On Being Furniture

Cover of Planet of the Blind....man and dog....

Once at a poetry reading where I was seated in the front row a woman jumped over my guide dog who was lying obediently at my feet. She didn’t ask if this was OK. When I objected she said the man next to me had signaled to her this was fine. Dissed twice. You should never jump over a guide dog. It’s disrespectful to the dog and her handler. Ableism has many facets but one of them is the assumption the disabled don’t need to be communicated with; that we’re furniture of a kind.


Not long ago at a famous arts colony I heard a notable writer say that henceforth the famous arts colony would no longer be blind and poor when it comes to appreciating outlier forms of art. He said it twice during a formal speech.

And there I was with my guide dog. I’ve spent the last thirty years writing six books which argue that blindness is a rich way of knowing.

I was insulted and remain so. Yet this is business as usual.
I share with my black and LGBTQT brothers and sisters and androgynes and all my foreign friends a capacity to make narrow people nervous.


Yes, I’m a scary armoire, a big totemic Victorian freestanding closet, something from the 1963 film “The Haunting” and just now starting to be ok with it.

Author: skuusisto

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

One thought on “On Being Furniture”

  1. When I rode the local bus, there was a woman who would kick the guide dog of a man as she passed by the front seats. The bus driver would throw her off the bus when it happened. Eventually, she took another bus. We riders were always astonished at the casual cruelty she displayed.


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