AIDS, from then 'til now

Sam Friedman

Discovered in an era
when the rich sought more, more, ever more,
by renouncing all loyalties,
attacking all solidarities,
extolling the individual
whilst attacking most women, most men;

spreading amok in an era
when politicians swooped collectively
to deny all collectivity,
all human connectivity,
in the lonely '80s,
in the fraying '90s,
as our loved ones sickened,
as our loved ones died.
Marty, Nico and Yolanda,
John and Rod and millions besides
all sickened,
all died,
all died denied,
all died despised,
vilified by lies
by those on high,
though we disproved the lies
by our cries as they died,
by the ways we defied
the lies from on high,
by the love that we built
among the despised,
by the connections we found,
by the collectives we strived for.

We must hew out new loyalties,
etch collective esteem
through the struggles we build,
by the love that we'll wield,
amongst le damnee de la Terre,
amongst the damned of all lands,
as we connect all in love
who defy all the lies,
as we battle these parasites
who live off our lives.
Earlier version was in AIDS Care