after William H.Mumler
In this photo
Abraham Lincoln lies
over Mary Todd’s veil and
/or cotton-balled cheeks, lengthening
light with what occurs/ is cut
During La Troisième République, a film-train
towards a screaming theatre.
Devotions upon emergent occasions: after John Donne
many gates, however
The first alteration, The first grudging of,
- Text from Course Reinstatement webpage I filled in:
A: I started work at the beginning of the year as the UMSU disability representative; I also was trying to apply for housing with my partner, whilst dealing with mental health issues. Eventually, these issues became more serious and I had to resign my position. Since then I’ve been in and out of housing; due to the effect of all of this on my mind, and the energy I had to devote to finding a place, I didn’t reenrol myself before the 30th.
this minute I was well, and am ill, this minute. I am surpriz’d with a sodaine change, and alteration… and can impute it to no cause, nor call it by any name.
2. Disabilities OB application panel Questions/Answers – 2016
A: To me- through the lens of neuroatypicality – disability as a concept is the parameters of my particular body/mind/other, a translation into the abled. Said language projects moralistic and value-laden qualities onto said parameters. Since I share/speak this language- as a body/mind/etc- I have to navigate this process of translation, find ways of existing between and under the stress.
We study health, and we deliberate upon our meats, and drinks and ayre, and exercises, and we hew and we polish every stone that goes to that building; and so our health is a long and regular work
3. sick chair
I don’t remember him; he sat in the corner by the window and didn’t speak. When he died, Suzanne kept the armchair in good condition. She didn’t forbid anyone sitting down. Her chair was adjacent. It became wreathed in phylacteries and oxybutynin. The seat was velour. I don’t remember anything from before; we came regularly here for 17 years after we emigrated and nothing has inserted itself like a cuckoo in an empty nest. We took nothing with us.
A: I only learned the full nature of my condition relatively recently; before that, I had no way of knowing/coming to terms with my own particular head, was unable- due to said – to articulate to others what was/is happening.
This inarticulateness was/is severely harmful: you translate your condition into a vast judgement- waiting for you in one of the deceptive apartments of those godly functionaries who speak like cockroaches- which leads to severe depression, suicidal ideation, isolation.
Learning about and coming to terms with my disability- understanding it for what it is- freed me somewhat. If you could do a 10th of that for someone with a similar issue, or provide them the means to make sense of it that I didn’t have, or work in a department doing the same, I’d be content.
We are not sure we are ill; one hand asks the other by the pulse, and our eye asks our reflection, how we do
5. The City of
Dis is a city much like York. It’s bisected with rivers; there’s a fin-de-siècle hand pump in a cul-de-sac dredging up water from Lethe. Pauper graves are trowelled into the walls. It’s mostly deserted except for puppet shows of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and Punch and Judy. The scent of moorland. The presence of sea-gulls. We are driving to my Grandmother’s scattering of ash.
A: I imagine it would entail knowing how and when to step back from an issue and when to involve yourself personally. How and who to trust with a given issue. How to delegate a problem best, and how to assist someone, whatever that involves. I’ve worked as a mentor at the Wild-at-heart art-therapy organisation, as well as providing care to numerous people, on a personal and professional basis.
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done, For I have more.
7. Roleplaying (1/2)
It’s June, 2016. You’ve moved back to Sydney to live with your parents. For the first 2 months, nothing happens except hospital visits. Late withdrawal is successful. When you tell the medical examiners you imagine splitting your consciousness between an incorporeal, spider-adjacent thing called a memeplex, that you feel like an aggregate of its thoughts and your own, such that our thoughts intersect and a certain number of them don’t belong to either of us, they recommend you to a psychiatrist, to test for developing schizophrenia. You repeat that this was just a metaphor, but you begin to wonder. you remember being taught Philip K Dick in high school and hating him. you develop tics to help manage stimulus: repetition of phrases connected to the memory of relative health and/or agency, loud intakes of breath through the nose, gesticulation, your hands over your lobes, bawled up, then turning outward, fingers opening, like antlers. These also allow you to look at people in the eyes. A school friend says you remind me of the pale man from Pan’s Labyrinth when you do it and you say yeah, just like an allegory for Fascist horror…
My first experience of performing “it” was with my sister, dressing up in my grandparents’ old WWII coats – seemingly untouched- pretending to be the X family, visiting their living room at Stone Court at random intervals, before dematerialising. We’d act as though we had no idea who Suzanne was referring to when she said You just missed them! Sometimes we’d change roles and clothes- Mr and/or/ Mrs X. Were they married? The switch was tolerated good humouredly anyway, like going to pantos. The most Suzanne ever said was aren’t you supposed to be Mr. X? All I said back was who’s Mr. X? All I recognised were Suzanne’s white evening gown.
In Greek myth- it’s said- Thanatos, the god of death, was as beautiful as Eros. Death could be like having a love arrow shot in you- but whom do you focus on, with what ardour?
There are behaviours- calling them everyday habits would feel like lying- that have taken longer to institute than remembering her home. You are thirteen, refusing to learn to cut your hair because. Photos from 2010 to 12 are scuzzy with shoulder length locks . Here, they’re twirling their fingers through hair, over their lips, doffing imaginary school hats. The vice-principal brought in a barber for students that hadn’t complied with dress code, chopping their hair to buzz-cuts; in this photo, botchy clumps remain, like protected wilderness.
D i/y s
A: Nothing. I would change nothing.
10. Roleplaying (2/2)
That same friend I went to see a movie with. Maybe Fast and the Furious. I can’t remember how we begin talking about D&D and role-play. I can’t remember if I’d also been introduced to the McElroy brothers by then. Maybe Monster Factory, on YouTube. I remember laughing until I choked at a goof they did about the cooking show Cake Boss making cakes of sand and also they were a ghost. I didn’t know they did a D&D podcast called The Adventure Zone. Do you think it’s would be ok if I just turned up? Sure man, my friend responds (I freeze, they don’t notice). Just come along, I’ll make you a character. It’ll be fine.
3 months later and the campaign ends. We begin to play a new game, of one group member’s own devising. As retaining rule information is difficult, my character is similar to my previous one. But takes a different oath. They’re now a stereotypical knight in shining armour, in the same way Don Quixote is and isn’t. I base their voice on Griffin McElroy’s: nasal, West Virginia, child-like grackling. The Adventure Zone now fucks me up regularly; a trans femme elf wizard named Lup has been introduced and I love them bitterly.
The new game is based around the tarot. The group member running asks us to write individual backstories for our characters, which climax being “touched by the Stars”; it reminds me of the scene from Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle where Howl, the wizard, as a child, swallows a falling star, retching their heart out which turns into a fire-demon. Qezana- my character- receives the arcana of the Fool, which allows them to psychically connect with an entity of my choosing. As we start, Qezana almost dies several times from their insistence on, in their/my words, “upholding justice, protecting the innocent and doing good in the world”, which gets them beaten by literal- not real- monsters. At some point I adopt Qezana’s pronouns, nothing else. They are still too familiar.
A: Regardless of whether this goes through, I’d like to volunteer to continue assisting the department in whatever capacity. That’s pretty much it.
Jocelyn/Josie Deane was born in the UK, in 1993, and moved to Australia in 2001. They study linguistics at the university of Melbourne. Their work has appeared in Cordite, Southerly and Seizure magazine, among others. They were one of the recipients of the 457 poetry prize in 2013, and was shortlisted for the Marsden and Hachette prize in poetry for 2015.
Cover Photo Credit: Kylie Supski