Language Barrier

A friend said,
You should write a dyslexic poem.

I already did.
No. You should write a poem with all your dyslexic mistakes in it.

That’s every poem I’ve ever written.
No. This will be creative. It will look very starking on page. Then you can submit it –

Only to have editors reject it and introduce me to spell check,
thinking the poems would have been great if only my ‘disability’ didn’t hinder me.

Besides, how am I going to write a poem with the word ‘lifejacket’ in it, where I spell ‘lifejacket’ as
L-I-F-E-A-J-C-K-E-T

Yes, it really happened.
I was drafting my risk assessment and I misspelt something that would save me.

I understand your good intentions but I don’t want to be the poster girl for dyslexia.
I don’t want my voice to be used for misspells and gibberish,
my poems used as artillery in a war of language that does not exist.
Just because you and I see something different doesn’t mean it’s not the same.

But you should know,
Microsoft Word has given up on me
because it no longer shows the red squiggly lines under
my brain’s illusion of the English Language.

I still pause in the middle of essays
and write the same word ten different ways to find the right spelling.
It’s the worse guessing game in the world
because nothing looks wrong and
I don’t have a ‘call a friend’ option.

It’s like being in primary school again,
and I am learning how to write the alphabet
and I’m second guessing
how to draw the perfect circle for o,
how to conquer the curves of s
how to write the straight line
that is used to refer to myself.

Now, alphabet soup is my least favorite food.
If it were an ocean,
some of us would be strong swimmers
while others need a lifejacket to stay afloat
even if it’s misassembled.

I understand your good intentions.
But asking me to write a dyslexic poem
with all my dyslexic mistakes
will not at all be considered revolutionary
especially when nobody else can read it.

Creative Commons License
Language Barrier by Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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