In the June 2013 issue of Wordgathering, editor Mike Northen discussed my poem, “Radio Interview” in his article, “Ten Poems to Kick Start Your Disability Lit Class.”
Mike is the editor for Wordgathring and one of the editors for Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, published in 2011, now in its second printing.
See the whole article about teaching disability poetry at:
Comment by Michael Northen on Marie Kane’s “Radio Interview”
“If the acceptance of a disability identity is problematic for some with congenital disabilities like cerebral palsy, it is even more difficult for a person with a disability acquired later in life. Unlike the person with CP who is not looking for a cure (to be fixed), someone with a spinal cord injury that suddenly finds themselves in a wheelchair or who has received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis looks back to a former life, one they considered normal, one that was “really them.”
“The ambivalence of accepting the new person they are is expressed wonderfully in Marie Kane’s ‘Radio Interview’:
Her missionary voice beams from some NPR studio across inaccessible stars and blue-black space while I drive on in the coming dark, anxious to arrive home before my vision fades, before my leg brace constricts my calf, before leg spasms. She crows— I have no MS symptoms and haven ‘t for ten years — and credits rest, healthy meals, acupuncture, and reflexology with her symptom-free life. Why, she feels protected from that evil, eating fruit and whole grams and resting with her feet up on a cushion (sometimes she just HAS to stop and rest), while I grimace and regret the ice cream, rue the wine, lament those missed naps. No daily or weekly shots for her; steroids are hideous and the hope of stem cells? (Stem cells— uttered like a loathsome curse.) Well, she hopes research halts before anymore innocent lives are taken in the name of science. I can envision her heeled shoes winking as her rose-tipped toes slip in before she is launched back home to ride Byron, her show horse. (The riding, she asserts, fights fatigue and stress.) Then I am yelling at the radio, pounding the steering wheel at that nail-driven-home voice so much like the roaring page, the bastard blues — 1 want to propel Byron through an unlatched gate, his tail a free flag in the wind, push that smiling voice down a flight of stone steps until the jeweled shoes fly, and punch my hand through her smug assumption that she knows exactly how to manage MS, never acknowledging that my MS might be a different animal all together. Finally, lights on our cedar trees appear and disappear in the growing wind; I turn onto our gravel driveway, silence the car, clamber awkwardly out, stand supported by my quad cane and leg brace, and admit that I so desperately want, oh how I want, oh, oh, with my heart in my mouth, oh, how I want to be her.
“How do readers feel about Kane’s reaction to the woman’s recovery? Is her reaction fair? If not, what about the implications for those whose conditions don’t improve? Does it imply that somehow they have not tried hard enough or that they somehow deserve their situation? Do some of us still secretly believe that people in these circumstances are somehow being paid back by God? Is it Karma?”
Michael Northen, Wordgathering, June 2013
Material on this page and on mariekanepoetry.com is Copywrite © to Marie Kane. Use of this material in any form must be acknowledged and approved in writing by Marie Kane. Email: engmrk(at)aol.com