Blaming Bedlam for their Sins

they say, “developmental disabilities”
genes missing completion
floating minds, holes from that one
drop of mamma’s boozing, FAS
pushing pockets of amnesia
deep within, others see
the spectrum, drones sometimes fluttering
savants most of the time, spewing forth rhymes
countless statistics, voices
then fragile x, recombinant DNA
fostering tics and unusual sexuality

adults with developmental disabilities
but . . . normalizing these pigs of progress
they all smell the same, smarmy, ready for
machete, cut-cut-cut, their cathedrals
the emptying buildings and swarming streets
buckets of slop so these Titans of Industry
are the new abnormal, developed, partially
developmentally disabled, cashing in on
frailty, strength, they see pockets of history
worthy of rewriting, worthy of guys on the
autism spectrum to work-work-work coding
like the rats in the maze Gates-Dell-Ford-Bloomberg
see us, but especially, the men and women with
developmental disabilities, really, angels

was it a jail where I saw the defiance, where
men and women say cock off and fuck you
to hefty jailers, pigs with pistols, even guys
recently singed by Taser talons, telling turnkeys
to fuck their mothers, feet on benches, constantly
defying the codes, the uniforms, even after twenty-two
hours cuffed and persuaded by  cops’ knees
but . . . the new breeders are sterile, shivering from
their own shadows, bosses that demand after-hours
mortgages like guillotines, bill collectors Faustian,
the entire Charles Dickens mess,
played out daily, nightly news death
they are the developmentally disabled
ashamed of their perceived inefficiency,
cataloged  non-productivity according to CEO
they desperately attempt to fit
in and out, broken but normal

one psychologist says, “try as we might
to pay attention, adapt, adjust
and comply with our alienating
jobs, boring schools and sterile
society, our humanity gets in the way . . . “ **

who’s crazy in that catch-22 world, Malcom X acting
like a madman, avoiding killing service
in Vietnam, that’s developed, able
pure of the force to be human
resisting the fascism of dictums, dictates
dictators, that is the force of humanity
splitting open the vaults, feeding the poor
jumping over gates and freeing
the zoo animals, us, daily, waiting
for tokens, something to allow us
to go past go, or get-out-of-jail cards, anything
normal for us, developmentally
disabling to be human
a matter of time before it all flips, when
we all can sing on the spectrum
or fly with fugues, or capsize normality
with tics and belches and silly
skipping, absolute freedom to lick
ice cream cones from the hands
of babes, absolutely developed
normally to dance in the streets
after taking a crap on that Lamborghini
before using the mayor’s limo for a crash pad

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.