If You Could Only
If you could only know me for who I am
instead of for who I am not,
there would be so much more to see
for there is so much more that I’ve got.
So long as you see me as mentally retarded,
which supposedly means something I guess,
there is nothing you or I could ever do
to make me a human success.
Someday you’ll know that tests aren’t built
to let me stand next to you.
By the way you test me, all they can do
is make me look bad through and through.
And someday soon I’ll get my chance
when some of you finally adapt.
You’ll be delighted to know that though I’m MR,
I’m not at all handicapped.
Marc Gold, 1975
If Gold were writing today, I am sure he would use currently accepted person-first terminology (individuals with intellectual disabilities) although within the structure of the poem that might be difficult. He has been a fierce and tireless advocate for these wonderful individuals and looks forward to a day when the Word is Banned.