There is a rumour I am a force of nature. Emphasis on the word force. I was introduced at a conference, by someone who felt I was relentless in my pursuit of more is more to benefit Manitoba writers. A force of nature, she said; “Like hurricanes, tsunami, volcanos, earthquakes, prairie blizzards, tornados. You get the picture.”
Psychiatrists figure my persistence is a symptom of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), that once I have an idea I won’t let it go. I am compelled to complete whatever it is I turn my mind to. My mind gives me a lot to choose from, and there are many false starts. Unless people know me well others doubt my disability.
I project people:
see high functioning
see blank face a with Blistexed smile
see willingness to take chances as courage
see high expectations
see leading as bullying
people see a lack of humility, unseemly in a defective
And so, others decide I must be well and malingering to get the benefits of disability. And so, others decide I must be well and malingering to benefit from my disability, like parking at the casino. They should walk a mile in my legs, braces, and shoes.
People don’t see how broke and broken I am until they cross the street, not to be seen with such an old defective, stumbling behind my walker.
Doctors neither, many times I have had to push, prepare research papers with bibliography to get a test to reveal how broken I really am.
People, including doctors don’t want to see how opioids reduce my pain to a level in which I can still function and contribute to my community. Opioids allow me to work and to love.
I crawl from this wreckage, get up and stand again. I persist, pound for pound
I am a heavyweight who tries to turn anger into energy. I don’t get mad.
(Bullshit, says the poet.) (Don’t show it says the patient, says the writer.)
I don’t even get even. I persist to get what I want,
because my wanting is desire. And desire creates all. Remember to breathe.
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About the Author
Victor Enns is a writer with disabilities who lives in Kelowna with his wife Michelle Hewitt, a disability rights advocate. Enns writes extensively on the theme of abjection as presented through his embodied differences. He has published five books (four since 2005); his work also appears in Grain, Cv2, Prairie Fire, Scrivener, Rattle, Wordgathering, and elsewhere. Enns’ writing, recent live performances, and video-casts speak of his lived experience as a disabled man with chronic physical and mental illnesses. Calling Love & Surgery, his 2019 collection, a “bitch and moan about love, loss, and amputation,” he says, “I’m donating my body to science one limb at a time.” Victor’s most recent project, Look, is an exhibition of art, language, and sound, and is subtitled “my mind in pieces/my body in parts.” Enns’ website—including the first six letters of this mad Phoenician’s exploration of “The Abject Alphabet”—is http://www.victorenns9.com/.