Mutterings by *AMPLE Collective

Creative Writing

Mutterings by *AMPLE Collective

Mutterings by *AMPLE Collective is one of three pieces of original work commissioned for the Deptford Literature Festival 2024.

About the Disabled Writers Commissions

Spread the Word’s Disabled Writers Commissions aim to showcase new work by three London-based disabled writers. They provide a developmental and profile-raising opportunity. The commissions’ open call, judged by Ayesha Chouglay and Joe Rizzo Naudi, invited disabled writers to put forward their ideas against an open brief.

The commissioned writers – Yaz Nin, Jameisha Prescod and Jacqueline Ennis Cole and Sofia Lyall of *AMPLE Collective – received a commission fee, an activation budget and developmental support including mentoring from Esther Fox, Peter deGraft-Johnson and Jill Abram.

About *AMPLE Collective

*AMPLE Collective are Sofia Lyall and Jacqueline Ennis Cole. They are an intergenerational autistic collective centred around radical ecological care, open dialogue, and collective wellbeing.

Mutterings by *AMPLE Collective includes Sofia Lyall’s zine and Jacqueline Ennis Cole’s scroll in braille. The work was commissioned by Spread the Word and first presented as a live performance at the 2024 Deptford Literature Festival.

*AMPLE present eight micro stories and poems titled Mutterings. The narratives are situated within the local ecology of Lewisham and beyond. Drawing on the strange and familiar, the writings explore the mutterings and speculative imaginings from post industrial breakdown to technological advances through a neuroqueer lens.

Mutterings by *AMPLE Collective



Au leaves their home planet on a spaceship and lands on Earth where they become disorientated by the neurotypical way of life. Au journeys through Lewisham, challenged by the noise and the lights and navigates futuristic technologies in a high-tech urban environment. Along the way, Au encounters more-than-human beings residing in Lewisham.


Au climbed the hill to see Lewisham’s lights. A fox sat on the road ahead. The fox was thin and shivering. Au and the fox stared at each other. The fox was not afraid of Au. Au pulled an acorn from their pocket and offered it to the fox. The fox snapped up the acorn and looked at Au hungrily. Au gave the fox another acorn and continued walking. The fox followed close behind. When Au reached the top of the hill, they sat under a chestnut tree. The fox watched them from behind the tree trunk. Below, lights shone from thousands of buildings. They flickered off and on as people left and entered their rooms. The fox scuttled away into the night, nose low. Alone again, Au looked up at the sky. Visible in the northeast was their home planet.


Au’s people were designated crystal intelligence beings from birth. Au was assigned to the floatation transmission programme in the epoch of 3033. There Au engaged in neurological and telepathic communion with ancestral crystals from the quartz mother planet. Lewisham’s training programme was engineered by surviving neurotypical descendants from the 1707 space crew. Au’s people celebrate stimming remembrance nights each and every full moon.

Under the communal canopy of stars

We honour our Ancestral


Replenish, re-charge

free your mind

the floatation transmitter instructs

We dip in

Then lift off

and watch the silver sky night

As stress waves flee

up up and up


where Joy lives

Then we pause


and learn how

to turn

our thought patterns


no lucid

into Stargazing


Au journeyed on the sky-train hovering above buildings. Au had vertigo looking out of the window at the city below. A multi-level network of bridges, skyways, stadiums, and buildings. All manufactured from earthly materials: aluminium; iron and carbon blasted into steel; cement, water and grit mixed into concrete; glass formed from liquid sand. Along the Thames were waste collection barges holding scrapyard mountains of discarded electronics leaching shimmering colours into the water. An announcement issued an extreme weather warning. Rain fell. The river swelled. Torrents hammered the sky-train ceiling and gushed down the window panes. Au had never known rain so potent. The whole city vanished behind a wall of water.

