by seeley quest
1 sometimes I want to rip
Sometimes I want to rip out my bands of body pain to hurl—
I fight harsh wind and words all day, muscles set and edge on numb, and even if I’ve slept enough, I resist feeling how my back will again resist relaxing all today.
Yeah, I know I have to try Feldenkrais or yoga or visualization techniques or a salt bath, but again broke, my attention so focused on survival and hustling each day, I simply stumble into and out of my sleeping pad.
2 halfway there
Halfway there, I’m still trying to enact able-ness and tough attitude—fearful of lasting dependence on commercial routes of transportation, even though my ankles, knees, wrists, elbows and back feel the joys and growing weariness of biking me everywhere when I do.
Terrified years of repetitive work, habits have strained arms again, tendons telegraphing weakness, nerves numb: of losing the fight to pass as able-enough.
To present as a player of physicality and stamina, a queer who walks the talk.
As a teenager in a neck-to-pelvis spinal brace, my back muscles were given their orders by others; I didn’t have to negotiate how to carry myself in the world.
I was disabled, it was evident to all—I could relax inside bars and plastic against the shell of a defining framework, and I’ve known nothing else so awfully delicious.
3 part of that revolution
I’ve known other low-budget thrill seekers to instigate summertime “Cruising” nights in a big city park to fill a gap, after a wheelchair femme dropped plans to come to a queer convergence because no one had planned for its sex party to be accessible, and then the party was cancelled due to lacking an accessible space.
A chair user like her could take a playground’s pavement to be ravishing, but that terrain constrains choices, is more exposed to police or queerbashers than the park’s wilds.
I could clamber up hills, seek trysts in the grasses; it’s possible at the moment. But I’ve lived with a wheelchair dyke, who couldn’t dance that way and be part of that ableist revolution.
4 why not get ramped warehouses for playfests?
Lots of us want more public queering, more freedom. We want to be sexual for free, not contained to clubs or our homes, and claim the Great Outdoors for our playing fields. This doesn’t always exclude crips: since the 1970s bloom of disability rights activism, some physically disabled and cognitively disabled people have had moments of enjoying some sexuality publicly along with abled lovers, usually where body positivity and free love are most accepted.
Sometimes radically defying repression defaults to claiming rights to trick in the bushes, if it’s too risky in the street, too costly in the socially designated places. Yet, when acting for uncensored consensual sexual expression, to celebrate all that we can share with each other, why not do the work in spaces like warehouses for giant playfests to be accessible?
5 i’m a randy bugger, and not all the time
I’m a randy bugger, and not all the time, but do lust for play as hard and fast as it can come, to pitch myself in as far as my body will go.
I may want to work the heck out of a hottie and have to weigh whether I’ll risk pushing my back to its edge of wrecked, or hands closer to barely usable the next day.
It can seem worth it, the urge to burn in an abled fever dream. Yet every time I go to dance in a stairs-only club or house where there’s scented soap, I note who’s not there. Who won’t even pretend they can extend themselves like me.
6 who’s pretending?
Sometimes I fear apparent crips think I am: seeking validation for disabled status while still accessing lots of privilege. We all learn to say to each other, “your pain ain’t like my pain.”
Yet any age, we can have chronic body injuries, illness, and impairing pain inside: this culture has generations of walking, halting, and bed-ridden wounded.
Who’s pretending? I’ve pushed on despite my pain thresholds, driven to stay physically dynamic by others conquering the world on those terms. Masses worship youth and vigor, want as much distance from slowness and infirmity as possible.
In our cruising quests, in the states where we sweat, and long to know ourselves as desirable human doings instead of human beings,
I demand room for disability without fear from abled kin.
For crip power to be recognized, for it to really be ok to not strive to fuck in the park, not bluff with bravado about my limits—and still have sex appeal.
seeley quest is a trans disabled performer, facilitator, and environmentalist. Working primarily in literary and body-based composition, and curation, hir playscript “Crooked” is in At the Intersection of Disability and Drama, and work is in Buddies in Bad Times’ Rhubarb Festival 2021. Not on social media, sie is at https://questletters.substack.com.