Michael H. Broder’s HIV Here & Now Poetry Project

New York Poet Michael H. Broder is curating a daily poetry project called HIV Here + Now, which is a countdown memorializing what’s been lost, what’s been gained, and what’s changed as we approach the 35th year of a word with HIV and AIDS. For some of us, it means the memory of friends lost and protests in the streets. For others, it means, as Michael eloquently describes, “being on lifesaving meds, getting your life back, wondering what your life meant, what your past meant, your present, how to process having lived through that and living in this life now, where the crisis is ‘over’ in most of the public mind, but you still take your meds every day… .”  Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials have all experienced the HIV struggle in different ways, and this project is an account of that: the fear and anxiety of the disease’s most harrowing days; the hopefulness of sustainable treatment; the question marks of what’s to come. Michael published this poem of mine for the project today, but I urge you to check out the work of the other poets at the website and to read his “About” page to learn more.

Read “Monkey Orchid”



New poem, “Monkey Orchid”, in A&U Magazine

The October issue of A&U Magazine (Art & Understanding) ran my poem “Monkey Orchid” in their print edition, a pic of which I’ve added here. I’ve been reading a lot lately about how Truvada and PrEP offer new opportunities in the prevention of HIV (a good, personalized account by writer Evan Peterson ran recently in the Seattle indie, The Stranger). These innovations mark a sea change in the navigation of intimacy and desire among gay men. This wasn’t always the case; any gay man who came of age in the 80s, 90s, or 00s, can probably tell you how anxiety-ridden it was to look for love (or sex). Survivors still reel from the body count of lost friends and the uncomfortable memory of an uncaring Reagan administration. “Monkey Orchid” is a depiction of that era and the surreality of the circuit party scene. It finds its motif in a flower, pictured here. I’ve been working on a suite of poems that uses unusual specimens of flora or fauna as a lens to see the world anew. This is one of them. Update: A&U has archived the poem here.