A Blind Poet on Pride and Blindness: ‘Vision’ by Leah Gardner


Leigha Gardner reads vision from a
Braille transcript at Lighthouse for the Blind studio in San Francisco my friend
Duane is a proud man gay pride jubilant and vital in every
word earning strong and steady amid st. Louis inner-city heat this
crazy gay boy force bursting from him so strident I want to inhale every last
ounce Wayne is a musician his fingers nimbly caressing yielding piano keys
notes tumbling from his fingertips flawless and determined his music like
electrical current driving him miles beyond ordinary Duane is scared though
fear clouds the edges of his phrases often this man who knows dozens who have
evolved into old men too fast this rock who defies bigotry and idiocy would
steal grit a man who will accept any musical challenge with grace his
eyesight is fading he is terrified he rarely articulates this fear but I hear
it in desperation edging his questions the finally cut horror that laces ad
dreams I hear it when he grumbles about learning blind skills learning to read
computer screens through synthetic speech learning to navigate his
neighborhood without eyes learning to retrieve some dropped item without
visual assistance he asks me if it gets easier I know he fears reaching infinite
darkness fears getting lost somewhere with that hope of regaining his stride
fears waking up with nothing but tears streaming from his eyes this man who has
seen so much fought so much played so much is losing the path I want to shake
him shout at him make him see this is no excuse to surrender but this is war the
same war he fights every time some ignorant fool yells goddamn faggot the
same war he fought to drench himself in queer fire in a world shrieking with
unrelenting violence I want to hug this proud
being this man who fears his fading eyesight more than anything in his life
I want to dig my fingers into his shoulders hard and rough I want him to
wake up to a light other than eyesight see this new world like every other one
he has ever fought and I want to say Duane
you’re losing your sight but damn it man don’t you ever lose your vision hashtag be seen March with Lighthouse
for the Blind in San Francisco pride

1 thought on “A Blind Poet on Pride and Blindness: ‘Vision’ by Leah Gardner

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *