Tag Archives: Heather Susan Haley

TERMINAL LABOUR . . . a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it.

1

TERMINAL LABOUR

1

Murderous pipe

Snaking though mountains

Rips the century in two.

Calamity stitches, salt

1

Rituals, mollifying dances

Distract hippie protesters.

Ransack a few days off.

Sour fists, sweet mouths,

1

Boner in the rain.

He recalls her glass tears,

Tongue of flint

Silent in the station

1

Shrewd in the bar.

Dunce fat depleted,

Husk nearly ready

For the casket,

1

He works with her

To remove obstructions,

Excavate a trench,

Contour the land.

1

WET RECOVERY…despite everything

1

WET RECOVERY

Mangled post tequila,

Estrangement narcotic,

Longing, withdrawal.

Up from the basement

1

Pretty feet restored

I propel myself

With nothing

But will, grateful for the veil

1

Of mist, piano notes

Icy raindrops pelting

What’s left

Post hacking

1

Into,

Hacking away.

Hmph.

He’s not the only martyr

1

Dragging me down,

Blowing me up.

I will sleep with the river,

Esoteric toads,

1

A harridan

Sharper than thistle,

Embraced.

Sheltered. Cleansed.

1

LIFE AND DEATH ON THE SPECTRUM

1

1

This is a difficult subject, raising a child on the autism spectrum, especially painful in the wake of Newtown. I was heartbroken by news of the tragedy and dismayed to learn the shooter had Aspergers.

I felt both great empathy and unease watching the PBS Frontline documentary, Raising Adam Lanza, about the relationship between Adam and his mother Nancy. Though experts agree individuals with Aspergers are no more prone to violence than people without the developmental disability, I worry the public will characterize kids on the spectrum as aggressive, a huge setback in hard won autism awareness.

My son is two years younger than Adam Lanza and finding a proper diagnosis was a long, arduous struggle, finally achieved at age 10, about the same age Adam was when he was diagnosed. Initially Junior was erroneously perceived as having a “moderate to severe language disorder.” I still don’t know what the heck that means but he received years of speech therapy, which as it turns out was the last thing he needed, being highly functioning and beyond verbal to the point of verbose. It’s body language he doesn’t get. More details on this and our desperate search for information are at this previous blog post and the only other time I’ve publicly addressed my son’s ASD.

Adam Lanza had initially been diagnosed with SID, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, also known as SPD, Sensory Processing Disorder. It’s not a recognized diagnosis nor included in the DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. As reported by Susan Donaldson James, “Whether SPD is a distinct disorder or a collection of symptoms pointing to other neurological deficits, most often anxiety or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has been debated by the medical community for more than two decades.” Adam Lanza’s lifetime.

My son’s sensory issues were well documented, considered part of his ASD and certainly challenging. He abhorred particular fabrics, ripping out tags and discarding the socks with “stupid seams.” Refusing to wet his head, hygiene was a serious concern. It took years to overcome his anxiety and get in the shower on a daily basis but he still doesn’t know how to swim and refuses to take lessons.

Unlike a lot of kids on the spectrum, our son’s motor skills were fine. He began walking at 10 months, was a prodigious golfer with a beautiful swing everyone envied. Though shy with strangers, he had no problems with physical contact and was always affectionate with family. He’s less demonstrative as a teenager but if I ask for a hug, he delivers a hug with no qualms.

I may seem anxious to point out how my child with Aspergers is different from Adam Lanza, but because it manifests in a seemingly random but singular fashion, every child on the spectrum is different. Unique. Our choices, options have been dictated by how ASD has affected our child.

I got the impression mother and son were becoming Continue reading

FATAL INTERRUPTION-the work of forgetting

1

1

FATAL INTERRUPTION

1

Pond forsook, shed tippled,

I dodge gusto, the jolly,

Adroitly avoiding east, his

Brilliant mean declarations,

1

Confabulations,

Sorry offensives,

Our fractured liaison.

The work of forgetting

Stresses, ER expedition

Lacerating Saturday night.

