Blindsided: Zoetrope

[zoetrope n. wheel of life, from the Greek  ζωή zoe, life, and τρόπος, tropos, “turning”]



la ténèbre n’est point ténèbre devant toi

la nuit comme le jour est lumière


la ténèbre, c’est toujours ténèbre sans la vue

la nuit et le jour sont sans lumière

Contrast chart

lights on







lights off







lights on









lights off






lights on







lights off






no lights






dot of light dart on black











lights in my eyes






lights in the sky







blinding light
















grey: cloudy, overcast,

dull, dim, dark,

sunless; gloomy,

dreary, dismal,

sombre, drab,

bleak, cheerless,

depressing, glum;

misty, foggy, murky


zebra flicks through the grass, shadow dancing on his side

until he’s gone, safe,

scent on the wind only clue



black, jet, death

charcoal, battle

fishscale glauca

gris blade

gunmetal, gunship

starred explosion


zoetropic images flicker,

running man, child entranced

then dance away




grey: characterless, colourless, nondescript, unremarkable, faceless; lifeless, soulless, passionless, spiritless,

insipid, flat, bland,

stale; dull,







ttttap tap tap, film flickers through the reel of my


we really wanted a

video camera



ocean, knife, slate

spanish, steel

stone, ash



grey: unofficial, informal, irregular, back-door



train passes, rattle on rails, windows flicker and i can

see right through it,

world beyond


tanker, skin, platinum

sunbleached oak

silver, white, aglow


They checked my colour vision today

and contrast

black on white, then fading shades of grey.

the op’s next week, i said.


We’re just getting a baseline, he said, didn’t look at my face, showing me image after image until it all blurred, him and me, shades of grey.


i want black and white back.

i had a letter from the school again. They said that they hoped i was doing okay.

They are having a night out if i’d like to come.


i wouldn’t.



Just wait there, please. We’re going to test your visual field next. I need you to sit in the dark for thirty minutes so your retinas can adapt.





Sorry, we have to start again.



Kelly gets up, goes out, works, returns.

i wait.

Kelly tries to offer sympathy.

i don’t want it.








5, there isn’t 5, is there?










Was there supposed to be a light?



So it looks like the left eye is a little worse that the right.


i know

i …

can’t be there, white guy, black chair, black man, white coat, light out, lights on, glare defeats me.


stumble out, half sight no good as i ricochet down the corridor.


Did you know it is pressure on the inner side of the nerve that causes damage to the outer side of your vision? It crosses over, you see.


inside, outside,


i burst out of the hospital, daylight too bright, can’t drive home, can’t face the walk when

half my world is gone.

Running man


References and credits:

  1. La ténèbre from Taizé
  2. Zoetrope inspiration for word definitions derives from and accessed 1 April 2015.
  3. Zoetrope image from accessed 1 April 2015.
  4. Contrast chart image from accessed 1 April 2015.
  5. Pelli Robson chart from accessed 1 April 2015.
  6. Photo of Goldman field tester from accessed 1 April 2015.
  7. Drawing of Image of Goldman field tester accessed 1 April 2015.
  8. Running man from accessed 1 April 2015.

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