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Monday, December 1, 2008

Poem For World AIDS Day

As a teen,
Faces I thought I'd see
Clear into gray senility
Withering shadows
Aged by
Antique memories

The bodies of
Young gods
With vital dreams
In their eyes were
Toppled from their pedestals as
An ill wind blew inside…

This urban wasteland.

And I carry them with me
Like songs inside my chest.
So hard to sing them now
Through these screams of my

Tears fall in silent
For tens of thousands of
Names forming
A quilt
From flesh
And broken
Hearts turned
Painfully into

Inside this country's guilty

And an ocean
In between us
Children will die today
Having seen their
Aching fathers,
Having watched their
African mothers
Quickly fade away.

Seemed no one cared
To warn them of
The terrible price to pay
Inside this global wasteland...

And I think of J,
I think of Jett,
I think of Kim, Cunning and Cliff.
I think of Deb and Mike and Wilson and
The list has grown so long,
I almost lose my breath…

I think of smiles we've lost
And dreams we've tossed
Like old sneakers to the air
Dangling now from power-lines
Above streets everywhere…

Our memories broken
Like needles in the rain
We spray-tag their names into
Physical graffiti
So a part of them
Always remains

In this urban wasteland.

On this World
AIDS Awareness Day
I remember,
I reflect,
I ponder,
And I don't quite get it


How 33 million
Souls can be
How some
New fools
Still refuse to heed
The Lesson:

How needles never
Gave a shit about
Friend or family…
How sex without


Can easily
Flip the script
On the most beautiful-est
Men, Women
And children,
And turn them

A reference
A half-life
A past-tense
A sad poetry
Of skeletons…

Here, in this HIV wasteland.



Anonymous said...

Man. That poem pack a wallop. I lost a beloved cousin to AIDS long time ago. He was a brilliant artist, virtuoso pianist, singer, dancer, just his whole way of living his life was an art form. But he was gay, living in Germany back in the 70's when the AIDS virus was still flying under the radar.

And it got him. God bless and keep you Jonathan, on this day and for eternity. I want to hear you play that piano again one day when I pass on, pas through that mysterious veil of death.

Well written, this piece, Lin. But then I've come to expect that from you.

Faith said...

I saw this morning that it is World AIDS Day, and I have been thinking about this all day. Your poem expresses so much emotion, so much sorrow and longing. Truly amazing. I wish everyone everywhere could read it. You are so gifted with words. I come back again and again to read your posts. Thank you.


maaga..... said...

this made me sad.

CurvyGurl said...

Very moving, Lin.

I don't know about you, but it dawned on me that this is yet one more issue that often gets swept under the rug except on this one day. I plan to renew my commitment to do my part.

Anonymous said...

Very dope poem......

Mizrepresent said...

OMG. that was so good, so heartfelt, so true. I can't help but think of the countless friends i have lost...i remember them all, their smiles, their joy. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful piece with us...



Breathless said...

Wow, extremely well written, brings tears to your eyes.

woelson said...

So deep...