Poem 270 ± February 29, 2016

Chad Kenney

Neon pink taxi
door slams
shutting out the heat and humidity
settling in the back seat
starring blankly out the window
the foreign landscape
my temporary home
passes unnoticed—
though absently unaware
through the gap between us
catching just a glimpse
through the rear-view
the driver’s features
almost profile
taut skin over prominent
forms; orbital ridges
nasal folds
temporal bones
cheek and chin
all in sharp relief—
at the wheel the wrist
the sleeve
drapes as cloth on a line
veins stand out boldly
on the gripping hand—
not to stare
just glancing back
to see the fuller man –
eyes appraise
examine closely quickly
all available form
at the familiar
brown skin aside—
a flash of recognition
reflected in the window
my own features—
we are one

“Oh my wasted face!
Do you scare people on the street
or just me?”

I am more frail
taking great care
not to fall into the street
before a taxi or hurtling
motor bike—
in the dim light
to see the broken sidewalk
which undulates along
haphazardly inviting a crash—
in a world so young
old people are seemingly
left behind by cells
and text messaging—
as the pace is fast
the language sings along
so foreign to my ear
rapid-fire staccato
all lacking comprehensible form—
I am isolated by my age and language
largely ignored by everyone
but the street vendors
who desire little more
then to sell or dismiss me
as not a consumer of their goods—

I am silent
I am alone


Chad Kenney_0026Chad Kenney received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Washington and finished a graduate degree in social work at Denver University. An AIDS activist since 1985, Chad has lived with HIV and AIDS for 30 years.

This poem appeared in Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens: Prayers, Poems & Affirmations for People Living with HIV/AIDS (AuthorHouse, 2013), Edited by Khafre Kujichagulia Abif.