Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Federation Found Poem

Found poem with thanks to Samuel Barwick for writing this and Cara Liebowitz for sharing it with Facebook and me.

That Klingon you called a macrohead?
He lost his parents
when he was seven
in a sneak attack by the Romulans.

 The android
whose awkwardness
you find amusing? He practices
every day to interact more
like you do.

 The Vulcan you push to
 be more human? He spent his childhood
 tormented for being
too human.

The changeling you mock
for being
 "stuck up"?
 He's forced to live apart
from his people because of
the choices he made.

Like this, and repost,
if you're against bullying in the Federation."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Inspired By Me

My friend and fellow activist Sally Campbell sent me this e-mail in response to a blog I wrote about the phenomenon of attempting to cure people with disabilities, especially children who have no legal rights to object to these sorts of procedures.  I was moved to turn this e-mail into a found poem, because so often I feel like my words have no impact on anyone.  Thank you, Sally, for reminding me- with your own beautiful words- that although that may seem like the case, it isn't. 

this is a magnificent manifesto
in favor of living fully
with a disability.

I see a parallel,
though it is in many ways 
completely different with the hospice movement.

Once it is clear
that someone is moving
inevitably towards death,
it is better to comfort and celebrate them,
to allow them to be as fully alive as possible
during whatever time they have left.

Spending thousands of dollars
and suffering many painful,
procedures in the attempt
to cure is such a waste.

And like a disability,
death is also not something
to be wished away,
but something to be accepted
as part of a reality
that also includes so much else
that is beautiful and meaningful.

If a cure is possible
and it will make enhance a person's life,
of course, one should go for it.

There comes a time, however,
as you say, Martina, when it is best
to let the hopeless hope of a cure go
and instead move forward
in another direction
which is also life-affirming.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wise Words

For  Holly Lisle who spoke these words and Erin Lewy who shared them on Facebook and, thereby, with me 

Writers know
that the act of writing
 is the act of inciting
conflict in a form we cannot deny
and cannot erase, and we shoulder
the burden of this conflict
because until SOMEONE gives voice to
our thoughts, all those who share them
believe themselves 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pieces of Advice

The December 27th found poem source material is from the fabulous Cara Liebowitz's Facebook status who copied it from the equally awesome Jessica M. Moye

Dear non disabled friends/crushes/suitor

 Women with disabilities are
just like many others.

We have xray vision
for lies
and bullshit,

 we like being
 pampered, listened to and cared for,
not just when something is wrong

We will gladly let you kno
w when we are hurt
or disagree with somethingg.

 We will apologize
 when we're wrong
and have no qualms
with make up sex!

Yes I said sex,
don't like it?

 Go sit in a corner

The only thing that sets apart
us is we have four wheels
or sometimes two crutches
to hit you with if you do the unthinkable!

 Aside from that,
 we'll gladly give
(and receive)
 all the respect and love that's deserved.


An honest woman with a disability!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Days of Craze

In a month of madness,
when the world didn’t end
although some were sure the Mayan calendar
foretold such.

but certain citizens are engaging
in mass shootings at elementary schools,
nowhere semi-rural downtowns too
near where I grew up for comfort,
and firefighters outside of Rochester.

Others decided it was appropriate
to picket the funerals of murdered
six and seven- year-olds

and yet more
decided it was acceptable
to burn a church because
they didn’t approve of the crowd
of hurricane relief volunteers
that house of God
chose to shelter.

My own pacifism
was tested to tearing
as I pondered sending feline feces
to Topeka Kansas as part of
an internet campaign to show
the Westboro Baptists exactly
what many think of them.

Housemate halts proposal,
informs me of potential felonious
results.  Activist in me
barely blinks at mideameanors  anymore.
but balks at major crimes.
However, the postal service
makes no such claims.

But pause in plan
makes me reconsider
becoming the evil I deplore.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Finding Christ(mas)

For my entire
life I’ve been
an imperfect daughter
of a perfect person.

Hosting a Christmas
was somewhere north
of horrifying.

I knew I couldn’t
equal her big tree,
her age-old decorations,
her self.

She bought my favorite
toy solider ornament with her,
plus I was given two new ones as gifts.
My beloved solider a PWD, just like me.
In fact, when he became one
It was my child temper tantrum
that kept him out of the garbage.

I laugh thinking
now I call similar behaviors
towards homo sapiens solidarity.

But my first (of many) Christmases
was successful, true to both myself
and traditions.

This imperfect person
is most pleased.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

Found poem.   Reported in All Things Considered on December 22, 2009.
What was billed
as the first intercontinental musical interaction
between humans
and robots took place the weekend of Dec. 17.

It involved humans in Japan
using an application called ZoozBeat on their iPhones
and a robot named Shimon in Atlanta.

According to its makers,
 unlike other robots that can play music,
Shimon is perceptual.

The robot can listen
to what is played, analyze it
 and then improvise.

And it has been taught to improvise like some jazz masters.

Gil Weinberg of Georgia Tech's music technology
 program recently spoke to NPR's Robert Siegel from Japan,
 where he witnessed the historic interaction.

 Weinberg says the result is music meant to inspire people — not an effort
 to turn our music-making over to robots.

"The whole idea is to use computer algorithms
 to create music in ways that humans will
 never create," Weinberg says. "Our motto is, 'Listen like a human,
 but improvise like a machine.' "

Weinberg programmed Shimon
 to play like Thelonious Monk.
 He says that, though he and his team
were trying to teach the robot to play like a machine,
 they first had to teach it how a human plays.

 To do that, they used statistics
 and analysis of Monk's improvisation.
Once they had a statistical model
of the pianist, they could program the robot
 to improvise in that model.

Weinberg says the robot
 won't play everything exactly like the bebop pianist —
or any other jazz master —
would, though he says,
"It probably will keep the nature
 and the character of [the musician's] style."
"It's difficult to predict exactly
 what they would do in every single moment in time,"
 he says.

 "But our algorithm pretty much
 looks at the past several notes that it plays
 and, based on that, it sees what is the probability
 of the next note to be, based on all of this analysis
 of a large corpus of transcribed improvisation."

Some musicians are harder to program than others.

Weinberg says Ornette Coleman
would require a much larger body
 of transcribed work than Monk did.

"In a sense, it kind of reduces music
 to numbers and statistics," Weinberg says.
 Given enough tweaking to the algorithms
 that the program uses, he says
 he thinks they'll be able to create
 something "very similar to the jazz master."

But Weinberg says
 he doesn't think the robot
should try to play just like a human.

"In all the emotional
 and expressive energy,
 I don't think a robot can capture [it],"
Weinberg says.

 Maybe someday a computer program could,
 but at least right now, Weinberg says,
"I don't think we have the math for that.

We have some math to get the notes
and the rhythm and the scales.

Whether this can capture
the genius of Thelonious Monk,
I hope not.
But maybe."