Drink Six Glasses of Water a Day…

Stephen Kuusisto, Letters to Borges

“Let them, when they once get in

Sell the Nation for a Pin;

While they sit a picking Straws

Let them rave of making Laws;

While they never hold their Tongue,

Let them dabble in their Dung.”

Excerpt From: “Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel.” iBooks.

Some days while trying to imagine how to live and what to do—not an exercise but the real thing for you’re disabled, and agencies, services, medical programs that have kept you alive are being dismantled—you must raise your head from despair and picture your enemies dabbling in their dung.

The opportunities always involve wheelchairs, the infirm, the terrible old, or the deformed young. Let them rave of making Laws—or better yet, unmaking them. Trump and his pin selling and smearing minions are hard at work making certain that no child with a disability will get an education or a meal. No family with such a child will get medical care. Cutting medicaid by a third will kill people.

The operative phrase is “trying to imagine how to live and what to do…” Though I’ve been unemployed, have lived in section 8 housing, have survived with the help of food stamps, have received Social Security Disability—though all these things are true, I’m one of the very luckiest disabled for in my mid forties I landed a job and I still have one. I’m one of the ten to fifteen percent of the the disabled who’s employed. But I only survived to “become” a tax payer because of the programs mentioned above. And it never escapes me for a minute that Trump’s proposed budget will render even more cripples both unemployed and largely homeless.

I’m wildly angry. Horrified. Helpless. Sealed in my distemper and terror. I feel like a man I used to know who owned a cottage on the shore of a very stormy lake. One day he went down to the water and began beating it with his fists. “Godamn you lake!” he shouted. I want to shout in the street. Wave my little fists at the wind and trees.

People I know and love are going to die under this administration. On Facebook I see people saying that surely Congress won’t let this budget happen. But this is not the Congress of Tip O’Neil and Everett Dirksen. This Congress will in fact let this budget happen. All I can think of is that man who went down to the shore and beat the water.

My local congressman is a rebarbative and shallow dude named John Katko. He’s held no town hall with his constituents and shows no signs of doing so. I can’t even go downtown and shout at him.

How to live? What to do?

Keep writing. Keep speaking out. Keep your wits about you. Don’t let fascists steal your soul. Nurture goodness. Drink six glasses of water a day if you’re lucky enough to still have clean water.


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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