Early Valentine’s Day soul-list…season/modify to taste. :-)
As tentatively “religious” as I am, I prayed this morning for the end of HIV, for the development of a vaccine (for the HIV-negative) and a cure (for the HIV positive). The virus hits us humans where we’re most vulnerable - where we seek connection, intimacy and legacy through sex, and where we seek escape and the absence of pain through drugs. The only thing that would make HIV/AIDS harder to manage as a health epidemic is if you could catch it by eating sugar.
Making it worse, African Americans suffer disproportionately from myriad social and medical issues, and our HIV infection rate (unlike any other group in the U.S.) has not dropped once in the last 12 years. I know that we are not uniquely stupid, but that we are uniquely beleaguered, divided and distracted. I worry that we are human in a world that is often indifferent to our humanity, and so intimacy - that need to be loved up close and without barriers - becomes more important than our long term health. I worry that those of us with HIV and those of us who are HIV-negative stand on different sides of the fence, unaccustomed to speaking to each other about our journey, never getting the opportunity to give support or to receive it. I worry that we have not demonstrated our willingness to live healthy lives, so that even if we find a cure for HIV/AIDS tomorrow, we might continue to kill ourselves in slow motion with our diets, moral indifference, violence and other forms of acting out unless we can see ourselves as valuable and deserving of long, healthy lives.
For African Americans, HIV/AIDS is a collective call to action, not just to remain vigilant and informed about avoiding HIV, but to address the emotional issues that keep our self-preservation instinct at scandalously low levels (as evidenced by health disparities and intra-community violence). We have to walk against AIDS and sing loudly against AIDS, because finding a cure for HIV/AIDS will stop that specific disease. How much more could we accomplish if we also committed to walk and sing against low self esteem, post traumatic slave disorder, poverty, ignorance and the antiblack default?
My words are
that make my mother smile
that win spelling bees and
writing contests and every other prize
that get me hired or fired or laid
that will make me worthy
especially when I know I’m fucking worthless
When my heart breaks and rebreaks,
and I can’t stop being gloomy
they linger, making rancid angry hate poems,
and haiku of self loathing
holding my good sense at gunpoint
making me overdisclose at parties
disappearing when I need to be clever
or my lover has said something cruel
nowhere to be found on a first date
then showing up an hour later with
all the things I coulda/woulda/shoulda said.
Raggedy ass, unreliable cocksucker words
and yet I breed them with abandon
withhold or seed them recklessly,
run from them when I am indecisive or afraid
scramble and juggle them when I’m feeling
inventive or Ebonical
my words are passive aggressive,
i have no idea where they come from.
I am a sentimentalist
A bad day anniversary-ist
A first date remember-ist
A giggler, a crybaby, a godfather, a hero, a survivalist
an occasional cold piece of work.
I am not a representation,
metaphor or projection,
I am live wire and now –
an original mostly.
Remember me this way…
Knowing that, if you are Black, the system is likelier to presume you guilty than someone of another race, living as Black under a regime where you must obey every single law or the entire weight of the criminal justice system may crash down on your head, realising (as so many young Black people now do) that you can be stalked and murdered by a self-appointed, un-credentialed neighborhood watchman because he thought you look suspicious, stalked you, picked a fight, then “defended himself” with deadly force — only to have your reputation posthumously attacked, understanding that your rights as a citizen to not be beaten, shot or wrongfully convicted of a crime are contingent on you never stealing a slice of cake and never “looking like a criminal”, is the ultimate diss. Knowing that you’re not allowed to call that disrespect by its name might just make you crazy enough to call everything else disrespectful.
Reblogging my own post, I ask that Black people pay attention to our emotional responses to the not-guilty Zimmerman verdict. There is grief, anger, sadness, much of which is repressed so that we can function. That repression is dangerous.
Never give anything away…that you can sell!