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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, March 9, 2018.
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

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? 

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

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

Jillian Weise

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.

by this poet

poem

At home, a sixteen-year-old son
and window treatments and walls
to paint and “How was your day?”
On the web there are no days
and no seasons and no oil changes
for the Subaru. “No one important.”
At the motel, flat pillows, a lamp 
tall as his son in the corner and 
a
poem

Right to property
Right to protect property
Encrypt everything
Make private
I am so right and if I’m not
   I’m gonna burn yr FB wall down
Be something for sale
Be a strategy
Last fall was tough on us
Ask after me
Ask after me again
Small business owners

2
poem
begin long before you hear them
and gain speed and come out of 
the same place as other words.
They should have their own
place to come from, the elbow
perhaps, since elbows look
funny and never weep. Why
are you proud of me? I said
goodbye to you forty times.
I see your point. That is
an achievement unto itself