Jim Ferris


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You move right along, don't you

the tumor that is in my                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

You toddle up stairs so well
   so brave, so inspirational, so FUNCTIONAL

they got it all, the tumor rapt                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
in my mind                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

How did you get to seem so normal
   how did you learn to fake so well
       ∅bitterness       ∅self-obsession
    a credit to your kind

the tumor in my brother's blood                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
has never left me                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

We are Poets.

am I                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

We are Healers.

my brother's                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

We are Poets And


We want to know.
   the advancement of knowledge

I built a house around                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Why are patients so non-compliant

a house of bone and skins around                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Why is Reynolds Price so angry

a house around                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Why is Lucille Clifton so angry

that tumor                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Why is Sharon Olds so                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

that tumor I use                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

You move right along don't you

for a heart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

What happened to you anyway

I built a house                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

We only want to help

a house of bone and skins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Let us help you

a house around                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

You can help others

that tumor                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

A credit to your kind

the tumor I use                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

We need to know

for a heart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



Jim Ferris is author of Facts of Life and The Hospital Poems, which Edward Hirsch selected as winner of the Main Street Rag Book Award in 2004. His book Slouching Towards Guantanamo was published in 2011. Ferris, who holds a doctorate in performance studies, has performed at the Kennedy Center and across the United States, Canada and Great Britain. His writing has appeared in dozens of publications, ranging from the Georgia Review to Text & Performance Quarterly, from the Michigan Quarterly Review to weekly newspapers. Past president of the Society for Disability Studies, Ferris holds the Ability Center Endowed Chair in Disability Studies at the University of Toledo.