Student Arts Showcase: Poetry by Niko Boskovic
In tandem with our feature profile of PCC student Niko Boskovic, we are showcasing a selection of his poems. For more on Niko’s perspective as a non-verbal autistic student read the article and follow his blog: www.ocdd.org/nikos-blog/
A Quarantine Poem (or The Best Ways to Dull the Ache in My Boredom)
by Niko Boskovic
It’s been a week of home-cooked meals and sleeping in too late
a steady thrum of washing the dust out of curtains
organizing drawers to better serve our needs when
we will pour back out into these streets
unafraid of each other
feeling full of glad tidings
for the sheer human connection
after months of isolation.
But that’s something to look forward to
as we have weeks to go
books to read
wine to drink
people to dream about
fantasies to morph into new realities someday
after this is over.
People will die.
How heavily this weighs on our collective conscience
is the reason why it’s so easy to
leave the front door locked for hours untouched
put the kettle on for the umpteenth time
work to organize our lives in some way
so that this will never happen again
until of course it does.
Let us apologize to everyone who agonizes
lungs filling with fluid
respirators made secondhand
hospital staff not seeing a person but a statistic —
not with pulled wings from butterflies
legs torn from the orb of a daddy long leg
ants decimated by the scope of the magnifying glass
but in the perfect storm created by us.
Forgive us this global trespass
unto our fellow human who understands
the value in our connectedness
even as it kills us.
Finger on the Jugular, Fists at the Ready, Hearts Lit Large
by Niko Boskovic
Musty hairs of dull ears couldn’t stop the way
my heart was beating in tandem with the murmuring waves
in an ocean of stimming screeching groaning ripping
ironically the exact logic I longed to wade into ever since I was made aware of my difference:
picking out each leaf of the tree that grows in the neighbor’s yard
hearing the layers of colors made by heavy bass lines
and the foreign smells I greet upon meeting a new person.
My biggest relationships have been forged through the hues emitted by unsuspecting souls
whose gentle yellow-oranges pulsed like the way tangerines smell
tart and fresh with a bitter rind;
blue-green for the dreamers who hold their desire to make their private minds public;
mellow browns for the hungry lovers waiting to get laid;
and reddish-black from those too drunk or stoned to posture differently.
For someone like me who always has to translate his thoughts through a pointed finger
it was an utterly human experience to be among people who also hold their tongues in disdain
never working the way our cells intended
a site of disappointment and frustration
about as useful as an appendix.
Heroes instead of babblers filled the room
and we rejoiced in each other’s not-weirdness
comforted by the autistic murmuration we comprised.
Make a space for our gathering where birds will fly overhead
circling the concentric patterns we’ll lay down in the grass
turf matted down in the winter
falling fallow like our pasts
rebirthed like our futures
and fed through the joy we light in each other.
New Year’s Thoughts While Playing in Traffic
by Niko Boskovic
There had been a time when it was clear that I would not speak
like other people do.
It made perfect sense to me that my eyes
filled with the very hairs-width amount of attention
given to the minutia around me
would have crossed the wires powering my tongue.
Love didn’t change that but made my mouth dry
and heart run and skip along the hallways of the school
where I’d see the girl for whom I’d have done
a thousand hours of speech therapy
only to be able to whisper in her ear
about the mysteries found in the skies
when I am up at night and thinking about
her single pale arm resting on the table across from me.
Hours can be a pleasant distraction if you have
such visions to entrance you.
It’s dangerous, though, to get lost like that
with no reality to ground you in place.
So I day-trip along the hallways of my heart
and wait for new arms covered in goosebumps
to catch hold of my tongue
and make a singing fool of me for once.