My poem, “Immortality,” will appear soon in the HIV Here & Now online Poem-a-Day countdown marking 35 years of AIDS on June 5, 2016.
Curator Michael Broder writes: “The seed of this project was an LGBTQ reading I participated in during AWP 2015 in Minneapolis in April. Some of the poets, particularly the gay male poets, were reading poems about HIV or AIDS.
“Not poems about the beginnings of AIDS or the devastating havoc, personal and communal, wreaked by AIDS in the 1980s and 90s. But about HIV now, being HIV-positive, often for a long time, being on lifesaving meds, getting your life back, wondering what your life meant, what your past meant, your present, how to process having lived through that and living in this life now, where the crisis is ‘over’ in most of the public mind, but you still take your meds every day and get your blood drawn two to four times a year for viral load and T-cell counts, and you try to put it behind your or out of your mind or make it mean less, but it won’t mean less, no matter what you do. And so on.”
As a person with chronic illness myself, I couldn’t wait to get behind all that Broder’s effort symbolizes. When you have chronic illness (which may or may not be survivable–chronic disease can be famous for not biding treatment), it is like living with your ghost and deciding not to be (or for some, opting to be) haunted by it.
Thanks, Michael, for allowing me the privilege of sharing my words in your year’s worth of tributes.
I’ll post a link when my piece goes live.