes. They
chime, making love in the solar wind.
I strap bass lines onto my back;
wrap chain mail angels around my chest;
strap thunderclouds to the soles of my feet;
and I dance.
You wouldn’t know it,
but I have a thousand Heavens
and just as many Hells burning inside. You see
the computer mind, but not the
glass shatter heart. I sometimes wonder
if I am a transparent kachina in your line of sight, if you can
already see how much I burn; but you
always prove me wrong. You
try to unzip me, and see my eyes fleeing away from you
like startled ponies. Do you really
know me? If you did, you would know that
if I look at you too long, I might burst.
But you don’t know. And how can I tell you?
I consult the dictionary of human behavior every day.
I had to load it into my brain and make it learn
that you open doors with hello and
that you close them with goodbye. I had to learn
the mechanics of when to smile, when to laugh.
If I like you, I tear encyclopedia pages and pictures from off my walls
to give to you as gifts. And if I were to love you, I might
serenade you with music channeled from the
stereo installed into my brain that I first noticed
when I was ten.
But small talk still feels like grease on my
fingertips. And some days, I hear
my own voice rendered in Greek and wonder
when I will speak my own tongue again.
So I will speak my own dialect of
encyclopedia notes, photographs, trivia bank entries,
badly sung covers of the originals, words shaped
like arrows. There may be no smiles, no
dance of our eyes, no oil between us to make things
easier. That’s not how I work, and I am
not ashamed of this. And maybe some day, you will
see me dance.