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It's there when you are,
you can't see it, but it can
see you, you can't touch it
but it can touch you, you
can't stop it but it can stop
you, you can't hear it, but it can
hear you, you can't smell it
but it can smell you, you can't
kill it but it can kill you. AIDS.

    Dedicated to those who have died and those who will.
    Alex Michaels, age 13


AIDS is more than just a word.
It doesn't rhyme, or sound a certain way.
It doesn't assign itself to a meaning.
AIDS cannot be summed up into one definition.
But one can try:
Sadness, tears, depression.
Moments, unification, love.
Beauty, ugliness, plainness.
No, AIDS is more than just words.

    Georgia Elrod, age 15

The Deadly Disease

I am scary, people are not aware
and some people don't even care
some people are careless and don't
really think about what I am capable of.
There are some people who are innocent
but I kill them by accident.
I know no face, no race, no gender.
I am a deadly disease that keeps on
spreading from one person to the next.
I am just around the corner so everyone
needs to be careful and aware. You need
to educate yourself and your children
or I will keep on spreading and will not cease.

    Catherine Nettey, age 19

What is AIDS?

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
To some, AIDS means --
There is no hope for me.
It's time to write my will.
It's time to say goodbye.
It's time to die.
They feel angry.
They feel scared.
Even sorry for themselves.

And to some, AIDS means --
It's time to enjoy life the best way I can.
It's time to tell my friends and family how much I love them and how I really feel.
Some feel happy with the life they have lived so far.
Happy to have their loved ones by their side.
Happy to have loved.

To know and love someone with AIDS.
To go through it all.
Is almost the same as having AIDS --
Not physically, but mentally.
AIDS isn't a punishment, but
A lesson that the whole world is
Learning at the same time.

    Sally Montas, age 17

AIDS is a Hard Word to Spell

Don't cry
They're only letters,
four letters.

and new found
when you find time is running out
or absent when it is needed most.

that suddenly wells up inside you
to become your weapon
or leaves you in a fleeting moment
and never returns.

for life and love
and pain and suffering.

Nobody's crying for the same thing
There are always four different letters
Spelling out
a life
was lived.

    Katie Levin, age 15

Fading Away

I am a building
that hasn't been built.
I am a sculpture
that hasn't been molded.
I am a book
that hasn't been written
I am fading away.

I am a sun
that doesn't shine.
I am a painting
that hasn't been finished
I am a chuckle
that hasn't been laughed.
I am fading away.

I am a shadow
in a very dark room.
I am a seed
that hasn't been planted.
I am a mirage
that hasn't been seen.
I am fading away.

I do not know who
Or what I am.
All I know is that
I am a wall.
Separating nothing from nothing.

    Ivana Rosenberg, age 11

Writing Exercises: Understanding

  • Write a poem answering the question: What is AIDS/HIV? Don't just define the disease from a like? taste like? look like? smell like? Where did it come from? What lessons is it teaching the world -- like learning to help each other or learning how to live with the knowledge that you may die soon?

  • Imagine that you are the AIDS/HIV virus: Who are you? What do you look like? What do you sound like? Why did you come here? What do you want?

  • Write a poem that creates a simile for AIDS. A simile is a figure of speech that compares something to other things in order to provide new insights into the nature of that thing. A good example is the following line from a poem: "My love is like a red, red rose." This statement tells us that love is beautiful, bright, and perhaps fleeting, because a rose does not bloom forever. What is AIDS like?

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