To Talk or Not to Talk
JBuck22874 at aol.com
JBuck22874 at aol.com
Fri Oct 4 20:55:13 PDT 2002
Just when I think I've pretty much accepted the unsightly state of my
skeleton, out pops a poem like the one posted below. I've been asking myself
lately why I seem super-glued to the topic of disability, and I've come to
the conclusion that I write about it because my family refuses to talk about
it, and always has.
Does anybody else around here get the silent treatment when it comes to
amputation? At first I thought my family was closed up about it because I
came out of the womb as an anatomical disaster right from the start (in other
words, it wasn't a shock) and my issues were spread out over many, many
years, but now I'm beginning to wonder if they just can't handle what might
have happened to them. When I mention the word "stump" or "socket," they
change the subject to the rising cost of paper towels -- usually
mid-sentence. Silence is virtually their only perceivable reply.
Have you guys ever wanted to say: "Hold it right there! I need to talk about
pain, frustration, fear, etc"? And if you did actually insist on a
conversation, did it bring your family together or drive them away? Writing
for the past five years has given me a craving for more honesty than my
family seems able to handle. Anyway, I'd like to know how everyone else deals
with this stuff. I have images of my family boarding the first bus to China.
P.S. Piss and Moan poem for the day ...
Suddenly, post severance
a pant leg hangs like fallen flags.
Is this the muslin of defeat
or will some shade of color return?
I'm barely eight and all my dolls
have better bodies sitting there.
Each step I take, a damp
and clotted wispy broom
brushing a usurping floor.
If this is just a Civil War, I'll name
my flesh the smitten South
and hope the North of soul will win.
Years and eyes would teach me well
to stay away from bathroom mirrors.
Their microphones are hideous.
The stump itself a purple eggplant,
giant squash, rhubarb ribs
in gardens no one understands.
Mattress slabs and negligees
reserved for beauty not the beast
with suffer's crumbs for daily bread.
Phantoms strike like seizures in electric chairs.
When lights are out, I finger
all my sister's shoes in pristine rows --
their symbols make a fine ballet
I'd love to have a ticket to.
Who put this halo on my head,
plagued me with these platitudes:
"God gives you only giant bricks
you have the strength to move and lift."
I hate the words but lean on them like banisters
on stairways washed away in floods.
I had a better signature when two legs waltzed
without pre-meditated scorn.
When motion was a thoughtless gesture
flapping like an eagle's wings.
When fluid crosses of my thighs
weren't rancid jokes imbued with scars.
Fallow muscles ... well, they dream
of Cinderella slipper time,
of petticoats not made of gauze.
by Janet I. Buck
More information about the Amp-l