My body is trapped in the claws

Of a machine that keeps me alive

It utters sounds that are not my own

Humour is my weapon

The mask to ease pain

The shame

The blame

The ladies love my poetic spirit

But not my body

They are afraid to touch

In case I shatter like glass

Then I was shown

That sex is not a test

Or something you can understand from books

It is passion

It is freedom

It brings peace

Now I can breathe

I can let go

Pass on with dignity.

This piece was read as part of Origins and Superpowers,  a public readings event held by Scope and Melbourne Library Service in December 2015. A group of writers with disabilities who had worked with professional writers in the Telescope Workshops read selections from their work across the genres of fiction, memoir, poetry and non fiction.

Telescope is one of the arts programs run by Community Inclusion staff at Scope and it includes workshops, a writing prize, awards and public readings.

Watch a reading of Joel’s piece here: