Of Spittle and Rainbows

planet of the blind

You can’t go home again says the rainbow which is how it breaks your heart. No way back to Alpha Centauri or the mustard blossom planet your spirit sailed from. No way back. And that ratty little clock in the corner sneering all the time. And your damned neighbors laughing drunkenly at their open windows. And the racist sheriff; the dog whistler; the pick-pocket high school principal; the priests with cold semen; the high tech robber who preys on the old; that man who kicks crutches—peel away their bandages and they’re lonely, nauseous, frightened by their own hands. As the bard said: don’t have any kids yourself.


It’s a gloomy morning and I don’t want to shave. I made a mistake, woke early, read the news.


Once, in China, among eight sighted people, I alone threw the coin that hit the sacred bell. You know, the blind advantage.


It’s a gloomy morning. My father once taught me Morse code. Rain at the window just sent a message: “small boats should lie down on the sand.”


Have me you winter birds.


“One of the best attested miracles in all profane history, is that which Tacitus reports of Vespasian, who cured a blind man in Alexandria, by means of his spittle, and a lame man by the mere touch of his foot; in obedience to a vision of the god Serapis, who had enjoined them to have recourse to the Emperor, for these miraculous cures.”

Excerpt From

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

David Hume



I love the word spittle. I adore David Hume. Of the god Serapis I know almost nothing. He was eaten by the rainbow.

Stephen Kuusisto and HarleyABOUT: 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.

Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey is now available for pre-order:
Barnes and Noble

Have Dog, Will Travel by Stephen Kuusisto

(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 

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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