Poems about AIDS.

FOR THE BOYS (with AIDS).

To friends who don’t know
and strangers who don’t care,
soldiers of love worship
tinsel-town sex goddesses
with all their strength.
They thrive outwardly on
the rantings of Madonna and
privately soothe their pain
and hopelessness with somber
strains by Leonard Cohen.
Their greatest ambition is
to shake the shackles of shame
which imprison and threaten
them with the most undignified
fate of all: namelessness.
To some there is no irony in death,
but others are enraged at the
uncanny plight of these handsome
living dead whose only crime was
need for love and recognition.

TIGHTROPE.

I swear they make this tightrope
thinner each time I attempt to cross.
I remember how my psyche could once
dance endless sommersaults back and forth.
and how every now and then I would
laugh mercilessly to myself at how I
astonished and sometimes even
infuriated others with my devilish
dexterity of mind and wit.
but now, having fallen all too often,
I quiver at the sight of both
challengers and supporters; and
look upon success in reaching the
rope’s end as another day’s survival
rather than a demonstration of prowess.
I know a good sport never complains but,
I swear they make this tightrope
thinner each time I attempt to cross.

SURVIVOR.

Yeah, he’s a survivor …
His alcoholic mother has breast cancer;
and his ‘dad’ left long before
he was born.
Living in a trailer park
has its perks: no one really
cares if you stay out all night …
or for days on end, for that matter.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
His sister is an ex-whore;
struggling to stay ‘clean’
so she can keep her job
as a cashier at Wal-Mart.
Her loser live-in boyfriend is
a ‘good-for-nothing’ …
a fucking bum who
won’t even bother to recycle
bottles discarded in garbage
receptacles or containers.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
He gets beaten every other day
at school; and slapped once-a-week
at home. He’s used to it: doesn’t care
anymore really, but he has recently
begun carrying a switchblade to see if it
can be a deterrent … like going to war in Iraq.
He dreams of getting a handgun, and is hoping
that someone famous will one day pimp his ride.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
He takes his HIV-meds when he remembers.
Life is a sweet mixture: sometimes ‘heaven’,
and oftentimes ‘hell’ … depending on the ‘high’,
the sex or the lack of either (or both).
A neighbor-punk called him ‘faggot’ once …
He just smiled … causing the asshole
to run in haste and fear. Who cares?!!
It’s all temporary anyway; what with
global warming, nuclear threats, serial killers
and terrorism .. and those fucking ‘super malls’.
His favorite posters in his room are pictures
of victims: from the second world war, from
natural catastrophes, from terrorist attacks …
anyone who reminds him that he is one of
the lucky ones.
Doesn’t matter. For the moment anyway.
At least that’s what he thinks when his
mom blasts the old disco hit “I will survive!” …
the one time in a blue moon when he
sets himself down to do his homework.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …

DON’T ASK.

please don’t ask me how I am;
you can’t really expect
me to be any different
than I was yesterday.
we’re all really quite normal —
me, myself and I, and in
spite of our narcotic state can
be up and down simultaneously.
and don’t look at me too long;
I despise those “I know
how you must be feeling
eyes” and concerned tone.
why must you always misconstrue
the way my gaze avoids yours?
my anti-social disposition is
intended to protect you from us.
no — it doesn’t help to
speak slowly, pronouncing
each word with the sweetened
diction of a nun or nurse.
I honestly can’t tell you how to
act, for I have trouble enough
getting us to agree about
how we’ll shield you from me.
it’s really best to let me volunteer,
lest my unbridled demons unleash
their flame-throwing dragons to singe
the delicate threads of your own ego.
and you, so footloose, must avoid looking
back into the darkness whose glittering
maze of mirrors encapture those who poke
their noses where they don’t belong.
go ahead — ask me how I am …

AIDS … ALSO A VAMPIRE’S LAMENT.

in the spring of our rapture,
you assuaged my hunger
with gallant love-bites and
wept rubescent teardrops
as my own offering
cascaded willingly into the
vessel of your thirst.
thereafter,
enchanting midnight promenades,
serenaded by love-sick werewolves,
inevitably climaxed with
splendiferous candlelit repasts
of aristocratic blood plasma
and the finest port wines.
magically abducted by the ecstasy
of transfusion and reminiscence,
we who are forever young
renewed our vows of
never-ending devotion with
all the certainty and bliss
intrinsic to incipient passion.
so golden were our halcyon days —
yet unblemished by the ravages
of overfamiliarity and diseased blood,
now yielding insomnious forenoons
in separate coffins and
solitary meals under would-be
romantic moonlight.
since our greatest promise
has become your heaviest burden,
I look upon eternity as
the merciless side-effect
of myopic infatuation …
and dream, perhaps,
of growing old.

(all poems and art copyrighted by Adam Donaldson Powell.)

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