#agbellLIES – two poems a truth telling (KC and Merv)

In the spirit of Surdism (expressions of the Deaf experience for social change), we have two poems that address oppression via Oralism and audism via the institution of AG Bell Assoc and co.  The first poem is by Karen Christie from 2015 and the second is by Merv Garretson from many many moons ago.  Ain’t it unfunny how history repeats itself when it goes unchallenged? Truth telling via the written word – mighty fine indeed. Thank u KC and Merv (we miss you).


by Karen Christie

How did it start?

Was it playground shame, denial of your Deaf mother?

Was it telling her, that yes, you understood what she said?

Was it boasting that you had taught your dog to talk?


After that, you couldn’t stop

It was a charm, so easy, after the first time,

  • to tell the parents their unhearing children would speak
  • to tell Deaf people you were studying their family histories
  • to tell the patent office that you had invented the phone


And then, held up by those lies

And to ensure they would not be examined

And would propagate

You established

  • Oral Deaf schools
  • The Volta Bureau
  • The AG Bell Association


Even in the time of Veditz,

Deaf folks invited collaboration

Even in the time of Veditz,

Deaf folks ultimately condemned you


Today, your Association carries on your legacy of lies

And your legacy of propaganda

Today, some Deaf folks

Continue to invite collaboration

In committees, conferences, political matters

Today, some Deaf folks

condemn you with angry protests

vlogs, blogs, tweets, art, poems


In truth,

While your lies grow old

and you are dead,

We are survivors

We are your nightmare­­­

We are the proud

Deaf variety of the human race.

to an expert

by Merv D. Garretson


with your psychometrics charts and tables

graphs and lines you geographize

a vicarious silence

your maps

paper journeys

across the highways of deafness

with your test tubes antiseptic laboratories

audiology and audiometrics

language and speech and speech and language

far from the vital spark

locked in your sterile cloister

yours the definition but not the meaning

yours the sound the look of life

mine the sight the feel

when will you learn

as you skim across the surface

when will you know

as you travel along

each country each city

each lowly street

has a soul.



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. PopeMistress
    Apr 18, 2016 @ 18:19:17

    Hope you all enjoy this video: https://instagram.com/p/BEWc1JBRSSW/

  2. handeyes
    Apr 19, 2016 @ 03:19:56

    Aww great job Shawn

    Whose pix q

  3. PopeMistress
    Apr 19, 2016 @ 09:23:51

    Oh which pix?

    First while I was watching Roku’s youtube to catch up the search “Deaf and/or ASL somehow I thought Veditz was on iDeaf News Exclusive Interview with Sean Berdy with glasses on.
    Check out this video on YouTube:

    Wow Sean did great job to make eyes swallow a big whale

    2nd I did asked N3 for her permission to allow me to use her 2 paintings of Veditz since she knows that I’m not selling her paintings.

    N3 gave me go ahead. She likes it on Instagram better than my youtube.


    I was thinking of KC’s poem that we are agbell’s nightmare.

    Should I make very short video #whyIsign becuz I want to follow Veditz’s soul and spirit to give agbell’s more nightmare everyday 7/24 forever.


  4. handeyes
    Apr 19, 2016 @ 16:02:18

    ohh i love it shawn

    i didnt recognize that it was sean so i was curious who u were morphing veditz with

    well done and nice u were inspired by kc poem and yes ag bell is a 24/7 nightmare

    peace p

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