All Cafe

Freedom in an Able-Bodied World

by Naomi Ortiz

Free don’t go
The voice is not enough
Talk keeps us down
And action is so hard
Free don’t go

What have we done?
Where has all our power gone?

What does “no” mean
When calling out the unseen bureaucracies that transfer us to tears
And I can’t get to where the meetings are held
Free don’t go

Apathy only equals powerlessness
And I can’t get through people’s self doubts
Freedom has gone
It left when fear took its place

Now what protects us, tells me I’m not real
It allows me rights, with no accountability for those who deny them

So I stand in the same place
As others 40 years ago
Freedom has gone
Who will be our Rosa Parks?

My people are too tired to fight
all of the fights
Freedom has gone

Please visit the FORUM and tell Naomi how this poem made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

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Enjoy poetry and artwork from some of our members!

A Deaf Person and English Language in the Society
By Rajiv Root
15-June-08

A Heart
By Jennifer Thomas
15-June-08

Growing Up
By Sarah I
7-June-05

Life
By Sarah I
4-April-05

I was Made this Way for a Purpose
By Jennifer Thomas
1-August-03

The Oath of the Free Minded
By Craig
2-April-03

A moment of weakness
By Craig
10-September-02

Disability?
By Craig
24-July-2002

Disability
By Marlin Thomas
19-April-2001

Change
By Naomi Ortiz

Freedom in an Able-Bodied World
By Naomi Ortiz
28-April-2000

Just Open Your Eyes and See…
By Eileen Barham
9-October-2001

Amber's Drawing
Click here for a larger image. This drawing was done by Amber Kean, a 15 year old from Georgia with multiple disabilities.

Matt's Drawing
Click here
for a larger image. This picture was done by Matt White, a 17 year old from New Mexico with Cerebral Palsy.

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I was Made this Way for a Purpose

by Jennifer Thomas

I was not made this way
For your pleasure,
To be the humor
Of your joke.
I don’t know about you,
But personally,
I don’t like to be provoked.
I was not made this way
To be taken advantage of,
To be run over or mistreated.
I don’t require your distasteful spirit,
So keep it!
I was not made this way
To be mocked,
To serve as your entertainment for the day.
I didn’t ask for this type of treatment
From you anyway.
I was not made this way
To be hindered,
To be held back in this world.
Why is it that you don’t recognize?
I have a purpose to serve!
I was made this way
To be a light,
For the whole wide world to see
That you don’t have to have
What everyone else has
To be all that you can be.
I was made this way
To be an example,
So that the world will know.
Even though I’m not what
You think I ought to be,
I am someone great.
My Creator says so!
I was made this way
To be a leader,
So that the world can follow behind.
Though I am made slightly different,
It doesn’t mean
That I don’t have a great mind.
I was made this way
For a reason,
For the world to believe.
Even though I don’t have
The physical tools,
I am who I am,
And I can still achieve.
I was made this way
To give understanding,
So that the world would comprehend.
I don’t need you to feel sorry
Or to suck up as a friend.
I was made this way
To be of some assistance,
So that the whole world will see.
There is nothing wrong
With being different,
And there is nothing wrong with me.
I was made this way
For a purpose,
So that the world can see through me.
Even though
I’m not just like you ,
I am somebody.
I was made this way
To be an inspiration,
In hopes that the world
Will continue to strive.
Even though I don’t have
What you think I need,
It doesn’t mean that I won’t survive.
I was made this way
For a reason.
The world may not know why.
I am unique in my own right,
So learn not to look
Using your physical eye.
Maybe then will you understand
That I was made this way
For a purpose,
And that is the reason why!

My name is Jennifer Thomas, and I am 20 years old. I am a junior at Alabama State University, majoring in Elementary Education. I am currently employed with Children’s Rehabilitation Service in Montgomery, Alabama as the Youth Consultant. In addition to writing poetry, I enjoy working with children. When writing a play, I wrote this poem as a monologue for one of the characters to recite. This poem empowers me; it makes me feel good about myself and reminds me that my disability doesn’t make me a loser or an inferior being, but it makes me unique and conscience of how God will take a situation that seems bad and turn around and use it for good.

Please visit the FORUM and tell Jennifer how this poem made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

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Illness Narrative

by Mara Buchbinder

Parts comprised:
  Fall
    and rise.

