Tag Archives: forgive

The Book Collector

18 Jul

(The person who posts all of the inspiring submissions on this blog (me!) is going on a summer trip and will return in 2 weeks.  I leave you with one of my favorite poems that was shared with us by one of our most touching poets.  Happy summer! . . . Stella)

by Mani G. Iyer

For years,
he rescued them from
dark, dingy stores,
some with rickety stairs
leading to dingier floors, where
they wallowed in unread silence.
Sometimes, he found them
in swank stores with
fancy coffees and plush couches, where
they lay in chaotic clumps
crying out their unfair prices.
He brought them home,
Carver, Cheever and Chekhov,
Kafka, Marquez and Nabokov,
Narayan,  Roth and Saramago,
Bukowski, Szymborska and Tagore,
and myriad more,
put them in sunlit, cherry habitats,
where they live together
as good neighbors
with fences, hard or soft.
They smiled, when
he took them all out, and
before putting them back
to their orderly lives,
lovingly dusted their jackets,
read their fronts, backs, and
random pages aloud, and
trumpeted their achievements.
They loved this attention, and
he glowed in their
luminous presence.
These days, he cannot
read their spines.
The neighborhood has
a forlorn look, and
all he can offer is,
to sit in front of them,
stare at their blurry profiles, and
recite names in full,
from scraps of memory,
and hope
they forgive him.


Mani G. Iyer was born and raised in Bombay, India and has lived in the United States since 1985.  He is deaf-blind due to Usher Syndrome.  He became deaf by the age of 4, night-blind by the age of 12, and now has very little usable vision.  Writing has always been a passion for Mani.  He has completed a writing fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center and is currently pursuing an MFA for poetry/writing.  He has also started a local writing group called “The Good Word.”


This poem is dedicated to Margalit Rabinovich and Stella De Genova, for their kind encouragements.


Gina’s Heavenly Dance

6 Dec

by Gina Falvo  (Gina was a writer in the Words Wide Open workshop at Second Sense: beyond vision loss.  She is a breast cancer survivor and this is what she thought might be if she hadn’t beat her cancer.)

I knocked on the door and it opened. I looked around and saw what I searched for. I felt so happy I did a little victory dance; suddenly the door closed.  I froze, thinking I went the other direction.  I didn’t fight the cancer.  I couldn’t handle taking care of mom.  This is the real hell, I’ve arrived.  I guess my life on earth wasn’t the hell I always thought it was.  I’ve arrived to meet the devil.

I put my hand on my left breast. The lump I felt on earth was gone.  

Mom did tell me there is hope.  Hope is the four letter word I treasure.  I heard laughter, music coming toward me in all directions.  It was white light I saw and I saw further than I’ve ever imagined I could see. I spotted my father talking with his buddies, laughing like he did on earth.  My Aunt Connie, the person I love the most was with her parents, Grandma and Grandpa Sinopoli.  When Mom spoke about her parents, I wished I could meet them.  Grandpa and Grandma Falvo spoke to me in Italian and I understood every word.  I felt a lick on my hand; I looked down and saw a pit bull wagging his tail.  I didn’t feel afraid.  Lassie came up to me; She led me through a forest filled with wild animals who weren’t wild.  I petted a lion.  

I haven’t felt this good since I learned how to cross the street without getting killed.  I couldn’t believe I could actually see.  I wasn’t wearing my glasses.  I saw my favorite celebrities.  I shook hands with Dick Clark who wasn’t slurring from his stroke.  Bob Hope told me a joke and I laughed.  Elizabeth Taylor told me I was as beautiful as her.  Wow, I never had that compliment on earth.  I heard Dean Martin singing.  My mother’s friends were there listening. I kept on going.

I saw my friend, Arnesia, who still had the laughter in her voice. “We both can see better now.”  She said, “No Lighthouse for the Blind here in heaven.”  

“This is heaven, oh, thank God!” I shouted and began my victory dance.  Arnesia grabbed me and we both were dancing.  I brushed against a man in white as I twirled.  

It was Pope John Paul II.  He held me and said, “Gina, you made it.  No more worries.  This is only the beginning of eternal happiness for you.”  

“I’d like to see God,” I asked. “I’d like to know why I always felt like he was punishing me on earth.  I’d like to apologize to God for not wanting to stay on earth until he called me.”  

“You never have to apologize to God, Gina.  God forgave you a long time ago.  Rest now; you’ve ended your journey.  The door will never shut behind you.”