Poem: tōku / tōna anō takiwā

June 1, 2023

Text reads: tōku - tōna anō takiwā. (In My / His / Her / own time and space). A poem by Hannah Bee

Heads up: This introductory statement and poem is Hannah’s personal experience with her life.  At times, it can be quite confronting.

Hannah Bee left her home in her twenties to get away from an abusive environment.  She learnt to make fluent conversation by collecting stranger’s stories and secrets in small notebooks.

Now, with more experience under her belt, she hopes to dispel myths around ‘deficits.’  She’s currently working on her first book.

“I hope there is a space where we can talk about the realities of being disabled and vulnerable,” Hannah wrote to us.

We hope to provide that space for her and for you.  If you need to chat, send us a message on our website.  Our Livechat Agents and Autistic Advisors are happy to support you.

Read on for Hannah’s poem.


Text reads: tōku - tōna anō takiwā. (In My / His / Her / own time and space). A poem by Hannah Bee


Tōku / tōna anō takiwā

Slow, they said to my mother,
As I sat silent, like luggage,
tapping a calmness into my chest.

I would be told later,
not to tap.
It would make the other children uncomfortable,
So I learnt to sit still as my mind screamed,

The best thing about being luggage,
Is that it feels very little.
You can pack it will all kinds of secrets and shame and rage.

It will not complain because it can not.
Complaining is like tapping.
Luggage does not tap.

You can not be trusted,
To know the rules,
So you are obedient.

You make other people uncomfortable,
They are right and can do as they please,
Because they trust you to keep a secret.

They chose you, deliberate.

You are a good girl.

You see, I have always been a slow learner.
It took me years to say no and longer to re-learn the word.

You would be surprised what people pack into luggage.
Into you, when you can not choose it.
Shame, anger, disgust, fear, loneliness.

It is your job, to take it and try very hard not to tap.
You can not make others unforgettable.

I am a slow learner but I learned, eventually, that I will always be misunderstood.
Knowing a great deal more and a great deal less than others assume.

At first, I was angry,
At those who had insisted they were experts on me,
The people who had taught me not to tap and saw my puppetry and stillness as a success.
An improvement.
Just ‘mild’ autism.
Then I wondered if they too may be slow learners,
Who needed time.
They are lucky that I will treat them a little more kindly,
Than their rushing,
Because I understand what it is like to be slow.


Click here to download this poem.

Click here to read I AM ME. By Allanah Sutton.


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