Wrenching writhing rakes my skin
Decaying coils churn within.
Humbled, passive, dark, I shudder, 
Trembling, hating, thoughts I mutter.
Filthy wretched lost control,
Tumbling forward like a bowl.
Hastening lonely quietude,
Sharing shameful closed and crude.
Weathered clothespins pinch and tug
Unrelenting bristling mug.
The swift retreat to silver pools, 
Boiling, steaming, then: diffused.
Slacked tightrope easing down
Frozen madness melt and drown.

Return to certain bland temptations
Chronic state of hesitations
     Acute observation
     Flaunt hibernation
         Fake animation
        Mock consternation
         Mad devastation
           Anticipation
          Dissipation
             Incantation
               after incantation
                 after incantation.

Harboring threads of vast diversion
Maintaining stubborn self-immersion.
Fluxing daily like the moon
Glass that came from specks of dune.

                 Hold tight.
                 All my might.
                 No respite.

Please visit the FORUM and tell Mara how this poem made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

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Just Open Your Eyes and See…

By Eileen Barham

People are uncomfortable shifting their eyes or giving open stares. It hurts me, but they’re unaware.

I’m not just the “girl in the purple wheelchair.” I’m also the one with the blonde, wavy hair.

I’m not just the “kid in the class who can’t walk.” I’m also the one who loves to talk.

I’m not just the “handicapped child who doesn’t get recess or P.E.” I’m also the one who dreams about riding a bike, running, and climbing a tree.
I’m not just the “kid who can not do…” I’m also the one with the pretty eyes of blue.

So the next time we pass in a hall or on the way to class, just open your eyes and see…I’m the girl named Eileen, Me!

Please visit the FORUM and tell Eileen how this poem made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

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Amber's Drawing

Please visit the FORUM and tell Amber how this drawing made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

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Matt's Drawing

Please visit the FORUM and tell Matt how this drawing made you feel. He would love to hear your feedback.

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A Deaf Person and English Language in the Society

By: Rajiv Root

I was born in the world of “broken parts”. . .
I am profoundly deaf and
communications are challenging yet
I have excellent English skills.
People will see that I am capable of doing things like everyone else
English is the common language in the world and I am
grateful that my folks taught me English in the right way.
I can communicate with anyone and I do not view my
deafness as a disability.
I view myself like everyone else with same capabilities even though
enormous challenges do exist everywhere regardless of who we are!

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Change

by Naomi Ortiz

Self-doubt covers me
Like clouds over a ship
And I think I can’t keep doing this
But then someone comes crying to me
And I remember that we are the only
Ones who can set ourselves free
Fights seem never-ending
But that’s when you fight alone
How can we reclaim the power
They took away
How can we demand change
When they choose to look the other way
And they beat you so far back
That you now throw a party for any show of slack
I lost my innocence over lies
But I gained my power stance
I stand no matter what I am denied
And I WANT MY POWER BACK
I WANT MY POWER BACK
I will find a way
For all of my people to take it back
And then you better be prepared
To face all you ever feared

Please visit the FORUM and tell Naomi how this poem made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

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Disability

by Marlin

let you feel sorry
For me
Because I struggled
Getting up and living was hard
You felt sadness; I couldn’t walk
I could only shit sanitarily
With assistance

I believed you 
When you said that I was
A hero
Because MD is hard, yet
I could still smile.
(You would not have liked
 an angry disposition)

“Why study so hard if you are going to die?”
inquired a camp counselor once.
I could not answer
Because I did not know 
The answer myself.
I was crippled
By assumption and disbelief

I woke up
Early one morning
Bolted into consciousness
Sleep still stagnate in
My eyes
Realizing that I have a Disability
Oh yes, I have a handicap
I had the worst of them all
Overdeveloped Muscular Pity

Please visit the FORUM and tell us how this poem made you feel. We would love to hear your feedback.

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Disability?

by Craig

Disability is such an interesting word
Sometimes its usage is absurd
You call me disabled because I have a wheelchair
However your disability requires you to stare
I call you disabled because you can’t think
Isn’t it odd that I am the one who is expected to sink?

