Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wheelchair Bound

Finally, the New York Times got it right! An article 1/30/07 in the Metro section focuses on the accessiblity (or rather) the inaccessiblity of the New York subway system. The article reports that there are a mere 54 "working" elevators in the system. The article uses the term "working elevators" very loosely, simply because of the fact that they usually are NOT working. The reporter interviews Michael Harris a 22 year old student.

The real difference I find in the article is the use of the term "person who uses a wheelchair" versus the more prevasive "wheelchair-bound." When I worked at WeMedia (media for PWD) I learned that a "person who uses a wheelchair" is the prefered language -- and the reasoning makes sense. The wheelchair is merely a mode of transportation. Think about this...would you say car-bound, bicycle-bound, or perhaps the incredible sexy Heather Graham in Boogie Night -- roller-skate-bound. That would make my favorite bartender, Dino, skateboard-bound (which he kind of is...). People use wheelchairs to walk. They are not tied to them. They (usually) do not shower, have sex, sleep, or poop in them. They do not use them when they drive, and probably don't sit around the house in them.

What is it about people with disabilities that particularly freaks people out? I think it's different than many kinds of prejudice (racial, religious, and so on). I think people with disabilities shove in the face that the body is fallable. We cannot control it. And this is a society that struggles so hard to control the corporeal -- through obsessive diet, excercise, make-up, plastic surgery, and so on. My disability reminds others that they too might be disabled one day. They see it as a loss of control. They want to look a way.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Jim and I will be reading this Sunday @ 2PM
46-46 Vernon Blvd.
Long Island City, NY 11101

From Manhattan:
Take the 7 to Vernon-Jackson
and walk up Jackson

From Brooklyn:
Right over the Pulaski Bridge

Art-O-Mat is a really quirky, cool art gallery in Long Island City.
After, we'll head down the street for cocktails!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More New Poems

I've been lucky enough to have Bruce Covey publish "The Field Guide to Flight" at


I haven't been writing much lately. The silence first started as a trip to New Mexico, into the landscape, and a way from the computer. It was then followed by a bit of a depression. I get depressed or anxiety every so often. The other day I was thinking about this. I think the body -- all bodies -- have a need to close down at certain times. I think this is why people get physically ill or depressed. The body has to go into winter.

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Poems!

I have new poems up Womb Poetry (!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Reading Schedule

I have a few reading coming up:

Feb 7th, 2 PM at Art-O-Mat with Jim Stewart
46-46 Vernon Blvd in the heart of Long Island City, NY

May 11th, 2007 @ 8 PM
Mónica de la Torre, Jennifer Bartlett, Art Banias, Gregory Crosby, Denise Burell-Stinson

Issue Project Room
Thursday, May 10

New poems coming VERY soon in two online magazine: Womb (any minute now) and Coconut
(around 1/27/07).


Nothing ever came of my communication with Matt about Bronx Letters. Such is life. In reality, an employer should never have to defend the reason they chose not to hire someone. ALSO. In reality, an employer should hire the person with the best credentials, not based on race, sexuality, or disability: yet prejudice is (obviously) still rampant in the employment community.

Along these lines, this was part of an email I sent to my friend the great poet/activist Jen Benka:
But what I was getting at was that as a person with a
disability just living my life has been more effective than marching in the
streets. Something like 75% of PWD so not work, so having a job, for me, is
a revolutionary act. Especially, since I taught high school. All my
students, collegues, and employers who thought handicapped people were
uncapable meet me and change their minds. Also, having a child is political.
Normal people don't believe handicapped people can have healthy, active
kids. So just by walking down the street with Jeff, I change minds (and
numerous people ask me - is he yours? Is your husband disabled?) I'm not
saying I'm the all powerful Wizard of Oz! But, I just wanted you to
understand were I'm coming from. Of course, community power works too. But,
I sometimes find it hard to find enough like-minded people. We went to EVERY
anti-war demonstration, but they always made me uncomfortable because
everyone was pushing their own adgenda instead of focusing on the war!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Is NYU Journalism in the cards for me?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Here's a new thought!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

More Bronx Letters (School)

