Jeremy and Jacob

By Joseph Hesch

The eight-year-old pinballs
back and forth, up and down
the aisles of the market,
making sure all the cans and boxes
are aligned perfectly with
the edge of their shelves.
His mother’s firm and exhausted call
carries from canned goods to dairy.
”Jeremy, come back here, now.”
”Jeremy,please leave that.”
”Jeremy, now, Jeremy.”
”Jer-uh-mee!”

But her Nerf words bounce off
the boy’s seemingly unhearing ears,
blocked by a soundless enthusiastic voice
cheering his next split-second adventure.
His tunnel of attention feels right,
as his hands flap to his next task,
even though he never wanted
to leave home with Mom in the first place.
”Jeremy, hey lookit!.
”Jeremy, go, Jeremy.”
”Jer-uh-mee!”

Nearby, a white-hair looks on
with disdain at the unruly little boy
who needs a good spanking.
That’s just what she told her daughter
to give her grandson when he would
act up like this. Now her daughter
doesn’t speak to her and
her grandson’s a very quiet
young man who doesn’t answer
when Grandma calls:
“Jacob, please pick up.”
“Jacob, it’s Gram, Jacob!”
“Jay-Kub!”

© 2012 Joseph Hesch

I’ve been noodling with this piece for a little while–on and off for two years, actually. I saw a little boy in the market Saturday who moved me to complete it. Had to finish. As I was once again going over it before posting, I found out today is World Autism Awareness Day. I had no idea, just as Grandma has no idea (or doesn’t want to) about Autism, either. I don’t claim to know much about Autism, but I learned a lot from visiting the Autism Speaks Web site. You might want to check it out, too.

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5 thoughts on “Jeremy and Jacob

  1. Excellent point brought home. We need to recognize that though all children are not alike, each one deserves love, nurturing, and understanding. So many people are quick to judge without even trying to understand. I have seen this up close and personal with my little cousin Cole, a beautiful 4 year old boy who has an as yet undiagnosed disease, and is developmentally handicapped at about 9 months. This was a very thoughtful, well-written piece, Joe, and perfect to post on this day. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. There is still so much misunderstanding and confusion surrounding this condition, but your poem helps to throw a little light on it…and a great day to do it, too. Very thought provoking, Joe xoxo

  3. I love your perspective on this condition, Joe. There is so much need for raising understanding of it, as for all mental health issues. There are so many, particularly my own and older generations, who, as you’ve said, either don’t understand or don’t want to. Maybe the latter position is principally because they cannot cope with the reality of the human condition. Plastic coated ‘Ideal Homes’ and ‘Hollywood’ lIves and middle class aspirations for status play a big role amongst those who are often educationally better able to engage with this social issue, but have the least courage to do so. When it comes to the psyche, I learned early on in my life that no two people are the same and each has to be treated as an individual. So I try, not always successfully, not to judge.

    Anyway, thanks for getting it written and out here, Joe, and I hope more people will come to read and comment on it; engage with its subject matter. This is one area of human life where I think poets have to work hardest at engaging their readership, simply because of all of the forementioned prejudices. I’m sorry for the long preachy rant; It is, you might have gathered, one of my ‘pets’.

  4. Wow! Powerful and touching, Joe! We are all so quick to judge the behavior of others. And it’s amazing to me that we always seem to know what’s best…..for everyone else. Wow! I love the ending! It just hits you in the face with consequences. Well worth the wait! Well done!

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