Seeing is a nightmare for the blind,
Uppity says, sipping a beer
at the Funhouse Pub. I must be dreaming,
she thinks, a roach
is doing the breast stroke in my glass!
The bartender’s nose hairs twitch.
Her polo shirt is Pepto-Bismol colored!
There goes my fantasy of romance.
A woman with smoke-stained teeth
sits next to Uppity, tapping
“what pimps read” on her iPad.
Uppity looks at the ceiling to avoid
Am I getting chubby? Uppity averts
her gaze from the bar’s green, moldy walls.
Am I going gray at 22? Would I kiss
anyone with zits? Or less than perfect abs?
Uppity munches pistachios, swigs more beer,
and plants her gold stilettos firmly on the ground.
Seeing isn’t for the faint of heart, she says,
I’m not ready for my close-up.
If I were Queen of the World,
ruling with my Royal Smart Phone,
Bluetooth in tiara, walking
my besotted, blue-blood dogs,
regally motioning to my worshipful
subjects to stop curtsying,
only my bejewelled cane
would dig its way
into the tunnel of your vision.
If I won the Nobel Prize for cracking
the passwords of the dead,
only my encrypted, blinkered eyes
would register in your retinas.
If Sabrina and I were making love,
nymphs on the loose in the mid-day sun –
clothes, purses mindlessly abandoned
on the grass – only my blind
gaze would meet your mind’s eye.
You wonder how, I, sightless, can compare
a warm-blooded, full-bodied
fragrance to a Rubens or liken
a wild, disheveled beer
to Dennis Hopper biking
in a pot-filled haze.
I should take up piano-tuning, you insist.
Tin-eared scribe, your vision
blinds you. Can you see
if a beer tastes like rubies
or smells like unwashed hair?
Unhitched from eyes, I devour secrets.
Pickled, mango chutney with a touch
of papaya is my latest fave.
As a scientist maps genes,
I decode aromas, divine spirits.
-from The Uppity Blind Girl Poems (BrickHouse Books, 2015), winner of the Stonewall Prize, selected by Spring 2024 PoemoftheWeek.com Guest Editor, Sheila Black
Kathi Wolfe’s collections include Love and Kumquats (BrickHouse Books, 2019) and The Uppity Blind Girl Poems (BrickHouse Books, 2015), winner of the Stonewall Prize. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The New York Times and other publications. Wolfe was a 2008 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Fellow. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poem “Tasting Braille” was the Poetry Foundation Poem of the Day in 2021, and her poem “Mind’s Eye” is part of the Poetry Foundation’s Disability Poetics Collection. Wolfe is a contributor with The Washington Blade, the acclaimed LGBTQ+ paper. She won a 2023 Dateline Award from the Society of Professional Journalists’