Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Nondisabled Demands

It’s not fair. You owe it to the reader. 
We’re trying to help. We have an uncle 
with a disability and he always says 

exactly what it is. Take it from him. 
Take it from us. Take it from them.
You can’t expect people to read you 

if you don’t come out and say it.
Everyone knows the default mode 
of a poem is ten fingers, ten toes

with sight and hearing and balance. 
When this is not true, it is incumbent 
on you to come out and say it.

Here’s what. We’ll rope you
to the podium and ask
What do you have? What is it? 

Credit


Copyright © 2018 by Jillian Weise. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 9, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


"This poem comes from real advice and performance art. Someone told me I had to come out and state my disability in every poem I write. This made me wonder: Who does poetry serve? What is poetry’s idea of itself? To dodge those questions, I began performing as Tipsy Tullivan across social media. She is a nondisabled writer from Asswallascallacauga, Alabama. She doesn’t write poetry, but she’s likely in the collective 'we' of this poem."

—Jillian Weise

Author


Jillian Weise

Jillian Weise is the author of The Book of Goodbyes, which received the 2013 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Date Published: 2018-03-09

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/nondisabled-demands