Heir Apparent

Issue #15: September 2013

Domestic Cryptography Survey II | Pattie McCarthy

I couldn’t hear a thing

and that’s because I was the one

making all the noise

it was on me —

—Buck Downs, “soup songs”

for the kids at OT

on reading Bhanu Kapil in the OT waiting room

make your mouth noun

shaped now make your hands

open verbs make each

limb flex now against & into

the big gym the elephant

room now the platform

swing clothespins (wooden)

snaps zippers the invisibility




FURNITURE make your

mouth open vowels make

your fingers pinch an O

now what’s next lite brite

what’s next messy play

did you see the new york

times it said kids can

outgrow autism lol

on reading The Panic Virus in the OT waiting room

a woman kneels with all

the paperwork of a dx

spread out on three

chairs—over & over she

says their names she

says they’re twins—yes—

twins—like most of us

she ignores the sign

pleading with us not to use

cell phones in the waiting

room  I position

myself so I can look through

the reception window & staff

door through to the big

gym for a glimpse of him



she’s reading parenting she’s

laughing the mommy

wars are a joke once you

see the autism mommy wars

toy story (the first) is on & all

the boys playing on the floor

compare the state of their

broken woodys & buzzes

at home cotton mather

long after salem

became an inoculation

advocate & had his house fire

bombed  a pox upon it

the note said


the way we

talk to one another as though through

the blades of a floor fan

medium setting

this word (

awareness of one’s

body in space)

& his explanation of the big bang

so that we are all made of stars

so that volcano is a verb so that

a great noise still

vibrates in our jaws   rattles

around in our heads  pulses

the windows down the thump

thump thump of air   40 mph

there there that’s the sound now

don’t drive faster or slower

let him be

interesting but not

too interesting

it’s a new

prayer I

wrote it myself

on prepping class in the OT waiting room

prepping Eckes & McElroy while

waiting & thinking about secret

languages & language

acquisition cold war

punk rock while our heroes

engage in airy persiflage

the little red fox is hungry

the little red fox doesn’t

know he’s in a house

privacies were the first studies

privacy rooms are temporary

private spaces for nursing

mothers I think when they say

architectural they mean it’s more

serious than domestic

when I say go take these sentences one at a time

otters eat waffles

hey daddy want big fish

please cheese in hand

early multi-unit utterances

the emergence of syntax

this is a wug  now there is another one

not single spies but in battalions

on reading The Age of Autism while waiting at a piano lesson

I’m so glad this book

is available on googlebooks

so I don’t have to give

it the dignity of purchase

or library circulation

this is münchausen-by-poetry

on reading Uta Frith in the OT waiting room, part 1

the nodding & flapping bee

confused du & sie

‘we are what we attend to’

(what’s that from?)

‘our experience is what

we attend to’ is William James but

‘we are what we attend to’ is

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi but

must be a reference to James


we are what we attend to

on reading Uta Frith in the OT waiting room, part 2

a boy reads on

the platform swing while

holding a weighted

textured ball & a girl

rolls across the big

gym in a padded

tunnel both of them

working their asses

off outgrowing

I have an envelope

it says OT receipts

& the woman across

from me explains

the organizing principles

of her autism closet

a closet drama is

a thing & a genre

if you cannot be sure  guess  this

screening is for mother-infant dyads

on thinking about Fugazi & Nabokov in the OT waiting room

I am a patient

boy I wait I wait I wait

I wait I think about

the son in signs & symbols

for whom everything is

a cipher & all

around him there are

spies but in battalions

triangles coax & drift & we

are to anthropomorphize

them like the lamp in an old

ikea ad theory of mind

a great phrase I like thinking it

but I’m thinking too about

passing & monitoring autistic

bodies a phrase I don’t like

but think every day

on reading Hans Asperger [trans. Uta Frith] in the OT waiting room, part 1

you dream you are a little girl

overwhelmed by books & papers

she explains to the receptionist

that her son hid all of the shoes

today  every shoe in the house

he left only one shoe out & so

they’re all wearing slippers

the receptionist laughs tells her

it’s not the first time she’s

heard this make a verb of me

I’m tired of being a frigid

little noun fabric tunnel

padded barrel  sometimes I

stare at them & think they are

beautiful & worry the fairies

will come for them

Asperger hated kitsch

on reading Hans Asperger [trans. Uta Frith] in the OT waiting room, part 2

activities of daily living

when I hold

the pen to sign the progress note

the therapist doesn’t hide her

astonishment at my lack of tripod

grasp  jumping jacks  silly putty

when Harro called

a stove a ‘firebringer’

