I don’t have the mind of a poet, so I have to take some guesses here. I suppose the ableist language is the word “crippled”—or perhaps the suggestion that people on the street might occasionally fake being a little bit disabled. The reference to “blackface” must be the black dialect used by the homeless narrator, which is problematic because:
This guy is whiter than me! I hope he’s learned his lesson. He says of the black dialect being interpreted as blackface that he “did not foresee this reading of the poem.” How the hell did he not foresee that in this hypersensitive age of cultural appropriation and racial siloing? Then again, neither of the poetry editors foresaw it either. Nor, apparently, did anyone else who saw this poem before it was published. And all of them solid lefties at The Nation! That’s surprising, isn’t it?
Luckily, Twitter saw it loud and clear. All hail Twitter, our new supreme arbiter of poetic insight and interpretive use of narrative language.
Fortunately, the phenomenon of people being forced to read groveling confessions at show trials staged by autocrats is no more.
Now they’re typed by writers who have run afoul of twitter mobs:
— Anders Carlson-Wee (@AndersWeePoet) July 24, 2018
Anders is obviously a high-minded progressive, but that didn’t help him any more than Bukharin’s fervent Marxism did. Before you set pen to paper, you are apparently now obliged to imagine a solemn tribunal composed of the most hypersensitive and humorless members of all minority groups, and ensure that not a word you write will offend any of them.
There are people who spend all day, every day trying to bring this sort of thing to Germany. Let’s stop them.