We Need a Great Flock of Stories

By Eli Clare
 
Each photo: one 
story, two; two stories, 
three; three stories, 
four, multiplied. 
 
I read the placards, 
pins, slogans: No more 
negotiating. Enough.
Sign 504 now. IAM.
Human rights.
Solidarity.
 
Let
their
words
rumble.
 
What lies between 
these photos, behind 
and beneath—whose voices,
languages, poems? 
 
I read the signs 
they carried: Access 
to work. Can’t 
back down. You might 
break your neck. Sign 
504. Remove the barriers or 
we’ll level them.
 
Let
their
words
sink in.
 
They planned rebellion, slept
rebellion, talked rebellion, argued
rebellion, strategized rebellion,
laughed and cried and
 
refused to back down. They
wrote: The hunger strike 
is in its 15th day! Keep 
your campaign promises.
MCW supports 504.
Suffered enough. Please 
no more. Bastante.
 
Let us
slur,
stutter,
drool
our rebellion.
 
Trail our fingers across 
this history, feel its cracks, 
bumps, holes, how much has been 
lost and whitewashed.
 
Not one but two, not
two but three—we need
a great flock of stories.
 
They left us:
Sign 504. Handicapped 
human rights. Disabled 
In Action. Human 
rights for all. 504 
victory.
 
Let
these photos
be signposts, neither
 
the beginning nor the end.