As part of our celebration of volunteers at the forum on Friday 7th July, some of our volunteers were honoured as nomminees & winners of North Tyneside Councils Chairmans Commendation award. Lead development worker Liz Turnbull had this to say about Ali Finlayson, who has been involved with the forum for many years:
"Ali is a great friend of the forum ans is our 'go to' scottish person for bringing in the haggis at our St Patricks events, he is also a brilliant poet- writing poetry for our Tales of Lives WW1 project. Which is why i nominated him for a Chairmans Commendation Award and we are delighted to present him with his NTDF 'Poet Loriet' Award."
Ali dedicated his award to Ann Will who sadly passed away recently & the Scribblers creative writing group who meet weekly at the forum- which Ali is part of.
Ali has Parkinsons Disease & was kind enough to share with us (read beautifully by Liz) a poem he wrote about the condition.
It is a beautiful, moving, funny and brutally real depiction of this condition and Ali has given us permission to share it here on our website.
Outsided-ness by Ali Finlayson
I recently took a subscription
To Outsideded-ness mag it was free
Two for one was the offer
It was really no bother
So I've signed you up too -just like me.
Your subscription means you are now disabled
You're still you, but as you will see
Your daily exclusion
Is no dream or delusion
It is real - you can take it from me.
Your gift it is full of 'outsided-ness'
Of your body when you're no longer boss
And when the tablets wear off
Or the ignorant scoff
Your day goes from 'bad' to 'pure dross'.
What'll it be like? Your outsided-ness?
The details - well we're off for choice...
Your symptoms are many
They're all ten a penny...
No difference between girls and boys.
Do you fancy a dink doon the toon?
That's a canny idea, my friend
But so many bars still
Have steps at the sill
For your pub-crawl that can mean the end!
Once you're in you might need the pub toilet,
But the bog is located upstairs
All you want is a leak
But your prospects are bleak
When you're bursting, and in a wheelchair.
Now lets talk bowels, and joys of incontinence
And that unsightly stain in your jeans
And what about sex?
If your muscles are wrecks,
I'm sure you can guess what that means.
Maybe you're slurring and mumbling
As your speech becomes more of an issue
Oh my God, there's the drool
Being slack-jawed's just not cool
You'd give your right arm for a tissue.
Maybe you've given that right arm
In the cause of the just and the free
You should simply give thanks
Yo weren't under a tank
And your legs are not off at the knee
Or it could be you look stiff and slow
Folk see that - and think that they know
But what they see is one quarter
That's merely a starter
Being disabled is like an ice-floe
For people just see the tip of your world
You're on pills (which are often just gambles)
They think if You're shaky
Its oh so heart-breaky
But the rest of your day can be shambles
Its a fact - its well known - the disabled
Are all deaf and not quite the full shilling
For the tea-making task
About sugar why ask
Someone else, when you're perfectly willing?
The truth is its more than outsided-ness
It really is damned inexcusable
For you're not just inside
It's worse than being outside
Yo're treated as 'effing invisible!
But I've said enough, and though this will be tough,
Please now open your own first edition
Of "Outsided-ness", share
My life if you dare
It's yours now,...enjoy your subscription...
Pictured below is Ali collection his award, and with Lead Community Development worker Liz Turnbull