RESISTANCE AND HOPE

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Illustration by artist Micah Bazant featuring a midnight blue sky with little white stars. Below is a log with mushrooms growing out of it in multiple shapes and colors. “Text reads: Resistance & Hope, Essays by Disabled People, Crip Wisdom for the People, Edited by Alice Wong, Disability Visibility Project.” The ‘o’ in ‘Hope’ looks like a full moon.

I am very excited to finally share Resistance and Hope, an anthology of essays by disabled writers and activists. The anthology is available to read here for free online.

I was very honoured to work as an editorial assistant (and herder of cats) for Alice Wong, the editor of the anthology.

Resistance and Hope is comprised of 16 essays by 17 multiply marginalised disabled people. Contributors include writer and advocate Vilissa Thompson on the audacity of hope as a Black woman; LGBQT advocate Victoria Rodriguéz-Roldán on respectability politics; attorney and activist Shain Neumeier on trauma and survival; ADAPT legend Anita Cameron on the importance of holding hope in darkness; activist Stacey Milbern on caregiving collectives and Medicaid cuts; artists DJ Kuttin Kandiand Leroy Moore on hip hop and disability liberation; writer and artist Naomi Ortiz on self-care and growth; fearless agent of change Talila A. “TL” Lewis on resistance and revolutionary madness; writer and poet Aleksei Valentín on Judaism and disability solidarity; essayist and poet Cyree Jarelle Johnson on autism in a time of resistance; activist and poet Lev Mirov on death, grieving, and survival; autistic advocate and organiser Lydia X.Z. Brown on praxis, accountability, and intracommunity abuse; writer Mari Kurisato on colonial violence and visibility; comic Maysoon Zayid on the strategic fight for our rights in the Trump era; community organiser Mia Mingus on transformative justice and building alternatives to violence; and artist and writer Noemi Martinez on survival and multiple marginalisations.

This is crip wisdom for the people.

REQUIEM FOR MEDUSA

New poem out in Hermes, REQUIEM FOR MEDUSA, and a recording of me reading it. This poem was the judges’ choice winner in the “word” category of the USU Creative Awards. If you swing by Verge Gallery in the next week or so, you can pick up a free copy of the edition.

 

REQUIEM FOR MEDUSA

He does not look directly at you,
your murderer, fearful that one
unprotected glance at your body
will strike him down. When the
sword falls upon your long neck
his gaze is turned aside a little as
if from shyness, tinged perhaps
with disgust at the monstrosity
of your form, or shame, not for
himself but for the anathema of
your existence, looking only at
your reflection. You do not give
him the same discourtesy. Your
alien eyes, gold and slit-pupilled,
are fixed on him the entire time
you are dying. The shape of him
young, lithe, feet planted firmly,
all leather and bronze, one long
red line of blood interrupted by
splashes of your own blue-black
ichor. Mirrored shield held aloft
like Atlas burdened with the disc
of the heavens. He dims as your
vision falters, brilliance dulling,
blur of blood and light and dark,
the shadows deepening as your
own shade departs the cave, not
for the cold hell of Tartaros but
for the rivers of the dark-haired
god who accepts all equally and
whose kingship over everything
under the earth extends already
to you and your serpentine kin.
Behind you in the mortal realm
the husk of your corpse turns to
ash as he seizes your skull by its
hissing roots, affixing your head
to his burnished shield, his own
reflection fixed forever in your
nacreous pupils, the gilded killer
entombed, ill omen to future foe.

 

 

What To Say When A Biped Asks Why You Can’t Walk On Yr Feet Legs, And Other Awkward Questions

Q:

“What happened to you?”
“What happened to your legs?”
“What’s wrong with your legs?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“What’s the [mobility aid] for?”
“What’s with the [mobility aid]?”
“What did you do to land yourself in that thing?”
“Permanent or temporary?”
“So… car accident?”
Etc

A:

  1. “Termites”
  2. “Nothing happened, I was born and it got worse”
  3. “Why do you ask?” + repeat ad nauseum
  4. “Sorry, didn’t catch that” + repeat ad nauseum
  5. “Me legs just fell off one day” (especially good if you still have legs)
  6.  “Me legs were eaten by sharks” (see above; important to specify that multiple sharks were involved)
  7. “What legs?”
  8. “I don’t like to talk about my medical history”
  9. “I don’t like to talk about my medical history with strangers”
  10. “I don’t like to talk about Fight Club”
  11. “I don’t believe in talking about my medical history before marriage”
  12. “Oh my God, Karen, you can’t just ask someone why they’re disabled”
  13.  “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you”
  14. (to “what’s the stick/cane/crutch/walking frame for”) “For walking”
  15. (to “what’s the [mobility aid] for”) “For mobility”
  16. “That’s a weird question”
  17. “That’s a bit of an intrusive question actually, I’m not comfortable talking about it”
  18. “I know you don’t mean to be rude but that’s a bit of an awkward question and I’d prefer not to answer”
  19. “My parents shagged”
  20. lemon scream
  21. Feign ignorance then look down at your mobility aid & say “oh where did that come from”
  22. “I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow to the knee”
  23. “What up I’m Jared I’m 19 and I never fucking learned how to walk”
  24.  “BEES?????????”
  25. Just stare at them in silence and then very slowly raise your finger to your lips and say “shhh”
  26. Just stare at them in silence and then very slowly raise your finger to THEIR lips and say “shhh”
  27. “It is what it is”
  28. Just straight up start belting out the 2011 hit single “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
  29. “Tragic drop bear attack”
  30. “Tragic masturbation accident”
  31.  “Oh no this [mobility aid] isn’t mine, I’m just minding it for a friend” + then start laughing but with kind of an edge to it then gradually move away from them while continuing to laugh
  32. “Oh, it’s, um, hmm, long story, I don’t know it’s uhhhhh it’s weird to explain, uh it’s my ? joints ?? it’s ? a genetic thing?? I’m ? connective tissue disorder” (I don’t actually recommend using this one but in the spirit of transparency it is my usual response)

Other good responses

33. “Do you always begin conversations this way?” (via The Princess Bride & this person on Twitter)
34. “Died in the war” (via my mate Paul)
35. “Really bad sex swing accident” (via someone called Lorna)
36. “I don’t like to talk about The Incident” (don’t remember where I heard this one)
37. (re: a prosthetic leg) “I got really into pirates a few years back” (via this person’s dad)
38. (in response to intrusive strangers) “I’m so sorry, obviously we’ve met before but—” sheepish laugh “—I’m afraid I don’t remember your name.” (via this person on Twitter)
39. “I’d rather talk about anything but that.” (via Captain Awkward)
40. add yr own in the comments. Have fun xox