On Revenge

Sometimes, when they do something bad, something that hurts me, or the world — I say, “Well, they’ll learn. When their bodies turn against them, they’ll come to know what I’ve learned over the past 40 years.” And I smile the Revenge Smile.

I think of it when I read about someone in the newspaper, a dictator somewhere, or a businessman, being merciless, cruel, greedy — hurting people needlessly.

I think of it — too — when I am angry at those close to me: friends, family. I rage at their blindness for not seeing what my life is like, what having such a body is like, what I am, what  I really am.

It’s definitely not nice wanting paralysis or pain for someone else — wanting them to lie hopeless in a nursing home, in a hospital bed where they have just shit on themselves, the hurt look in their eyes that comes from learning the body has its own powerful rules when it is sick or dying.

It is definitely not nice wanting someone to have a body that works just like mine. And I smile the Revenge Smile.

—Lorenzo Milam in CripZen
reprinted in NM, Fall 1992

On Identity

I Am Not One of The

I am not one of the physically challenged —

Photo by Joegh Bullock

I’m a sock in the eye with gnarled fist
I’m a French kiss with a cleft tongue
I’m orthopedic shoes sewn on a last of your fears

I am not one of the differently abled —

I’m an epitaph for a