On Being Three-Quarters Disabled – Some Kind of Poem

The following was written at a bad time.  I’d been fighting to receive a disability benefit.  Fighting and losing for eighteen months.  In despair I sat down with a piece of paper and just threw out these words.  Excuse the fact that I wasn’t up to even an attempt at avoiding a cliché or two.

Forgive me.  It was written at a bad time and thrown onto paper while I cried.  I haven’t edited a single word.  There’s a story leading up to this.  I told it in a post yesterday.  Click here to read about my experiences in applying for the benefit.

Six points.

You need help. You’re not entitled.
You’re disabled. Don’t deserve a thing.

Caught between tick boxes of the blessed ones,
“The Lord doesn’t giveth. The Lord taketh away.”

Fallen, shredded in the waste disposal of a Tory regime;
Cursed with diagnoses, drowning in the dark.
Not waving. Because you lack the skill.

Where hope is only written on rainbows in the skies of other worlds
While your penguin wings leave you shivering in the ice wilderness.

Six points.

They dish out fate without compassion. Twist words,
Make out you lie, disseminate; that the screams, the dreams,
The firebrand hallucinations, meltdowns, shutdowns,
Anxious agonies, social collapses, failures to stay safe,
The situational mutism. That none of it is real. None.

Hey, are you even autistic? Or tinged with madness?
You’re just a liar. You’re a bastard. A thieving scumbag.

Because you said phone calls are hard
But you made two calls in two years with a friend
And only one ended in a meltdown.
Where’s your problem?  Stop making things up.

And they say you can live on two biscuits a day,
So bloody don’t complain your head
Won’t let you cook a proper meal. You little shit.

A tribunal judgement of six points.

They rule you have no social problems because
Sometimes you used to read at a church.
A church you left.
Regularly.
Walking out.
Unable to cope.
Crying on the steps.
Banging you head hard on the stone wall for comfort.

But they don’t care about all of that because
Their ticky box system covers only your infrequent reading
Not a consequential descent to self-abuse,
Self harm, a bruised, bitching, bloodied scalp
And the six day headache war.

Six points.

It means you’re probably never be able to hold down a job,
So get a job you lazy ass. You should be ashamed
You fucking benefits scrounger but the joke’s on you
Because you’re getting nothing whatever you say.

And they judge you well because the community mental health
Fools said they wouldn’t see you.
You gave letters saying you needed specific therapies,
But you’re autistic. So one by one the shrinks turned you away
Saying “That’s not my problem. You’re a crack in the system.”

Six points means hanging hungry,
Hanging broke,
Wanting to be hanging by the neck.
Dead. Because what’s the point?

When you can’t survive alone or live on your own recognisance.
When you fall apart, shatter under the social.
Brilliantly broken, a limping genius.
When the DWP and the NHS turn their backs.

Six points means you’ve already lost.
You can knock on every door.
They’re guarded by increasing, jeering inquisitions.

Six points.

Six nails in your coffin.

If you could afford one.

Even that’s out of reach.

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