Asperger put an exclamation

point in parentheses  he said

the boy looked as though he’d

fallen from the sky

(a splash quite unnoticed)

(something amazing)

& I think I know

what that looks like in a boy

on reading Hans Asperger [trans. Uta Frith] in the OT waiting room, part 3

of the word reciprocity of quid

pro quo

memory for digits

memory for sentences today

he would prefer not to

reciprocity specifically as to

pertains to an exchange

of privileges of mutual

dependence    the exercise book

covered with big swirls

Descartes bereft after

the deaths of his

human & robot daughters

& the narcissism of parenting

where I am afraid we say

move your body this way & not

that way because this is how

we move our bodies

his pathologically avant-garde syntax  baby

that’s brilliant don’t ever change


he would prefer not to

on reading Hans Asperger [trans. Uta Frith] in the OT waiting room, part 4

Asperger’s empathy

is evident even his

admiration (their language)

but they say Asperger

was himself aloof

perhaps he had

Asperger’s obviously

the way Christ

had Christianity & Marx

Marxism & me

McCarthyism but back

to Asperger I’m not

joking I think he loved

Harro & Fritz despite

their indifference to authority

& impaired social integration

but then he does call them

homesick aliens & intelligent automata

from autos self

on reading Elizabeth Bishop in the OT waiting room, part 1

she says to her mother

she took two steps

she took two steps

she took two steps

that’s her repetition

not mine I am keeping

myself from crying

by reading Bishop

from inside I hope to hear

no cry of pain

I keep my voice in my

mouth  I become one

of them all of us

reading on our phones

she took two steps &

I would like to mark that

though I don’t know

her or her child

it gets dark I think of the woman

who wrote her elegant

name on the flyleaf of my used

copy of The Empty Fortress

I say to myself proprioception

is the sense of falling off

the round turning world or

something stranger can happen

or it gets dark a bit

later   we were late

in ten months he

will be seven years old (he can read)

Winnie the Pooh is on outside

in Broomall Pennsylvania

are late daylight & slush & cold

& it is still the fourteenth

of February 2013

on reading Elizabeth Bishop in the OT waiting room, part 2

nothing clears a room quite like asking : do you want to hear what I just read about the history of autism? well, maybe : let me tell you about my placenta. but I wouldn’t leave. not me. tell me about your placenta. tell me about your homebirth. tell me about your c-section. tell me about your VBAC. tell me about your homebirth VBAC. tell me about your contractions. tell me about your transition. tell me about your active labor. tell me about your nuchal screen. tell me about your sequential screen. tell me about your amniocentesis. tell me about your childbed fever. tell me about your birth plan. tell me about your epidural. tell me about your cowboy anesthesiologist. tell me about your episiotomy. tell me about breech presentation. tell me about witch hazel. tell me about ice packs. tell me about your back labor. tell me about your colostrum. tell me about your milk coming in. tell me about your NICU experience. tell me about nursing your twins. tell me about pumping in your office. tell me about your bossy OB. tell me about your pelvic girdle pain. tell me about your precipitous labor. tell me about your prolonged labor. tell me about your water birth. tell me about giving birth on all fours. tell me about your mucus plug. tell me about your bloody show. tell me about stripping your membranes. tell me about your ring of fire. tell me about your hippy midwife. tell me about your clogged ducts. tell me about the first shower after giving birth. tell me about your mastitis. tell me about your sleeplessness. tell me about your sleeplessness. tell me about your sleeplessness. tell me about your sleeplessness. tell me tell me tell me tell.