Let me say

Before you judge let me say
You need to try being me
Before you judge let me say
I feel awful when you overly stare at me
Before you judge let me say
It is hard to be stuck like me
Before you judge let me say
I will be the judge of me


11 thoughts on “Let me say

  1. Hi, Nick,

    Just read “Let Me Say.” It’s excellent. One thing I especially love about it is the way it conveys both your challenges and your strength. You write about difficulties and bad feelings in a voice that is nevertheless strong and confident and proud. Those final words–“Before you judge let me say / I will be the judge of me”–make it clear that the real power to shape your sense of yourself and you place in the world is held not by those who judge you but by you yourself. Clearly, those others have an effect on you, but you get the final word, and your judgment is ultimately determinative. The voice in this piece is so Nick–that of my Nick, who always amazes me and makes me proud.

  2. Just read “Let Me Say” and let me say, I love it. Read Chris’s comment also and agree completely but want to add a few things.

    You’re a great advocate for yourself, your intelligence is manifest and you have a wonderful way with words. Your writing can change the way people evaluate you and the way they evaluate other autistic individuals. You have the ability to get to both the head and the heart Not only that, your writing can change the way other people with some of your problems view themselves. It can give them courage, strength, personal support and pride. I know from working in the civil right movement and the women’s movement how easy it is for a person in one of those groups to internalize the ignorant and hostile evaluations of others and to take them as their own. Most black people thought they were less intelligent than whites and women thought men were smarter. It was outside agitators who hammered home the truth to their own people and got them fighting for recognition and their rights that finally changed things. You can play that role. Through your writing you can speak to the people in the autism community and those who sit in judgement of it. I know you can do it and I want you to think if it is not something you ought to do- something that is incumbent upon you given your abilities. That is a heavy load I know but it is good to have a goal in life and better if it is an important one. Fortunately, you wont have to be the first to play the role, there is a growing group of young people taking up the task — you just have to join them. Maybe you could also help get them together into a more cohesive organization. See the latest films from Autism Speaks.

    I also want to say that your message in this poem, as in almost all your others, is a universal one. We all need to be on the alert, to be sure we are not unduly influenced by others,and we need to protect and maintain our self confidence because we are lost without it. Thanks for the reminder, thanks for the poem, and please let’s have more.

  3. Nick, I’ve liked all your poems but this one I think is the best. It’s clear, strong, and well-constructed. I especially liked the last line. It’s not only the last line, it’s the bottom line. What you think is what really matters.

  4. This poem has a lot of power and rhythm. Part of it comes from the repetition of the phrase “Before you judge, let me say” followed by a line ending in “me.” That repetition gives the poem a drive, almost like a drumbeat, that leads to that surprising last, defiant line. It’s beautiful.

  5. Pingback: The Teen Behind the Blog | Emma's Hope Book

  6. Nick,

    You may not remember me at all; at this point, I might just be a thing of the past to you, but I volunteered with you at Rebecca School in the summer of 2011. You may not know this at all, and it’s unfair for me to expect that you would know without me telling you, but you singlehandedly changed my life. I know that sounds incredibly dramatic, but it’s true. You taught me that it is absolutely crucial to be empathetic and understand the struggles and the triumphs of each person one encounters. When I first volunteered with individuals on the autism spectrum, I assumed we had nothing in common; that I was just there to serve a temporary purpose. After time went on, I realized that we share so many passions and goals. It was sad when I returned to Rebecca School in the summer of 2012 and you were no longer a student there. Nick, your love of poetry is admirable and the way in which you write is so powerful. I hope that wherever you are now, you are still writing and playing, and above all else, smiling. If you ever want to reach out to me, feel free to email me at noahbsalzman@gmail.com.

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