Saturday, 1 December 2012

Body Positive

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._N._Taber

Today’s post is duplicated on both blogs. Both poems have appeared on the blogs before, but as my dear mother used to say, if something is worth saying, it is always worth repeating…


Today is World AIDS Day. Let us not only remember its victims but also be thankful that continuing research into HIV-AIDS at least means people are living much longer with the disease and can enjoy a better quality of life than in earlier years. We can but hope a cure will eventually be found.


Meanwhile…let’s have fun, but play safe, yeah?

BODY POSITIVE

Life, death!

Floods me, goads me,
leads me beside hot beaches
where I run, a dazzling sea
cheering me on, and I wonder
where the lark has gone
that fixed me so with its cheer
before abandoning me here
like a forgotten toy filled with joy
for its having all but played
me out before going about nature’s
own business

Life, death

Calls me, galls me,
urges me back, back to you;
but we are gone,
the taste of us honey on my tongue
where we romped and played
like tots in make-believe, heading
barefoot among jellyfish
for the Punch and Judy man
who’ll make us laugh
if anyone can before the sun goes down,
our time forgotten

Life, death

Overtaken us now,
beckoning. I’ll not rush my pace
for we’ve already run our race,
won a place among same stars enchanting
same lulling swell.
All’s well. One lost toy recovered
and taken home. Punch and Judy
in a packing case,
sleeping it off at some Bed and Breakfast.
I, filled with a night too exquisite for words
like those we shared...

Before AIDS

Copyright R. N. Taber 1990; 2012

[Note: A slightly different version of this poem has appeared in several poetry publications as well as on the blog & in  Love And Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001; 2nd ed. in preparation. NB New editions of my collections will not be available until after 2015 and will contain revisions of some poems.]

None of us, gay or straight can afford to be complacent...

THE TEST

Didn’t test to see if I was HIV positive,
I was scared,
then my lover asked me outright
and I lied…
thinking I wasn’t really lying, believed
I was okay
but the lie began to haunt me more
each night and day,
especially when in my arms he lay
his body in my trust

I should find out, I thought, I must
have a test,
I can’t go on pretending like this
even as we kiss
that there’s no virus in me I can pass on
(as if I would)
but I cannot answer for the unknown,
need to find out
be worthy of his love and trust
or we’ll never last

Eventually, I had the test, it was negative,
I was relieved,
then I asked my lover outright
and he cried...
swore he hadn’t known when we first met
but discovered since,
too scared to tell me in case I got angry
(as I’d been he might reject me)
so what could I do but hold him near
plant kisses in his hair?
Yes, we’ve had the test, my love and me,
it set us free
from doubt and fear because, together,
we are strong,
can deal with whatever this life
dishes us…
beats treading on our dreams, left alone
and up against it;
above all its blessings, place trust
or love will fail the test

[From: On the Battlefields of Love by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2010] 

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