From the Best of Cow Tipping Press
As ‘neurotypical’ staff at Cow Tipping Press, I struggle with how to justly, or even adequately introduce the following pieces. They are short works of poetry and fiction composed in Cow Tipping Press classes. The authors are part of the 2% of the population born in the U.S. with developmental disabilities. As these voices are often misunderstood, undervalued, and segregated, it’s possible that if you’re ‘neurotypical’ like me, you hear very little about this group of people, and even less from them. Trust me when I say that if you aren’t engaging with the voices, stories, and unique perspectives of people with developmental disabilities, you’re missing out.
At Cow Tipping Press we value neurodiversity, desire neurocosmopolitanism, and want to share our authors’ voices widely, to challenge current perspectives on disability. We believe true inclusion takes changing mindsets. As Dar Cieminski succinctly puts it in “A Hippie Chick”, “I guess there’s all different kinds of beautiful.” Please, enjoy the small but rich collection of kinds below.
I think hunger is important, a hunger for life. And that no one can tell you how to live your life You should be able to live it the way you want to. Appetite would be something to eat. Appetite would be, you know, after you’ve eaten a lot of food, that you wouldn’t want to go and eat something else. That your appetite is good enough. Appetite for something to drink, like milk or juice or water. I think hunger is the wilderness. The animals. Life. Hunger for something exciting to happen. Hunger for something – how can I put it? Hunger for nature Hunger for the sounds. Hunger for creation. Hunger for beauty. Hunger for not knowing what’s coming. Hunger for creating something. Hunger for being who you are. Hunger would be sound, different kinds of sounds. Hunger would be the stars, the moon, the sun. Hunger would be creation.
She Doesn’t Want to Be in a Wheelchair Anymore
She was an ugly lady. She was short and super skinny. She had short, greasy red hair. As red as a fire truck. She never showered so the smell of garbage reeked off her. She was a crabby lady. Always yelling and backtalking. She spent most of her time at work. She was a receptionist. She was awful at this job and got fired. She was a human garbage can. She acts like a hooker and was all by herself. She knew that in order to be happy she needed friends. She lives in Texas. She is in a wheelchair and this is why she is so angry.
Hot to Handle
We were having free swim at the middle school pool. I was lying at the bottom of the pool on a black line under the water. They think it was because I had a seizure. A student found me underwater and screamed for the teacher. The teacher then jumped into the water, pulled me out, and gave me CPR. They called for an ambulance and I was rushed to the hospital. They say if I would have stayed underwater one more second I would have died. Everyone at school asked if I was okay. The girls all thought I was really lucky for getting mouth-to-mouth from Mr. Jackson. He was hot stuff.
You lost a balloon
Couldn’t find it
In the Whisper
A Poetic Letter to My Great Grandpa Charlie
Dear Great Grandpa Charlie,
May you feel the cool breeze against your cheeks on a cool summer day. May you feel the calmness when you are pulling out each weed from the garden. May it feel peaceful and calm and relaxing and may you become one with Nature. May those other noises –helicopters, airplanes– not distract you or disturb you. Enjoy the birds singing their songs for you. May you enjoy the Nature all around you. Be a part of Nature. Feel the wind. Hear the birds singing. Feel the coolness of a cool summer day.
May your worries become like the weeds, and as you pull out each weed, may you throw out your worries along with them. All that is left is calmness. When all the weeds in your garden are gone, may all the worries in your mind be gone as well.
The Hippie Chick
for the comment. Thank you
I guess there’s all different kinds of beautiful
well. Different kinds of love.
Know the concept. The vocabulary.
is more like a sentence full of poetic words. Thank
for your pet. A sheep is a ewe.
Flowers are beautiful
Flower magic. I look beautiful.
I want a big vocabulary.
I look very
me. I love
thee. I count the ways. I look beautiful.
are my best friend. Vocabularic
a lot. I thank you very
much. The very
end. Hippie chick love.
you. I look beautiful
Is a big concept of poetic words of a dictionary that you
make up. You
Love me. Very very.
It’s just a bunch of words that you put together in
a sentence. Love me love you love myself. Love
your pet. Love your mom and dad. Love your sisters,
Brothers. Love your teacher. Love the help. Love your staff.
can be almost any word. Thank
you. You can. Very
good. Vocabulary words. Love
you. Beautiful me. Thank you.
About the Authors
Rachel Lieberman grew up in and around Chicago, Illinois before moving to the Twin Cities to attend Macalester College. For over eight years she has enjoyed teaching in special education classrooms, coaching Special Olympics, and working as a caretaker for individuals with developmental disabilities. In her work with Cow Tipping, Rachel finds tangible and inspiring possibilities for a more inclusive and creative future: one that expects, accepts, and celebrates neurodiversity, and one that embraces greater equity for all of us.
Dar Cieminski likes to write poetry. She’s from Minneapolis. She’s in a group home. She likes to write. Free will.
Stephanie Hart has a great sense of humor. She enjoys coming to Cow Tipping class and challenging herself to try new things.
Brad Kellar was born in 1956. He does not know what hospital he was born in. His dad was an alcoholic and it was very hard to live at home when he was drinking. His mom and her friend were aged two years apart and she started drinking as well. How did he put up with it? His mom said he had to be strong. When his sisters and his brother moved out he was all alone. When he lived on his own he would go buy a pack of beer and that was a tough time in his life. He found out that he had a lot of support in his life and people that loved him.
Kelly McNamera is outgoing and likes going to concerts. She would like to marry Joe someday. Her family gets together on Thanksgiving and eats turkey and mashed potatoes. She likes girly things like shopping and getting her nails and hair done.
Shelagh Winkel has been writing since she was in grade school. She loves dancing, singing and writing. She has created and written about many magical creatures and she has an extensive and ever-expanding unicorn collection.