Beware of he who is so insecure with himself
That he belittles others to show his wealth
But we, the “disabled”, will have self-control
For we are able to listen to the voice of the soul
The voice that allows us to persevere
Whenever life’s problems are near

Beware of those who love out of pity
For I have seen them and they are plenty
Instead, cherish those who love you for who you are
Theirs is the love that will travel far
“Politically correct” is just plain wrong
Despite good intent, with too much shelter you can’t last long

Last but not least there is one thing I shall ask of you
Be proud of who you are despite what others say and do
Worry about yourself and not who might have you dismissed
And what it means to live rather than merely exist
Be a scream rather than a sigh
And until we meet again, my friend, goodbye

Please visit the FORUM and tell Craig how this poem made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

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Life

by Sarah I.
(doc: en español)

Life’s closing in on me
Don’t know what to do
Don’t know where to go
How can I fly away?
How can I escape?
I’ve only got one friend to talk to
One way to escape the torture and pain
I don’t blend or fit in
I stand out all alone
Like a snake in a desert
No one understands
No one can cure me or knows how
Why am I this way?
Why me, not her?
Why do I have to live this life?
I’m tired,
Tired of living like this.
I can’t give up.
I got so much ahead of me, so much to do.
How, how do I do this?
I need help,
But no one is there to help me.
I got to do I though.
Got to set a goal, reach and grab it.
Now that I’m holding it I’m on the way out.
My life is opening up.
I look back on the past,
And realize how horrible it was.
I’m still the same way physically,
But I have a different attitude.
I love life!
I want to live!
Now I know that I’m the only one who thought I didn’t fit in.
I was the only one holding me back.
I’m the only one who can change my life, my future.
I am, I’m going to fight the fight.
I will live my life like this forever.

My name is Sarah. I have been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury since birth, and therefore must use a manual wheelchair. I wrote this poem in my 9th grade English class a few years ago. Many believe it is a biography, but it is not.

Please visit the FORUM and tell Sarah how this poem made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

Este documento en español.

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The Oath of the Free Minded

by Craig

I would like to dedicate this poem to my brothers and sisters of the world who are fighting for individuality, peace, and open mindedness – whether they be disabled or not.

Born into a world of bondage
Very few are able to see through the mirage
Walk inside when the door unlocks
Open your mind and think outside the box

Do what you feel
Don’t just kneel
To what others say is “right”
Expand your sight

You are your own
Don’t just rely on that which is “known”
Accept that there is more out there
Something that most will not dare

This is the oath of the free minded
A mind closed is a mind dead
A mind open is a mind free
The holder a person who can truly see

Please visit the FORUM and tell Craig how this poem made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

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A Moment of Weakness

by Craig

Alone I wait for the fall
Staring at the separating wall
God, give me a reason not to go
If there’s a meaning, let me know

Behind the wall, things are different
it is where I want to be sent
No more close-minded fools
who prey on others to look cool

Many a time I have climbed the wall
and as before, many a time I will fall
I know alone I shall not succeed
Fellow climbers are what I need

But as each time I fail
I feel in my coffin, there is put a nail
So Lord, I must receive a call
Until then I await the fall

Please visit the FORUM and tell Craig how this poem made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

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A Heart

By: Jennifer Thomas

I was born in the world of “broken parts”. . .
A heart doesn’t always
Heal with time
.
Sometimes it bleeds
Until it eventually dies.
A heart doesn’t’ always
Do what it’s
Designed to do.
Sometimes it beats bitterness
And pumps anger
Through and through.
A heart doesn’t always
Do what it wants to do.
Sometimes it loves
And sheds forgives too.

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Growing Up

By: Sarah I, New York

Why can’t everything be like it used to be
It was so simple back then
The biggest decision you had to make was what color crayon you were going to use next
You never had to worry about clothes
Everyone was friends
Grades didn’t rule your life
Suddenly everything changed
Your best friends were now your enemies
Once you get used to change, something else changes
Before you know it you are being thrown out of the only life you’ve ever known
You must pick where you want to spend the next four years of your life
A place you’re supposed to call home

My name is Sarah Ingerson. I have a spinal cord injury and therefore use a wheelchair. I wrote this poem this fall during my senior year. At that time I was very stressed out about applying to college, a place where I am going to spend the next 4-6 years of my life.

Please visit the FORUM and tell Sarah how this poem made you feel. She would love to hear your feedback.

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