Rachael A. Zubal-Ruggieri


Micro Mutant Postcard #130

Micro mutant Postcard #130
A blurry diffuse gray and white photograph.

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

There are just too many binary stars in the Universe. Light, dark. Red, blue. Hot, cold. Magneto, Xavier. Gravity and mass allow us ways to peacefully coexist. Gaseous nebulae make my Mad brain whistle weird. I can wish on more than one star, you know.

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Micro Mutant Postcard #135

Micro mutant Postcard #135
The author as a baby dated August 1966. A black and white photograph of an unsmiling infant gazing up at the picture taker. The baby is wearing a white sleeveless shirt with embroidered trim and an oversized pair of rubber pants over a cloth diaper. The baby is outdoors on grass, lying inside a bassinet with a blanket crumpled to the left of their feet.

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

What it was like—understanding who I am, born from the death of stars. Nova wishes I could swim after faster comets, but my Crip crawl isn’t gonna get me far through the Milky Way. It already takes 12 years to get one clear cosmic picture.

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Micro Mutant Postcard #140

Micro mutant Postcard #140
A blurry photograph of a wood-grained tabletop.

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

Gravity overwhelms us all, but escape velocity is not a myth. Do I break the bank, avoid the Black Canary in the Crip coal mine, or do I simply foment the mutant camouflage of my misfiring neurons, screaming to cover the weight of being alive.

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Author Note:

The Micro Mutant Postcard Project is a new endeavor seeking to meld poetry, confessions, memoir, and imagery with pop culture, especially comic books, and identity, including disability, using specific conventions to bring forth creativity and explore intersections the author has perhaps not yet publicly revealed.

Kudos go to Diane Wiener, Stephen Kuusisto, Dan Simpson, Ona Gritz, Minnie-Bruce Pratt, Emily Michaels, and my 2013 Maymester WRT 438 Advanced Creative Nonfiction cohort at Syracuse University, for their contributions to this burgeoning endeavor.

Selected postcards have been published in the December 2020 issue of Wordgathering, as “Selections from the Micro Mutant Memoir Postcard Project.”

Some postcards are memoir, others manifestos, and many are confessional, either addressed to pop culture figures and characters or written as self-revelations and larger burning or rhetorical life questions.

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About the Author

Rachael A. Zubal-Ruggieri is the Administrative Assistant of the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach at the Burton Blatt Institute. Mother to an Autistic teenage son, Rachael writes and presents about neurodiversity and autism parenting, seeking to debunk and disrupt traditional representations of “the autism mom.” She is a recent graduate of the Human Development & Family Science program at Falk College, with a Disability Studies Minor, at Syracuse University (SU). Her research interests include Creative and Design Thinking, Technical Documentation and Usability, Technology and Disability, and Parent and Family Involvement in Education. Rachael has dedicated her career to improving the lives of people with disabilities, including broad-based support to multiple disability rights initiatives on campus, in the CNY area, and nationally, through many grant-funded projects and opportunities and via long-term relationships with community agencies and programs. Rachael worked for over 30 years at the Center on Human Policy at SU. She is a founding member of the university’s undergraduate disability rights organization, the Disability Student Union (DSU). Rachael’s current activities include her roles as Co-Advisor of the Self-Advocacy Network (formerly Self-Advocates of CNY), and as a Board Member of Disabled in Action of Greater Syracuse, Inc. Rachael is also co-creator (with Diane R. Wiener) of “Cripping” the Comic Con, the first of its kind interdisciplinary and international symposium on disability and popular culture, held at SU. At conferences and as a guest lecturer, she has for many years presented on the X-Men comic books, popular culture, and disability rights and identities.