Keywords:community, reflexivity, poetry, connection, vulnerability
Situated in a western context, this poem explores the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, establishing connections, and participating in community creation, informed by a critical neurodivergent perspective. Experiences such as awkwardness in conversation, or difficulties maintaining consistent social contact, can sometimes lead to community exclusion. Similarly, circumstances beyond a person’s control can result in a lack of social connections or involvement in a community.
Abolitionist frameworks influence the poem’s celebration of a non-punitive approach to community integration, accountability through vulnerability and transformative actions, and active inclusion. Applying these concepts to western social expectations and relationship-building works to shift views of non-normative social interactions in hopes of fostering kindness, deepening existing relationships, and combatting ableism and other forms of marginalization that are embedded in certain social norms. By acknowledging the potential of pain, discomfort, and Other-ing of individuals who face obstacles to socialization, we might engage in radically different ways to be in relationship and in community with one another.
Cascading imagery and poignant queries stumble the reader along until they reach a simple, yet significant, destination: an invitation for reflexivity. Ultimately, this poem critically examines and embraces the malleability and nuances of human sociality.
Copyright (c) 2023 Melissa Curatolo
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