Tuesday, December 1, 2009

compassionate disease

(I performed this for World AIDS Day in 2005; most of this poem is an excerpt from "LIKE WILDFIRE", a play I wrote from 2005-2007)

I want to write a poem specifically for World AIDS Day

specifically for you,

for all of us here today

& I don’t know how to write about you & I

or this “epidemic”,

the only epidemic I ever wrote about was racism

and homophobia

sexism & poverty


I’m going to write about an epidemic I would like to see happen:

I want compassion

to become a contagious, incurable disease

we pass between us with glances, hand shakes & innocent bumps in the elevator,

I want to become infected with compassion/passionately concerned about the welfare of people whose first names I may never learn/

you hear your neighbor beating his wife & you call the police & go over to see if she is okay,

you give money to everyone who asks if you have it,

we believe in rainbows, we swallow sunshine for breakfast,

your eyes stay riveted on the ache splattered across the face someone you’ve never met—his ache deepens as he reads the piece of paper in his hands,

and he grips the edges until the paper splits.

your heart jumps at the sound of any child crying

I want an epidemic of compassion of uncontrollable proportions

this compassionate segment of the population will have to be quarantined from the apathetic,

cbs will report that the virus is spreading at an unprecedented rate,

there will not be enough hospital beds to accommodate the massive number of people infected with their own humanity;

it’s some sort of super-virus-bacterium with a defiant resistance to antibiotics & vaccination,

compassion is a messy disease/your face wet from tears/sore from the bruises of heart beatings and you can feel your heart beating your ass

hands shaking

eyes open like a faucet:

I want to feel your spirit and not some facsimile thereof,

my smile is a disarming weapon,

thoughts are actions/wishes come true

words are dangerous/silence lethal:

I wear my heart on my face/my soul on my tongue

my intentions are in my eyes

all of me is right here

I ain’t got shit to hide

I’m wide open


honesty still counts for sumthin.

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