Sunday, December 26, 2010

An American with a Disability (poem)

An American with a Disability

Dave’s life
a hard one.

Grand Mal Seizures…

his beautiful
was smashed
to pieces.

a few times
he was battered
and covered
in blood.

Dave taught me
the term
really meant.

one of Dave’s
many horror stories
was that he was
mistakenly arrested

after having a seizure
and being shipped
by the police
to a doctor
50 miles away
for treatment
he didn’t need,

and the police left him
stranded there
a ride home.

Dave remembered
waking up
in the hospital
and screaming
out loud,

“Take these damn
handcuffs off
of me,
I am not
a criminal!”

He said the policeman
was too busy
flirting with a nurse
to come over
right away
and take the
cuffs off.

Making this horror
even worse
was that he was transported
with his hands cuffed behind
his back
while his chest
was pressed against
the seat of the squad car
for the entire hour long

Worse again, was that
he had just had a pacemaker
implanted in his chest
to reduce his seizures.

The police
told Dave's
mom that
he was coherent
all the
way down
to Indianapolis.

If Dave was coherent
like they said,
the first
words out of
his mouth
would have been,

“Please take these
handcuffs off of me,
I am not a criminal!

I have epilepsy!”

Dave Looper died alone in his apartment on or about January 23-24 2002

poem from John Hulse Collected Poems (1985-2015) volume 1

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