Poem 169 ± November 20, 2015

Tj Hoffman Duffy
Tattooed Tears

19eighty-eight… GRID (gay-related immune deficiency) smashes tight community within the Phoenix metro area, coworker Randy is one of the first casualties
Randy * Penelope * Norman * Jerry E.* Chris
moisten dew glistens
19ninety… ARC (AIDS-related complex) unity forms to anchor ourselves from the shelter of an inhuman community. People buried in drag or burned with pumps, either way we stay true to ourselves
Fred * Tiger * Sharon * Elkie
Lost faces tattooed in tears
19ninety-two… half of the service staff at Winks get tested and half are a positive result, Jessie leaves us behind, a super shocker
Jessie * Michael * Neil * Tony
19ninety-four… hot off the wire from Florida, friends are bowing out before they know, probably many other deaths, just have not come over the wire yet
Chris * J.B. * Dan * Robert
god chisels hope
19ninety-six… have to stop counting departed bodies, after a while they are just faces with no names, feelings of guilt of being left behind
Michael * Bobby * Jerry B. * Marty * Steve * Jason
2thousand…people are not dropping dead as fast as they used to, but they are still leaving
have a hard time making friends due to lack of time
hope still looms in a tattooed tear…
Tj DuffyTj Hoffman Duffy’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide (U. of Arizona Press), Multi Faith Pride Service of Tucson, The Fight Against SB 1070, the Poetry Message Pot Project, Persona, Timeless Voices, Genuine Article, and the Creative Writing Phoenix College Quarterly, among others. He has received a number of awards and honors for his work.
This poem is previously unpublished.