I have been having an email exchange between a really nice guy named Matt regarding the position at Bronx Letters High School. Matt has been very kind to forward my email to an employee of the school. I highly doubt that anything will come of it. But, this is a great oppotunity for a potenial employer who was nearly hostile to me to explain themselves and iron things out. Am I a complete, boring nut? I know that people are turned down for jobs daily. I know that interviewing is like dating. You get all pretty. You go on a first (or even second date). Then, the guy never calls you back (or is rude when you call him --or her). And I think that everything is much more pronounced in New York City. However, you have to understand, EVERYTIME I interview I feel as though I have to prove myself far and beyond any other applicant. I can't help but think that I have been turned down for about 70% of all jobs I applied for, not because I was unqualified but because the employer only saw my disability -- not me! I think with Bronx Letters, this was definitely the case. I know that there was no one else with my qualifications that was interviewed. There was also the strange situation of being interviewed (and rejected) by ninth graders. Of course 9th graders are not going to want a crippled teacher - duh! It's up to the adults to set 'um straight. The school could have been more savy and said - we hired someone in house - which DOE schools often do. It was the "our students don't think you're right" that raised the red flag. If anything, I'm glad to have this blog - and the five people that read it - to blow off frustration. I think my husband's getting bored!

Friday, January 05, 2007


Today, when I woke up I realized that last night I became Vice President at Jeff's PTA. As the wild-woman Beat poet Anne Waldman once told my father.

This house, these kids. This is not what I expected!

Bronx School of Letters 2

These problems are no reflection on Will, the teacher who formerly held the position. He was actually very lovely.

Bronx School of Letters

This job came down the pipeline today. At the end, you will see my response.

Hello all,

I hope the new year finds you all well. I'm writing to let you know about an exciting, part-time opening at the Bronx Academy of Letters (

With poet Elana Bell, I am one of two writers in residence at Bronx Letters, a small public high school in the South Bronx dedicated to writing. Once a week I teach a journalism workshop to three small groups of young writers, and then at the end of the day I advise the student newspaper, The Raven. It has been a wonderful experience.

Unfortunately, due to a family emergency I will be unable to continue my residency in the second semester. I am disappointed to have to leave, but I am confident that we can find someone who can fill my shoes and then some. This is a great opportunity for a freelance writer or editor who wishes to work with bright young people who have terrific stories to tell.

More details follow. Please forward this note to those who you think might be interested.

Curriculum: Students must apply to the workshop, so the kids you're meeting with want to be there. I have the foundations of a good unit plan, road-tested during the first semester, that I would be happy to pass along. It's not perfect, but I think it would be a helpful start: The students each wrote and revised four pieces (an opinion article, a news article, a review, and a feature) and shared their ideas and drafts in a workshop-style setting.

Certification: Writers in residence do not have to be NYC certified teachers, but they must be fingerprinted at Department of Education offices before they can be paid.

Skills: For after-school newspaper meetings, knowledge of page-layout programs such as InDesign or Microsoft Publisher a plus.

Time requirement: Once a week for three small journalism workshops (4-7 kids each) and advising the school paper after school, then once every other week for office hours and check-ins. So three times every two weeks.

Duration: Four months, roughly Feb. 1 through June 1.

Stipend: $1,200 per month, paid 3/15, 4/15, 5/15, and 6/15.

Dear Matt,

I just wanted to let you know what people applying for a job at Bronx Letters might go through. I applied for a job there last Spring and was treated very poorly. First of all, the school requires applicants to be interviewed by 9th graders, which I believe is against DOE rules. I went on two interviews there. They were very nice, and I was sure I had the position. I was told to touch base after spring break. After the break, the administrator would not return my calls or emails. When I finally spoke to her she was extremely rude and told me "The students don't feel you are right for our school." I have no idea what happened. I feel that ultimately I wasn't hired because I have cerebral palsy and the staff let the students' opinion of my disability rule their decision.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Upcoming Interviews

I'm very excited about the interviews I'm doing for the next issue of SES. So far, I will be interviewing Kate Greenstreet, Jen Benka, Andrea Baker, Adam Clay, and Bruce Covey. It promises to be splendid.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Saint Elizabeth Street (the magazine) had a slight mishap. However, we are now back in business at We will soon be lauching an interview issue.