In addition to being World Down Syndrome Day, today is also World Poetry Day. And so it is a most fitting day to reveal my alter ego, Winslow Smudge. Regular readers of Down With Oz know that I have written a few poems, but those few poems aren't the whole story. All my life I have had odd little thoughts bouncing around in my head. I haven't ever recognized them for what they are. But since Ozzie's birth, I have come to realize that they are little bits of poetry. Recently I decided to stop ignoring these thoughts, and instead to start breathing life into as many as I can. And so I secretly created another blog: The Conservatory for Flittering Thoughts. I write there under my pen name, posting poems as they come to me. Happy poems, silly poems, sad poems. Poems about life, poems about loss. Some of my poems are about Down syndrome. I don't post them on this blog, because I don't feel that they belong here.
I plan on illustrating some of these poems, eventually. My ultimate goal is to get an agent and publish a book. So if any of you are literary agents, send me an email.
If you have children, I recommend clicking on the "Poems for children" section in the right-hand column. My own kids love them. I hope yours do, too. I'll sign off with one of my poems. Enjoy:
I'm Mother Nature's brother I'm a dirty rotten guy Not as well known as my sister Though I give it my best try
I'm mischievous and devious My list of exploits long I tinker with my sister's work Until I get it wrong
Ever marveled at the platypus's Bill, webbed feet and fur? I mixed a duck and beaver With a shake and then a stir
I put the hump upon the camel Pressed the nose of the poor pug Put the prickles on the porcupine So he could never hug
I locked away the lowly turtle Deep inside his boxy shell Honked the horn of the rhinoceros Though I don't think he could tell
Yes I'm a dirty rotten scoundrel I admit this fact of course Scrubbed the stripes right off a zebra That's how I made the horse
I broke the mole's eyeglasses Told the goose that it could sing Plucked the feathers from the fruit bat Gave the honeybee its sting
Stretched the neck of the giraffe And then I stole the monkeys' pants Stripped the peahen of her plumage Hid the uncles from the ants
I like trickery and mischief And I'm quite the gifted thief You'll find traces of my handiwork Wherever there is grief
I laundered the flamingos With a bright red kneehigh sock And I crammed those extra teeth Into the mouth of the poor croc
Yes I'm a schemer and a rascal But I don't get a fair shake For if I hadn't swiped that lizard's legs We wouldn't have the snake
So next time you stare in wonder As a flying squirrel takes flight You should thank old Brother Nature For providing such a sight
Like clockwork, once a month an idea for a post finds me.
Yesterday I walked into Wal Mart. The McDonald's at the front of the store was shut down, and I walked over to the greeter to ask what happened to it. I quickly realized that he had some sort of slight mental disability. But what struck me was his eyes. He had trouble making and maintaining eye contact. This man was a decade older than me, and he timidly looked down at my shirt while we spoke. He looked wounded.
As I walked away, I thought about Ozzie. I thought about how I will make it my life's goal to ensure that he never has that wounded look in his eyes.
And in case anyone is wondering, they are replacing the McDonald's with a Subway.
Daniel Niblock is a graphic artist and animator who lives in Durham, North Carolina. On July 14, 2008, he became the proud father of his second child: Ozzie, a 4 lb., 11 oz. baby boy. Ozzie has Down syndrome. This blog chronicles the bewildering experience of stepping into a topsy-turvy new world. It began as a place where family and friends could come to read words that were too difficult to speak aloud. It has transformed into a place where people can read about discovery, strength and love. Hopefully these collected reflections can help others find the way out of the darkness and into the light.