featured Healthcare Inclusion

3 men talking and now I have 3 minutes, a poem by Gabrielle Peters

A colour saturated photo of inside of mouth with no teeth.

Start the clock
I’m wondering how privileged and protected you have to be to call our culture death denying
People in my world drop dead
Fall from the sky
Decompose while people walk by
No funerals or memorials
They are just gone
Day I moved in
Coroner moved a young man out
It was hot
So the aroma meant he couldn’t be ignored in death
As he had been in life
I’m white
But poor
I’m on the upside of crip life
Police don’t shoot me when I yell at the cars that almost hit me when I cross on green lights
My rage is read as annoying not dangerous
An Indigenous person I spoke with said they lost 25 family members – many to suicide and the so called overdose crisis
Karen Ward calls it a poisoning crisis
Power picks words
Powerless get critique
The Indigenous leader told the Senate they don’t want the neo-colonialist death cult on their land
They can name and date stamp the first ever suicide
We caused
our biological warfare isn’t blankets – it’s us. Our culture
Are you suffering under the weight of generations of trauma we inflicted?
We have a lethal injection that will fix that
My friend who is a DTES policy advisor
Has few friends left alive
So who is it that is death denying?
And why the binary to glorifying?
He says having the option to die will give him peace of mind
My bucket list requires me to be alive
Not dying has never been a concern for my kind
I’m the person the good crips don’t want to be mistaken for
I’m the one who gets a government cheque to almost pay for me to almost survive – never live – jus
t hang in a purgatory of punishment as surplus humanity unable to create surplus value
I’m the shameful one, the ungrateful one,
I’m the greedy one – a taker who doesn’t help make the rich richer
I’m the boil on the parasite
C7 is the scalpel to remove me
I’m read as everything they hate when I show up at the hospital gate
I’m in the crosshairs of a country that is pre-loaded with ableism and racism
Because some people are afraid of facing their own humanity
Living and dying on their own terms
Fuck the world for thinking they could ever be weak
On their own terms sailed oceans for colonialism
On their own terms hung tight to right to enslave other humans
On their own terms they dictate
They demand
Wiping their own ass defines them as a man
Not needing another is what makes them better
Help is hell if you’ve spent your life spitting into open hands
And now they demand I die
For their myths
Their religion
Of individualism
Their altar to utilitarianism needs crip bones and blood to
Death on demand is the gift for those who have everything
Consumer checklist complete

Gabrielle Peters wrote this poem after her recent experience with a Saturday CBC radio show. She was asked to do a quick interview about Bill C-7, legislation that allows disabled people  the contents of which would then be debated by three men.  

She tweets about that experience here.

Bill C-7 expands MAiD (Medical assistance in dying) beyond those who are actually dying and makes death a ‘treatment option’ for a large segment of disabled people in Canada. 

As Charlotte explained earlier, “It puts disabled people in the cross hairs and we live in a society that comes pre-loaded with structural ableism. We lack the supports that make it possible for us to live in dignity so the option of a red carpet path to death is reasonably read as enticement. It’s a form of soft power that can easily veer into outright coercion. Even without the stick, dangling the only carrot in sight above state administered death is quite a statement for the Canadian state to make.”

See also: Gabrielle Peters: We are entering a dangerous time to be a disabled person in Canada

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One Comment

  1. Truth is a candle that shows evil its shadow.

    ‘Power picks words / Powerless get critique’ — that’s a good read.

    Thorny rose.

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