Archival Features, New Series, Poems

Kevin Young: “On Being Blind”

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On Being Blind

Hard to compare pain–
So when the shortsighted
Pale girl lost her glasses

Whirling her hair
And arms on the dance floor
We all quit dancing

To look. From the stand the blind
Blues singer stopped to announce
Someone has lost their specs–

But she shouted back No, eyes!
I’ve lost my eyes! 
Beneath his shades
The black and bluesman just smiled

And reached further
Into his monogrammed
Holster of harmonicas.

Kevin Young is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose including Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (Knopf, 2016); Book of Hours (Knopf, 2014), a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets; Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (Knopf, 2011); and Dear Darkness (Knopf, 2008). His collection Jelly Roll: a blues (Knopf, 2003) was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry.

“On Being Blind” appeared in the Spring & Summer 2008 (political poetry-themed) issue of Poetry Northwest and in Dear Darkness.

photo credit: Detail In The Dark  (license)