Last night my sister called because a helicopter crashed two blocks from my Manhattan hotel. In the way of all sub-Cartesian people, I professed my ignorance. I’d been reading with my noise canceling headphones. I was deep in the 18th century. Outside with my guide dog I found myself surrounded by emergency vehicles. And this is the thing: there was a tremendous sense of calm. Rain was coming down quite heavily. Sky scrapers were wrapped in mist. Somehow people understood this wasn’t terrorism. I don’t know how to describe the scene but there was a strange proficiency in evidence.
Back in my room I wondered about the evident calm. Could America perhaps recover from various traumas? Is it possible that after Trump the nation will become more seasoned and tolerant? Can one take a street scene for augury?
This is the primary manner of my naïveté. Hopeful extrapolation. I’m not primarily a “data guy” and I’ll hazard most poets are like me in this regard.
In the hotel’s enormous lobby two little boys had a game of tag.
ABOUT: Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel; Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”); and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Ohio State University. He currently teaches at Syracuse University where he holds a University Professorship in Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad. His website is StephenKuusisto.com.
(Photo picturing the cover of Stephen Kuusisto’s new memoir “Have Dog, Will Travel” along with his former guide dogs Nira (top) and Corky, bottom.) Bottom photo by Marion Ettlinger