Here is what my autism looks like…Selfishness, self-centeredness, self-involvement.I am an ice king, I move through the world like a young Vulcan moves through a human city, stoic, solid and apparently untouched.I am the arrogant one, the annoying one, the one most likely to hijack a thread or a conversation and to loop whatever you’re talking about back to me.I am the reclusive, the introverted, the loner.I am the third seat bassoonist in the symphony of society, always unsure of the rhythm, eternally out of key. I fade in and out with varying levels of skill, I play my three notes and then retreat to a safe distance, watching, waiting to see if I am going to be accepted or if I have brought the music to a crashing halt and a scolding is imminent.My lack of rhythm is ironic in that I tick to my own beat, tic-ing in various ways, some so subtle as not to be noted, others so loud that Oppenheimer would wince at my explosions.I am both creator and destroyer of worlds.Some of us swim in oceans of art, in seas of words, in colors more vibrant than a Van Gogh hallucination; others wrap ourselves in ourselves. I take my butterflies inside to play.They say I feel nothing. Frequently I feel too much. I love too hard, I take a conversation into fragments, diagramming and re-diagramming and seeking that one tiny flaw and beating myself with it, long and hard, until days, weeks, months, years later I take out the much battered sentences and show them to the person I spoke the words to and they wonder what I am thinking of. Them. I am thinking of them. And they, well, they think about me, so science says, for about 17 seconds on average.Or it, I am thinking about it. The “Black Beauty” steam trains of India and the narrow gauge rails that crisscross the country starting in the far north near Nepal, moving south to the sea. I think about the signals and the whistle stops, and the whistle itself, smooth barrel of high pressure sound trapped within it’s tempered tolerances, smooth walls, quiet until the conductor pulls the chain and breaks the pipe, cracks it open. Do you not know about trains? Let me tell you about trains. Steam trains, electric trains, maglev trains, let me tell you again, and again, and eternally…I do not live in barren white expanses, I decorate the walls of my mind, but I rarely, oh so very rarely, let you in.And when I do – feel blessed.This is what my autism is.Sensorum in flood tides. Information in Force 12 winds.I hear your words. Oh, yes, I hear them. And the squeak of your chair, and the rustle of your shirt, and the man chewing at table two, and the woman farting at table 10, and the little boy who wants to go home “now please?” and the glass-packed muffler on the street rod outside, and, oh, wait, is that a train?There is so much data, so much to fill each second. So much that it hurts. It claws at me. It reaves my inner walls and makes me look for psychological plywood to batten down my hatches.And sometimes it is too much.You say to me, “My words are more important than your trains. My words are more important than your words. Be nice. Don’t hit. Obey the rules. Smile. Laugh at my jokes. Remember this, remember that. This is important!”And you drown me in your words.And so I melt down.On the best of days I take myself home and I rest. I read quietly or think about the trains in the Punjab.I wonder why your words are so important, I wonder why the fork goes on the right. I wonder why you want to shake my hands, see my eyes. These things are arbitrary things. Not like Watt’s steam engine, not like pipes, and condensers, and metal stresses. Trains are real. Trains are concrete.Manners are just more rules, and what are rules, words and what are words, sounds.Social conventions. Mass hallucinations. Subject to change and flux and, God help me, fashion. Different from country to country, heck, from town to town. All strains on some theme for social groupings.Not for me.But I want to please you. I want to fit in. I want to learn. I want to love and to be loved… and so I study. I think. I memorize. I adapt. (Yes, we can do that. ) I take lessons. I do therapy.I train.But it is hard.I recover slowly. I run out of spoons. Be patient with me.After all I am being patient with you.

…words by Spencer Stephen Robert / In The Mind Of A Man On The Autism Spectrum

Barbara / Le Soleil Noir

To never, ever, talk to you about rain again,

Nevermore about the heavy sky, never of the grey mornings,

I came out of the mists and I ran away,

Under lighter skies, countries of paradise,

Oh, how I would have liked to bring you, tonight,

seas in fury, barbarian musics,

Happy songs, laughs which are sounding weird

And would make to you the sound of an happy hullabaloo,

White seashells and salty pebbles

which are rolling under the waves, brought back a thousand times,

Radiant suns*, bursted suns,

Which fire would burn eternal summers
But I have tried everything

I pretended to believe,

And I come back from far,

And the sun is black

But I have tried everything

And you can believe me,

I come back tired,

And it’s the despair,
Light-hearted, so light-hearted, I was going around dressed short,

I was happy with the first to come

And it was the rest, the time of the nonchalance,

Kissing eagerly, and I was entering the dance,

I learned bando over guitar’s tunes,

I shivered from the back, I forgot Mozart,

Finally, I would be able to come back to you,

With the eye made languid, vague with memories, 

And I was the hurricane and the rage of living

And I was the torrent and the strength of living, 

I have loved, I have burned, caught up my delay

How life was beautiful and crazy my story.
But the earth opened 

Over there, somewhere,

But the earth opened,

And the sun is black,

Some men are walled up,

Over there, somewhere,

Some men are walled up,

And it’s the despair,
I averted the fate, I have looked for oblivion,

I refused death, I rejected boredom

And I clenched the fists ordering me to believe,

That life was beautiful, fascinating chance

Which lead me here, elsewhere or somewhere else,

Where the flower was red, where the sand was blond,

Where the noise of the sea was a song,

Yes, the noise of the sea was a song,
But a child is dead,

Over there, somewhere,

But a child is dead,

And the sun is black,

I hear the knell which sounds,

Over there, somewhere,

I hear the knell sounding,

And it’s the despair,
I do not bring anything back, I am torn,

I come back to you, tonight, heart scratched,

Because, to look at them, to hear them live,

With them, I hurt, with them I was drunk,

I do not bring anything back, I come back lonely,

From the end of that journey beyond the borders,

Is there one corner of earth where nothing is being torn,

And what has to be done, can you tell me,

If one has to go further to erase your tears,

And if I could, alone, make the weapons go silent,

I swear that, tomorrow, I go back on the adventure,

So that ends, forever, all those tears,
I don’t mind trying, 

And I don’t mind believing in it,

But I am tired, 

And the sun is black,

Sorry to tell you that,

But I come back, tonight,

The heart scratched, 

And it’s the despair,

The heart scratched, 

And it’s the despair,

The despair…