I have far too much been acquainted with linoleum
and vinyl almost feels like home
is a sanctuary with my art, my craft—my daughter
tells me she loves me, the way my
vials, capsules, tablets fill me up, through
and through and through and through
these needles, silver, splintering
ceaseless aches—this flickering fluorescent fatigue will not leave me
alone, this unsolicited sedation shackles me, reduces me to rest
(and no, you may not reduce me).
My body will always be occupied by the
ghosts of my duty
calls, and I will answer, and so would you
understand that I will grasp onto anything to stop the
flares, my distress signal may be
visible but trust me when I say my pain is not
going to stop me from giving my all
shines through on the days this roulette shows me mercy
is what I deserve
(and no, that is not pity).
I do not expect you to understand how to live with
the birds, have all this freedom to leave but they stay
with me, though I understand if you cannot, because like you
I am a daughter Mother artist storyteller hard-workerentrepreneurintrospectiveover-thinking
will not help you listen,
I am just as much a person
to be there, is all I really want journeying through
life, may be miserable but I have these flowers, trees, rainbows
to hold onto, to be sure of, to be happy about
(and so, do not be sorry for me).
When Ivy shared with me her thoughts regarding workplace discrimination and the vulnerabilities that came with living with fibromyalgia and other chronic health conditions, we veered into a long discussion on ableism. From the conversation, the one thing she said that struck a deep chord within me was that people often forget the quality work she produces when she is feeling her best, and only focus on the times when she might have not been able to perform as well due to her condition. This sentiment, accompanied by the trajectory our conversation took, inspired the run-on lines in the piece that quickly transition from one thought to another, each line spilling over to the next. A reflection of Ivy’s frustrations, tenacity and dedication towards the people and things she loves, this piece hopes to leave you breathless, provoked, and above all, empowered. (And do not forget, this is not a cry for help).