Quoted: Karl Michalak, “Face Value” (excerpt)

Everything healed up
but in a very strange way
Years later
when it was very obvious
that something was very wrong with my face
everyone
said one or more of the following:

It’s the Lord’s will.
Just learn to live with it.
It’s all in your imagination.
Don’t be so self-centered.
Shut up and do your homework.
Other people are worse off than you.

[Full text available in the 2004 anthology Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories, edited by Bob Guter and John R. Kilacky.]

5 Comments

  1. Woot!

    He was a musician and artist, as well as a poet and writer; he died in 1997. Incisive sense of humor. Seeing his name brought him back ; image, voice and all.

    The poem is true, though.

  2. Is there a term for this line of reaction (Just learn to live with it / Don’t be so self-centered / Other people are worse off than you)? Or could someone point the way to articles / blogs that address this issue? I just read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bright-Sided and am very interested in our societal habit of diminishing people’s disabilities, excoriating people for not having the “proper attitude”, and generally attempting to censor all negativity.

  3. Thank you so much for the link, Annaham. Just to clarify, there are two blogs that adopt Frida’s name–FRIDA with caps came first and is a feminist disability organization; their blog is definitely worth reading. I’m an individual writer who hasn’t been able to extricate myself from identification with the artist.

    I love the poem!

  4. thanks Annaham. I’ve also discovered the FWD “blaming” tag to be awesome.