Monthly Archives: May 2019

Dancing the AIDS/H.I.V. P.T.S.D. Blueshift Boogie

* blueshift *

My new lover sits on the bed’s edge
with his back to me, asks if I’ve been
reading the papers. No. Oh. He says
he’s been sleeping around. A lot. I
get angry. I didn’t know. He says I should
read the papers. Why?! He won’t answer.

* blueshift *

I go to the library. I read the papers.
What is this thing called PCP? How
do you pronounce Kaposi’s sarcoma? Do I
have bruises on me? Are they the wrong
kind of bruises? Every smudge of color
on my skin (purple, blue), scares me.

* blueshift *

“First you put your two knees close up tight.
Then you sway ’em to the left, and then you sway ’em to the right.
Step around the floor kinda nice and light…”
I break up with him. I’m never going to have sex again.
I’ll never have sex. I’ll never have sex. Never.
I click my heels. Dorothy, take me home to Kansas?

* blueshift *

They don’t have AIDS tests in Kansas yet.
God damn. What was I thinking? Do they even
have doctors? I mean doctors who know
what AIDS looks like? I can’t ask. I don’t know
anyone I can ask. Even if I did, I can’t get
the words out. Words logjam In my mouth.

* blueshift *

God bless Roger McFarlane! There’s a hotline now,
Lord love us, there’s a hotline. I call. It’s busy.
I try again. There’s a knock on the door. I hang up.
It’s later now. I keep trying. When I get through
I’m shaking. I tell him I’m scared. I tell him I
am. So. Scared. Then I start crying. Then I stop.

* blueshift *

If I have it, I should be sicker than I am.
That’s what they say. I’m not convinced.
If I get tested, it’ll go in my record. They say
they won’t tell anyone. I don’t believe them.
I leave the clinic without getting tested. I will
never have sex. Never. Who would want me?

* blueshift *

Okay, okay! He’s just so goddamn cute. We’ll both
get tested. There’s a free clinic in the city.
We drive over on the weekend. We give blood,
fake IDs, fake names, a friend’s address.
The results are negative. I don’t believe it.
I go back and get tested again. And again.

* blueshift *

On the Limitations of Superpowers

Call it rage, call it fear, does it matter?
It’s a quiet shriekhowl corked inside
a good person trying to help,
trying to float on darkness
flickering with starlight
(ancient memories
of light and will
vibrating
on edge
in
octaves
and sawtooth
chords tuned sour,
memories of
dissonance wrapped in
thin silk to quiet their
thousand unnatural shocks).
If this was the ocean’s surface,
the stars would dance and flicker, shifting
in place. If this was a bed, hands reach out
as if what is already there isn’t
enough. As if there isn’t enough
love, pain, or sense of direction,
or whatever it takes to
make that shift from one place,
one state of being,
to another.
If this was
magic,
if
this was
super strength,
I would still need
to be able to
break or charm something not
me, other than what I love,
other than love. If I could fly
would I still float above the ocean,
tethered like a buoy over hidden depths
and clefts in which shine pale oblique lights
of hunger and horror and beauty
made fey and strange? This is it,
isn’t it? What’s the point
of leaping over
tall sky scrapers
if I can’t
hurdle
you?
If I
can’t see you
in the shadows,
if I can’t even
say who you are aloud?
Try to remember. Try to
forget. The body remembers.
Try to forget. Try to remember.
A fist wrapped around a wrist as thick as
a thumb. I’m numb. My fingers are full of
bones and thorns. Bones break. The thorns fracture
and scatter like an invasive
species, and grow like dragon’s teeth.
Even a superhero
with lightning in their hands
is thwarted. Even
superheroes
shooting webs
are mute
(grasp/
release)
(connection/
severed) their tale
retold, repainted,
and sanitized. What’s safe
to say? The secret gesture
that says “me, too,” and we both know
what is meant when our hands flip and point
to a heart caged in bones, like all the rest.

Untitled

robin’s egg blue reminds me of peacocks,
of eyes, of Robin, of my mother’s
voice as I tried to choose a dress
for my first prom, of my son,
of my daughter, laughter,
wine glasses gone wild
and filled full with
water, of
paper
squares
folded
into these
tiny ornate
surprising jewel-tone
structures, of first dates, and
last dates, of first dates that are
also last dates, of safety, risk,
of being broken open like birth
breaks open the heart, of breaking like
an egg, like a dry stick, of broken things,
of lost things, of going on living,
of labor, death, of things I love
to remember and am so
afraid I’m forgetting,
of things I want to
forget and am
afraid to
call to
mind,
silence
of the blue
egg now empty,
cheeping of hungry
young birds, of the farmer’s
eggs at market, the scattered
wisps and threads of blue reflections
in certain nebulas, of cirrus
clouds, of fairy dust scattered in midair,
of fairy beads shimmering cheaply
on my wrist, of the glowing teal
stone for which I carved a bone
and cast a puddle of
molten silver like
a spell, of beach glass
broken and then
polished smooth
and soft,
yes,
of lips
and mouths as
soft and cool as
beach glass, of dancing
wild as drag queens under
a summer afternoon sky,
of stained glass windows spilling light
over a casket, a rosary
(of sorrow, of joy), of hallows that are
a whisper of white barely contained
inside a curve, of floating with
flower petals on the air,
the way wind tangles hair
and blows it into
my mouth, the way
violets
beg for
sweet,
the way
columbine
makes fists of blue
bruises and unfurls,
of mornings, of something
so beautiful I only
imagine it touching my hand
hollow over hollow and filled with hope