ni Reagan A. Latumbo
Hindi man ako biniyayaan ng karangyaan,
O nakakain ng masasarap na pagkain sa hapag-kainan,
O nakabili at nakasuot ng magagarang kasuotan,
Kuntento naman ako sa lahat noong panahon ng aking kabataan.
Mahirap man ang buhay na aking pinagdaanan,
Milya man ang nilalakad ko noon marating lang ang paaralan,
Ipinagpatuloy ko pa rin ang pag-abot ng aking pangarap kahit na nasaktan,
Tiniis ko ang lahat dahil Siya ay nariyan.
Kahit na pandinig ko ay unti-unti na ngayong nawawala sa akin,
Nariyan pa rin si Ama at ako ay hindi Niya pinababayaan.
Kaya kahit ako man ay may kapansanan,
Naibabahagi ko pa rin ang aking talento at kaalaman.
Sa mundong aking pinapasukan,
Sa trabahong aking iniingatan,
Kahit bingi man ay marami pa rin akong natutulungan.
Mga baguhang empleyado ay aking tinuturuan.
May kapansanan ka man o wala,
Ang pagtulong ay hindi dinadaan sa usap-usapan.
Ito ay kusang ginagawa at pinaninindigan,
Maraming tao ang lubos na masisiyahan kung tulong mo ay hindi ipinagkakait sa kanilang harapan.
Bingi ka man o bulag o kulang ka man ng kamay o paa,
May sakit ka man sa puso o namanang karamdaman o wala,
Kapag tulong ang hinihingi, 'wag kang mag-aatubiling ipagkait ito sa iba,
Dahil sa bandang huli, ang iyong kabutihan ay masusuklian Niya.
say hot dog.
say ice cream.
see, the step into the sound booth is an awkward height,
about 6 inches off the ground,
and i find myself raised on a pedestal,
sealed in for you to inspect,
watching you and an audiologist
through a glass window,
watching you decide my future
as you face away from me
so i cannot read your lips
and you cannot see me shouting stop.
say you might hear static in your right ear
but i know i will only hear a tone,
an electronic beep going on and on and on
say conducive hearing loss say sensoneurial damage say surgery say it might be permanent this time,
like it hasn't been permanent for the last ten years,
say there's a new technique say we can fix this,
say negative impact on social life, say poor classroom performance,
say we just want what's best for you,
say try hearing aids try CIs try cued speech,
say you need to be fixed.
it's been a decade since i first entered that sound booth,
noises not echoing off these walls that take a little more from me with every test.
it's been a decade since my hearing slipped away and
i am done mourning it but i don't think you are.
persistence is a valuable trait but stop trying,
stop putting me under with an x on my right cheek so the surgeons know how to lay me out on the operating table,
stop refusing to turn on the captions because i need the practice,
stop talking to me without tapping me first,
stop screaming at me when i mishear.
i am done mourning my hearing and i don't know if i ever grieved in the first place but you are still stuck in the stage of denial,
hoping against hope for some goddamn miracle.
i don't want a miracle, i don't want anything god can give me because i am not lacking, i am whole, i already am the miracle you were looking for and i don't need to be fixed.
but you don’t believe that, do you?
so the audiologist can open the heavy soundproof door but i am still trapped inside this box,
the walls swallowing my words as you decide my future for me because
no one wants to listen to those who cannot hear.
say stop sign,
say push the button when you hear the beep
and i hold it down with my thumb,
gripping the clicker like the handle of a gun
until you tell me to let go.
but i hear deserts stretching away from me,
flat sci-fi dreamscapes where there is only one sound and i can hear it too.
say psychosomatic because you don't believe that i might hear infinity where you tell me i shouldn't.
say hole in the eardrum say the surgery might have accelerated the deterioration,
say we can try again but
i gave up ten years ago and i think you should too,
and i'm here in this sound booth screaming for you to stop
but you will not look at me,
will not even attempt communication.
no one wants to listen
to those who cannot hear.
My hand held out...
...to guard your back
When your friendships lacked
...to give money or supplies
When you couldn't survive
...to hold your hand
When you needed support
...to give you a hug
When you needed love
...to high five yours
At all of your endeavors
...to pat on your back
When you succeeded this or that
...to throw a thumbs-up
Because you never gave up
My hand held out...
...to cover my eyes
Through all of the lies
...to hide evidence
When you lacked common sense
...to understand the unreal
Amounts of items you'd steal
...to my chin to stipulate
The way you'd manipulate
...to cover my heart and divert
From your stories that hurt.
I could do this when I had two hands.
I could juggle these separate demands.
My dominant hand is limp now.
The tasks I take on are now simple.
I can only do one thing at a time.
Like, write out this single line rhyme.
When you see my hand out...
...from utter desperation
Please don't tabulate your accommodation
...remember I never asked before my disability
That you had previously admired my stability
...homeless, dirty and hungry
Offer to help me, without charging money
...keep in mind, it's the only one I have
My abilities and tasks all need to be halves
...perhaps don't act put-out or surprised
Because the person who's asking is paralyzed.
He reached his fingers to the stars
willed his legs to dance
forced his head so far back
that in the bow of his body
the bridge of his dance
allowed particles of flaring sunlight
little faeries of elation
to traverse to the other side
He saw his lean lithe body
pirouette and position,
ran screaming from one side to the next
in a perpetual wish to catch
that last step, that last grand
move, to capture small smiles
for infinity in his psyche
He said adieu to his last dance;
farewell to the music
only his ears could capture,
goodbye to a world of ballet
without him, his choreography
visible, but still resonating
in this time and space where
once he moved.
The tides of time flow beneath my feet
Rippling and flowing uncertainty
I am fish in the waters of constant change
Unpredictable ain't it strange
Will I be eaten by my disability?
Devoured by the shark like features of my own mind?
The stormy waves inside my heart
Will not just depart
The sea the tides of time
Hide my lost treasure sinking in the deep forever
Atlantis a lost city in a watery graveyard
Drowning wreckage of lost sailors
the waves hold a watery vigil
a siren like fate waits
For me with a lover who could save me
or cast me into the murky depths
Maybe the seas of time are all our tears combined
throughout time inside are all our aspirations we cast our nets for
and still we cry more than we catch
So the seas are maintained
For us to sail on...
She sits for most of the time,
in a metal chair with wheels.
Counting out the value of life
with an injury that never heals.
She waits for most of the time,
to confirm that she is really there.
But how many people notice her
sat down in her wheel-chair.
She's invisible for most of the time,
she is there but nobody spies.
So she spreads her tiny wings
and floats unnoticed to the skies.
She cried for most of the time,
always alone and lonely in a crowd.
Now flying free her spirit rises,
there's no discrimination in the clouds.
© Pagan Paul (25/12/16)