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Letting HIV/AIDS Know Something

HIV you are hurting friends and family.
AIDS you are killing them.
If only one day we should find
a way to destroy you we would.

    Christian Reyes, age 17

If I Could

If only you know how
you made me feel inside
the hurt, the anger
but most of all the pain.
You go around destroying
lives taking out all of
my people like a big genocide.
There are not words
that would describe
my pain exactly but
one word I feel towards
you is hate.
You came into our lives
day by day as if what
you do is nothing.
You're wrong! Dead wrong!
You affect our way of
living, you stop us from
achieving our goals.
You're a killer, a murderer
you creep into our system
and use our own bodies
to kill us off.
Slow and painful that's
the way you kill us all.
My heart can no longer
save me. Instead it pumps
blood that helps to kill me.
You steal our dreams
you take our hopes and crush them.
The anger I had inside
for you is not enough.
So small yet so
much damage can you cause
so unnoticeable yet inside
you're raging.

    Michelle Ortiz, age 17


I'll try my best to overcome
I'll fight you, battle you, until I've won
black as the heart of the Devil is how I see you
At first it seems that you're not here, but that's not true
You take away the love from me
You are like a shadow, I can not see
I feel you near, just around the corner
stay away, my strength will stay
and conquer you, I still try
but you seem to be omnipotent.

    Venessa Laguna, age 17


If I could tell HIV how I feel
I would tell it that it destroys lives.
Breaking apart families.
Robbing lives that aren't theirs.
Having people live with struggle, pain
sickness, sorrow and nothing else left in their mind.
If I could tell HIV how I feel
I would tell it to go away.
Never return.
I would tell it that it
makes people blind with their tears
and deaf with their screaming
If I could tell HIV how I feel
then it would listen,
bringing back lives that were killed,
families that were torn apart,
and homes that were sweet.
I know just because you have HIV
doesn't mean it's the end of the
world, but in return you can
never stop thinking about it.

    Eileen Rosado, age 15


I may have a disease
but I'm not any different
I feel on fire
I can do what anyone can do
and I can't do anything
I don't have a chance
My blood is different
I'm supposed to be different.

    Frankie Keller, age 9
    (published in The New Yorker magazine)


AIDS feels like losing a game
It smells like someone getting sick
It tastes like chocolate milk
It is disgusting
It is unfair
It is like a sad day

    D.J., age 10
    (This poem was developed in a therapeutic session with Dr. Lori Wiener of the National Cancer Institute.)

Writing Exercises: Anger

  • If you had the AIDS/HIV virus, there would probably be times when you felt very angry about being sick. Write a poem about this: what can't you do that you used to be able to do? what makes you feel different from other people? how do you feel differently about your future now than you did before your diagnosis? Is there something you can say to make yourself feel less angry? Write a poem about this.

  • Are you angry that someone you know has AIDS/HIV, or that AIDS/HIV exists at all? What makes you angry about it? Is it because people you love have gotten sick, or died? Is it because you may have to be more careful in order to avoid getting AIDS? Is it because it seems unfair that so many people have had to die young because of this disease? Why are you angry about AIDS? Make a list of these things then make it into a poem.

  • Imagine that someone you know who has AIDS is feeling very angry. What could you say to him or her? Is it okay to feel angry? Maybe you could help this person express his or her anger creatively -- could you yell together? throw food around the room? play loud music? break something? Would something be funny about this? Would you both end up laughing? Or maybe one of you would begin to cry, and the other might offer sympathy. Write a poem about a situation like this.

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This article was provided by AIDS Poetry Project. It is a part of the publication AIDS Workbook 2.