Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is ‘ROAD’
The word ‘Road’ brought two thoughts to mind and showed me the connection between them both. The first thought was the title of a book, the content of which once had a large influence on me, called ‘A Road Less Traveled’, by M Scott Peck.
The second thought was the Indian proverb, ‘Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.’
The connection to me was that our roads – our journey, our lives – are in many ways so foreign to each other and that to understand the heart and mind of another, we have to share much of the road with them and listen to their thoughts, behaviour and heart in the ways that they dare to express themselves.
To that end, I want to share the mind of another with you, a glimpse into the mind and heart of a dear acquaintance of mine, Michael Gardner.
He wrote this poem to describe his experience of life through the lens of “autism, O.C.D. and other mental illness.”
I asked if I might share his poem with you, to let you see something of his road, his life wearing ‘his moccasins’.
I am privileged to present his poem, ‘Is Aladdin Out There?’
Is Aladdin Out There?
(Thoughts on Autism, O.C.D and Mental Illness)
My world is insufferably insular.
I am trapped in a room so compact,
Thirty paces from North wall to South wall,
Twenty-two East to West, that’s a fact.
Enclosed in a concrete jungle,
In a suburb in a city near you,
Observing a complex labyrinth of mind-games,
My universe, a tomb with a view.
An existence of cluttered neurosis,
Order’d chaos inexorably ensues,
“RADIO TIMES” is my window, an oracle,
Television delivers my news.
Correspondence that’s filed and collated,
Each codex so meticulously placed
Alphabetical, numerical employment for one,
An environment hermetically chaste.
A germ-free haven to the human condition,
The scrunch of a newsprint floor,
Opinions one-sided, from the man in the mirror
The fear from a knock at the door.
Every day is an endless beginning
Countless dominoes toppling in haste,
Every echo a constant reminder
Of the time that I waste in this space.
I am the “Genie” inside of his bottle,
With the face peering ominously in,
I’m a prisoner to all my aversions
And the demons that scream from within.
By Michael Gardner
Michael’s artistic trademark is to “dot his ‘i’ with a butterfly”, which I cannot do, so I said I would include an image of a butterfly and the request was for a Red Admiral.
Thank you Michael for sharing this with us.
(I will share any comments with him, if he would like me to, so feel free to comment.)