At the gentle glow of the sun

Au lay low



grabbing grub

from a lonesome


with bare

humble hands

The slow

swallow of slugs


and gliding


funnel of throat

Always gathered

with care

An elaborate


of tender caress

and cleansing

at the crack

of dawn’s daunting dew

This ceremony

calmed Au’s

wired wreck

of stomach

Caved in

points of

phenomenal pressure

nervy nerves

tumultuous turmoiled trance

was the bustle of the

Thames city’s hustle

On and on and on

the snake of a river


As Au tunnelled

through mountainous terrains

mapped and


on a scrolled parchment

of bark skin


After a tap tap tap

Au drank the sap

from the silver birch tree


Arms open wide

with wings of a bird


Au flew out

into the warm

open air


As if in a celluloid dream

looped on a film reel

Au reached


Land of the free

The machinery and megastructures had swallowed the greenery marked on Au’s weathered map of South London. Au searched an entire two days for foraging places. As dusk settled, they stumbled across a sliver of woodland along a stream. Using their high-definition night-vision, Au set about gathering mushrooms such as field blewits, hen-of-the-wood and jelly ears; nettle leaves, rich in iron and fortitude; acorns for protein and perseverance; dandelions for making wishes and immunity; young hogweed shoots for allergies, rashes and wounds; and sweet blackberries, glowing with vitality. Au felt gratitude for the sustaining soil of Lewisham and the nutrients, earthworms, and root networks that survived despite the property developers and their encroaching cityscapes.

As calm as a daisy

Neurotypicals   were the dominant tribe



and they made   loud cumbersome sounds

Scaring the more-than human creatures further and further away

They had become easy for Au   to read

Au scanned their stony aura   visible through his third intuitive eye

Au was no longer frightened   of them

Au grew and matured   into a fine young specimen and protector

Au was handpicked at birth

Au had a fine tuned   sensitive ear

Au could hear the distant sounds   of crushing waves

Even though Au lived far far away   from them

Au had an instinctual nose   for pattern recognition

Au had even bypassed their   artificial intelligence algorithms                       

Au sought to find his inner equilibrium   with kindness and patience

Au learned how to practise his ancient sensory craft   with graceful eloquence

Au waited in the clinician’s room facing a purple robot. The doctor entered wearing a luminous white coat with three different pens in the breast pocket. The doctor pressed the robot’s start button and read out the instruction manual: “SociaLite Pro™ teaches the neurotypical rules of interaction. Using automated video analysis, the robot identifies abnormal behaviour and issues corrective learning.” The SociaLite’s eyes lit up. Au patted the robot’s head which was covered in tiny silicone bumps and made Au’s teeth hurt. The device wriggled and exclaimed: “Hi Au! Pleased to meet you!” The volume rattled Au’s nerves. The robot continued: “Do you wish to greet me, Au? Neurotypical salutations include ‘Hello’, and ‘How are you?’ Let’s try again!” The robot jumped up and down and bellowed: “Alright Au!” Au responded angrily: “No I’m not alright! I don’t understand why I’m here! There’s nothing wrong with me!” The robot BOINGed and spun around uncontrollably: “Wrong, wrong, wrong!” Au smirked. The doctor leapt up and wrestled the robot to locate the off button, saying: “Oh dear. Seems as though we have quite a bit of work to do.”

mini forest revolution

movement gonna spread and spread and spread revolution

labour of love revolution

sun-up to sun-down revolution

no longer tolerate air pollution revolution

trees bring back oxygen revolution

song thrush nesting homewards revolution

biodiversity pulsates with life revolution

sickness gone extinct revolution

hug trees and they hug us back revolution

eat the fruit trees gift us with revolution

walk your talk as trees have ears revolution

primates swing from trees revolution

bees carry nectar gonna make honey revolution

butterflies flap their wings revolution

hurricane sweeps and swirls revolution

humans plant seeds by the moon revolution

gravitational pull revolution

rejuvenation beyond our wildest dreams revolution


(C) Sofia Lyall, 2024 (C) Jacqueline Ennis Cole, 2024