#WAD2014 – #Reagan, #AIDS, and ACT-UP

For those of you who don’t understand why I dislike Reagan so much, here’s a poster from 1987 protesting our president’s silence on the deadliest virus that America had seen.

AIDSGATE, 1987, posterThink about that for a minute. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were sick and dying, and the American president was silent!

Ronald Reagan’s silence led to the organizing of LGBT protest/action group, The AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, or “ACT-UP”. Their slogan, “Silence = Death” is based on Reagan’s silence.

AIDSIntroPicSilenceDeathSo the next time a conservative talks about how great a president Reagan was, ask them if they think it’s okay for an American president to ignore the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Ask them if they ever wonder how much closer we might be to finding a cure for HIV had Reagan actually done something.

If it sounds like I’m angry it’s because I AM angry. A whole generation of gay men from artists, writers, athletes, and teachers to doctors, lawyers, friends, lovers, and family, an entire generation was lost because of the callous attitude of Ronald Reagan and his successor, George HW Bush. Those of us who survived watched the ones we loved die all around us.

Gran Fury, The Government Has Blood On Its Hands, 1988, posterBoth Ronnie and Georgie Sr have blood on their hands.

I am dedicating World Aids Day 2014 to the fighters, the people who stand up for justice. From ACT-UP to protesters in Ferguson, we are all fighting for our lives. Never stop fighting. Sometimes shouting is the only way we’re heard.

Advertisements

“All Hallows Eve” – a short story.

By 10 pm the last of the trick-or-treaters had come and gone. I gazed up and down the street for stragglers before closing and locking the front door for the night. I put away my empty glass and gathered discarded candy wrappers for the trash bin. Then, turning off the lights, headed up to bed. Sleep came without a fight.

I can’t tell you what roused me, but I suppose it’s not really important at this point. I was wide awake. It was the middle of the night. The curtains had been drawn together tightly, preventing even the tiniest sliver of light into the room. I stared into the quiet darkness, listening. The beating of my heart ticked away the minutes. In the distance, I heard the faint sound of a lonely train clickety clacketing it’s way to parts unknown. My eyes searched for the dimmest of illumination and settled on the dim pattern of moonlight filtered through the trees and dancing on the wall just outside my bedroom. I watched the shadows of the leaves shimmer and then fade, as a cloud shrouded the moon, leaving the room enveloped in blackness. I counted the moments until the moonlight returned, briefly, then disappeared again. My eyes stared into the empty space where light once was, waiting. To track time I counted heart beats. One minute. Two. Three minutes. Four. The minutes ticked by. My eyes strained to make out the faintest light. Then, as the moonlight slowly returned, there it was.

On the wall just beyond the bedroom door, a shadow; an almost human form materialized. I don’t know how long I watched, waited, wondering. I stared, unblinking at the spectral form. I dared not move a muscle. My eyes glued to the ghostly shadow. Was I dreaming? We’ve all had those moments between sleep and wakefulness when our imagination plays tricks on us. But was this real? Was I awake? I bit down on my tongue and winced at the sharp pain. When I opened my eyes, the ethereal image was still there.

I was terrified. The drum beat of my pulse echoed in my ears. I fought to keep my breathing steady. In. Out. In. Out. I could hear him breathing, or was that me? No. The rhythm is different. Time to take stock of the situation.

I needed to keep my head, perhaps literally. If there’s someone in the hall, more than likely he thinks I’m asleep. There must be a reason that’s important. Why else would he just stand there? Then I had a thought. What if there’s more than one of them? My brain was in overdrive. My options were limited. It’s so deathly quiet, even the smallest move is bound to be heard. If he’s armed, any sudden movement on my part could be fatal. I was in a tough spot. So I watched, and waited, while the moon danced among the clouds, creating a slow, hypnotic rhythm of light and dark.

fullmoonSleep must have returned because the next thing I knew it was morning. Early sunlight washed away the haze of the night before. I chalked it up to a bad dream and made my way to the bathroom for my morning rituals. That’s when it happened. As I passed through the door to the bathroom a dark shadow enveloped me. The oppressive darkness squeezed the air from my lungs. Gasping for breath, I tried to pull myself out from under the impossibly dark veil of doom which had me in it’s death grip. This can’t be happening! This can’t possibly be real!

My oxygen deprived lungs burned. My vision dimmed. With one last ditch effort I screamed, “Please! Wake up! Why can’t I wake up?” But no words escaped my lips. In fact, nothing was heard from me again.

 

My favorite chef’s knife and I had a fight. The chef knife won. :\

The mercury hovered above the ninety degree mark on Sunday afternoon. The humidity was quickly approaching oppressive. It was Mother Nature’s way of showing us what she had in store in the coming months.

With summer on my mind, I got to thinking of the watermelon that’s been sitting in the fridge this last week. It was past time to slice that puppy up and enjoy the cool sweetness I knew awaited me.

I took out my favorite knife and prepared to go to work.

IMG_20130623_23443

My favorite knife is a ten inch work horse.
I use it for everything.

Now, I’ve had that chef’s knife for almost two decades. She and I have created many a memorable meal. She’s got a good weight, with a nice balance, and her handle fits my hand well. When I’m prepping dinner or chopping veggies, she’s an extension on my arm.

But today I was careless.

After I cut the watermelon in half, I placed the knife on the table so I could set one of the halves aside. This would ensure that the half I wasn’t working on would be out of the way.

The knife fell off the table.

I stepped back to let the knife fall.

But my hand was close enough to the blade that it made contact.

I watched in slow motion as steel sliced flesh.

Time was a blur.

  • Cold water.
  • Rinse the cut.
  • Wrap the cut.
  • Apply pressure.
  • Examine cut. (Probably needs stitches.)
  • Call neighbor. “I need a ride to the ER.”
  • Rinse cut in water again.
  • Dress cut.
  • Drive to ER. Sign in. Wait.
  • Answer questions. Wait.
  • Triage nurse. (Check blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.)
  • Wait some more.
  • Examination. Needle. “Ouch!”
  • Wait. “Feeling no pain.”
  • Clean laceration.
  • Sew it up.
  • Take pictures of cool stitches..
  • Here’s your bill. Off you go.
  • Home.
IMG_20130623_162519

Waiting for the shot they gave me to make my finger go numb.
Listening to the kid in the next stall brag about his sprained ankle.

I really want to thank the triage nurse for informing me that ACME has “Pre-Cut” watermelon for $4.99 lb. I thought that was very considerate of her.

And in case you’re wondering, the watermelon was fine. No, really. It was delicious! ;p

IMG_20130623_165746

Four Stitches?? That’s all I need?? Just Four Stitches?? :\

…and yes, I will most certainly use my favorite knife again.