Jillian Weise


Listen to the audio version.

David Musgrave has a phantom limb.
It is the bees and a jetty.

Craig Dworkin has a phantom limb
but he calls it a phantom shelf.
Puts everything on it.

There used to be a zine called Phantom Limb.
Is it still around? Anybody feeling it?

Nathaniel Mackey has a phantom limb.
It's the blues and objective reality.

Ben Lerner has a phantom limb.
It's the unavailability of the traditional lyric.

Lyn Hejinian has a phantom limb.
It's Deleuze and Guittari's bodies.

Jay Rosenblatt's phantom limb
is 28 mins b&w at the MoMA.

Johannes Göransson borrowed Aase Berg's
phantom limb and now it's contaminated.

Can you guess what Albert Goldbarth's
phantom limb is like?

Does anyone actually have a phantom limb?
The rest of you: draw your blood elsewhere.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

Two a.m. here. The neighbors sleep.
How are you? How's Heber? Any wars?
I'm reading the Princeton Encyclopedia
of Poetry
. Looking for disability poetics.
I know we're here somewhere.
I talk to several of us on the phone.
I find deep image and dolce stil nuovo
and ecopoetics. Don't worry. I'll find us.
The books anesthetized me long ago.
Broke my heart to read Leviticus:
"No one who has any defect may come."
Oh, the poems they write about us.
Way worse than Song of Deborah.
At least she called you "most blessed
of tent-dwelling women." So why
am I bothering you about it? I looked
for a disabled woman in the Torah.
None have names. Try addressing
someone without a name.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

For years I thought at least
the poet took the time
to call me back. Must be

a good, yes, good man.
Calls his constituents.
"Hi Frank Bidart," I said.

I had to clear my throat.
"In one of your poems,
the speaker is an amputee

who has to pay for sex.
As an amputee myself,
I was wondering if you –"

He interrupted me to
berate me and the monologue
goes on and on

and I still hear it today.
The problem with his poem
is the problem with poetry.

I want your pain.
I'm taking it.


*All of the above poems are from Jillian Weise's forthcoming book Cyborg Detective. "Conveyor to Jael" was published under a slightly different title in Tikkun. "Regulatory Capture" was first published in New Republic.


Jillian Weise is a poet, performance artist, and disability rights activist. Her previous poetry collection The Book of Goodbyes, won the 2013 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award from BOA editions and 2013 James Luaghlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her first poetry book, The Amputee's Guide to Sex was reissued in 2017. Weise is also the author of the novel The Colony. She has written about being a cyborg in Granta and The New York Times. Visit her website at http://jillianweise.com/.