Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Poems for World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. It is a day to remember those lost to AIDS, but also a day to renew our promise to continue to educate, talk about, and stop the spread of this disease.

The spread of HIV/AIDS is preventable through knowledge and the use of protection. While the AIDS crisis hit hard in the eighties and early nineties in this country, it is still a wide spread problem here and the fight is far from over.

As a gay man, I am haunted by the stories of those just a little older than me who faced the crisis in the gay community head on and with bravery. Today, we have more knowledge and more understanding, but infections are still happening. Get tested. Know your status. Be safe.

Two months ago, I came across an online gay literary magazine out of Chicago called The Q Review. They were asking for submissions for their December 1st issue. They wanted poems dealing with HIV/AIDS for a special section of the website to honor World AIDS Day. I had two poems that immediately came to mind. One of them had been rejected countless times. I submitted them and then didn't hear anything until today. I woke up this morning to a nice email from the editor, Tony Merevick, who informed me that they were publishing both poems.

I am honored to have work in this issue. There were only four poems selected and two of them are mine. They are titled "If It Were 1986 We'd Both Be Dead" and "An Obituary for My Boyfriend Who Did Not Die From AIDS." Click the links to read them or read the whole issue here.

Take time out of your day to read these works and to think about your role in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. If you are here in Orlando, come out tonight to The Center for a World AIDS Day event. Pieces of the AIDS quilt will be on display. Then head over to Parliament House for a benefit show organized by Nick Gray. All proceeds go to the Hope and Help Center.

-Stephen (Red)

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