Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Buried Fear

The Buried Fear

Karen Nelson

June 1, 2015

The human brain is hard-wired

To see the different against the known,

The known patterns of our lives

And to distrust that different regardless

Of where in the world it’s grown.

This is a primal, animal response

More suited to our distant forebears

Who lived in jungles or savage savannahs

Where seeing, hearing, feeling a threat

Was pre-saged in a foreshadowed affair.

Apex predators are all alike, they say,

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”

Sharks and Orcas and Crocodiles

But one could argue the most successful

Are the ones who look most like us, no lie!

Today, in sub and urban towns,

A hallmark difference could just be

Something as harmless as garb, skincolor or curly hair

Accented voices or accented food choices

Or, oddly, how one chooses to leave.

But I maintain the most insidious and

Non-conscious response is to what cannot be seen

How the visually impaired and blind must feel

Not having or losing that powerful sense

A survival perception, held in highest esteem.

Sighted people are not aware of how dependent they are

On those two orbs and the occipital lobe,

Using twenty-five percent of the brain’s wattage

To place one in space, to keep one’s balance,

To assess the color tinting of one’s robe.

Hard to imagine a bigger threat than not seeing

The predator, the bike, the car or the priggish walker

Staring at his eye phone instead of where he goes

Walking fast in your direction, in your path,

Neither of you aware of the watching stalker.

Of course, there are the blind or visually impaired

Who expect the clouds, the seas and the crowd

To part before them as if entitled to unconfronted space.

Ain’t it a shame, ain’t it a shame. I wonder who’s to blame.

“Oh, poor me,” with self-bigotry cry they outloud.

Most, however, don’t want your pity,

Just want you to understand

How it is that YOU relate to your buried fears

Around this different ability to see ahead,

To make the twists and turns on uneven land.

It’s just survival as they say, humans will always find a way

Thick glasses, or white cane, a dog who knows

His eyes, ears and nose are better than yours

Who leads without taking the lead from you

Allowing your brain to adapt and grow.

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