Presented at the
Queer Disability Conference
San Francisco State University
June 2 & 3, 2002
On Sunday night, June 2, John R. Killacky, Director of the Yerba
Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, produced two hours of
indescribable, indefinable, uncharacterizable queer crip singing,
dancing, prose, poetry, comedy, and performance art (and Yes, there
was an accordionist!).
Perfomers included Terry Galloway, Chris Hewitt, Nomy
Lamm, Laurie McKiernan, Michael Perreault, and Julia/Dolphin Trahan.
The conference also welcomed queer crip writers who read memoir,
poetry, fiction, and erotica in several more traditional sessions
Here are two selections from the Performance Evening and one
from a session called "Writers Read Their Work."
EVENING: SELECTION ONE
Created for and originally performed
as part of
Axis Dance Company's "Hidden Histories"
[Enter carrying stool]
Heads up! [Set
down stool and sit]
Let's talk! I'm a fifty-year-old
polio survivor. Many people have told me I don't look fifty. No
one has told me I don't look like a polio survivor!
As a teenager there was only one
thing, one activity that I would do, that I would feel comfortable
doing in front of a group of people. And that was dancing. I loved
it. I was always self-conscious, but my desire to dance was stronger
than my desire to stay hidden.
My Visible Difference: Once there
was a kid I knew at the orthopedic clinic. Twice a year, April and
October, three doctors, two nurses, one physical therapist, two
aides, and his mother gathered to watch. This kid, stripped down
to his underwear, had to walk up and down a long rubber mat with
three mirrors at the very end. He watched himself being watched
by all these grownups. They were evaluating what kind of surgery
he would be having next. They were looking at his body as something
needing to be fixed. They weren't looking at . . . him. He felt
like he was the scene of an accident.
Most of my life I've had that separation. Me from my body. So there's
not many times I can honestly say that I like being looked at. This
is a rare occurrence. [Big sweeping gesture]
I'm inviting you in.
When people stare, when they gawk,
they don't know the history of me. They don't know what it takes.
People just assume my body is a wreck. So, go ahead, take a good
look! What you see is what you get. And then some.
Not many people have ever looked
at me as if I were a marvelous mechanism.
My hidden history is that my body
is really working rather well, considering what I've gone through.
It's amazing: Many of us don't get told how good our bodies really
are. We each have a unique architecture of form, fit, and function.
Visible differences? Yes, indeed.
We have 'em by the pound! Hidden histories? We have them by the
pound, too. We'd be happy to share.
Here's looking at you!
EVENING: SELECTION TWO
A Good Father Should
This excerpt from
Chris Hewitt's memoir, "Brittle Bones," was published
in the May issue of BENT.
FROM "Writers Read Their Work"
Boy I Used to Be
Raymond J. Aguilera
This essay was published
in the January 2002 issue of BENT
and was read by its author at the conference session devoted
to poetry, fiction, and erotica.
BENT:A Journal of CripGay Voices/