Ode to My Ears

Up river and down—life inside my ears
Ghost-boats ferrying horses
Steam engines spit
Leaves at my feet
Listening without a single body

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Do you still have them?
The faux diamonds you threw at your father?

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In the morning
What matters
Is having the right feeling
So the clouds will trust you

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Ears hold the world’s depth
Eyes complain about the candy dish

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I miss Anselm Hollo who gave me a book when I was 20
Poems by Paavo Haavikko

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Snowing

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Today I’m like the unborn
Listening and listening

Diabelli

I’m listening to Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations on a windy November day when the last leaves are falling from the trees.

Did the ghost trains come through already?

All of a sudden he checks himself as if he’d said too much.

I wanted to buy flowers yesterday but didn’t.

When sighted people talk about blind certainty I wonder what they’re talking about.

About my other side, it has a lonesome house.

Everywhere, directions, possibilities, but still rain at the windows.

Where else would I walk?

I don’t like your smile sir.

Up river where they eat song birds.

I’ll lend my heart to you but only to make you hear.

Autumn, more ancient than my recklessness….

I Always Answer with the Right Name When They Call Me

A road led there
Where once they chose grief
Frail alders mark their graves
Passing in the Subaru…

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St. James Infirmary Blues
True national anthem

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Autumn storm warm wind
Leaves dancing
The withered ones
Death’s butterflies

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Next time I saw you
You were my anima

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Spent the weekend with many aging happy people

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Today I’m reading about the unborn

Rain in a bucket and the hours spent listening….

After arguments with books
I often lie on the floor

That’s how it is and of course the rain

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Oh that Monteverdi
Oh the radio

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Dreamt last night something something discarded clothing someone leaving

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Lumen pelko—Finnish for the fear of snow

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Meanwhile asks himself
Do you remember the magnificent feeling
Sneaking up on shadows?

Childhood blindness….

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Most readers of poetry haven’t lain on floors listening to day long rain
It takes privilege to be stripped productively

You old damned Bohemian you….

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Orfeo….peeks out from behind the birches

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:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound.org

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 

Optimism, Cripples, Family Bibles, and Good Old John Rawls….

“Call me Ishmael” says the family bible which sits lithically on its shelf and which no one has opened since grandmother died. “Please call my Ishmael” it says, adding: “let me wander to the far off houses…” But the Bible you see is like an impoverished man who must sit and sit. In this way the old thing is like a cripple alone in a back room in a farm house in a country town. The lame one who, if revealed, will spoil the daughter’s arranged marriage. Try this if you think I’m kidding: take the dark, thick, dusty family bible into the street and offer it to passersby and see what happens…

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“Change the subject,” says Uncle History. He’s sick of religion. I don’t blame him. “Let’s have some of those American prunes,” he shouts.

Meantime: Pierre Fournier, Beethoven, Sonata for Cello and Piano #1 in F.

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“For the most part I examine the principles of justice that would regulate a well-ordered society. Everyone is presumed to act justly and to do his part in upholding just institutions.”

John Rawls “A Theory of Justice”

Oh Rawls, you were such a willful optimist. But you see, I struggle with you—yes, you’ve a fictive epistemology; yes, the rights of the disabled derive from just such optimism.

The lesson: imagine rational utopias. Evidence may come later.

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Meanwhile the disabled, people like me, we trouble the mechanisms.

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I want more patience. Dear Rawls…..

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So the river with all its catfish is filled with various kinds of music. Let’s get that straight.

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“But the main reason we are so anxious about the genomic revolution is that we are psychologically equipped to misunderstand it. Unlike, say, the study of subatomic physics, where almost no one outside of the physics community feels that he or she can make heads or tails of it, the notion that we possess genes that make us who we are makes intuitive sense. But it turns out that conclusion is inaccurate, or at least imprecise. Yet we persist in this belief that our genes control our lives. We are genetic fatalists.”

Excerpt From: “DNA is Not Destiny.” iBooks.

And so, back to the dark toad family bible….

I picture a two horse race: science is in the lead, but wait, here comes superstition…oh my, this race is coming down to the wire!”

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For me, well, it takes a bus load of Beethoven to get by.

Piano and cello off shore in a boat….

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Please, I just want a horse race where the animals are trained with optimism and no one gets hurt.

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:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound.org

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