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from D/diaries: Saturday morning, lying in bed, 9th February 2019

By Lisa Kelly

Today, I am not so deaf.

The wind is undeafening me, I think.

The window is to my right ear, my hearing ear.


I can hear the wind, alright, oh yes, it is raucous,

but the cool draught on my right cheek

coming through the rickety frame, is gentle.


Yesterday evening, I went to Deaf Club.

I met with two of the group beforehand.

We are friends through BSL class. They are not deaf.


One is in love with a guy who is not deaf,

but is a BSL interpreter – his parents are deaf.

On the way home, she says that deaf people are too direct.


“They ask direct questions. They make me feel awkward.”

She has been working in a Deaf Café, and gives an example

of how a deaf person asks for coffee in BSL:


Coffee (forefinger and thumb of dominant hand make a C shape, tipped by the mouth)

Now (hands come down hard in front of the body, palms flat and face up)


“That’s just D/deaf culture. That’s just how BSL works,” she says.


I wonder if I am too direct.

I think I am direct but am unsure

if this is my nature or my deafness.


If you have to look people straight in the face,

if you have to keep eye contact, watch lips and focus,

it is direct behaviour.


I think of animals like dogs,

how a stare is considered a threat.

How you are advised to look away or look down.


What are you looking at? shouts the man in the bar,

and you look away or look down.

Perhaps being indirect is the safest option.


The other friend from BSL hates her job.

She wants a way out. Interpreters can make  

over £200 for a two-hour session.


She is a dancer.

She is expressive.

I like watching her sign.


She is unsure of the guy who sat next to her.

His sign name is Fox – right hand around his nose

drawing out into a long pointy cone shape.



I couldn’t pick up his English name,

he fingerspelt fast. Miles, I think.

(the quick brown fox…)


She is trying to work out whether he is coming onto her,

or whether he is just too direct and she is

misinterpreting his directness for attraction.


I think back to the number of men

who have misinterpreted my concentration

on what they were saying as attraction.


My direct stare –

a direct invitation of sorts

for a kiss.


The wind is not settling down. I doze off:

The dogs have dissected my soul

and what is lost suggests itself in absence.


Dream thoughts are wild and senseless,

yet have a pleasing music. I translate

quickly, or I forget, and the page is silent.

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