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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Poetry: H-I-Me

By Brandon Lacy Campos

October 19, 2010

This article originally appeared in Brandon's blog My Feet Only Walk Forward.

I live with HIV
I have been a part-time junkie
Trying to find something I missed
In between overachieving and the point of a needle
People generally look at me like I am lying
By trying to tell them I am recovering
And some days much less recovered than others
My Mother couldn't believe that her Straight-A-Beaver-Cleaver
Would cleave to whatever he could snort or swallow or fit in a needle
Powders and pills devouring the pain of little red ribbons
T-Cell Counts and technical knock outs by Chelsea boy faggots
That see only a status
It might mess with their A List adventure if they fall for a retroviral warrior
Rejecting gentlemanly advances as if being asked to marry a leper
All the while playing jeopardy
Take a hit and then split in half/open wide to let the next big raw cock inside
You see Don't Ask Don't Tell is all very well in a fairy tale where in
Your sexual health is someone else's responsibility
Silly me, I thought when I saw your ass bubble cum like a champagne fountain that you had made a decision

Not a wager

Lord and Savior
I know that there is a responsibility for disclosure
But somewhere it was decided that raw riders got to blame others
For riding without a saddle
I am madder than hell that with all my own shit
I have to deal with bitter bitches that pretend to some moral authority
to do as they say and not as they do and do and do
turning you into a cracked out rehabilitation project
filled with so much vehemence
it's funny that they can't see the real disappointment
but it's boring to look at the weeds in your own back yard
when your neighbor has such a lovely garden

Let me be clear with all ya'll here
If you are choosing to go on a meth-fueled sex affair
My responsibility to the outcomes of your personal decisions stop right there

So happy we got all that out in the air.
I feel much better

HIV and addiction fly formation in a circular pattern
Its tough to unlearn
The poison poured into young ears
By the 1980s and shady queers
Never fear!
I am well aware that I am a tragically flawed human being.
There are choices that I have made that have ripped apart the lives of others.
A lover that came to me in tears when he tested positive
Confirming my own fear about my status
Except I had been too cowardly to take the damn test
At least if I had
it would have been only one life in shambles

In the end, I have more than enough to do
Without having to take care of you
Let this serve as final public notice
I am HIV Positive
There is the disclosure that everyone wanted
From now on, make your own damn decisions
and live with the consequences
because when two adults come to a conclusion
that they want a little skin on skin action
the minute your legs are in the upright and locked position
it's your job to make sure that you don't have a bumpy landing

Am I being unclear?

That's your asshole in there
And while another asshole may have told you what you wanted to hear
You are the one that let him steer his jet into your hanger
Check your anger Boo Boo
In this game of cards
A tie goes to the dealer

I feel much better after having written this poem.

I know that I have a lifetime of work left to do
Hope never to have to write another poem like this
Or slip and let addiction back in
But if or when it happens
Or when the next person looks at me and sees only a status
I got this in my arsenal
Poetry sometimes is the best ammo

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See Also
2013 Poetry Month at TheBody.com: HIV/AIDS-Related Poems From Our Readers
A Message From Your Poetry Editor
2012 Poetry Month at TheBody.com
2011 Poetry Month at TheBody.com
2010 Poetry Month at TheBody.com
More HIV/AIDS-Related Poetry
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Reader Comments:

Comment by: JB (Anaheim) Tue., Nov. 15, 2011 at 10:34 pm EST
I've read the poem a few times-powerful. But honestly I'm bothered by something-am I hearing that once you end up ready to get down with someone ready to php, it's only their responsibility to ask, and not yours to tell? I hope I'm reading that wrong.
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Comment by: Brandon Lacy Campos (New York, NY) Tue., Jun. 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm EDT
Thanks Jae.
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Comment by: Jae (New jersey) Mon., Jun. 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm EDT
Absolutely breathe taking..
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Comment by: Brandon Lacy Campos (New York, NY) Tue., Mar. 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm EDT
I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond to you both. Thank you for your words and sharing your stories.

Love,
B
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Comment by: paulm63 (Tucson, AZ) Sun., Jan. 9, 2011 at 5:08 am EST
Enjoyed the poem, Brandon. it is important to send a message that we are all responsible for our own actions. if we each just protect the one person over whom we have control, ourself, then no one else need be infected with HIV. that worked for me logically... i had allowed myself to be infected with the virus by allowing someone to enter me without a condom. it wasn't rape. it was 1987, i was 24yrs old, young, angry, lonely, foolish, addicted, in and out of recovery (more out than in). i went home with a man so i didn't have to make the trip home fucked up on a combination of drugs and alcohol. it was easier to let him enter me, than it was to fight it, i just wanted to sleep. i left in the morning before he awoke. it would have ended there, another, in a long list of poor decisions, except that night would have further consequences. being one of the first i knew to become infected, i endured being and feeling, like the local leper, until all those that jeered ultimately tested postive themselves. they could be held to the same level of justice that i had been given, or denied. screw 'em. i valued their lives as little as i valued my own. except that as i grew to accept myself, take better care of myself, love myself, it wasn't cruel logic that appealed to me anymore. i didn't deserve to be treated with malice, and neither do they. we are all foolish creatures, guided far more by emotion than logic. i wanted to be forgiven for my mistakes. i wanted to forgive myself. they deserve the same level of compassion... no matter how foolishly, how cruelly, their fear and ignorance had made them treat others. they are no wiser than me, why not forgive them their mistakes? why not forgive my own? whatever i have done in the past, or present, i want to be a person that is valued, and values others. so i attempt to treat others as i would like to be treated, with love, and compassion for my foolishness.
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Comment by: John Biron (Austin, Texas) Thu., Jan. 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm EST
No everything is not bigger in Texas, obviously, uh George Sr AND Jr and endlessly I could digress but will not. Im SO glad you got that off your chest Brandon. It's been as long time coming (I've been reading in between and behind the words for a bit), as much needed to be said as it is to be heard, especially for those who still have not recognized the power or powerlessness we fall under from our own self-deceptions. For those who still believe that their HIV Infection Protection Plan includes the question for when you really don't want to know cause they are so cute or the man of the hung hour now I need kind of protection, "Are you neg?, or Are you poz? or HIV neg only, or DDF only"...You only fool yourselves and have not heard a word of what Brandon myself or anyone else has said for 30 plus years, so deal with it! And let the rest of us live and love on in OUR own way....your path is set whether you heard or not. Be well Brandon one step at a time (have a hug from me right here if you please...*mmm*) and congratulations on giving birth to a gigantic baby heard!
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Brandon Lacy Campos

Brandon Lacy Campos

Brandon Lacy Campos is a 32-year-old queer, poz, African-American, Afro-Puerto Rican, Ojibwe and Euro (smorgasbord) poet, playwright, blogger, journalist and novelist (that last one is slowly coming along). In 2009, MyLatinoVoice.com named him the #2 queer, Latino blogger to watch. In 2006, the Star Tribune named him a young policy wonk for his political shenanigans. His writing and poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies including, most recently, Mariposas, edited by Emanuel Xavier and published by Floricanto Press. This fall, his work will appear in the academic text Queer Twin Cities, published by the University of Minnesota Press. And, one of these days, Summerfolk Press will be publishing his first solo book of poetry: It Ain't Truth If It Doesn't Hurt. Brandon is hard at work on his first novel, Eden Lost, and he lives in New York City with his partner, artist David Berube, and his boss, Mimzy Lacy Berube de Campos (their dog).

It's with heavy hearts that we share that Brandon passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. He was 35 years old. Read memorials by Brandon's friends and colleagues.


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