deaf culture & poetry tuesdays
I learned from a friend that many hearing people in American schools (mainstreaming programs mostly, I think, but also job counselling centers and other locations) still tell Deaf children stereotypical assholism like "deaf people - (ineffective attempt at bad acting) - can't write poetry."
Still. And people like to tell us how good we have it.
I remember when I was 12 the infamous Mrs. Peel incident. Mrs. Peel was the math teacher for advanced math classes at IS24 where I went to junior high school. Took them a while to get a terp and when they did, they first hired me an italian translator who translated English to spoken italian. Then they hired me a woman who was not I think certified but was good enough. I kept her. Anything was better than that moustache.
The year after I got her I was assigned to Mrs. Peel's class. Denise, my interpreter, walked with me upstairs; I loved walking through the hallways with her. She always dressed excellently and she had amazing bleached spiked hair. I think my love of the punk stems from my love of the attention we got as I trailed along behind her. People would frequently ask me if she was a movie star.
Anyways, Mrs. Peel didn't see me when I came into the class and sat with my textbook at my desk; she saw my interpreter come in, and went to ask her why she was there. I can lipread only a little. I saw Denise explaining and pointing at me. I saw Mrs. Peel snarl, and reply. My interpreter went cold. She stood, asked me to come with her without speaking.
We stood in the hallway. She put me up against the wall. She explained that the woman had told her snottily that she "didn't want a deaf child in her class." She explained that she, personally, did not want to work with this woman. It was totally unprofessional. It was also totally understandable, to me, and at the time I instantly agreed. Why bother? What could I learn from someone with such negative energy turned towards me? Later only I thought: maybe I should have fought. But what was I back then - a ten-year-old?... that was mainstreaming. Anyways, I was transferred to another math class, where I earned pretty much A's and B's for the rest of the year, while reading and rereading all my goofy sci-fi stuff.
Anyway, here's some poetry. This is part of a much larger series I'm working on... it'll probably get cut from the final version. But I like it. Yep, copyright me, 2005, retain all rights to usage etc.
9.5 (somewhere in november)
i am learning to guess
the words in stories my father tells
(there is a system to good mornings, too.) it itches.
never take it off. never
take it off (and everyone
at school outside seems determined to, to
look at the little miracle) i was guessing
already without it (off take it) even
this young i am looking forward
to night and the sounds of my own skull