By Scott Norman Rosenthal
“The Malingerer Goes to the Movies,”
(a Dis-Ability Coming-Out poem,
for Colin Kempner, and Judith Wright)
You’re sitting there,
and it’s getting harder to breathe.
It feels as if a little man, like a gnome,
has crept up the back of your seat,
and dropped a net into your head,
over your brain…
You glance at the woman sitting next to you,
and she isn’t there…
You look at the screen, and it seems unreal,
like a bad film…
Are you in a theater at all?
Are you in a room filled with water?
ARE THERE ANY PEOPLE HERE!?
Show’s over, you’re out in the parking lot,
wondering how to get home…
(Scott Norman Rosenthal, Autumn ’82)
“Verses in Chinese Style”
(for our friends
at the Poetry Festival, Fall, 1990)
The struggling we do
the song we sing…History.
Look!…after the bombs…
The Walls we build
seem immobile, eternal…
the Land, the Sky,
will swallow them…
What strange Fruit blossoms
We struggle with Demons,
wrestle with Angels,
alter the trueness of their names:
Lightning! Time! Rain!
In the Cities,
Somewhen, long-horned Antelope
will run up from the Sea,
graze the Streets of Seaport Towns…
Hard Mist is everywhere…
Let us spin Wheels over Prairies,
You and I…
I’m on a strange part of the Spectrum. Growing up, I was in continual neuro-agony. I believed that I was a freak of nature.
A similar syndrome took my mother’s life.
I began to do still photography at age 10.
I wasn’t allowed to finish the 9th Grade. During the Fall Semester of 1977 I was invited by Prof. Stephen Dunn to sit-in on his “Workshop In Poetry” at Stockton State College in Pomona, N.J. Stephen was subsequently awarded the Pulitzer In Poetry for Year 2000.
My sensory input was impaired. I passed optical/audio tests, but tonal range was lacking.
I didn’t realize this until later.
Eventually, in desperation, I turned to alternative medicine, based in diet and exercise. At the age of 31 I was first able to perceive the color and texture of a bird flying and sound well enough to play harmonica.
Absolutely beautiful. Those of us who had no real diagnosis until much later, traipsing through the 70’s and 80’s without a clue, it becomes all the pleasurable to hear and read poetry and backstories by Scott. Thank you for sharing.
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