A black and white image of the wheel of a wheelchair

Audio Version

If you meet me...

Using my wheelchair 

Don’t waste your energy 

And mine commiserating 

Celebrate with me
That I’m out in the world 
With you. 
Do say hallo to whoever 
Is with me 
And then–if you can - 
Sit with me awhile 
At my level 

Don’t make jokes 
And eyerolls
About Covid - 
I’m a while away
From finding the whole thing funny.

Celebrate with me 
My liberation on wheels 
Not by referring to them 
All the time
Tell me of your life 
Like you used to 
Let me do some catching up. 
Where you’ve been 
What you’ve seen

The struggles–if you like to - 
That you have faced. 

Burst my bubble 
That I’m special 
But not too hard. 
Let me have 
A soft landing
Back Into the embodied world 

I will be jealous but not excessively so 
of your outings 
And empathetic 
With your childcare 
And caring challenges. 

And when you see me 
Using a stick 
Or walking free
Don’t question 
The validity 
Of the wheelchair. 
I am a hybrid disablee
The chair is an aid when my legs 
Or my brain
Are not strong. 

Please ask if you can help.
Sometimes the best 
Thing you can do
Is help me take a moment
To reset and breathe,

So the best is 
A moment of companionable
Silence with you 

Whilst my brain 
Catches up 

With everything 

It’s learning 

And my neck gets a rest from holding 


An angle 
Nature never planned for. 

And let’s not regard 
The fact of the wheelchair 
As an emblem of 
Capitulation .
No one’s giving up 
Nothing’s been fought or lost
There is 
No war
Just a change
And an evolution
A reckoning
And a recalibration. 

Yes. I do feel it as a loss. 
Of course.
Lots of changes
Include grief

But also they hold 
The offer of new possibility.

What can ours be? 
Will you change alongside me
To enfold my new reality 
Into yours? 
Can we together extend our 
Sense of selves 
To see and accept what is? 
Can we?

I wrote this on the way back from a meeting at a theatre, the first time I've attended a professional meeting like this using my wheelchair. I tidied it up a bit and since it was #NationalPoetryDay yesterday, I thought I'd mark it with this.

As I posted the audio version just now I realised the more inclusive version for the title should be "If you meet me" but then weirdos will know that we lose a connection to George Melly singing If you see me walking down the street on a Stranglers B-side. Still maybe they are both there somewhere...