P is for…

P is for Poetry
Something I used to writeBut not for a long time
Before this April night

P is for Poetry
So different to prose
But sometimes the mood hits
And into a poem my writings flows

P is for Poetry
I’m not sure it’s very good
But when I wondered what to write
It hit me – a poem! That’s what I should

P is for Poetry
Strange lines
Wasted words
And even dodgy rhymes

A Disabled Day Out in London – A Poem

(I was talking to a friend about my day out in London from a few weeks ago using it as an example for something else that I was a bit inspired by to write. She suggested that the day itself and what I was saying would make a good poem. I might still write the something else.)

A Disabled Day Out In London

Yes we do assisted travel here at station A

(You’ll book but that won’t matter)

You’ll request a push up to the train

but we’ll walk off and ignore you

 

Yes we do assisted travel here at station B

(You’ll book but that won’t matter)

The people at station A won’t have reminded us

So we’ll not bother to check

and leave you stranded

 

Yes we’ve got a ramp into the building

(you’ll check and be reassured but that won’t matter)

Because the ramp is too steep and not safe

A passer by grabbing you is all that prevents

a nasty fall

 

Yes we’ve got lifts. Two and you’ll need to use them both

(a reassuring claim

but that won’t matter)

Because one of them doesn’t quite stop level

with the floor

and you needn’t think your wheelchair will fit

without some creative struggling

and the risk of a fall

 

Yes, we’ve got a ramp for the internal steps that come next

(their claims of “yes” begin to reassure

but that won’t matter)

But it’s a moveable one

And you’ll get half way up it

And notice it’s slipping as you move

Meaning you must

give up

or risk falling.

 

And finally, yes we’ve got a disabled loo.

(the final piece I needed

the final claim that makes it possible.

but that won’t matter)

but you can’t have a wheelchair

right by the loo

and properly shut the door

let alone lock it

and so I must choose my own adventure

my own risk

chance getting walked in on

as I did to another?

or yet again risk a fall?

 

I try to complain

(but that doesn’t matter)

The response is just

“we’ve got ramps.

we’ve got lifts

we’ve got a disabled loo.

didn’t they show you them?”

 

When it came to

wheelchair access

that place

had it all

But that didn’t matter

Because it would only

work for

the wheelchair user

who doesn’t use a wheelchair

 

Then you return

to Station B

wary

but overwhelmed

and desperate

for home

 

different staff now

and suddenly

access matters

and access works

 

The train will pull in

to Station A

the last stop

before a taxi home

access fail

means nerves

are high

 

A different staff member

waits to help you off the train

Actually helps

Restores my faith

in humanity

because suddenly

access matters

and access works.

Writing Poetry

Words flow from my fingers
Rhythm and rhyme are acknowledged as important yet ignored
Imagination and inspiration are the key
Thinking too much will throw it off
Inside I wonder if this will be any good
Never quite convinced that
Good will come from my words

Poetry plagues me
Overwhelmed with the need to write
Extremely difficult to find the motivation
Trying to do so more often
Really trying
Yet never quite doing

Dust If You Must

So as you can probably tell from my last few blog entries I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.

My sister commented on one of those entries that it made her think of a poem that’s doing the rounds on Facebook. I’d seen the one she meant bit not paid too much attention to it. Sometimes my newsfeed feels like a never ending stream of photos, poems, quotes and sentiments all designed to inspire or to make you think or feel good and they begin to blend into one. Which probably defeats the object but there you have it.

Anyway after reading that comment I did a little googling and tracked down a copy. I think it’s worth sharing here. It fits well with what I’ve been thinking and writing about and is probably worth remembering which I won’t do if it stays just a thing I saw on Facebook.

Wikipedia tells me it’s called Dust If You Must and is by Rose Milligan. It was originally published in 1998 in The Lady.

Dust if you must.
But wouldn’t it be better,
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed?
Ponder the difference between want and need.

Dust if you must.
But there is not much time
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb!
Music to hear, and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must.
But the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes,
the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come round again.

Dust if you must.
But bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go, and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.

>Snotty Letter #disability #100daysofwriting

>It’s time
For a
Snotty Letter

It’s time
To show
Why I’ve
Got my
Rep

People say
I’ve a
BAD ATTITUDE

Or that
They never
Met a
More ungrateful
Little Madam

The fact
Is I’ve
Got rights

Unthinking changes
Allegedly to
Help staff
Ruined my
Day out

So it’s
Snotty Letter
Time again

The staff
Were great
They hate
The change
As well

I had
To laugh
At that

I said
This thing
Is shit
They said
We know!!!