1

Belligerent patients triaged;

Cosmo shill car crash,

Severed digit,

Cocaine addled troll.

My heart is quitting!

Erection won’t.

1

Happy to see me.

Stiff you.

X rays, blood work

Revealing nothing

But our deficits.

1

“SINGLE-HANDED” and other passages

1

SINGLE-HANDED

Strays.

Yard rats we

Shared a railroad,

A yearning for

Burning corn,

A penchant for

Leaving one another

The dead

Of night. Tied

To the tracks.

1

Creosote smeared legs

Stand in a deep cove

Now, manning my boat.

Trip charted,

Lovers never quit

Beckoning, inserting

Keys, truncating

My swagger,

Saving me

From this lonely perch,

This vast wave.

1

FLESH POT

1

“O, That this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.”-Hamlet, Shakespeare

1


FLESH POT

Born muscle bound

Backboned, map, matrix-

Mother intact,

Into private security firms-

1

Families, in slums, manors,

Stables, institutions,

To pirates or the pious,

We flourish. Raw teeth, germs,

1

Clubfeet do not impede us,

Rank and garbled speech fleeting

As tin jeeps, Barbie Doll drama.

Our struggle is tidy, tumult banal,

1

Pain prosaic, strife fueling ripeness,

Gauntlets passed through swiftly

Until the day we drop. Nominated,

Cornered, required to wither

1

Under the gun,

Succumb, for we remain

That tender, precious human

Flesh terminators must aim for.

1

HARD TIMES

1

New poem. Nuff said.

1

HARD TIMES

Fathers frown upon the floppy,

The flagging, the soft,

Sentiment and dodging church.

Dummies.

1

Dad disapproves of alone moments

No matter how hard it gets.

Extend yourself numb nuts

And you will be rewarded with stature.

1

Ample Mama frets the fluids,

Chief Alpha Pop declaring

No stains. No beach. Align yourself

With your brothers. Mask nothing.

1

Abide. Or I will give you something

to cry about. I’ll inflict the day. Labour.

Bumps. Loads. Crowing cocks.

Substance. A crossroad or two.

1

TREEHOUSE MYOPIA

ANY CHARACTER HERE

All the pain and suffering in the world and all I want to do is nothing. With all that’s happening in my life, I am only sick of my problems—myself—so here I sit at the window trying in vain to see the forest for the trees. I know one thing. I yearn. Therefore I am?

“Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.”-Shakespeare

ANY CHARACTER HERE

RETREAT

Red cedar raven roost,

Feat invisible as its roots

Heavy metal imbued

Purifying groundwater.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

These trees that breathe

When I am panting, sighing, wishing

I could tell you.

Swaying branches camouflage

ANY CHARACTER HERE

My fatal bent, freckles, green canopy

Concealing skewed moments, missed cues,

Taint, our silence lulling as a zephyr,

Blindness sweet as sheep.

ANY CHARACTER HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE

OUR THIRST

New poem. First draft. Practically a sea shanty; also brings to mind the Nick Cave song Thirsty Dog.

OUR THIRST

Towering, pensive Danny Boy.
Bloodied. Unbowed.
Lithe, simmering
Scar brandishing tomboy.

Preeminent cursers.
Junkyard dog hearts
Swapping reflections.
Damage.

Kiss us. We’re, you know,
Irish. Black Irish.
Fuck yeah. We invented melancholy,
Lap up sea squalls like puddle water,

Bite tragedy’s ass. Devour angst, roll over
Despair. Brood, pour, grapple, shove
The good fight and function Godammit,
Especially when called upon.

Big, deliberate, quixotic, plodding
Through calamity. Breathing little,
We flail against ourselves,
Rail, smack, filch one another’s bones,

Laughing in the morning.
Nothing sacred,
Catholic as we may be
Do not go down. Know Hell. Knees.

Swells. Rising again and again
Through the slag, flames,
Howling, baying,
Fumes. Bellowing waves.

ANY CHARACTER HERE