A Poem from Matthew Rushin to Osime Brown

I wrote to Matthew and told him about Osime and his wonderful mother, Joan. I also sent him Osime’s artwork.

Right now, Matthew and Osime have things in common that are unique to only the two of them. Their faces have become symbols of inequality at the intersection of race and being autistic. Their mothers fight day and night for their freedom. Thousands have prayers in their minds day and night that they will be spared from a social misstep that will threaten their safety.

They are the Black autistic victims of racism and criminalization.

But those weren’t the details which inspired Matthew to feel such an immediate kinship. It was Osime’s art. He saw it as complementarity, like quantum coherence and entanglement, existing in two places in two ways, two sides of a cosmic coin, with Osime’s drawings being an alternate property of existence to his poetry.

A transposition of artwork by Osime Brown

Each and every time
I capture a face in my poems,
I do so with the most delicate words.
Because, like a painter caressing
her face,
using nothing but his brush,
I wish to be as gentle.

Her face deserves only the best translation,
and as a master of words…
I thought I had done so…
But nothing can beat painted dimples…
or drawn, dilated pupils…
How his art portrays her beauty,
It, in itself, is beauty.

I could conjugate words
into flowing descriptions of her edifice,
but I could never paint as good of
a picture…
I could never capture her beauty,
and emulate its value into visual
like he did…

So, I guess the saying holds true…
‘A master is able to teach,
but a true master is always learning.’

(I hope you, Osime, and your mother, Joan, enjoy <3)

Matthew felt a bond, with words being his medium and drawing being Osime’s. Being in prison wasn’t what connected him so deeply. Being a symbol of the collateral of police misconduct didn’t inspire him. Being away from his family, Black, autistic, a son of a mother fighting… none of those things were what most connected Matthew to Osime.

He saw himself in Osime, a creator, an appreciator of beauty, an artist, only his own medium was words while Osime’s was visual art.


1 Comment

  1. This is incredible. It brought tears to my eyes. Over the years I’ve been part of many poetry contests and rarely do I see the depth that can be captured by an Autistic heart and yet I stand stunned at this symbiosis of artists wrongfully detained where their words exist as hope in a dark world. For them, for me , for others that can learn from Matthew, from Osime.

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