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My poetry: Joseph McAloon

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My poetry: Joseph McAloon

Joseph McAloon

Try to understand yourself and your limitations, because by doing this you can gain confidence.

Joseph McAloon sustained a brain injury in 1975 when the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car, sending Joseph through its rear window. 

Here, we ask Joseph some questions about how his injury affects him, and what led him to take up poetry: 

How has brain injury affected you?

At first I suffered more physically. I was totally paralysed down my left side. Although over time I did get some movement back. As far as my brain injury is concerned. I didn't notice at first, but friends and family told my that I became very impatient, I became very isolated, and lost a lot of my communication skills.

What inspired you to take up poetry?

I am not sure really. A friend wanted to write a birthday message for his mum. I wrote bits and pieces to help him out, and then thought of doing a poem. It came out well and then other people asked me to do one for them. I have written hundreds. Ranging from wedding ones, to Christmas Advent calendars.

How do your poems reflect your life after brain injury?

I can often get emotional at times. I can get down, and I can be happy. Most of my poems are are a reflection on how vulnerable I have become in relation to my brain injuries.

And how does writing help you?

Writing to me is often like crying without tears. I feel like everyone is my achievement.  They just come out of fresh air. I lost 90% of my vocabulary,  and this means that my work misses out on a lot of beautiful words. I get lots of positive feedback from social media, but I wish I could sort them out.

A mask Joseph created at a Living With Aphasia creative arts group

A mask Joseph created at the Living With Aphasia creative arts group he attends.

If you could give one bit of advice to others affected by brain injury, what would it be?

You are still a person that should be treated with respect. Try to understand yourself and your limitations, because by doing this you can gain confidence.

Who is this person looking at me in the mirror  Is he some person that my life used to know I have been told to prepare for the changes I can't find joseph, tell me where did he go   It seemed like a new world had just been created A place where there are things I can no longer do  My daily life had now become really jumbled  Making each day so much harder to get through   My old friends have now turned into spaces I feel I'm stuck in the corner, and sat on my own  If some them realised that I am still a person  That wants to be loved so I am never alone   I have a disability that makes me seem different  And it is sometimes harder for me to survive Please remember my heart can still be broken But your understanding can help keep me alive
It was like I was put in a box to be hidden away  Because some parts of me were broken inside  Nobody wanted to try and understand me So in the end all I could do was go and hide   Strangers laughed at me when I went outside  My only conversations took place all on my own In the cafe people wouldn't let me sit with them Leaving me to eat while I was sat on my own   The outside to me feels like my own confrontation  That seems like it has been targeting me from the start What is the point of having to keep fighting rejection And how long are we supposed to live with a broken heart    None of us ask for our bodies, and minds to turn out this way Given the chance there is so much we are wanting to give You may only see our broken pieces for a little while But we will have to challenge them for as long as we live.

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