Bone Crises - A Poem

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Attacks, we used to call

them. Before bone crises

became the fashion.

I describe myself with medical

words - enzymes, metabolic, lipids - bone crises of my youth.

I write poems and essays about pain:

I speak and train about my people.

Earn respect with my tongue,

a pen, that exists

above the shoulders.


none of it matters.

I cannot move without a scream.

Lay my ankle against the sheet,

cry out in agony.

Turn sideways

caught suddenly,

shockingly, immovably by a

suffocating wave of pain.

Disturbing my wife

scaring the cats

remembering long ago.

Invaded by a screaming,

bayonet-wielding, poison-dart,

dagger-tipped unending militia.

Attacked is how I feel.

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From Steven E Brown, Voyages: Life Journeys (Institute on Disability Culture, 1996).
Reprinted with permission.