John R. Killacky's "Dreaming Awake" video
will be shown September 29 at 111 Minna Street Gallery in San Francisco.



Photograph of John R. Killacky © 2003 Laurie Toby Edison


I dissociate from the burning in my legs,
silently crying between sleep and the morning.
Hopes and dreams keep me safe through the night.
After surgery, I died then,
but you refused and brought me back.
Seven years and counting, of tilting toward the ground.

I am afraid if I sit down; I will never get up again.

The dancer in me learned to stand visually;
the marathoner took the second step.
Rehab gave me strength and range of motion.
But with each new modality,
I interrupt expectations:
improvements are not cures.

If I sit down, I will never get up again.

Still imagining a body I cannot have,
I startle myself, glimpsing fatigue in passing windows.
My bifurcated body torques with every stride,
neuropathy and weariness debilitates.
Therapists caution about wear and tear,
while friends cheer, "You're getting better!"

If I sit down, I will never get up again.

Navigating deadened limbs and twisted trunk,
pain remains constant, dulling our life together.
After a day's activities, I have no comfort left to give you.
Living through chemistry, libido is gone.
Holding and touching you,
I long for remembered sensations.

I'm afraid if I sit down: I'll never get up again.
If I sit down, I'll never get up again.


In this metaphorical body,
I try to intercept suffering,
abide in discomfort,
forgive the trauma.

Bearing witness,
I sit with loss,
move toward unobstructed feeling,
and bring you along into my dreaming awake.

© 2003 John R. Killacky


John R. Killacky
is a former dancer, ex-marathon runner, now paraplegic. By day he is an arts administrator, at night he writes personal narrative, and on weekends makes videos aspiring to be visual poems. The voice-over for "Dreaming Awake" was adapted from "Night Murmurs," featured in the upcoming Haworth Press anthology "Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories," co-edited by Killacky and Bob Guter.



BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/September 2003