Impossible problems
No solution
No excuses

I’ll be
Polite yet
Very firm
Insisted on
Advertised access

Bite my
Tongue and
Think first

It was
Very disappointing
Needed better
Planning and
User consultation

Snotty annoyed
And not
Snotty screaming

What the
Fuck were
You thinking?
Fucking ridiculous
And unnecessary

My friends
Helped rescue
My day
Park picnics
Cafe drinks

But that
Won’t make
Snotty Letter

If asking
For my
Rights means
People don’t
Like me

That’s fine
I’ve never
Been afraid

Secretly I
Hate it
If I
Weren’t disabled
They’d listen

Crips stereotypes
Cause offence
To all

I ask
To be
Treated the
Same as
Other people

I’m good
At advocacy
Being heard

But really
I just
Want to
Visit Swindon
Not Oxford

I hope
Someday disability
Won’t be
A reason
To think

It’s time
For a snotty
Letter

But sadly
And stressfully
That day
Is not
Today

>Graceful Elegance #100daysofwriting

>Sun shining bright
Bluest sky for months
Filled with red kites
Flying and swooping
Hardly moving their wings
It’s more than flying
A bit like a dance
But more than that too
Swimming through the air
Six together
Sometimes more
Synchronised
Working together
To live
Survive and thrive
I see them often
Daily even
They always
catch my eye
And make me think
How lucky I am
To live here
And see such sights
Graceful elegance
From an
Uncontrollable, wild
Animal

>Hospital Thoughts

>Hospitals are interesting places to people watch and get inspired for writing. This hopefully catches some of the experience. In a way I wished I’d taken my iPad and written there but I enjoyed reading my book.

Day 36 of 100

Hospital Thoughts

Hospital smell
Grotty food like school dinners
Too many people in a small space
And some kind of cleaner.

Paramedics and transport techs
Nurses, doctors and other staff
Add in patients, visitors and family
A constant swarm of people

Wheelchairs wheel all over the place
Powerchairs glide silently
Stretchers trundle and squeak
And crutches add an extra rhythm to footsteps

An alcohol wipe gets rid of bacteria
The smell probably scares them away
“sharp scratch now”
The drug stings and burns its way in

More blood than expected drips down my leg
Cotton wool and pressure does the trick
Too many plasters to count
And gloves that rip.

Drips beep
Lifts announce “floor one”
Patients cry
Others laugh

Phones ring
And nurses scurry
Hospital life is all
Hurry hurry hurry

Deep voiced explanations
Technical words
I pause
Then ask for clarification.

A one off visit
Outpatients.
But fear grips
What if multiple visits are needed by this crip?

The news isn’t so bad
The doctor seems very happy
Says its good to meet me
And that they’ll leave me be

A firm handshake
A smile – and thanks
Drop down a floor
Wheel out the door.

Don’t look back
Going home at last
It’s been a long day
Very glad to get away

Hospital life never stops
With its highs and lows
Noise, trauma and bright lights.
Full of success and nasty shocks

But from my thoughts it is gone
(although the memory lives on)
It’ll be months before I’m back there
In amongst others receiving needed care.

♥ Emma

>A few more haiku

>This wasn’t what I planned (I’ll do that tomorrow) but it’s what I apparently want to write. These are haiku and I wrote them as stand alone pieces but reading them back through they do seem to work together well. I’m surprised by that as I seem to have a lot of The Stupid today. I might try writing some tanka soon but I’ll need to refresh my memory on the syllable counts of lines four and five first (I think the first three are the same as for haiku)

Day 27 of 100.

My needs cause anger
For once from others not me
Thinking it’s my fault

Disability differs
As everything else does too
One of life’s many gifts

People matter most
And most numbers matter less
Human not fiscal cost

Instantly lives alter
Today it’s me. Tomorrow you.
Expect unexpected

♥ Emma

>Own it. Love it.

>I’m sharing another poem tonight. This is day 20 of 100 days of writing and is a definite example of the words just flowing.

Partially inspired by the things to tell yourself at 14 hash tag on twitter. And mostly by the Katie: The Science of Seeing again show that was on tonight. She has an amazing attitude which reminded me of my own when the demon depression isn’t battering me. I was 17 before I started learning those lessons (having been disabled from birth) and it took me several more years to really get it down. Even now at 30 I’m still learning – to accept that I don’t have to be ok, to be strong all the time. Because life isn’t like that.

Own it. Love it
Own your scars
Your imperfections
Your flaws
Cherish your abilities
Stand up for who you are
Even if that standing is shaky
And frequently ends with you kissing the floor
Be proud of achievements
No matter how small
And don’t be afraid of saying
I can’t do it all
Know that down days will come
And things may be hard
Be proud to be different
You’re you
Totally unique
That doesn’t mean you’re weak
Society may hate you
At times
But don’t let break you
Everyone will eventually
Walk this line
Or wheel
Or crawl
Difficulties and difference
Will come to all
But for now be proud
Yes you stand out from the crowd
Own it
Love it
Shout it out loud
See my wheelchair
But notice my red hair
I have CP
But most importantly
I’m me!

♥ Emma