havvacc world AIDS day 2008: excerpts from TWO poems, 1st, by mark king, “once when we were heroes” & 2nd my response (radio play) (010)

[Monday, December 1st, 2008, los angeles]

mark-s-kingBut we get older [writes mark s. king] and friends don’t ask us to hold their hand when they stop breathing, and the fear fades and I bought new leather loafers and the White Party is coming.

The truth is simply this, and no one will convince me otherwise: My most courageous self, the best man that I’ll ever be, lived two decades ago during the first years of a horrific plague.

today, after witnessing the horror, i view my life as relatively normal again. perhaps mundane. i prefer it. i have a new life in a world that isn’t choking on disease.

but i was once a hero.


rk’s questions:

is that enough?
who is it i deny
when i deny
the hero in me?
whom do i lose?
where did he go?
are you today his
absence or presence?
whose? the world chokes,
though you won’t this day.
you live in a walled city
under seige. when you cared,
when you dared, when you wept,
did they break in,
or you break out?
do you weep still?
in stillness? when
did you cease
to be a hero? (never!) who
captured you? is your
inner weariness less
in your grave? in your cell
with martin? composing?
praying? posing? meditating?
medicating? waiting? stating?
decomposing? bursting free?
what can you do but?
did lazarus re-rise?
or was he a one-night re-stand?
is life a long-term sentence?
how many times can you fall in love?

loafers. hm. might you
be resting & preparing &
waiting for the call? the fire
on the mountaintop says:

tell me another,
your tale, your song,
i am listening along
for you.

hail the fallen


—richard kearns

from the archives at aids-write.org

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