Thought Wheel

Ann Chiappetta

Another Great Time

| Filed under Guide dogs

The Speaker’s Bureau

By Ann Chiappetta


A few months ago I received an email from guiding Eyes regarding a speaking engagement. It was the second referral since the first one almost two years ago. At that time I conducted a blindness awareness class for high schoolers preparing to host a dinner in the dark event at their local synagogue.  It was fun and rewarding. I finally understood how hard it is for someone to put on my shoes, being blindfolded and asked to navigate down a hallway with a white cane with only five minutes of instruction. The experience opened their eyes for those who couldn’t see.


This was a little bit different. After speaking with the teachers who were coordinating the event, called Justice for All, I began collecting my information.  I would be presenting in four classes. The subject was blindness and access refusal with my dog guide.  The hand out I submitted referenced the ADA, what civil rights are and what laws entitle people with disabilities to live, work and thrive in our society.  I spoke of being refused rides by taxis, being told that my dog wasn’t allowed inside an amusement park, and once at a conference was asked to leave my dog outside the meeting room because someone was allergic to dogs.


What felt great was being able to talk about my disability and how long it took to learn the coping tools in order to go on with my life. I told them I was a success story and many blind people aren’t as lucky for many reasons. I spoke of what being a dog guide handler means that we are a minority among the blind and this is because choosing to bond and work with a dog is both rewarding and challenging, especially when it comes time to retire a dog.


The 6, 7, and 8th graders asked questions that were thoughtful and curious. The teachers were friendly and we got along great. What I was most impressed with was how the school, generally, already knew all about guide dog etiquette. This helped me relax and be less concerned with fending off well meaning but petting-impulsive folks. J Verona did a magnificent job guiding me through the crowded halls and cafeteria tables during lunch. My dog is a great example of a mature and confident dog guide, thanks to Guiding Eyes.

While Verona has a few years yet, I am mindful that my time will come and I’m hoping that my coping skills, support from Guiding Eyes, other handlers, and my family will get me through it.

A great friend and fellow handler reminded me once when the topic of retiring our dogs was mentioned, he said,

“This is what we signed up for when we put in our application. We have to take the good and the bad.”

Until then, Verona and I will continue spreading the word for our School and its programs with help from the Guiding Eyes Speakers Bureau.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

new poem for NaPoWriMo

| Filed under Poem

Lost Something along the Way

By Ann Chiappetta


Youth yearns for action

The best soldiers eighteen to twenty one

Because that’s the way to make ‘em.


Things were different back then

Molded and forsaken,

Sent to serve


Jetted to another continent

Touching down in a humid foreign hell

Splotches of Olive drab upon shades of green

Toe tags and body bags

Shades of sorrow buried

With ordinance and trash


Dangerous to feel, so don’t


No safety — well maybe

Caught in a reprieve of minutes,

in beer cans and tokes

Brotherhood in chaos


Metal birds carry them

Innocence drained

With the fluids

flowing out onto the deck plates

In the teeth of fear

Feed the guns, starve the soul


Welcome to Vietnam says the pilot


Heat, terror and cold fire

Burn indelibly

Birthing specialties

Like alcoholism, addiction

mental illness

Homecoming meant shunning


Welcoming darkness


Ending it all


They were once

The boys of summer who could smile

Love and trust

And who

Lost something along the way.



Dedicated to Vietnam combat veterans



by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Eleven and Twelve

| Filed under Poem



Stomach meds, Gatorade



Overcoming the worst has not yet happened.

There’s always tomorrow.




Rumbly in the tumbley

A toot or two

A bit more energy and

Less aches to get me through


The doctor mentioned

This is the winter

That needs to end.

It’s true

I really need to get back to writing poems

about things other than

tummy trouble.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Day Ten Poem Ten

| Filed under Poem

Ode to the Stomach Flu





Spears of pain

in stomach and extremities

Profound weakness


A wheelchair and bed

Blessed fluids, ringers lactate

I.V. medication

Four hours of treatment and I’m home again.


by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Poem Seven Day Seven

| Filed under Poem

Today is a challenge

I’m working noon to eight

Spent the weekend catching my breath

I’m resigned to Monday’s fate.


This  piece has the rhythm

Forgoing   free verse

Not sure why it’s rhyming

For now this is how thoughths disperse


by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Day Six Poem 6

| Filed under Poem

What would Freud say about

Dreaming  of ghosts in my bathroom


Sometimes I dream of two bath tubs and sinks
mirrors upon mirrors.


These dreams take place

In the loos of the past

One spirit was a girl, another a demon

The most recent was my dead grandmother who

Was scared by me

While I sat on the porcelain throne in

The downstairs bathroom of the Tompkins Avenue house


In the dream I felt insulted

I was the one who should have been scared

Her pallid face, translucent figure

Retreating as if I were the devel.


The psychology of dreams and analysis

Would they help me understand

This subconscious exploration of  lavoratories and spirits in the night?


I wake feeling tense, unable to forget

And wonder what these dreams meant.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Poem Five Day Five

| Filed under Poem

Imagine glare packaged as pain

Life giving sunshine touching the inner eye

pin pricks

flashes immobilizing hope

of finding the beauty of a brightly lit day.


It is RP making me feel this way.


The window is open, bird songs fill my ears

A soft spring breeze warms the room.


My eyes stay closed

Already the earth kissing rays hurt

And it pains me to know

What so many others look forward to experiencing

These damaged eyes can’t process.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

day four NaNoWriMo

| Filed under Poem

The writing muscle


Pumps ideas from gray matter


The writing muscle

Is a narsisist

Caring not for other obligations

Pouting when ignored

The muscle

requires attention, exercise, nurturing


Sometimes it even demands control like

Symbiotic partnerships


And then, like the  actions

Demanded by a well pumped bicep or quadrocep

It will tremble with effort and delight

Overtake the writer’s chore list


Odorous Laundry piles ignored

Phone calls delayed

And an occasional burnt  dinner entrée fall victim

To the whims of

The  Schwarzenegger Muse.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0


| Filed under Poem

A poem a Day

For NaPoWriMo 2014




Thoughts made plain or implied

what will be written

what words will spread upon the template

Black letters on white screen

Imagery sweeping across landscapes of

A keyboarding mind and fingertips.




A delay,  a wrinkle in time

The tardiness  bitter

To this creative  undertaking

Craving the  satisfaction of exposition


Carving out writing time.




The lettuce is a head

And I am the tomato trying to catch up


by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0