Andrew Hubbard has had poetry published by Disability Arts Cymru and Disability Wales Magazine. He trained as a Speech and Language Therapist and now works part time as a tutor in his Local University, Swansea, teaching Creative Writing.
I write about the double identity of being blind and Gay. I believe the most disabling thing in any life is trying to fit in, a lack of self assertiveness.
Anyone hiding a true identity/self cannot grow as a person, living a life behind a mask of false acceptability
I found as a younger man people would assume I was straight, which made it worse trying to find a companion. Social services to this day still say ‘where is your wife?’
I find the tightrope of not falling, and not upsetting others, all well intentioned, a disabling factor far more a barrier than an impairment or being totally blind.
Or as we once said in RNIB rehab centres ‘are you Total or Partial’
I have found peace now in my identity and am proud in all senses of difference.
It’s this label
you can see it
written on my eyes
It’s the stigma
I can hear it
screaming through your smile.
We are disabled
and it’s hated
in our perfect lives
So grateful for the special school
and sheltered workshop too
for benefits and charity
thank you and you, and you.
Invisible blind man
Invisible blind man passing through
No one sees him, or sees who
hopes behind one way lens
to hear, good day. OK?
turned out nice; or, what a day!
Invisible blind man may be deaf
may be daft, some say all wise
hear the hush fall on his foot fall
laughter dies as eyes are bowed
No joy allowed , they stand aside.
invisible blind man aches to talk
longs for idle chit chat, close tone
crave dialogue with passers by
not pitiful averted eye
need to tell them, need to touch them.
invisible blind man swings a cane
marks his arc, his safety zone
tap left, tap right, he counts his steps and moves through time which marks his course
stand still, hush still. Pray we’re all invisible.
Daring in that childhood cellar
tempting tantalising games.
a pack of strip Jack naked lads
cream soda bottle spins again.
A constant agony, innocent, guilty.
seed of denial, averting his eye
Philip and Paul, ‘Health and Efficiency’ boys who knew wanking wasn’t a crime.
On Sunday cycling out to Southport
Summer dusts the East Lancs road.
a taste of Old Spice, salt lip licking
young man cruising , licks his own
Conscience lured, a maze of senses,
Brylcream squadies, cuff-linked studs.
hanging out with a one arm bandit
Friday evening, Formby woods
Your teenage face most terrible,
mists mirrors round the locker room.
boys are changing more than trousers,
deep adolescent swimming pool.
A miniature railway, junior ticket
from Peter Pan to Pleasure Land.
Fairground guy with hips like Elvis
Hell’s angel jacket, tattoos on his hands.
I will survive
From Queer Scripts Cymru
Can’t buy in; Don’t want to; Not for me further to the edge, further- exclusion, fear, no eye contact a queer crip? how can he you know be like that.
Hi I’m Andy
smile to where his voice seems centred
‘he’s fucked off love, he’s cottaging
a waste of cock, a waste of piss’
my timid laugh
I feel like shit.
I think you’re really brave-
I’d like to say’
He moves in close, his hands on mine
‘My grandma was, like, well you know’
What gay, your Gran was gay?
I bite my tongue, too late again
he walks away
straining at the urinals
loud speakers woof and fizz
Madonna wired in cubicles
drowns coughing sounds, when
Guys can’t piss.
Music brutal, no one dancing
music wicked no one talks
pushing pulsing, sweating darkness
a double Bells can ease the pain
doped and eed up, swell the chorus
Gloria Gaynor again, again.
Darkness thickens, music stiffens
testosterone and baby oil
Private Jo, a Squaddie stripper
cropped and booted, pierced and chained
drops his towel, swings his wanger
vacuum pumped and cock-ring strained.
Hey mate, you’ve got it made my friend
you’ve got it made in here
get in there, grope his balls and arse
a great excuse, he can’t complain
fuckin sound mate
think I¹ll borrow that white cane.
From Queer Scripts Cymru
Lost in the landscape, marking his time
by a white cane’s regular beat,
timing each pace, moving through space
mapping the road with his feet.
Seventeen lamp-posts down Walter road,
from Barclays bank to the dole,
seventeen lamp-posts , and thirty-six trees and how many times in a hole.
what is he doing here, where is he going?
this figure arrived in our life
bless him, he’s blind, he’s out on his own so where the hell is his wife?
The employment advisor opens his file
in silence he reads to himself
he breathes in, he sighs, he loosens his tie and puts the file back on the shelf.
The officer shuffles his papers in sheaves he deals a new benefit claim tell me how often you visit the toilet?
the poor man is flushing in shame.
In your own words, describe how your illness:
he repeats and repeats this refrain.
‘Don’t feel embarrassed, I’ve heard it before but the sicker, the greater you’ll gain.’
Two hours pass by, but feel like two days and forty-five pages of pain.
It’s time you got yourself married young man I don¹t want to fill this in again.
Now everyone here’s confidentially bound and I’m a fully trained clerk, I’ll sign your signature for you, ok?
it’s easy, you just make your mark.
So now he’s officially crippled on file
he stops at the George for a beer
pouring cool benefit down his dry throat ‘Sorry sir, NO SMOKING in here.’