Thursday, June 30, 2011

Loren's Way of Seeing

"Somewhere over the rainbow." Loren just might be there (beautiful photo of an exquisite rainbow near St. Teresa's beach, FL, by Linda Falmlen).

I am not a poet, but I went through a phase when I wrote a poem for my mom, one for Loren, and one for my sister. I don’t know what propelled me. I haven’t done much with poetry since then, because it doesn’t feel comfortable, and I’m never satisfied with the results. I stick to narrative writing.

But you know Loren is always with me, always on my mind. Among his belongings was this poem I had written for him, which he cherished, as I cherished him. It was written before he had an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis, an homage to his special insights and different ways of seeing the world. It’s what I valued most and what I miss about Loren, will always miss. As a poem it’s lacking, but I think it gets at some of the qualities that made Loren special.

For Loren

He sees life through a softer lens
Crafted by a goddess. A kinder way of being
In a hardened world unseeing.

Looking at a blue-black sky
Illuminated by a million stars
I asked him why they converge
into constellations, as if connected
By invisible threads
in cosmic conversations.

Like a prism decomposing light, he tells me
What he’s seeing.
The puzzle of the universe, he says,
The mystery of believing.
The ultimate complexity. The ultimate simplicity,
The goddess at her weaving.

A crystalline moment caught in time
When I understood he’s like no other.

I saw beneath the obvious
Into the soul of my dear brother.

I was reminded of the poem recently, as I was finishing up Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The odd central character, Lisbeth Salander--brilliant, strange, non-communicative--might be an Aspie. The other main character, Mikael Blomkvist, a highly controversial and persistent journalist, tells her she is “the most brilliant researcher” he’s ever known. But he can’t figure her out. No one can. She's a creatively crafted character, that's for sure, and we want to know more about her.

At one point near the end of the gruesome mystery, which the duo figure out together, Blomkvist tries to elicit a response from Lisbeth, complimenting her on her photographic memory and her gift of research, but he doesn’t get anywhere. “Asperger’s syndrome, he thought. Or something like that. A talent for seeing patterns and understanding abstract reasoning where other people perceive only white noise (page 552).”

I have never seen this kind of description of Asperger’s, but it resonated on some level. Although all Aspies are different, it gives another insight into an Aspie's way of thinking. Loren did have a gift of grasping large concepts, like the origins and consequences of patriarchy, as well as remembering the details of history, sports, and politics that most of us forget. It’s a gift like no other. I think I was trying to get at this idea in my poem for Loren. I wish I could tell him now how valued he was, how special, how loved. But another poem will not do. Nothing will.

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