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Cripple Poetry Slam

You pretend it's the steel you fear
of wheels instead of legs,
but that's a partial lie you tell
so you can sleep at night

It is ME that you fear
with my different body

It is tragedy that you think you see

It is weakness you feel
as I emanate loss from my crippled person

And that word I say with pride.

Cripple.

I say it loud and hard.
In whispers and polite conversation.
It is my word to speak and mine to keep

You put on my words like party hats
and wear them as badges of honor for one or two days
as you limp around in your angst
all the while you try to rip MY words out of MY skin
with your Brillo pad disgust
tearing flesh off the bone
but the words are STILL there
ingrained in every inch of my being
though you refuse to see them

I am not them you say but I am
There is no us and them anyway you say
But there is
And I am not with you
I choose them

I will be silent no longer
Because I am human and I am cripple
handicapped, disabled, a gimp
All the same but all still so human

I am a living breathing example of how quickly your life changes
except I am not an example I am a person

And though your fears may be palpable,
I will not yield to your discrimination,
or to your intimidation, or to your machinations

And the blood that runs through my veins does not pump
for your daily dose of inspiration

The tears that I cry are not salted with your pity

And though you cover me with blankets of stares
I refuse to embrace them for they are foul
and my body beautiful
and I shall bare it as I wish

And the love that I feel towards life and my body are not despite my disability
but WITH it
because I can no more separate my disability from myself
than I can separate my lungs from my chest and continue living

You can stick your hands in your ears
but I will pull them out and scream
Because you NEED to hear me but you refuse
and you know Im right

I am not worth a single ounce of money,
there is no paper that can own me
no price tag on my life
so dont tell me how much I cost you in your taxes
I dont give a fuck because I cannot be sold

You will not kill me because I am inconvenient
you better wrap that euthanasia tube back up
You will not block me from your space
because I am a cripple and I have rights
and I demand them back

I dont want to hear the pitiful sounds of your excuses
while you tie my hands together
and prop stairs in front of my wheels

I will not leave because you deem me a danger
when I am doing nothing but living
I cannot separate my chair from my body
and you cannot ask me to do so any more
than I can ask you to separate your legs from your own body

I will be allowed in your public space
my full body
be it different
and partially made of metal

I dont care about your fear or your damages
or the price tags that you keep slapping on my forehead
like a doll made in China

And should you still refuse to hear me,
then I will destroy your stairwells until you create elevators,
I will key your cars until you stop stealing disabled parking
I will keep screaming outside of your doors until you open them for everyone

I refuse your proclamations of independence
since youve mistaken it with interdependence

I will not be pleased with your affirmations
of how Ive overcome my disability,
because the only thing to overcome is you and your bigotry

You will not touch my body with your condescension,
nor pat my head or stroke my hair
because I will fight you because I am allowed my space
And my body is my own

And I will not stop fighting
until everyone knows

I wont stop fighting until disabled kids are unashamed of themselves
until we are allowed in every part of the world, in every building, in every home were invited into, every public space
I wont stop fighting until people realize that broken is not a synonym for worthless, nor is crippled, or disabled, or handicapped, or lame.

I will not let you win.

I am strong while broken
No matter how much my body spazzes
no matter how much pain Im in
or how weak my body becomes

I will always
ALWAYS

Be worth it